On 22nd November, Eynsford Concert Band and the Band of the Grenadier Guards came together to perform at the spectacular Pamoja Hall in Sevenoaks, Kent. This was our third liaison and, yet again, the concert was a sell out.
Over the three years, these concerts have raised almost £18,000 in support of SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity that supports the members, ex-members and families of the Armed Forces who find themselves in need.
Raising this amount is an incredible achievement that has only been possible through the popularity and enthusiasm that the concerts have generated and the generosity of the friends, families and special guests that have attended them.
Tonight’s concert was entitled ‘For Queen and Country’, showcasing the pomp and ceremony of our great nation.
Eynsford Concert Band (conducted by Mike Smith) opened the evening with ‘Procession of the Nobles’ by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, where, as in previous concerts, we were augmented by the Grenadiers’ brilliant fanfare trumpeters, who added another level of intensity to the performance.
We continued with ‘La Mezquita de Cordoba’; a descriptive piece, which follows the history of the Mosque in Cordoba through the ages. We first performed this stunning piece at the National Wind Band Symposium, in the Gala concert which marked the end of our year as National Wind Band Champions.
We concluded our set with ‘Bond…James Bond’; a selection of themes from the films and providing a tenuous link with the Olympic Games opening sketch featuring The Queen and 007.
The band of the Grenadier Guards (conducted by Major Kevin Smith) opening their performance with the fanfare ‘State Occasion’. This was followed by the fantastic ‘Symphonic Animations’ which featured a number of solo and group performances of well known animated film themes. A wonderful Oboe solo performance of ‘The Watermill’ by Lance Corporaal Peter Batai and Walton’s ‘Spitfire Prelude’ concluded the first half.
The second half was a spectacular joint performance, with both bands performing to the highest standard; captivating our audience. With nearly 100 musicians on stage, the massed bands of Eynsford Concert Band and the Band of the Grenadier Guards is impressive, both in sight and in the sound they produce.
Once again, the fanfare trumpets were in evidence in ‘Vivat Regina’, and the programme continued in patriotic style.
‘Here’s a Health’ by Wiffin and Philip Sparke’s ‘Albion Heritage’ followed. I was then pleased to duet with Lance Corporal Peter Batai, in Handel’s ‘Entrance of the Queen of Sheba’. It isn’t every day one gets a chance to play a baroque classic with a world class body-builder, and I think we gave a memorable performance.
A performance of Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, followed by Holst’s ‘Jupiter’ ably demonstrated the range of repertoire possible with a massed band of 100 players. The concert finale included the Ladies of the audience singing along to ‘Jerusalem’ and rousing performances of ‘Pomp & Circumstance March No1’, the ‘SSAFA March’ and the ‘British Grenadiers March’ brought the evening to a spectacular close – a fitting tribute to SSAFA and the serving and fallen members of our Armed forces.
I think I can safely say that both bands are extremely proud of the contribution that we have been able to make to SSAFA and the armed forces personnel and families that they support. We are also proud of the friendship and strong bonds that have been built between the two bands over the past three years.
Our thanks go to Mike Smith and Major Kevin Davies for their enthusiasm, professionalism and humour in bringing us together and for making the concert such a success. Our sincere thanks go also to Neil Crabtree from SSAFA and to the staff at the Pamoja Hall for all of their continued hard work in helping organise the event.
Principal Oboe, Eynsford Concert Band
On Sunday 20th December, the Eynsford Concert Band brought their traditional Christmas celebration to The Mick Jagger Centre in Dartford.
This year’s concert did not disappoint. With the band dressed in colourful Christmas attire and a stage dressed in tinsel and lights, the scene was set for an evening of christmas music, poor jokes and questionable carol sing alongs.
And colourful it was. With a full programme of popular music from ‘The Polar Express’, ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and ‘Jazz Waltz no. 2’ to the traditional Christmas sounds of ‘Troika’, ‘Sleigh Ride’ and ‘A Most Wonderful Christmas’.
The star of the evening was the band’s very own vocal soloist, Sue Rivers, who performed the beautiful’ Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ and ‘I’ve Got My Love to Keep you Warm’.
With a sell-out audience in an equally festive mood, it was a great evening that sets the bar even higher for next year!
With many thanks to Luke Bowman and Nanmwa Gadong for taking some great pictures of the evening.
Eynsford Concert Band is delighted to be invited to the first European Championship for Wind Orchestras, to be held in the Tivoli Vredenburg concert hall, Utrecht, The Netherlands on 21st and 22nd of May 2016.
The European Championship for Wind Orchestras is an international non-profit association, with the purpose of arranging the European Championship for Wind Orchestras, founded in Utrecht in October 2014.
The band is greatly honoured to be invited to this competition, allowing us to build upon being crowned ‘National Champions’ at the inaugural National Concert Band Symposium competition in 2014.
The competition will be tough as we already know we will be competing against some of the finest bands in Europe.
If you would like to know more …or arrange to attend and show your support… please mark the dates in your diary and check back regularly for more details.
