20th-22nd February 2015
On the 20th February Jersey welcomed the English Brass Academy to Jersey to hold a weekend brass course at the Jersey Academy of Music, Chateau Vermont. Led by EBA’s Artistic Director Paul Archibald plus Steve Stirling & Jonathon Hopes, they & local tutors joined forces to inspire & coach 37 players aged 8-20!
The course commenced on the Friday evening with an opening concert at Jersey’s St Helier Town Hall where visiting & local tutors joined to perform solos & ensemble works which included Mozart’s Magic Flute for 4 Horns (Alan Civil) with Steve Stirling, Victoria Laurens, Pippa Lumbard & Stuart Lumbard. EBA tutors performed Poulenc’s Trio for Trumpet, Horn & Trombone.
Saturday morning at 9am welcomed a bustling atmosphere of nerves & excitement throughout the Chateau! This quickly moved to laughter & fun with Paul Archibald’s clever & enjoyable ice-breakers & warm up games! Steve Stirling led the students into an insightful session on breathing & before they knew it everyone was relaxed & focused, ready for the hard work to begin! Players were split into a variety of chamber groups – being mindful of age as well as ability & off they went! Not long before a well-earned break was due before another ensemble session!
After lunch time the players were split according to instruments for a performance workshop. Each student had 10 or 15 minutes to perform & gain a mini lesson from the visiting tutors – a fascinating experience to observe as well as participate in! Every player gained so much from this session regardless of the standard of the student on the platform in tips & techniques to explore.
After a break more ensemble work saw pieces taking good shape in preparation for the course concert the following afternoon. 5pm saw the majority of students pack up for the day, leaving the advanced older students to take part in a very insightful discussion on the world of music colleges & universities & the professional world of playing. Tutors & students also joined together to rehearse the Capriol Suite.
Sunday again started with warm ups & games, including rhythm games & a surprisingly tricky game “3,6,9”. Ensemble time was then the emphasis for the remainder of the morning, where rough edges were smoothed & chamber music techniques refined in preparation for the afternoon’s performance.
After a full concert rehearsal which included a mass performance of “Summer in Spain” cleverly arranged by Paul Archibald to include every one of the 37 players, family & friends arrived to fill to capacity the concert hall to enjoy a very successful concert. This included Quintets, dectets & other chamber groups & the before mentioned massed performance!!
The weekend was a great success which both students & tutors thoroughly enjoyed! New friends were gained & playing standards were definitely heightened!
“The recent collaboration with the Jersey Academy of Music was a real highlight for me and my work with English Brass Academy. The enthusiasm and professionalism of everyone at JAM, the beautiful environment of the Chateau and the opportunity to work with such positive, talented students was very memorable. I hope that this will be the first of many joint projects in the future.” Paul Archibald, Artistic Director, English Brass Academy
”A brilliant weekend of brass workouts for all comers in the palatial setting of Chateau Vermont! It was fantastic to see young players raise their game so quickly and get to grips with blowing for real! The concert at the end of the weekend was very exciting – some strong musical personalities started to emerge – I’m sure we will be seeing a lot more of brass players from Jersey!” Steve Stirling, Horn Tutor, English Brass Academy
Special thanks goes to the visiting tutors for their enthusiasm & inspiration, local tutors for giving up their time & to the support of the Jersey Academy of Music & Jersey Music Service – without whom this wonderful weekend would not have been possible!
Pippa Lumbard, Brass tutor, Jersey Academy of Music