During the course of this year, I've had the pleasure of working with the members of the Macclesfield Youth Brass Bands to compose a piece for their 10th anniversary.
Back in January, I met with members of the Youth, Junior and Training Bands and Drum Corps in workshops to come up with some ideas for themes, structure and anything else they could think of - all of which I included in the final piece. With it being such a special and personal celebratory piece, involving the young musicians in the process was the perfect way to start everything off. It ensured that the music was inherently THEIRS through and through…and was also very enjoyable for me to see how creative they all were!
Each ensemble within MYBB has its own solo feature, before combining with full forces for the grand finale. The subtitles reflect the journey of MYBB over their first ten years:
Training Band - ONWARDS AND UPWARDS
Junior Band - PRIDE AND JOY (March)
Drum Corps - BRIDGE BEATS
Youth Band - ALL IN GOOD TIME
MASSED BANDS - IN IT TOGETHER
The overall title - Brass Roots; Musical Wings - illustrates the mission of MYBB – giving their players firm roots within the brass band tradition, allowing them a whole host of musical opportunities, before taking flight to the next stage of their lives at university, or beyond. Being part of such a wonderful organisation teaches many skills – not just musical ones! In addition to being enjoyable, learning to be a musician requires dedication, discipline, develops social and listening skills and also shows that you can work well as an important part of a team. This piece is a tribute to the hard work of everyone involved with MYBB that make it what it is; a positive, well-(valve)oiled brass and drum machine!
The piece was premiered at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester on the 4th July (video to follow soon! Watch this space...) I was so impressed with everyone's dedication - getting such a performance together could have been a logistical nightmare, but everyone gave it their all. The result was an outstanding performance and a standing ovation from the entire theatre.
I was even honoured to be presented with a coveted MYBB pennant...and the tin (representing the 10th anniversary) used as a percussion instrument throughout...that had been completely destroyed in the process!! I intend to turn it into a lamp! :)
Congratulations MYBB on your TIN anniversary!