Wishing all our friends and followers a very happy Christmas 2020. We’ve really missed playing together his year so to be able to perform a few carols was a real treat. Hopefully things will get back to normal very soon.
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!
Grace, the Co-op Band’s reporter sends this report on our evening with Principal Trumpet of the LSO, Phil Cobb. (Grace is Studying A Levels and is looking forward to starting next term at the Royal Northern College of Music).
On Monday 22nd June, the East of England Co-op Band organised another Zoom discussion, this time with trumpeter Phil Cobb. Phil grew up through the Salvation Army and proceeded to study at Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He has held the position of Principal Trumpet with the London Symphony Orchestra for over a decade, although he will now move on to the BBC Symphony Orchestra when lockdown has ended.
Phil fondly mentioned his upbringing during the discussion, saying that his father Stephen Cobb was a major influence during his life. He recounted that his father would often tell him to “play the copy” – suggesting to just focus on the music and to not get distracted with audience reactions during a performance.
As well as being a renowned orchestral musician, Phil also talked about his experience of being a studio musician, playing on soundtracks for films such as Harry Potter and more recently, Aeronauts. Phil said that when booking a film session, his life can be “up in the air” and he often doesn’t know the film or score the musicians are playing for!
Much to the band’s surprise Phil explained that he does not spend days working on his technique, instead he just spends under an hour focusing on the “sweet spots!”. He was a firm believer in “finding a system that works for you”.
Phil was very passionate when talking about some of his idols, mentioning Tim Morrison and Wynton Marsalis as his two favourites. He also recounted meeting Maurice Murphy (his predecessor in the LSO), who is most famous for recording the Star Wars soundtracks.
Overall, the discussion with Phil Cobb was very interesting, and the band really got an insight into his routine, influences and upbringing with the Salvation Army Brass Bands.
On Monday 18th May, the East of England Co-op band held an online Zoom discussion with the renowned composer Edward Gregson. This was kindly organised by band member Keith Moye who is acquainted with Edward Gregson through his work in the music publishing industry.
Edward Gregson is an English composer who has written works for orchestra, choral, chamber and brass ensembles. He has composed commissions for the BBC Philharmonic, Halle Orchestra and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic.
Some of Edward’s brass band compositions are familiar to the band, including ‘Variations on Laudate Dominum’, which is currently featured in the Co-op Band’s repertoire and ‘Of Distant Memories’, which the band played at a recent contest.
During the evening Edward talked extensively about his career but focussing mainly on his Brass Band work, the motives behind his compositions, some of his favourite pieces to listen to and where he gets his inspiration from. When asked about his favourite Brass music heavyweights, Edward recounted his love for the Moorside Suite by Holst, Heaton’s Contest Music and also music by Elgar and Vaughan Williams.
As well as performing, Edward also talked about the techniques when playing. For example, he said “vibrato is a colour – you either turn it on or off as the music demands”.
The East of England Co-op Band are most grateful to Mr Gregson for spending two hours with us in what was a very informative session and the band thoroughly enjoyed talking to such an accomplished composer.
The band are looking forward to organising more discussions in the future!
For our second attempt at remote recording we bring you a rather up beat version of the famous theme from the Star Wars film. Those old enough to remember may recall the disco version being in the UK charts. We hope you enjoy our offering.
Over the last few weeks whilst we’ve been unable to meet for rehearsals, we decided to make a remote recording from the comfort of our own homes. Individual videos were submitted and then the sound and video edited to produce this performance of the William Rimmer March, “The Cossack”. We hope you enjoy listening to this as much as we did creating it.
We are pleased to announce that we are now able to offer online purchasing via PayPal of both of our recordings, “A Suffolk Prelude” recorded in 2008 and “Horizons” in 2016. For further details please visit our Recordings page.
All around the country bands have been finding ways to keep occupied during the lockdown. With concerts and rehearsals cancelled, experiments with playing via the internet have been taking place and we have been recording and are now editing a performance of the famous William Rimmer march, “The Cossack”. It is now in the final editing stage and we hope to be able to post it on the website in the very near future.
Here is a bit of fun we had to wet the appetite.
Due to lockdown we were unable to play for our wonderful sponsors today. Undaunted we were able to share a social distancing version of the last post to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of the war in Europe.
The last post was played by our Repiano cornet Jon Holden.
The band is on lockdown like everyone else right now. Once the lockdown eases we will re-assess the diary dates and concerts. We will update you all when these dates when we know what is happening. Just to help you through the Corona Blues the band have recorded a video message to you all, especially the NHS and key workers.