Monthly Archives: July 2014

Inspiring Young Musicians

Inspiring Young Musicians

Well last week was rather manic!

Over the past couple of years I have set up concerts in partnership with local schools featuring the wind band I conduct: SESAW (South East Surrey Area Wind band) and last week we put together 2 huge days of music for the local area.  4 bands, 8 schools and about 450 children were involved in the events!


When I took over the band it was really struggling with numbers of players, so I started working with the local schools, setting up joint concerts, trying to get more children to know about the band and hopefully inspire others to start taking up instruments too. Through doing this I set up some larger scale concerts at the Harlequin Theatre in Redhill. The first year we managed to join up three primary schools with a very musical secondary school and my bands. In the second year we aimed higher, putting the event on over 2 nights and doubled the numbers involved. This year we moved to an even bigger theatre, trying to include even more children over two nights.

It took a lot of organising but these events are really worth while. The highlight of each evening is the joint item where we get all the children on stage performing and singing together. Choosing the right material for this is the key, previous years we’ve gone with Abba and Stevie Wonder Medleys, and this year a combo of some (surprisingly?) almost current pop with  Moves Like Jagger, Party Rock Anthem and Have a Good Time.

The show this year was great in lots of ways, but particularly because we got a few schools involved who are normally really hard to get to join in with events such as these.  One of the highlights was seeing other music teachers taking the lead and taking groups of schools off to work together during rehearsals.


Overall a fantastic event that has left me feeling more motivated than ever to get young children involved in music from as early an age as possible.



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Posted by on July 13, 2014 in Gigs, Teaching


Love Supreme

Love Supreme

What a fantastic weekend of music at Love Supreme jazz festival!


I hadn’t managed to make it down to the last year, but we managed to somehow sneak Straight No Chaser onto the bill for this years event and I am so glad we managed to hustle for the gig!

Lots and lots of lovely music from so many musicians. It was all too much in a way because you start to choose not to listen to some bands that normally would have been an amazing night out on their own, but then again there is only so much jazz that you can take in one serving…


I’m really pleased with our big band set. The guys played amazingly with some blistering solos and finely tuned ensemble sections, despite the wind gusting and blowing sheets of music around before us. I know there were several videos being made of our playing so I hope to share them soon. I’ve already seen one of Susanna Alce singing with us and she was being a star as always, perfectly underplaying the soul in the music.

We chose a set of quite complex arrangements including several of Simons charts, which was a good decision. The crowds seemed to be drawn to the interesting and intriguing music… I’m so glad we didn’t sell ourselves out with a standard repertoire of Gordon Goodwin and Nestico. We did ourselves proud and I think waved a good flag for local Brighton talent at this prestigious event.

So what was the highlight of the event?

Well Jamie Cullum it has to be said was immense. I didn’t think I would have ended up watching him but he played like a complete star with a band to match.


Who else, well there was Laura Mvula with her soul diva voice, but a band she has taken in different direction with strings, harp and arrangements to die for. And of course Courtney Pine, who must have been put on this planet to play festivals in the sun like this. (I’m sure he physically made the sun shine with his music today!)


Snarky Puppy was also up there at the top of my list, complex and soulful but intensely funky. And Slowly Rolling Camera who provided me with the perfect hangover cure.

Really looking forward to this event again next year, definitely hope we can get the band there again too!

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Posted by on July 6, 2014 in Gigs


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