Every year we organise a Band Development event, a day or weekend where the band members can get together for some intensive rehearsal with guest conductors. This year we spent a weekend away at Bicester Hotel, Golf and Spa on the 1st and 2nd March, where once again we were lucky to have as our conductors Duncan Stubbs, Principal Director of Music for the Royal Air Force, and Rob Wiffin, professor of conducting at Kneller Hall. Duncan was Director of Music of Aylesbury Concert Band for a few years, and Rob is an old friend of the Band. These weekends are always enjoyable. It’s not only the pleasure of a whole weekend of music making, but we also learn so much from being coached by two such expert musicians. And of course there’s the social side as well, there’s more time to get together and talk to each other than on a Wednesday evening.
Part of the fun is getting to play a lot of new music. We played too many pieces to enumerate here, but they included Harlech Variants by Duncan Stubbs himself, and Shalom! (Suite of Israeli Folk Songs) by Philip Sparke. We also played a new piece by Rob Wiffin, a five movement divertimento for band, with titles such as Ostinato, Water Garden, and Easy Does It. He said that when writing it he had bands like Aylesbury in mind, and that when it is published it will have a dedication to Aylesbury Concert Band, so we feel very honoured.