Brass Workshop Report 

The day was due to start at 12pm but due to traffic issues on the M6 the instruments arrived a little later than anticipated. This didn’t stop the workshop getting underway though as, following a brief introduction by Chris Jones (High Brass Director), Ian Darrington sat down with the students and High Brass and talked through a whole range of subjects involving playing and performing on a brass instrument.

Ian is a fantastic communicator and has over 30+ years in music education and also as a band leader. He has received an MBE for his services to music education. He obviously has a wealth of knowledge and has some wicked stories to tell also, he kept everyone entertained until the instruments arrived.

A brief warm-up was taken by Tez Smith so that the band could get on with the job of playing through the first chart; a brand new arrangement of "Autumn Leaves" by Frank Dorittie.

This arrangement is not easy, the trumpet parts in particular are very demanding but the attitude shown by the trumpet players and throughout the whole band ensured that great progress was made and the piece was nailed down within an hour to an extremely high standard.

The next piece to be played was Eoin O'Keefe's arrangement of "Perfect Day" which was written to be played at this years DCUK Finals. This is a wonderful arrangement and the whole band played the piece really well from the first run through - this allowed the students to have a little fun as an impromptu solo section was introduced to start the piece. High Brass players and students took turns in playing solos backed up by the rhythm section only. 

Finally, a brand new arrangement by Tez Smith of Burt Bacharach's "The Look Of Love" was handed out to all players. Music for the previous two pieces had been sent out via email prior to the workshop but this was the first time anyone had seen this chart - the piece was sight read and played from top to bottom by the entire band at the first attempt - a huge achievement for everyone. This piece will definitely make it into the High Brass repertoire in the future!

The workshop concluded with a return to "Autumn Leaves" and the improvised solo sections were offered to anyone who wished to have a go at improvising... after a horrified silence, Steve Muzio and Mark Cresswell took the plunge to rapturous applause from the entire band.

High Brass gave a performance in the evening to a full house and the finale saw all the students take to the stage and play "Autumn Leaves" and "Perfect Day" which brought the house down. In fact it was so well received they were asked to play "Autumn Leaves" once more – all the soloists were once again fantastic and the sound produced by the whole ensemble was incredible. 

“From a High Brass point of view we have now fulfilled every goal which we set out to achieve when we formed six years ago”, explained Chris Jones “they were to perform, to promote, and to educate.” 

High Brass would like to thank to Kidsgrove Scouts for the loan of their Dynasty instruments and everyone who turned up to watch and to take part in what was a superb day.

List of All Students
Steve Muzio (Kidsgrove Scouts)
Rachel Clark (Poynton Commodores)
Steve Wright (Concord)
Steve Box (Senators)
Heather Gunnee (Concord)
Chris Chadwick (Cheshire Cadets)
Laura Boon (Kidgrove Scouts)
Helen Muskett (Poynton Commodores)
Olly Whysal (Concord)
Shane Murray (Cheshire Cadets)
Ruth Taylor (Poynton Commodores)
Mark Cresswell (Kidsgrove Scouts)
Pat Darley (Concord)
Mike Waters (Poynton Commodores)
Paul Smith (Kidsgrove Scouts)
Ben Taylor (Poynton Commodores)








© Drum Corps United Kingdom 2004