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Rounding Up 2011

Derwent Brass began to round off 2011 with yet another sell out concert in the beautiful setting of St. Helen’s Church, Etwall in Derbyshire, on Dec 16th. Such was the anticipation for this annual Christmas event that tickets were sold out to capacity, months in advance! Eagerness filled the church, as the concert goers began taking their seats over an hour before the performance commenced.

And commence it certainly did; this time with a bespoke brass choir by choir introduction, arranged by the band’s musical director Keith Leonard, based on the traditional and infamous Schneewalzer, immediately putting the public in superb spirit. The audience were in fine song all night taking part in several carols and also a first for Etwall – another new arrangement of ‘12 days of Christmas’ by Keith, using different parts of the audience for each line of the song together with brass and percussion accompaniment. Other highlights of the evening were a mood-lit setting of ‘Candlelight Carol’, a beautiful and emotional rendition of ‘Who Is He’ both featuring some inspired solo cornet playing by Dave Neville and a mysterious performance of Sparke’s ‘Veni Immanuel’ featuring Chris Leonard on distant cornet. The evening came to a triumphant close, (with the band now sporting additional Christmas décor, including an interesting choice of headwear by the conductor!), with Paul Lovatt-Cooper’s ‘A Christmas Finale’ followed by a full blooded and mass participation version of ‘Hark The Herald Angels Sing’.

St. Helen's Church, Etwall. Derwent Brass 2011 Christmas Concert

The following day the Derwent Brass 10pc ensemble (together with related bucket holders), were up and about, entertaining Christmas shoppers within the grand Westfield Shopping Centre, Derby raising funds for the band.

Westfield Derby 2011 Christmas Derwent Brass Ensemble

‘No rest for the wicked’, the full band then once again joined forces just a few hours later, with the Dalesmen MVC and Pottery Schools Choir, this time at St. Peter’s Church in Belper, Derbys for another magnificent Christmas Concert which also featured additional organ, woodwind and vocal solos. Christmas is always a very busy time for Derwent Brass and 2011 was no exception. The season began in splendid form with a performance in the Assembly Rooms, Derby alongside the Derby Hospitals Choir raising money for the Motor Neurone Disease Assocation, followed by another charity Christmas concert raising money for Cancer Research UK – click here for a full review. All of this is in addition to the spots of Christmas carolling the ensemble have done around Derby and Derbyshire, it is fair to say it is probably the band’s most hectic Christmas period to date.

A short rest over Christmas and the New Year will see the band freshen it lips and gather its thoughts, before meeting for an AGM to determine all those little extras for 2012 – the 20th anniversary year of Derwent Brass. Watch this space…

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