Surrey Brass - join the club

PUBLISHED: 12:27 02 November 2011 | UPDATED: 20:13 20 February 2013

Surrey Brass - join the club

Surrey Brass - join the club

Celebrating their tenth birthday this year with a concert at the prestigious Yehudi Menuhin School in Cobham, this month we meet the members of Surrey Brass

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine October 2011

Celebrating their tenth birthday this year with a concert at the prestigious Yehudi Menuhin School in Cobham, this month we meet the members of Surrey Brass

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Name of club: Surrey Brass
Location: Rehearses in Cobham
In a nutshell: An innovative and entertaining brass ensemble.
Person interviewed: John Goodwin
Role in group: Founder
Started the club because: Like other members, I wanted a place to play brass music to a high standard, encouraging new music to be written for this combination of instruments, whilst at the same time having fun and encouraging young players.

When was the club set up?
As an ex-professional trumpet player, I started Surrey Brass in 2001 because there was nothing like it in Surrey, and having run similar ensembles in the past, I wanted to do something that provided a showcase for the best brass players in the county. We aim to follow the fine tradition of ensemble brass performance, to widen the audience for this music, and provide enjoyment for everyone through a fun and varied repertoire that includes everything from classical pieces and jazz numbers to film tracks.

How many members do you have?
We have a core membership of about 10-12 regular players, but we have enlarged to 22 for a really big concert we have a large pool of musicians to draw on in Surrey. Brass ensembles are versatile and we also play as a quintet for music clubs and weddings. From time to time, we bring in the best school players to sit in and give them the opportunity to stretch their performing skills as well.

Where do you meet?
We rehearse most Wednesday evenings at Reeds School, Cobham, during term time and can frequently be found in the Victoria, Oxshott, afterwards!

Do you find being surrounded by like-minded individuals inspiring?
Absolutely. Thats the greatest thing about playing for Surrey Brass; the musicians you meet all have different backgrounds and perspectives yet are united by a desire to always play as well as they possibly can.

Whats the best thing about being a member of the group?
They say there are three things that matter in music good performance, good social life and good money. We manage two out of three! Many of us have found our playing has improved by being continually challenged by the demands of new music, whilst its also a very welcoming group where many of us have grown long-lasting friendships. But the buzz of coming off stage after a really good concert with the audience yelling for more is the best thing of all.

Do you have links with other clubs?
We have loads, but we want more because Surrey Brass really likes to put on events with other organisations and we are always looking for something new and interesting to do so please get in touch!

We have played with numerous other groups, including Concordia Voices, Trinity College of Music and Surrey County Arts, and particularly enjoy putting on events that combine the arts; for example, playing new music to accompany silent films made by Cecil Hepworth in Walton-on-Thames in the early 1900s performed in the Walton Playhouse, the last remaining building from the Hepworth Studios.

Another highlight was the premiere of our most ambitious commission, Concorde by Rob Davies, surrounded by the historic aircraft at Brooklands, and providing the audience with the chance to walk through the Concorde exhibit during the interval. Now thats a concert you dont get to do every day!

Whats the most interesting story from the groups history?
There are so many its hard to choose our first day as a performing group was interesting, since we performed three concerts in one day all over Surrey to celebrate the Queens Golden Jubilee and played seven new fanfares composed specially for the occasion it would be good to do something similar for Her Majestys Diamond Jubilee; who knows?

and the funniest?
Decency prevents me from relating that! There are so many in the you couldnt make it up category too. But perhaps the one that kept us on the edge of our seats was the day one of our trombonists fell ill on the day of the concert and we had to find a replacement it was getting a bit stimulating when we had drawn a blank after 17 phone calls with a couple of hours to go. All I can say is, if you want an interesting life, become an orchestra manager!

When is your next event that is open to the public/potential new members?
Our tenth birthday concert at the Yehudi Menuhin School is on Saturday November 19 and we are going to be unashamedly self-indulgent, playing the favourite music we know our audience likes best mixed in with some new surprises that we hope they will enjoy. Weve invited many of our past players and conductors to help us celebrate after all, when we started, we only expected to last 10 months not 10 years!

Describe your club in five words...
Faster, Higher, Louder, Innovative and Fun!

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