One of the many challenges that the GUS Band players and indeed all musicians around the world have faced during the recent lockdowns has been trying to stay motivated with their playing. With no concerts to prepare and no contests to build up to, it was all too easy to leave the instruments in their cases and let practice routines slip. As a band, several highly-successful videos were created with the masterful help of the Band’s Composer in Residence and Associate Music Consultant, Mike Sheppard, which went a long way to keeping morale high but one of the players went the extra mile to stay focused over the long months with no rehearsals. Like the character in the seasonal film, The Snowman, The GUS Band’s superstar Flugel virtuoso, Della Pearce, has been flying high over the past year.
Della took the decision that the best way for her to keep her technique finely tuned was to set herself a goal of participating in as many solo competitions as possible. Some of these were online competitions and in all she entered no less than eight solo competitions! These included the Gloucester Brass Band Association, Southwest Bass Band Association, Yorkshire Open and West Midlands Brass Band Association Solo Contests. Not only that but Della achieved amazing successes and gained a fourth place at the Great Brummie Solo Contest, 2nd at the Foden’s Solo Contest and two first places at the Oxford and District Brass Band Association and Brassfest Solo competitions. An absolutely fantastic achievement Della and a massive well done from all the Band.
What’s more, there is a chance to hear Della’s sublime playing in action at the Band’s forthcoming live performances of the Snowman at the Egerton Hall in Brackley, Northamptonshire. This magical film telling the story of the snowman that comes to life will be accompanied by The GUS Band who will be playing the music from the enchanting score by Howard Blake. There really is no better way to start the Christmas festivities and get you into the Yuletide mood than to sit back and enjoy this wonderful show.
A group of players from GUS plus some friends of the Band came together to provide an evening of brass entertainment at St Peters, Gaulby in Leicestershire, on 27th October 2021.
The 16th century church isn’t large enough to host a full brass band and the St Peter’s audience are more used to hearing performances by smaller groups including flute, harp and cello. So this was a unique opportunity to hear brass music played in the church and the ten piece got together to perform a varied programme including several classic pieces by Charpentier, Lerner and Lowe, Premru and Jim Carter arranged for brass ensemble.
Food and drink was provided by ‘The Table’ before the audience sat down to enjoy the evening’s musical feast. The church, unaccustomed to the sounds of brass, cleared itself of a resident bat and provided a wonderful acoustic for the ten players, James Screaton, Gary Sherlock, Marcus Pain and John Pacey on trumpet, Simon Smith, (horn) Alex Hewins, Savannah Bone, Paul Yarrow and Alex Crutchley on trombones and Jen McCausland on tuba.
The concert also included Beethoven’s Three Equali for four trombones, a lively rendition of Tico Tico given on trumpet by James, (who knew until explained during the concert that a Tico Tico is a sparrow?) and a classy rendition of A Londonderry Air provided by Alex Hewins on trombone. Finally, the evening was rounded off by a rousing rendition of Chris Hazell’s Kraken.
On 14th November, a spectacular concert, ”A Brass Explosion” is being given at The Core at Corby Cube by The GUS Band and Youth Brass 2000.
Since the inception of Youth Brass 2000 back in 1989, close links were forged with The GUS Band, and this concert is just the latest in a string of collaborations between the two organisations. Many players in Youth Brass 2000 have risen through the ranks and have gone on to play in The GUS Band, including current players such as Marcus Pain, who was a founding member and principal cornet of Youth Brass 2000 and whose father helped form the youth band. Thomas and James Fountain, both co-principal cornets of the band and now professional trumpet players also gained early experience as members of Youth Brass 2000. In The GUS Band’s percussion section, Tim Jones and Joshua Gilding are both former Youth Br
ass 2000 players and Owen Yarrow, The GUS Band’s most recent signing is still a member. Then there is the band’s Artistic Director, Chris Jeans, who became the Youth Brass 2000 conductor a week after the youth band started and has been at their helm ever since. Commenting on the links between the two organisations Chris said “The relationship between GUS and Youth Brass 2000 is a win-win, with youth band players getting invaluable experience playing alongside a championship section band, and The GUS Band benefiting from a steady stream of young talent”.
Both bands have a varied programme to perform at the Corby Cube including a spectacular massed band finish with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. Tickets available here: https://www.thecorecorby.com/whats-on/youth-brass-2000-gus-band/