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Armagh Summer lift for Foden's

A 17th visit to Armagh once again proved to be a great success for everyone involved in their annual Old Boys Brass Band Summer School.

  More than 80 players enjoyed themselves on the latest Summer School Course in Armagh

Tutors from Foden's Band have once again enjoyed a wonderful trip to Northern Ireland to take part in the Armagh Old Boys Brass Band Summer School.

Held at the local City of Armagh High School, it was the 17th time the annual course has been held, with the connection between the two organisations going back to the very first event in 2001.

Over 80 players

Michael Fowles, Mark Bousie, Mark Wilkinson, Richard Poole, Lesley Poole, Shaun Farrington, Sarah Lenton, Stewart Baglin and Anthony Mann led over 80 brass and percussions musicians of all ages, standards and experience from across Northern Ireland.

The two main band ensembles led by Mark and Mike reflected appropriate ability and experience: The Sterling Band (Mark) designed for the younger less experienced players, with the Sovereign Band (Mike) for the older more experienced players.

Encouragingly for the future of banding in Northern Ireland, a coach packed with over 30 young musicians arrived each day to take part in the course.


Foden's spokesperson Mark Bousie told 4BR: "We would like to thank the amazing contribution of Ivor Stevenson OBE, his wife, Heather, daughters, Julie Anne and Sarah-Jane and the various adult helpers who made this such a memorable course once again."

Things got underway on the Monday evening with a 'meet the music' rehearsal where participants had their first opportunity to get to grips with the repertoire.

A highlight was 'The Loughnashade Horns', an exciting programmatic piece commissioned especially for the 2017 course from former Foden's cornet player Andrew Stevenson who is Composer in Residence with Foden's Youth Band.

Over the following days, hard work and plenty of fun were in evidence as the players in both bands were challenged by music that ranged from the traditional to the contemporary, with full and sectional rehearsals ensuring that rapid progress was made in preparation for the traditional final concert.

We would like to thank the amazing contribution of Ivor Stevenson OBE, his wife, Heather, daughters, Julie Anne and Sarah-Jane and the various adult helpers who made this such a memorable course once againFoden's


A Young Soloists concert was held at the Armagh Old Boys band hall where fellow players, parents and friends enjoyed plenty of great playing with accompaniment provided by an ensemble created by the Foden's tutors and piano accompaniment by Shaun Farrington.

Friday also everyone enjoy a tasty barbeque and 'Tutors' Treat' showcase, where the Foden's players performed an informal concert as well as a question and answer session.

Grand Finale

Saturday's 'Grand Finale' concert was held in the wonderful acoustic of the First Presbyterian Church in Armagh under the heading of, 'Music, Fun and Friendship'.

Prior to the massed band's performance, various presentations were made to individuals for their outstanding contributions to the course.


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Howard J Evans

MA (Dist), Mus.B (hons), ARCM (hons), LRAM, LTCL, PGCE
Conductor, composer, arranger, tutor and pianist