Ware Brass Presents “A Journey Through Space and Time”

Ware Brass will be presenting a journey through ‘Space & Time’ on Saturday 18th November, which will include music from Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Star Trek, 2001: A Space Odyssey, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestial as well as classic songs such as Fly Me To The Moon, Life On Mars, Rocket Man and Across The Universe.

Come and join us for a stellar journey through “Space & Time”.

Ticket prices includes table snacks and we will also have a licensed bar.

Tickets available from http://warebrass.eventbrite.co.uk

Players – Goodbye and Hello!

This month we say goodbye to three members of the band, Paul Skerry (2nd baritone) is moving out of the area to start a new career and after 7 years playing in the band we wish him all the best for the future, we hope to see him back to join in for Christmas concerts when he returns to the area to visit family for the festive season. Tom Huttlestone has moved to Brighton to study Aeronautical Engineering, but not too far away that he won’t be back in the holidays to play with the band and his Dad, the band’s principle cornet player Mark. Good luck Tom! After 8 years in the band Ian Muncey has decided to focus on his trumpet and will be playing in local Big Bands, so look out for him at local gigs and we wish him all the best for the future. Ware Brass are in the lucky position to have sufficient cornet players that we will only be recruiting to cover the Repiano seat, and would welcome applicants for this position. We also welcome Simon Wilson to the band on 2nd baritone, Simon has been a regular helper and friend of Ware Brass and so we now are delighted to have him on-board as a permanent member.

The band, under MD Craig Patterson, are now busy preparing for their show, A Journey Thought Space and Time, which will be held on Saturday 18th November in the Drill Hall, Ware. This is always a fabulous night full of surprises! Tickets can be purchased online by clicking here.

Ware Brass Welcomes New Musical Director

At the beginning of the summer Ware Brass said goodbye to their Musical Director of 11 years, Phillip Littlemore. Philip left big boots to fill and the band and committee have had a busy summer auditioning applicants for this position. Following on from this, Ware Brass are delighted to announce the appointment of Craig Patterson as their new Musical Director. Craig started playing the cornet at age 7, taught by his father, and joined the Salvation Army Junior Band then conducted by his oldest brother. When he was 12, he received a scholarship to study the trumpet at the Royal College of Music Junior Department. In his final year, he was awarded an ARCM, won the French Besson National Trumpet Competition and reached the brass final of BBC Young Musician of the Year. He continued his studies at the Royal Northern College of Music where he was awarded the Iles Medal for orchestral playing. In his final year, he joined the Nemo Brass Quintet and went on to win the Royal Overseas League Chamber Music prize and international quintet competitions in both France and Germany. Nemo have performed on BBC Radio 2 and 3, Classic FM, ITV, Radio France and Finlands National Radio.

As a young cornet player, Craig was a member of Enfield Citadel Band under the great bandmaster James Williams MBE then went on to join the Britannia Building Society (Fodens) Band under the direction of his trumpet teacher, Howard Snell.

Craig began his conducting on a UK tour of Les Miserables. While a member of the orchestra, he took over as one of the Assistant Musical Directors, making a rather scary debut at the Liverpool Empire with an audience of over 2000 people. Since then, he has gone back to his brass band roots taking Hitchin Band from the 3rd Section up to the 1st, winning the 3rd Section National Finals and the London and Southern Counties Regional Competitions in both 3rd and 2nd sections along the way. In the Championship Section, Craig has conducted Wantage Silver Band for the last 2 years, winning the Southern Counties Autumn Contest twice and qualifying for the National Finals at the Royal Albert Hall.

As a performer, Craig has appeared with many professional orchestras such as English National Opera, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestras. He continues to work in the West End as a trumpet player performing on shows such as Les Miserables, Cabaret, Mary Poppins, Porgy and Bess and The King And I.

The brass playing heritage continues with his two daughters, one of whom plays solo cornet in the National Youth Brass Band and the youngest plays trombone in the National Youth Orchestra. As well as teaching his own children to play, Craig teaches at several schools in the area including Heath Mount Prep and Freman College.

