An Evening with Iwan Fox

Evening set up and reported on by Keith Moye (my apologies for its late publication, Keith)

We were lucky enough to have Iwan Fox as our special guest for our latest Q+A session.  Iwan has vast experience in the brass band world, having initially played for many years with Tredegar Band and now being editor of the popular website 4barsrest, which many people use as the base for all brass band information, reporting and data.

Iwan gave us many fantastic ideas of how to engage with our communities and how he believes this is the best place to start work to progress the band. He suggested creating a template that the band can use to engage people in the local community in our brass band tradition.

He also talked about other varying topics such as contesting and how the test piece has evolved over time, concert programmes and the audience, interviewing techniques and stories of people who have changed the banding world. 

Iwan finally talked to us about memorable music he had played or heard over many years and the development and role of bands in the 21st century as he believes that ‘bigger’ bands should be helping lower section bands by being a template to work from.

It was a great evening and Iwan really made us think how we can be active and keep our band relevant to us and the public. 

We look forward to welcoming more guests in the future including soloists, composers and conductors as we look to increase the profile of the East of England Coop band.

An Evening with Phil Harper

Once again the Coop Band’s reporter Grace sends this account of the latest zoom meeting held whilst rehearsal restrictions are in place.

On Monday 27th July, the East of England Co-op Band had organised a third band Zoom discussion, this time with Phillip Harper. Phillip is best known for being the Musical Director of Cory Band, since 2012, who have won several major titles in brass banding, including the Grand Slam titles in 2016 – the European, British Open and Nationals. Since then, a ‘Harper Slam’ has been created, after Phillip became the first living MD to win the Grand Slam.

During the discussion, Phillip often mentioned his love for composing, and ‘Explorers of the Moon’ being one of his favourites. He started his banding career as a Tenor Horn player in his local brass band, but developed composing skills during his teenage years, and conducting after that!

One of Phillip’s favourite things about being Musical Director of Cory Band is choosing the repertoire for a concert. He imagines himself as a storyteller, who is “in control of the musical picture”. Phillip recalled that the Cory Band are often performing concerts each weekend, with new pieces each time!

Phillip also explained Cory’s typical rehearsals, which happen twice a week. As to our band’s surprise, the Cory band start with very minimal warm up, and start practising test pieces on the dot! He did, however, agree that Hymns are the best way to settle the band before a rehearsal, which the East of England Co-op Band often start every rehearsal with!

Overall, the discussion with Phillip Harper was interesting, and allowed the band to get an insight into Phillip’s career. Thank you very much Phillip!