From time to time we run a weekend MasterClass, and invite a brass band conductor of national standing to put us through our paces (in a fun, friendly and informal way, matching the ethos of the Blewbury Brass Band!). Whether or not you currently play with Blewbury Brass Band, you will be most welcome to join us. Please contact our secretary for details of timings, venue and the (modest) cost.
Our last MasterClass was conducted by Alan Fernie and took place over the weekend of 20-21 October 2012, with 4 hours of playing each day (which absolutely flew by…interspersed with breaks and loads of cake!). Alan got us playing music and to a standard that surprised (positively!) many of us.
Alan Fernie was born in the Scots mining village of Newtongrange. At the age of 13 he began to play the trombone both at school and with the local brass band, and went on to study music in Glasgow and London. After a short period working as an orchestral player, he moved into instrumental education, spending over 20 years teaching brass in schools all over the East of Scotland. It was during this time he began conducting, and he has gone on to direct ensembles at all levels, winning many awards. Alan began writing for brass whilst still a student, and his compositions and arrangements are now played, published and recorded all over the world. Living in the Scottish Borders, Alan works as a freelance musician, finding time to write, conduct, teach, adjudicate, perform and act as compere all over the UK and beyond.
Alan is one of the nicest, most positive and generous-spirited people we’ve had the pleasure of playing with…and hardly any fluffed noted got past his incredibly keen ear (or eyes: “…Bb is 1st valve, Martin, not 2nd!!”).
During 2011, we invited Derek Broadbent to take our MasterClass. Derek began playing cornet at the age of nine. Following a Services’ career that spanned some eight years, he returned to civilian life as a professional arranger. In 1966, he re-entered world of brass bands and, in 1973, became Resident Conductor of the world-famous Brighouse and Rastrick Band, where he remained for ten years, conducting Brighouse and Rastrick to premier place in the National Finals, and being responsible for the band’s chart-topping success of The Floral Dance. Derek then became resident conductor of the equally famous Black Dyke Mills Band prior to its ‘grand slam’ in 1985 – the year in which the band won every major title. He returned to Brighouse and Rastrick in 1987 as its professional musical director. In 1998, Derek was awarded the Iles Medal for his services to brass bands and has worked as a freelance conductor since the beginning of the nineties, directing many of the UK’s top bands. Today, he devotes much of his time to adjudicating, composing and arranging, as well as to training the youth of today.