Lisa King, Chairman of Ware Brass spoke of the new appointment “We are very pleased that Craig applied and auditioned for the position of Musical Director. He immediately impressed the band with his outstanding musical ability as a player and conductor. We feel that he will challenge the band musically and also fit in as well as a member of the Ware Brass family. We are looking forward to the musical journey ahead with Craig at the helm”

You can see Craig’s debut concert with the band on Sunday 10th September in Ware Priory Gardens, from 3-5pm (a free concert). Craig will then lead the band in their spectacular show ‘A Journey Through Space and Time’ at The Drill Hall, Ware on Saturday 18th November at 7.30pm. Tickets and further information available at www.warebrass.eventbrite.co.uk

 

 

Ware Brass and Phillip Littlemore to part after 11 years of outstanding collaboration

Ware Brass’ performance at Ware Priory on Sunday 2nd July will mark the end of an exciting and highly successful era for the band as it will be the last time that Phillip Littlemore will take the helm as Musical Director with the Hertfordshire outfit.

Phillip and his family are moving to the Isle of Wight during the Summer, and despite best intentions a 220-mile round trip, not to mention the two ferry crossings as well, make the weekly jaunts to High Cross impossible!

Phillip took on the role of Musical Director with Ware Brass in April 2006. They had been, up until that point, a fairly active contesting band as well as a regular concert giver in and around Ware itself. Phillip wanted to concentrate the band’s efforts more towards concert-giving and, with the band’s blessing, embarked on that path continuing to entertain the concert-goers of Ware as well as further afield. The Concert Spectaculars performed at the Drill Hall each November are stuff of legend and have included, among many, a 60s Night where everyone was entertained by Elvis, Tom Jones and many other icons of the decade through to their Heroes & Villains Night where audiences came face-to-face with Darth Vader himself. Of course, Phillip and the band also continued to compete in the Regional Championships each March and are now established as one of the London & Southern Counties strongest 1st Section Bands.

Phillip, commenting on his decision to leave said: “We have done so many great things together. It is going to be very difficult to say goodbye to everyone involved, including the large number of friends and supporters outside of the band itself. I haven’t counted everything up, but I have probably taken the best part of 1,000 rehearsals and conducted something like 250 concerts in my time with the band. I am deeply sad to be leaving, and I look forward to hearing great things form them in the future.”

Lisa King, Chairman also commented: “Phillip has been an absolute integral part of Ware Brass during his time as Musical Director.  He has done so much more than his role as MD requires, including taking responsibility for our marketing and publicity.  With Phillip’s exceptional musical arrangements we have been able to put on concerts with a range of music that you will not hear from any other bands.  The members of Ware Brass are sorry to see Phillip leaving, and I will certainly miss his friendship and support.  We would like to wish Phillip and his family all the best for their future in the Isle of Wight and hope that he will be inviting us out there for a band tour!”

Ware Brass’ last concert with Phillip Littlemore as Musical Director will be on Sunday 2nd July in the grounds of Ware Priory from 3.00pm. The concert is FREE for all.

Ware Brass…. one of the Masters!

Last Sunday, 28th May, Ware Brass took part in the prestigious All-England Masters International Championship at The Lighthouse Theatre, Kettering. A contest that has, in the past, attracted such great brass banding names as Brighouse & Rastrick, Grimethorpe and Fodens.

Over recent years the contest has drawn in bands from the continent, hence the insertion of International into the Championship title some years ago. The contest is one of the brass band calendar’s finest, and so for Ware Brass to be invited was both an honour and a challenge. The test piece for the occasion was The Torchbearer by Peter Graham. Peter is one of the finest composers writing for the brass band medium at the moment, and his piece was a tribute to one of the all-time great brass band composers,  Eric Ball. Taking a theme from the march Torchbearers by Eric himself, Peter took both the theme, and sections within in it, to create a very demanding work of some 13-14 minutes (depending on how brave bands were in taking the quick sections!). He also took snippets of other Eric Ball pieces and interwove them in to the work.

