2020 News

I’m sure you will all agree 2020 has been an interesting year and our music making has definitely been impacted by Covid -19. However Aylesbury Concert Band has still been busy!

Here’s some of what we have been up to in 2020 so far……….

Back in March, just before we went into our first national lockdown, we were very fortunate to be able to run a band Development Day. We were delighted to be joined by past conductor Claire Lawrence and Band President Rob Wiffin who made it a thoroughly enjoyable day introducing us to new pieces by composers such as Philip Sparke, Nigel Hess, Michael Markowski and Steven Bryant. As always they certainly put us through our paces!

Composite of 4 photos from the ACB development day, March 2020

Sadly that was the last time we were able to play together for a few months but we have managed to stay in touch with each other via our weekly band zoom calls.

These calls have proved very popular (so popular in fact various pets are also now regular participants!) and are a welcome chance to catch up with the folks we are used to seeing every Wednesday. As you would expect the chat covers a variety of subjects and we have also had our brains stretched with a couple of quizzes.

During the summer, while regulations still meant we were unable to play together, several band members stepped out of their comfort zones to record solo performances which were then skilfully edited together by our Musical Directors to produce video performances from the band. This is apparently quite a tricky process but the end results were worth it! Our first online performance was our own version of Somewhere Over the rainbow, played as a tribute to all NHS staff, carers and essential workers. Every year we usually play at the Aylesbury Vale Proms in The park, one of our favourite engagements. Sadly this year, as expected, this was cancelled and prompted our next recording Hits from the Proms. Follow these links to hear and see them on the band Facebook page. Enjoy!

New Year Concert 2020

On the afternoon of 11th January the Band returned to Eaton Bray for the New Year Concert. This was the 7th year we’ve been there, or the 8th if you include the children’s concert in February 2013, and it’s gratifying that the band’s popularity seems undiminished, with a capacity audience filling St Mary’s church. Fortunately the weather wasn’t so cold as in some years, although it was overcast with showery rain.

The concert was conducted by Chris Doyle. It opened with the lively Yorkshire Overture by Philip Sparke, followed by Adam Gorb’s fusion of Jewish music and ragtime in Eine Kleine Yiddische Ragmusik. A quiet interlude with the second movement of Theatre Music by Philip Sparke was followed by the lively London Bridge March by Eric Coates and Waltz no. 2 from the second “Jazz Suite” by Shostakovich. The first half ended with two of the Aylesbury Dances by Rob Wiffin, Pavane: The Town and Frolic: Ducks in a Row.

The second half began with Mozart, the overture to The Marriage of Figaro. Next came a work which would be unfamiliar to the audience, The Eighth Candle – Prayer and Dance for Hanukkah by Steve Reisteter. Of course Hanukkah is hardly a New Year festival, but the music is worth playing, consisting of a slow solemn section followed by a lively dance with irregular time signatures. No such unfamiliarity with the next piece though, music from the Disney film Frozen. The rest of the concert returned to the dance theme, with Lord of the Dance, the Can-Can from Orpheus in the Underworld by Offenbach, and (just in case anyone thought we’d forgotten it was New Year) The Beautiful Blue Danube by Johann Strauss.

That was the last piece in the programme, but the audience demanded an encore, so we played another traditional piece for New Year, the Radetzky March by Johann Strauss.

The Band has already been invited back for another New Year concert in 2021. It’s very pleasing to think that our efforts to entertain should be so appreciated.