"Making music at the heart of the east midlands"

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Notes from the Director of Music

Every year Ashby Concert Band perform on average five concerts in and around the Ashby area. One of those concerts is our annual Christmas concert and one is the annual Poppy Appeal concert. The other three concerts are for charitable organisations who have commissioned the Band to play a concert of music in order to raise much needed funds and to heighten awareness of the work being undertaken by the charity.

It all sounds so incredibly simple and straight forward - 'a concert of music', but those four little words require a wealth of planning, organisation and thought which starts months and months before the musicians of Ashby Concert Band sit down in their allocated seats to deliver 'a concert of music'.


I could write a book about the work that goes on to stage one of our concerts but recognising I have only a limited space available to me here I thought I would take a very parochial view and just talk about the music itself.

Choosing the pieces of music that the Band will play is a responsibility that rests solely with me as Director of Music. Clearly the choice of music, at least in terms of genre, is largely determined by the charity that has commissioned us to play the concert in the first place. In some cases they can be very specific: "we would like a concert of film music", or "we would like a concert of popular classics". Sometimes they just don't know what they want preferring to leave it in my "capable hands". Whatever the genre, whatever the charity, I am driven by one thing and one thing only and that is to give concerts that will be enjoyed and hopefully inspire the members of our audience to come again and again to support Ashby Concert Band.


ACB St George's Day Concert

ACB Christmas Concert - December 2014


There was a great quote on the CBSO Facebook page back in January made by Stephen Maddock, Chief Executive of the CBSO; it was a quote I wish I could have made and he said "if you want concerts not to be boring, don't give boring concerts"; he was referring specifically to classical music concerts but the same applies whatever the genre. There is a wealth of music out there that some hardworking, well meaning composer was inspired to write, but that is not to say the music was inspirational for the average audience member.

So when it comes to choosing what we play, whatever the genre, I look for the pieces that will remain in your head long after the concert is over, the pieces that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, the pieces that will stimulate an emotional response in you whether it be one of happiness or tearfulness, the music that speaks to you, the music that reaches out and touches your soul.

Our concerts in the first half of this year all comprise music from the world of film and who cannot be touched emotionally by any Disney movie. The wide open spaces of Africa are so wonderfully encapsulated in 'Born Free' and 'Out of Africa'. The excitement of 'new worlds' in galaxies 'far, far away' is conjured up in the music of Star Trek and Star Wars. The fight for independence and the making of the United States of America is conveyed in the music of 'The Last of the Mohicans', 'Gettysburg', 'Dances with Wolves', 'The Magnificent Seven', 'Once Upon A Time In America' and 'The Godfather'. Finally, you would need a heart of stone not to be moved to tears by the music written for the film 'Schindler's List'.

It is going to be a great summer of music and I for one cannot wait to give our first concert. It has been a pleasure for me to choose from such a wealth of great music and I am looking forward immensely to the Band performing our concerts in May, June and July. Please come with all your family and friends to support the inspirational work of Rainbows Hospice, the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign and Hospice Hope. Please help Ashby Concert Band make a difference for these wonderful charities.

I look forward to seeing you at our concerts.


ACB LRWT Concert - QS performing

ACB performing with the Seaforth Highlanders
Annual Poppy Appeal Concert - November 2014

Portrait of a Player : Aimee Littler


My name is Aimee and I play 1st trumpet in Ashby Concert Band. Why am I a trumpet player in a concert band I hear you ask.

Well I suppose I started to get interested in music when I was about five and heard a tape of 'Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat'! Just like everyone else I had recorder lessons at our school in Walsall and I actually wanted to play the violin but there weren't any available. Then one day someone gave up playing the trumpet and I couldn't wait to get home to show my mum. Needless to say her face was a picture! The rest is history. I did start the piano too but only managed Grade 2.


Long before joining ACB I played in my Walsall school windband and orchestra and eventually joined the Midland Youth Jazz Orchestra. I was lucky enough to tour Australia with the English Schools Orchestra in 2002. At university, I was in the Big Band and also Cardiff University Orchestra. In 2008 I joined the Walsall Symphonic Wind Band.

