Barely a month ago we were very sorry to learn that Claire Lawrence, our Director of Music for the last three years, was going to have to resign at short notice. We always knew that, as a member of the RAF Music Services she would one day have to leave owing to promotion and/or being posted elsewhere in the country, but we little thought she would leave through quite such a dramatic career move. She is transferring to the army, where she will go straight to Kneller Hall on a Bandmasters Course. After one year she will pass out as a Staff Sergeant Bandmaster, with good prospects of promotion, and the chance of being commissioned as a Director of Music one day.
Naturally we are very pleased for Claire and wish her every success in her future career. She has worked hard to develop our band, with an ear for detail and balance that is second to none, and I think everone in the Band has learnt much from her in the past three years. Her efforts were especially rewarded by our winning a Gold award at the November 2012 Concert Band Festival which led to us being invited to perform at the final in Birmingham the following year.
The good news for the Band is that we already have a new Director of Music. Normally we would hope to audition several candidates for the role, but this time we have agreed to appoint Robert Wicks with immediate effect. Robert first joined the Band as a clarinet player, but his extensive experience conducting musical shows for several amateur groups led to him becoming our Deputy Conductor. Initially this meant just taking the occasional rehearsal when our Director of Music was away, but the role has expanded so that recently he would be better described as Assistant Director of Music, sharing the conducting of concerts, and conducting the whole concert at major events like the Vale Park Proms. He is well known and liked by the Band members, and is the obvious candidate to take over from Claire, we are very pleased that he was willing to fill the vacancy.
Robert was already due to conduct the Vale Park Proms on 30th August because of Claire’s service commitments, instead the evening turned into his début as Director of Music of the Band. But more of that in another post.
We haven’t seen the last of Claire, though. She is keen to come back and take part whenever we hold another PlayDay or a Band Weekend, and she will always be welcome. Meanwhile we wish her every good fortune in her new career, and good luck to Robert too in his new role, we look forward to a long and happy collaboration.