HCB is Recruiting

Harmonie Concert Band is seeking a new Musical Director

Harmonie Concert Band (registered charity no.1129948) is a symphonic wind band based in south Essex which traces its origins back to 1976. We are a community band, that welcomes musicians of all ages to come and make music, we always strive to attain a high standard and to broaden our musical knowledge, experience and abilities.
We currently have 40+ active members from all over Essex who meet on Wednesday evenings in Rayleigh. We play a wide music repertoire including classics, popular and light music, marches, music from films and shows, and more demanding works written or arranged specifically for wind band. We have an extensive music library to which we add new items every year.
We perform 6 to 8 concerts each year, including community events and formal concerts, some in collaboration with other music and performing arts organisations. We have played at venues throughout Essex, plus visits further afield including Eastbourne, Windsor Castle. London, and trips abroad to France and Belgium.
We are looking for someone who would enjoy the challenge of bringing the best out of the band and working in a friendly community atmosphere.

For more information about the band please see www.harmonie.org.uk, and to express an interest in the MD position please email enquiries@harmonie.org.uk

Harmonie plays it’s last concert under the leadership of Roy Dignum.

Sarah and Roy enjoying the arrangement of Roy’s favourite melodies played by the band over the years.

On Sunday 17th July we played our last concert at Windsor Castle under the leadership of Roy Dignum who had been our MD for almost 20 years. Together with his wife Sarah they had been a mainstay of the band and will be sadly missed.

The day started with a coach pickup in Rayleigh, our home venue at 9:00 AM, a brief stop at Thurrock Services to pick up more band members and finally arriving at Windsor just before midday.  The band then played 3 sets of music culminating in a farewell presentation to Roy and Sarah including an arrangement of Roy’s favourite tunes done by David our band chairman.

The picture on the right shows Sarah and Roy enjoying the arrangement of Roy’s favourite melodies played by the band over the years.

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

Featured Member – Debs

Debs playing the French Horn
Debs playing the French Horn

Name: Deb Carter

Instrument:  French horn

When did you join? September 1987

Why did you join Harmonie?

Tony and I moved to Basildon when we were married and I wanted to join a band. At that time I was playing trumpet. I transferred to tenor horn a few years later and then to the French horn. I had wanted to learn the horn when I was at school but did not get the opportunity.

What do you enjoy about being with Harmonie? 

I love the variety of music we play and the fact that it is such a friendly band.

What has been your favourite experience with Harmonie?

Oh goodness… It is really difficult to choose one experience…

Playing at the Festival Hall for the Bernstein concert was amazing, but I have loved both the tours too.

What else would you like to say about being in Harmonie?

What can I say? It is a brilliant band to play in. I wouldn’t have stayed for 30 years otherwise!

From Holst to Hess

Our Holst to Hess concert celebrates over 100 years of music written specifically for wind band with music by Phillip Sparke, Guy Woolfenden as well as Gustav Holst and our good friend Nigel Hess. We are delighted to be working with our guest soloist William Knight, who will be performing the Phillip Sparke clarinet Concerto.

William Knight

Born in Essex and educated at Westcliff High School for Boys, William Knight began learning the clarinet under the tutelage of local teacher, Gill Thorn, at the age of seven. Having been a member of the National Children’s Orchestras and the National Youth Orchestra, he went on to study at the Royal College of Music in London under Richard Hosford, Timothy Lines and Michael Collins, supported by a John Nickson scholarship award. He graduated in 2017 with first class honours having won the RCM Clarinet Prize and the Stephen Trier award for Bass Clarinet and having performed under conductors such as Bernard Haitink, Vladimir Jurowski and John Wilson.

Since graduating, he has gone on to forge the beginnings of a successful career as an orchestral clarinettist, and has performed with ensembles such as the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Royal Northern Sinfonia, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. He has recently performed concertos and recitals in Essex and Suffolk and is excited to once again be performing locally.

Harmonie had the great pleasure of working with composer Nigel Hess in March this year.

Download a flyer.

