Harmonie Concert Band Takes part in the NCBF “At Home” Project.

On Wednesday 15th June. Harmonie Concert Band took part in the National Concert Band Festival’s “At Home” project. The project, funded by The Arts Council England, provides free workshops for Concert Bands throughout the UK regardless of their ability, these workshops take place at the bands’ normal rehearsal venue and are led by an external specialist conductor and mentor.

The workshops are designed to provide external feedback, ideas & guidance, to create a focus for the band and encourage & give confidence to players.

Introducing our guest conductor and mentor Simon Hogg, Director of Music Performance, Warwick School.

A graduate of the National Youth Orchestra and the Royal Academy of Music Simon Hogg became a founder member of The Fine Arts Brass in 1980. During this time, he performed two thousand concerts, visited over sixty countries, recorded 150 BBC radio and TV broadcasts and made 25 commercial recordings. The ensemble commissioned seventy works by leading British composers and performed at most major British and European music festivals.

In 1994 Simon founded Warwick Music, a specialist publisher of brass music commencing with an unknown work for Trombone & Organ (1894) by Gustav Holst which he discovered in the British Museum. In 1996 Simon became an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music (ARAM), only awarded to alumni who have distinguished themselves in the music profession.

He taught trombone at the Royal College of Music, Junior Department for ten years, Has adjudicated for the BBC Young Musician of the Year and was Senior External Examiner at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama.

The evening began with the band rehearsing and playing a very descriptive piece called “At Dawn They Slept”, it was composed by Jay Bocook as a musical remembrance of all those who lost their lives at Pearl Harbour.

We then went on to play a jazz-inspired piece called “Shortcut Home” by Dana Wilson, this proved to be very challenging for all sections of the band but after some rehearsal, the final run-through gave a sense of satisfaction to all.

Just before a well-earned break, we had a chance to rehearse a very beautiful piece by Eric Whitacre called “October”.  This was a particularly challenging piece with multiple tempo and time changes which brought out the best in everyone.

Finally, Simon led us through one of the pieces we have been working on from our own repertoire called “Orient Express” by British composer Philip Sparke, a piece we hope to perform in future concerts this year.

The evening proved to be a resounding success so special thanks to Simon for coming and taking this workshop, Roy Dignum our MD for organising the workshop and all the band members for making this a memorable event that was enjoyed by all.  Below are a few photographs taken during the evening. 

If anyone is interested and would like more information about these workshops go to: https://ncbf.info/ncbf-extra