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Friday 16th September 2016 – Auchonvillers on the Somme
On Friday 16th September the band had an engagement which was something out of the ordinary for us. We were asked by the Essex Police Military History Association if we would accompany them to Auchonvillers, the area of the Somme where Essex Police officers served in the Essex regiment in the Battle of the Somme on 1st July 1916.
Read the full special article here
Spring Concert on 19 March - Crowstone
As unofficial ‘Groupies’ of the Essex Police Band we were delighted to attend the Spring Concert on 19 March at Crowstone St George’s URC in Westcliff.
The venue proved to be excellent acoustically and was very well attended. We must admit we were intrigued by the additional billing of the Southend Vox Choir and did initially wonder how the choir and band would gel together. The choir began with a varied choice of pieces ranging from the upbeat ‘Signed Sealed Delivered I’m Yours’ to the gentle ‘Steal Away’ and as the evening unfolded their exuberance and pure love of entertainment seemed to captivate both band and audience alike.
As always the Band showed just how versatile they were with ‘Memory’ and ‘Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy’ and then a lovely new piece,’ Candide Overture’ which was both complex and challenging. The second half featured the Vox Chamber Singers with three beautiful pieces from ‘Five Days That Changed the World’, Not to be outdone, the Band came back again with five more very varied pieces – we particularly enjoyed ‘Opus One’ and the classic ‘Les Miserables’.
So…a brilliant evening’s entertainment with the Band really on form and in our opinion, one of the best concerts yet.
Only one complaint – the evening just wasn’t long enough!
Annie and Mike Rees
Monday 21st December - Essex Police Band Annual Christmas Concert
'Twas the night before, the night before, the night before Christmas and not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse... Until the Essex Police Band started playing at their annual Christmas concert at the Marconi Club.
The first half featured a selection of famous film music starting with Troika and a March entitled, Aces High.The band then played a selection from Les Miserables, Nigel, our conductor, particularly enjoyed the film version (he might have mentioned this once or twice before...) followed by the beautiful theme tune from As Time Goes By, featuring Graham on Flugel. The next piece was a debut for us, Barbarian Horde from the film Gladiator - not good news for anyone on the front two rows, earplugs definitely needed! Bringing it a little more up to date the band also played highlights from the Disney phenomenon that is Frozen, not much chance of anyone building a snowman this Christmas though!
As always the second half was a little more relaxed and had more of a party atmosphere with the band donning some Christmas jumpers, tinsel, fairy lights and the traditional Christmas Sombrero! It included a range of traditional and not-so traditional Christmas music from a vocal arrangement of Silent Night featuring Wendy Norton to an audience sing-a-long with White Christmas. Other highlights included a bass trombone solo, Frosty the Snowman played by Andy Norton, Let it Snow, and my favourite, The Snowman.
The collection at the end of the evening was to raise money for the Essex Air Ambulance, a very worthy cause and the evening raised £400 to help with the running costs of this vital service.
I think I speak for most of the band and audience to say a great night was had by all and everyone left feeling a little more Christmassy than when they arrived!
Emma Best – Tenor Horn
BRAINTREE & WITHAM TIMES (review)
Christmas Concert 5th December at Braintree Arts Theatre
BRAINTREE MALE VOICE CHOIR and the ESSEX POLICE BAND
I was thrilled to see, at the start of this successful, sold-out show, that Musical Director, David Wood, is encouraging his choir to abandon scores where possible and focus their attention on his precise conducting. Exemplified in My Lord What A Morning and well on the way in Softly As I Leave You, it paid dividends.
In the well-planned programme, the tenors’ descant in Do You Hear What I Hear and a lovely New Zealand carol, anchored by the tremendously strong Rhythm Of Life, were special delights.
Well-placed on the Arts Theatre stage, Nigel Cooper MD of the Essex Police Band, quickly established a beautifully-modulated sound. T Jay Mackenzie’s syncopated solo and Les Mis, in which percussion and the almost vocal bass section shone, revealed the musical visitors’ scope.
The band’s 2nd Set got the pulses racing. After the challenges of an inaptly-named, Joyous Carillion, it was bass trombonist Andrew Norton’s novelty number, Frosty The Snowman that stole the show. 3 choir members threatened to do the latter too, when they made very able contributions to an uplifting samba.
For me, the band’s highlight was their sensitively played Wagner. Nigel prefaced it with a deserved tribute to BMVC’S long- serving accompanist, Hilary Morgan. Thomas Duchan, who has succeeded her, played throughout as if to the manner born.