Every concert by the Eynsford Concert Band is a pleasure, but I especially look forward to their Christmas Festival performance at the Mick Jagger Centre …and this year did not disappoint.
As we embarked on a festive journey from Westminster to the Ukraine, along to the sound of sleigh bells, the National Symposium winners entertained us with a selection ranging from traditional carols to an arrangement from Frozen.
The second half boosted our Christmas spirit as the band displayed an amazing selection of festive headgear and we had a visit from Santa and his Sousaphone. We watched shepherds on Ilkley Moor, sang Hallelujah and rounded the evening off with everyone’s favourite Christmas Festival.
A highly enjoyable and fun evening – many thanks to you all.
We are very pleased to announce that the Eynsford Concert Band were the winners of the National Concert Band Symposium 2014 – a competition featuring some of the finest wind ensembles in the country.
Founded in 2013 the National Concert Band Symposium (NCBS) is an organisation that aims to bring the very best of concert band and wind orchestra music to the widest possible audiences. Its inaugural annual event was held at in the Colyer Fergusson Building at the University of Kent in Canterbury on July 5th and featured discussions, workshops and masterclasses led by some of the leading figures in the concert band world, culminating in a concert with the Central Band of the RAF, the Kew Wind Orchestra and soloist Philip Cobb (principal trumpet of the London Symphony Orchestra).
At the heart of the event was a contest, bringing together some of the best wind ensembles in the country (the only competition of its kind in the UK). Each band was given 30 minutes to present a programme of music that would showcase its technical skills and abilities, with performances adjudicated by a panel of 3 world class musicians led by the renowned composer, Johan de Meij, who flew over from the US for the event.
The standard of the competition was very high, so the band were delighted to hear themselves announced as winners at the evening gala concert. The written adjudication was highly positive:
“Flawless technique…rhythmic precision and perfect ensemble playing..”
“Plenty of humour and character. Very enjoyable”
“A great sound”
The title came with a trophy and £2,000 prize, sponsored by Buffet, to be spent on musical instruments. In addition the band’s percussion section were also pleased to pick up a special sectional award and a further £200.
Individual winners included:
Woodwind Category | Presented by Johan de Meij
Elizabeth Aaron (Flute | Burton Borough School)
Catherine Bromley (Clarinet | Kew Wind Orchestra)
Brass Category | Presented by Anthony Halstead
Kevin Ashman (Trumpet | Maidstone Wind Symphony)
Laurence Plant (Horn | Burton Borough School Band)
Percussion | Presented by Simone Rebello
Eynsford Concert Band Section
Mike Dolovich (XBY Concert Band)
The band are obviously very proud to have won this prestigious competition and look forward to defending the title in July 2015
Eynsford Concert Band bought a slice of the US of A to the Mick Jagger Centre on Sunday with with “Americana” – a programme of music inspired by, or written by Americans.
A packed house enjoyed an eclectic mix of music including classic American themes (Shenandoah, Dixie) through modern classics (Candide, American in Paris) to more popular fare (American Patrol, the Jazz Singer).
The band were delighted to welcome, not one but, two conductors to the stage – our Musical Director, Mike Smith and Conductor Laureate, John Hutchins.
Both contributed superbly to the evening – Mike shared his extensive insight into the repertoire, whilst John told some terrible jokes..
The concert was very well received and enjoyed by all. As you can see from the pictures above, we even invited two special American guests to participate (look out for the additional member of the percussion section and Bill Clinton on clarinet).
On Sunday 27th October 2013, Eynsford Concert Band and The Band of the Grenadier Guards performed to a packed audience at the Pamoja Hall in Sevenoaks, Kent.
This ‘Bond of Friendship’ charity concert, kindly sponsored by BAE Systems, was a tribute to our armed forces and in support of SSAFA, the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association. In the audience were Lord & Lady Astor, Lord & Lady De L’lsle, Councillor Trudy Dean and many other local dignitaries including our very own Conductor Laureate, John Hutchins.
The idea for this joint concert first began back in September 2012 when Captain Mike Smith became our Musical Director. At that time, Mike was also the Director of Music to the Band of the Grenadier Guards so this seemed the perfect match.
So, almost a year after the idea was first born we gathered at Pamoja Hall for our first joint rehearsal. We were thrilled that we were to perform with The Grens but also a little apprehensive, hoping that we would perform professionally and to our highest standard. The Grens arrived (in combat uniform) while we were rehearsing our first half pieces and I think it is safe to say that their arrival caused quite a stir…particularly amongst us ladies!
Eynsford Concert Band opened the evening’s program, joined by a Fanfare of seven trumpets from The Grenadier Guards standing on the balcony behind us. Resplendent in their full ceremonial dress and bearskins, it was a performance of the National Anthem, quickly followed by Statham’s ‘Great and Glorious’ that clearly set the tone for an unprecedented evening of music ahead.
