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Brass concerts

Posted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 11:12 pm
by Iguana
A current (LE) CH pupil will be playing this Easter in Harrogate or nearby with the NYBBGB (national youth brass band) and in the summer with this group and the NCBBGB (national children's band). For anyone who has an interest in brass and brass band playing in particular these are well worth seeing/hearing. The nCBBGB concert is usually lighter as the children range from about 8 (minimum standard grade 5), the NYBB usually tackle very challenging pieces. The summer concert venues have not been confirmed yet but will likely be somewhere in the vicinity of Repton school where their course is being held. The minimum standard for the youth band is about grade 8 though it goes on audition. This band is really not the village fete plonky plonky outfit and I enjoyed their concert as much as any professional orchestral concerts i've been to. All the youth music enterprises could do with support at present and I would encourage anyone who might be interested to go and have a look see. The tickets are really reasonable for the quality of playing. Their website needs a bit of attention and is currently out of date but i will post the venues on here as soon as they are confirmed.

Re: Brass concerts

Posted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 11:52 pm
by englishangel
I would repost this on CH stuff, I nearly missed it tucked away at the bottom. I love brass bands, but unfortunately am unlikely to be any where near Harrogate at Easter.

Re: Brass concerts

Posted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 12:51 pm
by J.R.
Good idea Mary !

As you can see, I have done so !

Re: Brass concerts

Posted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 9:49 pm
by Iguana
Thanks. I'm hoping they might put a concert or two down south at some point and I'll let you know if they do. Sadly (for us) pretty much everyone comes from North of England though there is one player from Abu Dhabi- or was! The standard is about grade 5 to audition for nCBBGB and approx grade 8 for nybb but you don't have to have actuallly passed any exams, it goes on the playing (including scales and sightreading) in the audition and is a good incentive to practise the scales!

NCO (children's orchestra) are looking for a venue in sussex (especailly if percussion could be there) for auditions. If anyone knows of a good venue perhaps they could get in touch with NCO via their website. They need a waiting room area, a room for warm up preferably but not essentially with a piano, and a room big enough for the candidate accompanist piano and auditioners. NCO takes children up to 14, so it could be of benefit to CH pupils. There is just one weekend course in London in the autumn term, the other two courses fall at Easter and Summer. There are bursaries available to support those who are successful in the audition and have parents of limited means too and there are charities that can help with course fees as well.

Re: Brass concerts

Posted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 9:25 am
by wurzel
Really dumb question - but have they asked the school about using it as an audition space in Sussex.

Re: Brass concerts

Posted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:33 am
by Iguana
:D :D :D
Not a dumb question at all. I have sent the text below in an email to Kimberley In the music department. If you think I should have sent it to someone else eg the HM please could you let me know who and I will do so.
I thought immediately of CH. Train station and road accesss, lots of potiential kids that would then be able to audition even if music school had to give them a slight push as well as hopefully the instruments they require to make it their best audition centre to date and would also be some good publicity for CH and raise the profile.
Once accepted into the orchestra the children get 2 and a half weeks intensive musical ensemble paying at the highest levels with excellent tutors and world class conductors with performance opportunities in some notable concert halls. This year it will be Colston Hall, the Sage Gateshead, St John's Smith Square ( but only for those that say they can manage it as this one is an extra concert- with Nicola benedetti as soloist) and one of the Southbank centres halls (see their website). All these concert halls are very different to play in so excellent experience. Additionally the social education of mixing from children of very different backgrounds, both private and state should not be underrated.
I realise it will involve security and CRB being put in place but i would not see that as insurmountable. Anyway enough said. I don't run the school and don't know how easy or difficult such things are.
OUr local music school which is a glorified nissan hut in build standard has been accepted as they are able to provide percussion and xylophones.
I can't remember when the auditions take place but if it was as late as the half term then I would have thought the 2 week half term might be an ideal time for some of it with hopefully an overlap of a day when CH pupils tehmselves would get a chance to audition.
I have posted the attachment I was sent below.

National Children's Orchestra Audition venues for 2011
Can you help?

