BRASS FUSION was one year old in 2011. Here’s are the highlights of what the group achieved.
January saw four members of the group get together to prepare for the quartet contest in February. They entered for the first time last year, representing the group, and came a very respectable second, winning an enormous trophy – shame about the engraving costs, (pity there wasn’t any prize money!) but the group were very proud to have won something at their first contest. It will be fingers crossed again for this year. The contest is held at Ringmer School, near Lewes. Watch this space!
The group are also looking forward to being involved in the very prestigious Mayor’s Ball in Lewes at the end of April. Rehearsals are well underway to get a good entertaining programme together.
Sunday 20th February was the day of the SCABA Quartet and Ensemble contest held at Ringmer School, near Lewes. Four members of the group entered the open quartet section. The contest was well organised but unfortunately no trade stands could attend. The refreshments closed long before the group played so a vending machine was all there was until the close of play.
BF were competing against three championship graded quartets so they were very pleased to be placed third overall. The adjudicator, Melvin White, announced that there was nothing to choose between the groups as they were all of a high standard. The comments were fair and the players went away happy. The aim was to put on a good performance and have fun playing as a quartet – both were achieved. Thanks to the other BF members who came along to support, and especially Caroline for the delicious rock cakes which greeted us as we came off stage!
On Saturday 30th April Brass Fusion had the honour of being asked to be part of the Fancy Dress Ball for the Lord Mayor of Lewes. The event was to raise money for two charities and the group were more than happy to perform at the Town Hall. The theme was well known films, shows etc and all the guests were dressed accordingly. Brass Fusion opened the Ball with a wide genre of popular tunes, every one of them had guests dancing out the front. It didn’t seem to matter what piece the group played, there was a dance floor full of people! With a fanfare of Sussex by the Sea, the Mayor welcomed everyone and a fantastic evening was had by all. The Les Paul Big Band was performing during the evening as well so there was certainly a wide range of tunes for people to dance to and enjoy the evening. A short Cabaret entertained between the two bands while everyone tucked into some fabulous food. Who would have thought banoffee pie could be made the size of a ten pence piece and still taste beautiful! With the success of this event it shows that the group can perform at just about any kind of function.
This was the first engagement for the group with their newly purchased music stands, library bags and sign so the group is now fully self sufficient. Thanks to Warbleton Brass Band for the loan of their stands over the past year.
Rain didn’t stop play! The first year that BF get involved in Henfield Garden and Arts Weekend is the first year that they have bad weather! That age old question “how many brass players can you fit in a bus shelter?” was answered. Thanks to Henfield Parish Council for building a substantial shelter so we could all fit in there. Also thanks to Henfield Leisure Centre for the loan of some of their chairs. There were still quite a few listeners passing by and we enjoyed ourselves playing three sets of good music. Thanks to Shelagh and David for getting us hot drinks and protecting Martin and Steve from the rain! It was a good run through in preparation for our performances in a fortnight at Henfield Church Fete and Pavilion Lawns. Next year we think a contingency plan for wet weather will be made so we can announce details in the event leaflets. Well done to everyone for suffering the weather!
Saturday 25th June 2011
Following a few days of torrential rain it was fingers crossed for the church fete on Saturday afternoon. We needn’t have worried as it was glorious sunshine for the whole event! Thanks have to go to Paul’s daughter, Hannah, who stepped in at very short notice to cover the first set, while her father reached warp speed down the motorway following major hold ups. Ruth, our new horn player, gave a sterling first appearance and the varied programme was appreciated by all. Most of the group came back to Martin and Sian’s house for a barbecue and everyone was looking forward to performing on the Pavilion Lawns the next day.
Sunday 26th June 2011
Scorching weather and large crowds greeted the group at the Pavilion Lawns. It was a fun day for Help the Heroes and the Mayor was due to visit during the afternoon. Luckily we managed to set up under a large tree which made the playing far more comfortable for everyone. A lot of business cards were taken and quite a few compliments were made to the group on their varied and entertaining programme. It was nice to see some fellow bandsmen friends coming to listen!
Sunday 24th July 2011
Brass Fusion were honoured to be asked to open the season of summer concerts on the newly refurbished Rottingdean Terraces Stage, behind the White Horse Pub on the seafront. It was a beautiful, but very breezy day and the audience was full to capacity. We were proud of ourselves for not losing one piece of music in the wind, although a couple of banners needed retrieving!