Eynsford Concert Band completed their set with Reed’s ‘Festive Overture’ and a selection from ‘West Side Story’. Major Kevin Davies then picked up the baton for The Band of the Grenadier Guards who closed out the first half with four pieces that included Saint-Saens ‘March Militaire Francoise’ and Chaminade’s ‘Concertino’ that featured soloist Dawid Venter on Flute.
The second half of the concert proved to be a massed band spectacular. Our two bands combined on stage to play a varied program of music which included the beautiful ‘Hymn to the Fallen’, by John Williams and Irving Berlin’s ‘Showstoppers’. A special trombone feature, Sharpe’s ‘Blades of Toledo’, showed off the talents of the combined trombone section while Graham’s ‘Cossack Fire Dance’ featured the talents of five soloists from The Grenadiers on clarinet, trombone, euphonium,trumpet and xylophone with performances that were absolutely breathtaking.
Our Finale was William Walton’s rousing ‘Crown Imperial’ that, with over 80 musicians on stage, was both very moving and extremely loud! The concert finished with the Service Marches and the March of the British Grenadiers.
We’d like to say a special thank you to Neil Crabtree from SSAFA for his help in organising the concert. It was an amazing evening enjoyed by the audience and bands alike, and an honour and privilege for us to share the stage with The Band of the Grenadier Guards. It is a memory that we will treasure for many years to come.
Angela Norris, Clarinet
Can I pass on my thanks to you and all members of your band. Not only was it enjoyable to share the stage with such a high quality band, I can safely say it’s been many a year since we have been hosted so well.
From the warm welcome to the fine evening meal it all helps to get the band in the right frame of mind to perform at their best, something a lot of people fail to realise. The whole evening went well in a relaxed atmosphere with good music and hopefully we have raised a good amount of money for the charity.
We will look and see if there is any possibility of either a visit to Wellington Barracks or a return concert next year. All the best with your remaining engagements this year and many thanks for the kind gifts of the CDs.
A P Wood
Warrant Officer Class One
Senior Band Sergeant Major
Many thanks for your kind words following the success of the concert last Sunday. I know Woody has already responded with his words of appreciation.
Thank you for hosting both the band and me so well. Your band was extremely willing and professional and it made the reality of putting on a concert that was able to please both the audience and challenge the two bands a reality and extreme pleasure.
I wish your band (in the very capable hands and directorship of Mike) all the best for future events and very much hope that we can undertake a similar venture next year
With kindest regards,
Major KL Davies CAMUS
Director of Music
Band of the Grenadier Guards
Please pass on my appreciation to all band members for their fabulous performance at last night’s concert. They did themselves proud and I am still on a musical high this morning. The feedback I received from the Grenadiers Band has been excellent with many comments on the bands professionalism and great sound and stating that they really would look forward to doing something similar again in the not too distant future.
Brian, much of the success of the evening was down to your hard work and effort behind the scenes ensuring that everything, with the exception of my music being on the stand, ran like clockwork. Many thanks.
Over the past couple of years, Eynsford Concert Band has been supporting The Malling School in Kent with their programme to encourage year 7 pupils to take up music.
The Band has visited the school on a number of occasions to conduct musical workshops with pupils and afternoon concerts for pupils and their parents, all with the aim of introducing them to the benefits of taking up an instrument. These events have been a great success with over 100 students participating and more than 40 taking up an instrument.
Furthermore, the band has also been instrumental in raising over £3,000 to fund the appointment of a Brass Tutor at the school.
Elaine Cox, Head of Music, wrote to thank us following our most recent workshop in September 2012, saying:
“The uptake again this year has been fantastic – so much so that I have run out of some instruments!!
We currently have five new brass students who are learning trumpet/trombone, which is more than we had start last year.
In terms of woodwind it has gone crazy!.. I have 7 new flute players, and have had to get in some flutes from the old Kent Music stock as we now have 14 players. I also have four new sax players, taking the total to 12. I have a waiting list of 5 pupils as we have run out of saxophones and can’t borrow any from anywhere! We also have three new clarinet players starting this week.
Rehearsals are underway for our Christmas concert and we have also been invited to play in Leybourne for their Christmas tree switch on, which will be fun.
I have spoken to all year 7’s about the music day when you and the other band members came in, and they have all said how much they enjoyed it – and the staff did too!!”
This programme continues to be one of the band’s priorities, providing an opportunity for us to help develop the next generation of musicians and to give something back to the community. None of this would have been possible without the efforts of our Honorary Patron, Councillor Trudy Dean and we thank her for her continued support.
On Saturday 30th June 2012, Eynsford Concert Band and the Malling Community Choir performed a very special concert, hosted by the Sevenoaks Town Mayor, to an enthusiastic audience and many local dignitaries at the Sevenoaks Community Centre.
Held on Armed Forces Day, the concert provided a poignant reminder to us all of the difficulties faced daily by wounded servicemen and women returning from Afghanistan and other conflicts, raising nearly £1,200 for the charity Help for Heroes.
This was the third year that our band has supported Armed Forces Day by performing at the Community Centre in Sevenoaks, and we feel a great sense of pride in being able to honour and remember our servicemen and women in difficult times.