We start the process of booking our audition venues in January each year as it takes 3 to 4 months to put together a logical timetable for our audition teams to tour the country in the autumn. As part of this process, we review the venues used the previous year and decide which of them we would like to use again and which we would like to replace. There may also be places which cannot host us again.

We look at the trends for where our applicants are coming from (rising numbers in some areas and fewer in others) and which venues were over-subscribed last time or alternatively failed to attract many applicants. Areas from which we would like to gain more applicants are identified and a plan for promoting the Orchestra’s work and bringing it to the attention of more people in those places will be devised. Some venues which do not attract large numbers of applicants will be retained because we wish to make auditions available throughout the UK and the more rural areas need to be represented as well as large towns and cities.

Last year we asked parents to contact us if they knew of somewhere which might be suitable and we were given a number of contacts to follow up. Such lines of enquiry do not always result in a new venue for us for a variety of reasons; the commonest causes are that they cannot host us on a date which will fit into our schedule or that the cost involved is too high for us.

All of you will have experienced at least one of our venues when your child auditioned last year and some have tried several in different years. We use a variety of locations: schools, colleges, village or church halls, conservatoires and commercial company premises. For instance, Yamaha sponsor us by giving us an audition day at their headquarters in Milton Keynes free of charge, but for most places we have to pay a hire fee.

For this year, we are particularly keen to find potential venues in certain areas: northern England (Yorkshire/Durham/ Tyneside), west midlands and the Welsh Marches (Shropshire/ Herefordshire/Staffordshire), North Wales, east midlands (Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire/ Lincolnshire), East Anglia (Norfolk/Suffolk) and Sussex.

Our other consideration when looking for venues is the need to have some which can host us on weekdays during the first two weeks of October so that we do not have to cram too many days of auditions into the final fortnight. The audition period in 2011 is likely to be between 26 September and 28 October though it will be several months before all the dates can be confirmed.

If you think you know of a potential new venue for us, please send us contact details so that we can investigate the possibilities. (Geraldine on 01934 418855 or For guidance, you will find some notes on the following page which explain the sort of facilities we are looking for. Thank you for any help you can give.

[/color]Audition venues

What we need for an audition venue to work well are the following:

1. An audition room with a piano in good working order. There should be room for the two adjudicators to have either one large table or two smaller ones for their paperwork and sufficient space for the candidate so that he/she does not feel claustrophobic. (This room should be large enough that the adjudicators are not too close to the candidate and with sufficient space that they are not deafened by the volume of sound produced by brass players in particular.)

2. A practice room where the next candidate can work on the prepared sight reading. This room can be small and should ideally be in the vicinity of the audition room but not so close that any sound carries between the two. A piano, to facilitate tuning, is desirable but not essential.

3. A waiting area for parents and accompanists should also be located not too far away. It should have space for those waiting and for instrument cases and outdoor clothing to be left. We allow 15 minutes for each audition – 4 per hour. There is a steady turnover of applicants and their ‘entourages’. There are about 6 to 8 people there at any time though we have had candidates arrive with their extended family for support. Again, it is useful to have this area in the same vicinity as the audition room as long as those waiting can converse at a normal volume without disturbing either the audition room or the practice room.

4. Additionally, it helps to have access to somewhere to make tea or coffee for the adjudicators mid morning, lunch time and mid afternoon, though this is not essential.

We usually work from 9am to 6pm if there are sufficient candidates to fill the day but at some venues we accept shorter hours. For instance, at Radyr we can only book the hall on a Saturday for the afternoon as there is a group with a permanent booking for the morning, and at Cardiff on a Sunday the college has restricted opening hours which we have to match.


We are keen to increase the number of venues at which we are able to audition percussionists. The equipment is too bulky for it to be carried in the audition team’s vehicle so we need to arrange to have access to the required items at the venues. The kit needed is timpani (at least 2 but preferably three), xylophone and snare drum. If that equipment is available, we can designate that venue as open for percussion auditions.

Last year we could offer Blandford, Bushey, Cardiff, Huddersfield, Newcastle upon Tyne, Nottingham, Oakham, Shrewsbury and Wells but some of those venues will not be used this year, so new venues would also be welcome.