Fanfare for a Common Man opened the concert and echoed around the seafront area, the stone backing of the staging really helped project the sound right the way out to the three para-surfing men in the water! The sound carried up to the road level and attracted more people to sit around, eating fish and chips and enjoying our programme of music.
During the break the group were invited to attend agathering in the White Horse, a chance to meet many of the fund raisers and contributors of the project. Brass Fusion were pleased to receive so many lovely comments from the audience, who were actually very reluctant to let the group stop playing. After one encore we were persuaded to return to the stage and close the afternoon’s entertainment with a rendition of the South’s favourite ‘Sussex by the Sea’.
Saturday 6th August 2011
Fingers were crossed for nice weather as the group had been booked to play in the beautiful village of Woodmancote. The quaint little church was the first task, Arrival of the Queen of Sheba welcomed the guests and then Trumpet Voluntary guided the bride into the church. An over enthusiastic organist started a bit too early and the bride, hearing her tune, got a wiggle on down the path and entered the church with perfect timing. The group accompanied the hymns and then played the congregation out with Ode to Joy. With a quick slip out past the guests we dashed up to the house to set up for the reception. With precision timing (or just luck) we were ready to welcome the couple back to the house with Congratulations. The guests were entertained with a very wide selection of music from well known Michael Bublé through to easy listening originals. An invitation from the groom to stay for the hog roast was accepted and a fantastic successful day was had by all.
Saturday 8th October 2011
The Hilton Metropole played host to an Anniversary celebration for one of the large Telecommunication companies. BF were booked to perform at the reception before they sat down for a meal followed by surprise entertainment in Victorian style. A full size carousel plus fairground side shows were set up in the adjacent room but kept a secret from the guests. We performed a wide range of music, primarily in the style of the Old Time Music Hall shows. There was even a professional pick pocket employed to entertain the guests while they chatted on the balcony. A minor problem of lighting was sorted for us and we managed to entertain the guests for their fun packed evening. The group hope to be invited to perform at similar events in the future.
Friday 9th December 2011
Four of Brass Fusion plus our daughter Amy and Paul’s daughter Georgina got together to help accompany the Carols for the Henfield Carol Service held at the Village Hall that evening. There were various ‘acts’ throughout the evening plus the popular carol singing mixed in. The brass helped fill the hall with sound and judging by the comments at the end, it was enjoyed by all.
Friday 11th December 2011
Rain didn’t stop play but it might have stopped a few people attending the concert. The hall was full but still could have seen a few more take their seats. As the curtains opened there was a few ‘titters’ from the audience as the cornets and horns, lined up across the back, were all showing off their sombreros! La Bamba opened the show followed by a wide variety of music styles. Martin performed a breath taking ‘Tico Tico’, dressed a bit like Clint Eastwood (don’t think that was quite the plan), Andy joined him later for the lovely duet ‘Summertime’. The second half was a more festive style and this included Caroline emerging from the side doors dressed in, well it can only be described as, Christmassy nightwear! She ‘discovered’ her flugel wrapped and under the Christmas Tree to which she got very excited and performed ‘Santa Baby’. Paul finished the solo spots with a beautiful rendition of ‘To a Wild Rose’ – did anyone notice he played without music? All the audience went away having sung a few carols and enjoyed a varied programme of both original and traditional brass pieces along with some festive arrangements.Look on our Facebook page for some photos. After the hall was cleared we headed off to a local pub for a pre arranged Christmas meal. A great time was had by all the the food was fantastic but too much. Only two members managed to clear their plates. One more performance left for a few of the group before we close down for Christmas. Keep an eye on the diary for more appearances in 2012!
Sunday 18th December 2011
Five members of the group went to St. Andrew’s Church in Burgess Hill to perform at their Carol concert. Having rescued the service last year when the organist got snowed in, the players were officially booked for this year’s event. The resident organist and choir master Alan Smith arranged all the carols so we could perform with the organ, he also arranged a lovely brass ensemble piece ‘The Holy Boy’ plus an arrangement of Holy Night to accompany the choir. The service flowed without a hitch apart from the heating breaking down and everyone huddled in their coats through the evening. Even with all the candles lit it didn’t help, but what a wonderful purchase the BF fleeces were! Thanks must go to Julie and Steve for arranging refreshments between the rehearsal and service.