The concert is on Saturday 13th October 2018, 7.30pm
Kings Road United Reform Church
91 Crowstone Road
Google map of location

To purchase tickets at £10 each: email enquiries AT harmonie.org.uk or call 07815 578998 (after 7pm)

Award-winning composer comes to Essex

Sunday 25th March not only heralded the start of British Summer Time but was also the start of the performance season for Harmonie Concert Band.  In preparation for its busy year ahead (including performances in Southend, at the Orsett Show, and on the Eastbourne Bandstand) the band had invited the award-winning composer Nigel Hess to work with them for the day.  Many will know his TV themes including Dangerfield, Hetty Wainthropp, Campion and New Tricks as well as his film score to Ladies in Lavender.  Although Harmonie is based in Rayleigh in Essex, the band travelled to High House Production Park in Purfleet for its rehearsal day with the composer.

Nigel Hess has written extensively for the windbands having received composing commissions from the Royal Air Force Music Services and the Band of the Coldstream Guards.

At its rehearsal day Harmonie Concert Band worked on some of his pieces that will be featured in their concert programmes this year and everyone felt honoured to have had the opportunity to work with the composer himself.  Band Chairman, David Adlington said “Working with a well-known and award-winning composer such as Nigel Hess is a fantastic opportunity for a community music group like Harmonie Concert Band. Working with the actual composer of some of the music that will feature in our 2018 programme certainly gave us additional insight and helped us raise the bar – and we hope this will shine through in our forthcoming concerts”

The band were in an up-beat mood after the rehearsal with everyone expressing what a fantastic day it had been.  In response Nigel Hess complimented the band on being “absolutely terrific” and great fun to work with.


images: Roy Dignum

Featured Member – Kevin

Kevin playing the bassoon
Kevin playing the bassoon

Name: Kevin Hale

Instrument: Bassoon & Tenor Saxophone

When did you join?

I originally joined the band in 1996 when it was then known as The Basildon Concert Band, and after 10 year break due to family illness, I re-joined for the second time in January 2016.

Why did you join Harmonie?

Having been a Musician in the Army for 24 years I was looking for a local band that would allow me to continue playing after the end of my service and the band fitted that.

What do you enjoy about being with Harmonie? 

There are so many reasons why I enjoy being with Harmonie, but I think the top of the list has to be, the friendship and comradery, the music we play and the challenges it brings and the sense of achievement felt by all members at the end of a successful concert.

What has been your favourite experience with Harmonie?

I don’t have one single favourite experience I have a couple, the first one happened quite a number of years ago when I has in the band for the first time and it was when we spent a weekend making a CD and the second was last year when we performed in the Towngate Theatre, Basildon, for our 40th Anniversary Concert, where band members past and present came together for a very memorable concert.

What else would you like to say about being in Harmonie?

Harmonie is a very open band full of players of all standards and musical backgrounds, it is a true community band where all are welcome.



Harmonie 40th Anniversary Concert


2016 marks 40 years of the band making music in Essex, and to celebrate this important milestone in our history we recently presented a Gala Concert at Basildon’s Towngate Theatre.

The band was formed in 1976 as Basildon Concert Band and the passing years have seen us move to various rehearsal locations and a couple of changes to the name, but the core purpose has remained the same: bringing people together to enjoy music-making.

We have undertaken several major projects this anniversary year, including commissioning a brand new piece of music, our concert tour to Belgium in the summer, and culminating in the Gala Concert, as well as numerous other concerts and engagements in between.

The event took a lot of planning. Starting about a year ago, this included everything from choosing and hiring the venue, to selecting the repertoire, commissioning the new work and liaising with the composer (including a special weekend rehearsal workshop), publicising the concert, writing and designing the programme, inviting VIP guests, selling tickets, and lots of other details.

So we were delighted when on a Saturday evening in October we presented the concert to an enthusiastic and appreciative audience of about 250, and the whole event was a great success.

The concert featured a variety of our favourite music representing four decades of making music and drawing on programmes and themes from many of the memorable events from throughout the band’s history. We included music from the 2010 Bernstein Festival when we played at the Royal Festival Hall, 2012 Olympic year, right up to date with some of the music we played on our 2016 tour of Belgium, and much more in between.

We were particularly pleased to present the world premiere of a new composition entitled ‘Scenes of Essex’, composed specially for the occasion by internationally renowned composer of wind band music Colin Touchin.

We are also honoured to be performing alongside the talented dancers from the Julie Noble School of Performing Arts who added a tremendous additional dimension to the spectacle with their high quality and imaginative dance interpretations to accompany some of our musical items.

It certainly was an evening to remember, and grateful thanks go to everyone who helped to make it a success, especially the hardworking members of the Committee, and of course to the audience for turning up and supporting us!

You can see a full gallery here