During 2009 Making Music offered its members the opportunity to take part in the Bernstein Project, a nine month long festival at the Royal Festival Hall celebrating the life and works of the great man through concerts, talks and workshops, all produced under the curatorship of Marin Alsop, internationally renowned conductor and student of Leonard Bernstein himself (see here). Both professional and amateur organisations from choirs and string quartets to symphony orchestras were part of the series highlighting his most well known works as well as those which are lesser well known.
Harmonie Concert Band applied to be part of this and were delighted to be invited to present a joint concert with Lewisham Concert Band in the Clore Ballroom at the Royal Festival Hall on 10th April 2010. Harmonie kept very much to the repertoire of Bernstein himself with Lewisham Concert Band including music of associated composers such as Don Gillis and Morton Gould.
The concert opened with the two bands of over 100 musicians giving a rousing rendition of Don Gillis’ The January February March. The bands then presented individual pieces, Harmonie’s programme including selections from West Side Story, Slava and Wrong Note Rag. The performance finished with a joint performance of West Side Story Selection.
As Harmonie members boarded the coach to head back to Rayleigh we reflected on the experience of having played at such a prestigious venue as the Royal Festival Hall, and in a festival of such significance.