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Christmas with a difference

Derwent Brass 10 piece visit the Mainz Christmas Festival


Squeezed in between a hectic Christmas schedule for Derwent Brass( which includes the annual Hospitals Christmas concert at the Derby Assembly Rooms, Christmas concerts in the Queens Hall Derby and local churches and a Christmas concert in Loughborough) a ten piece ensemble from the band managed to find time for a whistle-stop trip to Mainz, Germany to take part in the Christmas Festival there.

The ensemble flew out from Stansted on Friday afternoon, and within an hour of landing in Germany were on board the pleasure boat Gutenburg to entertain a corporate Christmas party as they cruised down the Rhein.
Saturday was the scheduled day for the Mainz Festival, and after grabbing some rehearsal time then spending some precious free time shopping at the Christmas market and visiting the splendid Cathedral, the ensemble entertained a capacity audience firstly with a ‘traditional’ entertainment programme which included Strike Up the Band, Kalinka, Troublemaker, La Bamba and Varied Mood from euphonium soloist Dan Cheadle, before moving on to a Christmas programme. This included up tempo foot tapping items such as Gaudette and Joy, and Musical Director Keith Leonard soon had the German audience clapping along and thoroughly enjoying every minute of the performance. The bass trombone solo Frosty the Snowman delivered by Chris Clayton was especially well received and delighted the crowd.

After some very late night partying (compulsory on all band trips surely?) it seemed only fair to repay the hotel with some entertainment on Sunday morning, whilst they had a special Christmas Feyre and lunch before rushing off to catch a flight home.
A well worn and tired ensemble arrived back in Derby Sunday night after a thoroughly enjoyable trip. M.D. Keith Leonard commented "This has been a great trip.

Although I know many bands have 10 piece ensembles, the Derwent ensemble is only a recent idea. It was an honour to receive this invitation, and although it has been hectic and tiring, we’ve had wonderful time. The excellent performances produced by the ensemble were very well received and I hope we have been ambassadors for the Midlands and Derwent Brass"


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Mike Sheppard

B.A. (Hons) Music
Composer, conductor, teacher, author