Excellent timing, thoughtful programming and 2 carols sent the audience home very satisfied indeed.
Saturday 5th December 2015 – Braintree, 7.00 pm
The Essex Police Band performed at the Braintree Arts Centre in a joint concert with the Braintree Male Voice Choir. A very different event compared to the Great Waltham concert last Saturday in both venue and atmosphere. The band arrived for 6pm and quickly set up giving time for a sound check and tune-up prior to the start of the concert. Nigel reminded us that this was the venue for his first concert as Musical Director back in 2012, so it had some special memories.
The choir and band took their seats for the start of the concert and were pleased to see a capacity crowd. The Male Voice choir commenced the programme with a group of 5 songs from well-known composers such as Rodgers & Hammerstein and Lionel Bart.
It was then the turn of the Band who performed ‘Horizons’ by Paul Lovatt-Cooper, swiftly followed by Prokofiev’s ‘Troika’, which attempted to get the audience into the spirit of Christmas. T J gave an impressive performance of ‘Georgia on my Mind’ and the band concluded its first half performance with an arrangement of ‘Les Mis’. The choir concluded the first half with the traditional ‘O Come, O Come Emanuel’ and ‘Do You Hear What I Hear’.
After a 20 minute interval the Choir commenced the second half with another group of 5 traditional and seasonal numbers.
The band’s next set started by featuring the cornets and trombones in the double trio ‘Joyous Carillon’. The audience appeared much more relaxed after the interval and were very receptive to the entertaining rendition of ‘Frosty the Snowman’ by Bass trombonist Andy Norton, which received the most enthusiastic applause so far. (Trust it to be a trombone player). The band then gave an impressive performance of Wagner’s ‘Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral’ with its triumphant and dramatic conclusion, which wowed the audience even more. Joined by 3 members of the choir to assist on the percussion section we concluded with ‘El Cumbanchero’, a lively samba, which Nigel hoped would help to compensate for those missing ‘Strictly’. Once again the audience showed their appreciation in their applause.
At this point I would like to add that the performance of the Baritone section through-out the evening was once again impeccable.
The audience were then invited to join the band in the singing of 2 carols, ‘While Shepherds Watched’ (with Nigel’s Freudian reference to ‘socks’) and ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’. This was followed by ‘The National Anthem’ and after a few words of thanks a rendition of ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’ which hopefully sent the audience away in festive mood.
Stage cleared, van loaded we cannot relax as there are 2 more rehearsals before our final concert of the year at the Marconi Club, Chelmsford.
Watch this space.
David Steven - Baritone
Saturday 28th November, Great Waltham Church Carol Concert
“A carol concert in November – Really?”
OK, no-one actually said it, but some must have thought it. I know I did.
Band arrival had been agreed as 6:15, and the usual reliable suspects were present. And, remarkably, so was someone with a key to the church – not always a given. The usual precipitous drop from the stage for the trombones, but good to note that the Health and Safety Executive had visited, and installed a small aluminium lip to prevent our chairs taking the fateful plunge. “No, no – that’s all coming off”, we are cheerfully informed by our compere for the evening, Malcolm Ward – “We thought it was too much of a trip hazard”. Oh, good.
Brief opportunity for a bit of “top-and-tailing” rehearsal, and the audience is already starting to make an appearance. We are first up on the programme with Troika – seems to go without major incident, despite Nigel disappearing into a blaze of blue and white floodlights, compounded by glare from the baritone section’s heads. And my bashing Webby’s elbow in anything beyond fifth position. Followed up by the selection from Frozen; - Nigel’s mouthed “careful” during Let it Go was my bad – apologies, Nigel – can’t blame the baris for that one.
We relinquished the stage to the Boreham Ladies’ Choir after the carol O Come, All Ye Faithful, and they entertained with four pretty challenging numbers; their MD Simon Warne was quick to comment on the appropriateness of the green backlighting for their Emerald City number from Wicked and the Irish standard Danny Boy. Damn – I was going to say that.
Children from the Great Waltham Primary School took to the stage next to give us their Christmas thoughts – the best laugh derived from the line “Some Mums are the worst cooks, (pause) but give the best hugs”. As you said, Nigel: good recovery. This was followed by a dance recital from a Year 9 student at Sandon School. It was during this performance that our illustrious MD pointed out that it was very decent of her to mop up all the instrument dribbles for us prior to our next set. Next, the primary school were on again to sing us a couple of numbers. Appropriately enough for the recent Black Friday event, we had Rock Around The Shops, and the hand jive proved so infectious, that TJ and Steve B just couldn’t help themselves. Yes, we were watching.