Ware Brass did not underestimate the task ahead and spent a number of weeks rehearsing this difficult piece – the hardest the band has ever encountered. As Phillip Littlemore, Musical Director, commented: “We entered this contest knowing that a high placing was beyond us. However, we wanted to prove to ourselves that we could enter a competition alongside some of the great competing bands and give a creditable performance. We achieved that, and I am proud of the band for all their hard work. I also want to add how impressed I was with our soloists who all played their technically demanding parts with great aplomb. Our final placing was not unexpected, but every one in the band was a true master on the day!”

The competition was won by Milnrow from the North West, with Brass Band Willebroek form Belgium taking second place and City of Bradford in third. Last year’s Champions and hotly-tipped pre-contest favourites Virtuoso GUS were fourth.

 

Sad passing of former member Dennis Levey

The band was sad to hear that the former long-serving Ware Brass bass player Dennis Levey passed away on the 23rd March at the age of 92. He joined the band in the 1950s on cornet before settling on bass some time later. His son Douglas also played with the band for a while on cornet.

All the members of Ware Brass offer their condolences to his wife Jean, son son Douglas, daughter-in-law Carol, and grandchildren Emma, Alice and Adam. The funeral will take place at Parndon Wood Crematorium, Harlow on Wednesday 19th April at 1pm and anyone wishing to attend will be most welcome.

Regional championships on the horizon…

The band is currently preparing for the Regional Championships to be held in the Arts & Leisure Centre, Stevenage in just a few days time, Sunday 19th March. The selected test piece is Land of the Long White Cloud (Aotearoa) by Philip Sparke. Aotearoa was the name given to New Zealand by its Polynesian settlers whose first sight of the islands was a long, flat cloud lying low over the land. The work is not specifically programmatic, although many have images of the surging ocean in the opening section or maori dance-like features throughout. It’s a challenging work, but we’re putting the hours in….

New signings for 2017!

As the January transfer window comes to a close, Ware Brass is delighted to welcome four new signings to strengthen the ranks ahead of the Regional Championships to be held in Stevenage on the 19th March.

Rejoining our cornet bench after a few years in the wilderness is Ian Muncey. Ian joins us on Repiano Cornet, which is one of the pivotal positions in the cornet section as it requires a high level of versatility – something synonymous with Ian! Our second new addition to the cornet ranks on 2nd Cornet is Louise Barlow. Louise has recently graduated from Birmingham University, where she studied French – bienvenue! She was a member of the University brass band throughout her time there and a regular performer at UniBrass.

Stuart Black has been playing Flugel Horn with us since October, and we are delighted that he has now put pen to paper and made that permanent. Stuart is a master of many instruments (most of which live under his bed) and we are delighted that he has made Ware Brass his brass band home.

We are also delighted to welcome Adrian Ricketts on first trombone. Adrian has recently returned to playing after an extended break – although you would not be able to tell that from the dulcet tones emanating from the end of his trombone.

Welcome all!

Come Sing Your Yuletide Heart Out!

Why not come and join Ware Brass for a rousing afternoon of festive cheer with Christmas carols, Christmas songs and much more this Sunday, 11th December, in Fletcher’s Lea, The Priory, Ware for our annual festive Singalong.

The fun starts at 3.00pm and is FREE ENTRY. We hope to break our record and play/sing up to 40 carols (and all the verses) in our two hours together! Mince pies and other festive favourites (tea, coffee etc.) will be served at the interval.

Ware Brass would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

Our Christmas Offerings!

Ware Brass will be playing their annual Christmas Concert in Fletcher’s Lea, Ware Priory on Saturday 3rd December at 7.30pm.

All the music will be full of festive flavour, including several new pieces never played out by the band before. You can also take this opportunity to buy the Ware Brass CD “Christmas…. At Last!”. What better way to wake up on Christmas morning and have the band play for you!

Tickets are priced at £15/£12 concessions and include either (festive) Fish & Chips or Chicken & Chips Supper. You can order your tickets either in person or by phone from Ware Town Council on 01920 460316.

For those wanting a good old sing song, look out for our forthcoming “Ware Brass Christmas Singalong” on 11th December.