Published on February 24th, 2018 by gavin

SWBBA Winter Workshop is Best Yet

The South West Brass Band Association held their annual Mid-Winter Workshop at West Buckland School, near Barnstaple North Devon on 10th & 11th February.

This proved to be the most popular event to date all made possible through support from the Arts Council England, Co-op Funeral care, and North Devon Music centre who nominated a number of students for participation.

The players were put through two days of intensive tuition Led by Philip Harper from Cory Band, with Tom Hutchison Glyn Williams Helen Williams and Ailsa Russell, also leading break out groups on nine compositions, new to the majority of the delegates.

Whilst the weather was damp and gloomy travelling over the Devon hills, the atmosphere was warm and welcoming and inspiring at West Buckland!

The weekend attracted in excess of 120 brass musicians and percussionists of all standards and aged from 10 to 70 plus, who came together to form a well-balanced band.

John Croker who organised the event told A4B “We had a terrific response this year, unfortunately we had to close the application list in early January as we had reached capacity and also needed to enlist additional tutors in the form of Helen and Ailsa.”

With a series of hard working sectionals and full rehearsals, the event culminated in an end of course concert presented to an appreciative audience including the president of SWBBA Sue Richards.

The Managing Director of Co-operative Funeral care (one of the sponsors) also the President of South Molton Town band and Cllr Stephen White from South Molton Town Council were in attendance too.

The tutors were unanimous in their praise of all the participants, congratulating them not only for their willingness to extend their individual and ensemble playing talents, but to mix socially with their fellow players.

The catering was ably handled by Gwen Kingdon and her team of volunteer helpers putting on a fine array of goodie in the recently refurbished school refectory.

The workshop was the innovative idea of the late Goff Richards, President of the SWBBA until his death. Two awards were made, nominated by the tutors.

The junior award was won by 9 year old George Watts from Bideford Band, and the senior award by Matt Opie soprano player from Bodmin Town Band.

SWBBA thank all those involved in this great event including the publishers Pennine Music, Studio Music, R Smith & Co, Kirklees Music and Wright and Round who provided study music.

The event is already receiving many accolades, including e-mails talking of ‘another super weekend’ that was ‘fantastic and rewarding’, ‘highly successful’, with one player stating simply, ‘I loved it!’ and how will you better this one’.


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