We returned to the stage for our debut of Let it Snow, and Glasnost, and the backlighting got very excitable and flashy during the latter. Solid red might have been more appropriate to the Russian theme, but you can’t have everything. Didn’t notice any “soloists” during “that moment” in the vivace, and despite a slight percussion wobble towards the end, the audience responded very favourably to our efforts. Time for a drink.
We kicked off the second half with Deck the Halls, followed by our first performance of Joyous Carillon. I have witnesses to a baritone player actually saying the trombones sounded good in that number. And he wasn’t paid to do so.
More Christmas thoughts from the primary school, followed by the Boreham Ladies’ Choir taking to the stage for their second set. Brave and enthusiastic (and probably slightly bonkers) MD Simon Warne fired up the audience by getting them to join in with Amarillo and Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, resulting in lusty, loud singing and clapping, and one slightly panicked accompanying pianist. This was followed by three offerings from the newly formed Great Waltham Village Choir in their debut performance. Good solid singing, and expertly held together by their MD and pianist.
The Snowman flew again with our rendering of Walking in the Air, and then we hit the audience with this year’s party piece, El Cumbanchero. First and bass trombones unable to count to twenty (but top solo by PB). No injuries sustained during the “stand up, turn” routine at the end, and I think much of the applause was probably directed at the primary school children who had been enlisted as an honorary percussion section.
Just three quick seasonal numbers to clear now, and its already pushing a quarter to ten.
But Master of Ceremonies Malcolm has other ideas. He invites the audience to stand for White Christmas so they can do “the actions”. Actions? Bemused looks all round, so Malcolm feels obliged to demonstrate. Both verses. Finally we get underway, but the fervour has gripped Nigel too, and he actively encourages a bit of seasonal sectional swaying. It’s the most together the baris have been for ages. The band is straining a bit at the leash during We Wish You a Merry Christmas, but Nigel holds it all together, and the fourth verse rattles along at the customary lick one expects. With a chaser of Jingle Bells, it’s all over for another year.
Just have to pack the van now. Next stop: Braintree.
Rob Hall - Trombone
Friday 6th November 2015 – Clacton Memorial Gardens.
The unveiling of The Police Memorial Trust memorial to PC Ian Dibell GM by The Prime Minister, The Rt Hon David Cameron MP. Click here to read the letter of thanks from the Chief Constable.
Review of concert at Leventhorpe School 23rd April 2014
"You don't have any idea how wonderful a brass band is until you sit right in front of one. The Essex Police Band are brilliant. Sometimes bluesy and blaring, sometimes more coy and sensitive, but always tight, clean and energised. Solos included Somewhere over the Rainbow played beautifully by Wendy Norton, and then Post Horn Gallop by Trevor Stubbington on the post horn, which presented a slightly more obscure, but amazing playing of, basically a single metal tube!
Brass bands seem to be able to carry all sorts of repertoire. Superman was powerful, Chicago exciting and the final cartoon medley was fun, and sounded just like the real thing!
The programme also included one of our very own students, David Evans, who performed an equally eclectic mix of pieces with some Beethoven, Doctor Who and then something else that I think was from another film, perhaps?
Performing three challenging and varied solos is a fantastic achievement, and provided some contrasting interludes to the concert. Congratulations to David for this contribution.
Nigel Cooper, the Musical Director of the EPB, is clearly an inspirational Leader and the musicians made it clear that playing in a brass band is very enjoyable and rewarding. Brass bands, when they are really good, have this way of creating wonderful, rich, harmonic layers of sound which is spine-tingly, and has to be experienced in the flesh. Once you've been, you totally 'get-it'. So, next time, if we are lucky enough to have the Essex Police Band back, give it a try!!"
Head of Music
Review of concert at Great Dunmow 3rd May 2014|
"The Essex Police Band came to the United Reformed Church in Great Dunmow on the 3rd of May 2014 and delighted us with a wonderful concert. The musicians were superb, playing a range of vastly different pieces directed by the musical director, Nigel Cooper. It was an unforgettable evening of music, enjoyed by all. This is the fourth time that the band has played in our church and each time it has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience."
The Friendship Group
United Reformed church
|More reviews to follow soon.|
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