Jena Summer Camp hailed as success

The inventive response taken by organisers in Germany has seen over 60 youngsters enjoy a four day Summer Camp with a difference.

  The course saw socially distanced rehearsals led by Philippe Bach (above) and Chris Houlding

The first ever Summer Brass Band Camp in Jena, Germany, has just finished and has been hailed as a great success.

The new event was organised by the German Brass Band Association, and was put in place by Alexander Richter, the Musical Director of Brass Band BlechKLANG who worked alongside Katrin Weber, the Director of the KLANGwelt orchestral school.

It was led by the inspirational figures of conductor Philippe Bach and professional trombone player and educator, Chris Houlding.

Huge hit

The four day Summer Camp was proposed as an alternative to the usual Summer Brass Band Camp which had to cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

It proved to be a huge hit with the young delegates as well as the tutors, with Philippe telling 4BR: "It's hard to believe, but my last collaboration with a brass band was actually in December 2019, so I haven't been able to pursue this passion for over half a year.

This is the type of bug we should all wish to contract — one of joyful brass band music making!"

Hard work

The hard work of the non for profit Blasmusikverein Carl Zeiss Jena e.V. organisation which is home to the four brass bands of Brass Band BlechKLANG, Jugend Brass Band BlechKLANG, Show Brass Band VielKLANG, Junior Brass Band KLANGwelt was also backed by the orchestra school KLANGwelt and the Competence Centre for Brass Band.

It meant that despite the challenges over 60 delegates were able to enjoy the invaluable experience based in two bands — one for those under 16 years of age, one for those over 16.

Works such as 'Starburst' by Dan Price and 'A Tallis Anthem' by the Dutch composer Geert-Jan Kroon were rehearsed and performed by the older participants, whilst the younger ones worked on pieces such as 'Jungle Dance' by Andrea Hobson.

As a result, it was a great pleasure to feel the energy of all participants, to observe the great progress in a very short time and to experience the fun of music!Chris Houlding


In addition to the ensemble rehearsals, masterclasses were given on a variety of playing topics, with Chris Houlding telling 4BR: "When I received the invitation from Alexander Richter, I was immediately enthusiastic, not only because I knew from experience that a perfectly organised event awaited me, but also because I was extremely aware of the importance of such a workshop.

Where else is the "essence of brass band culture" more present than when making music together?

As a result, it was a great pleasure to feel the energy of all participants, to observe the great progress in a very short time and to experience the fun of music!"

Very happy

In response, Alexander Richter said: "I am very happy that we were able to realise a summer camp this year in particular.

The atmosphere during the whole course was incredibly positive and our special thanks go to all supporters and partners such as Besson, Denis Wick, the foundation of the Sparkasse Jena and the MAXX-Hotel Jena who made it possible — but especially those that attended."

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