Over the years I have developed the most random taste in music. What I listen to at any one time rather depends on my mood. I love musicals, particularly Andrew Lloyd Webber. I also enjoy listening to Radio One in the car, but only on short journeys. I love Robbie Williams, The Script, Ed Sheeran, and things like Blink 182. By contrast I love the music of the late Romantic Era and early Twentieth century. I also really enjoy jazz too; I think I'd have been very happy living in the 1930s!

When it comes to playing music my favourite piece is Leonard Bernstein's "Rondo for Lifey"; it's actually pretty easy to play and yet sounds so complex. I like modern jazz composers like Pat Metheny and Bob Florence, even though I prefer listening to earlier jazz! I also quite like Alan Menken; he does a lot of the Disney stuff - just listen to Hercules!

Since I joined ACB in May 2011 I have really enjoyed the variety of music we play. Although I much prefer playing popular music, especially from the musicals and films, I am happy to play anything from jazz to classical. I really enjoyed last year when we played the classical repertoire.

For me the day job is teaching Religious Studies at Ashby School where I am also Head of Careers. When I am not playing my trumpet and making music I love going to the theatre to see musicals, but don't go as often as I would like. I also enjoy travelling to experience new cultures and different foods - I like food! No surprise therefore that I also like eating out, going to the cinema and reading adventure thrillers.

So look out for me at the next concert in May and if you want to talk to me about what it's like to play trumpet in a concert band then come and find me at the interval.


The Adventures of Elmer

Elmer our ACB mascot has been busy meeting and greeting at our recent concerts. Top of his list for people to have his photo taken with are our loyal patrons!

Derek & Teresa Hayes


Carole and Kebir Berry

The Mayor of Ashby,
Councillor Andrew Badger


John and Jill Backhouse





Looking ahead ...

ACB is looking forward to it's 20th anniversary year in 2016 and the celebrations are already being planned! The first is a concert tour to the North Yorkshire Coast at the beginning of June. We will be playing in the beautiful St Hilda's church in Whitby and in the Spa Pavilion in Scarborough and spending the weekend enjoying the coast and Yorkshire hospitality. Since we are in the UK it will be much easier for our patrons and friends to join us so if you fancy a weekend away (3-5 June 2016) with ACB at the seaside then do get in touch!

The next event will be a celebratory dinner at Newton Solney, where we had a fantastic evening to celebrate our 15th birthday. Again patrons will be invited to join us for the evening and of course new patrons are welcome at any time, what better way to support your favourite concert band by joining us in time to help us celebrate 20 years of music making in North West Leicestershire!

It costs just £20 a year to be a patron, you get your name in all of our programmes and newsletters, seat reservations for concerts, invitations to our special events and of course, the knowledge that you are helping local musicians to keep music live.

Our final event will be a celebratory concert on the 8th October 2016. We'll keep the details of that a secret for now but put the date in your diary as it will be a very special evening!

Date for your Diary

16th May 2015

'A Disney Night' - Holy Trinity Church - Ashby - 7.30 p.m.

A fund-raising concert on behalf of Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People.

13th June 2015

'A Night at the Movies' - Holy Trinity Church - Ashby - 7.30 p.m.

A fund-raising concert on behalf of 'Help4Harry' Muscular Dystrophy Campaign.

4th July 2015

'American Movie Music' - Holy Trinity Church - Ashby - 7.30 p.m.

A fund-raising concert on behalf of Hospice Hope.


Supporters Acknowledgements

Ashby Concert Band is especially grateful for the continued and extended support of our Patrons:

Mrs M Tuckey
Mr & Mrs K Spencer
Mrs M Ross
Joan Hardwick
Kay Stephens
Alan Tricker
Mr & Mrs Price

Mr H K Berry MBE & Mrs C Berry
Mr & Mrs J Backhouse
Mr Derek & Mrs Teresa Hayes
Mr & Mrs D Thompson
Richard & Sharon Tapping
Mr A Holland


and for the assistance given to the band by Johnson, Murkett & Hurst, Accountants of Ashby de la Zouch.