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News Archive

4 May 2011
(updated 10 May 2011)
Jeff Cox

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of one our founder members, Jeff Cox who lost his battle with cancer on 21 April. The band will be holding a memorial concert in Rowhedge on 28 June 2011 at 7.45pm (Rowhedge Village Hall).

Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.


6 October 2010
Rowhedge Village Hall Silver Jubilee

The Essex Concert Band is extremely happy to help the Rowhedge Village Hall celebrate its Silver Jubilee, having been privileged to have it as its home for most of that time. We would certainly like to take this opportunity to express our thanks to the East Donyland Community Association for continuing to provide such an invaluable facility for the Essex Concert Band and to wish the Association continuing success for the future.

We have given a “Last Night of the Proms” concert around this time of year for some 17(?) years and thought we should include the traditional finale again this year (9 October) despite the slightly different slant for the rest of the programme.

For more about the concert, see our performances page.

8 July 2010
Summer Break

The final rehearsal before the summer will take place on 20 July 2010. Rehearsals will start again on 31 August 2010.

9 November 2009
Christmas Concert 2009

Our annual Christmas Concert will be taking place this year on Tuesday 15 December at our usual venue, the village hall in Rowhedge.

Our chosen charity for our Christmas concert this year is Sea Change: a project based in Maldon that uses traditional sailing vessels to offer activity-based learning to young people and adults. Further information on the project can be found on their website (

Please note that the concert will start at 7.45pm. Entry is free with a retiring collection.

1 October 2009
Band News

As always our year has had busy and quiet times. A personal highlight for me was our return to St Botolph’s Church in Colchester in June. A lovely venue, it was a great pleasure for me to perform the finale from Philip Sparke's Clarinet Concerto following my move from principal clarinet to the lower brass section at the start of the 2008-9 season.

Our season finale was a trip to Oulton Broad in Suffolk, where we performed on the bandstand in St Nicholas Everett Park. Not the best of summer days but with true British spirit we still sat with our picnic before returning home. We had some very loyal supporters who endured the weather! Although perhaps it helped that we’d locked the bus so they couldn’t escape!

The band took a break in August, beginning rehearsals again on 1 September and we wasted no time in getting back to the job in hand – performing. On Saturday 12 September we performed a ‘Last Night of the Proms’ at All Saints Church in Maldon coinciding with the BBC finale event.

Many of the events at which we are invited to perform are held in aid of local organisations. Additionally we also hold our Christmas and summer concerts to raise funds for organisations chosen by members of the band. During 2008/9 our charities were Age Concern Colchester and the Mayor’s Charities for whom we raised £350 and £250 respectively.

by Amanda Arthur

2 June 2009
13 June 2009
St Botolph's Church, Colchester

On 13 June, the Essex Concert Band will return to St. Botolph's Church to give its summer gala concert to support, on this occasion, the Mayor of Colchester's Charities. As in previous years the band are also pleased to welcome guest artists, this year the Bedfordshire Police Choir who will provide a real contrast of sound in their own items and join the Band for the evening's finale.

The concert will open with Shostakovich's energetic and exhilarating Festive Overture before turning to the contrasting mood of the opening of Edvard Greig's Morning - the first of four movements from his Peer Gynt Suite which then follows.

Also featuring as soloist during the evening is Amanda Arthur in the finale from Philip Sparke's Clarinet Concerto. Amanda was the Principal Clarinet of the ECB for a number of years before taking up a new challenge in the lower brass section. Sparke's jazzy style in this piece reflects the clarinet's versatile character, equally at home in classical and jazz worlds. Amanda is later joined by Julie Slater, her successor on the clarinet “hot seat” in the light hearted Clarinando in the second half of the concert.

Other contributions from the band include two original works for wind band, firstly Gustav Holst's ground breaking Suite in E Flat, and then contemporary composer Paul Hart's tribute to the silent movies, Silver Screen. Extracts from the the record breaking Les Miserables precede the combined forces of band and choir in Handel's Hallelujah Chorus, which closes the concert.

This year's guests, the Bedfordshire Police Choir will also be demonstrating their versatility with a wide range of musical styles, including Andrew Lloyd Webber's All I Ask of You and Paul Simon's Bridge Over Troubled Waters.

Discounted tickets are available in advance from Manns Music priced £6 (£4 concessions). Tickets will also be available on the door priced £7 (£5 concessions).

18 March 2009
2008-9 Season Update

Time is flying by as always and already we find that we are mid-way through the 2008-9 season. We have many performances coming up throughout the spring and summer but we have also been busy to date.

During the autumn we performed our usual concerts in Rowhedge: in November with guest conductor Matt Andrews and our Christmas concert in December. During November we also played our first concert at All Saint's Church in Maldon and we are very pleased that we have been invited back again in 2009. In October we also returned to West Mersea for a lively evening of music with a Proms flavour.

One of our committee members once suggested that our 'friends' might like to know more about the individual members of the band. Although many are friends or relatives of at least one of our members our newsletter will now feature a 'meet a member' area in which the profile of a member or section will appear. Our first victim is Steve Edmonds who proposed the idea. You can receive future newsletters and member profiles by joining our free mailing list.

You can now view details of a number of events covering the remainder of the 2008-9 season as well as those for 2009-10 that are already in the pipeline. You can find these in the performances section. We hope to see you at one of our concerts soon!

24 Sept 2008
Sept 2008 Newsletter
2007/8 Season Summary

2007-8 was another busy year for the band although it feels suitable to make the anology to buses coming along at once. A particular highlight of the year was our return to St Botolph’s Church in Colchester where we were able to welcome guests the Tendring Music School Concert Band to join us. Additionally it was a particular priviledge to also welcome soloist Jonathan Radford from Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester to give a rare UK performance of Holcombe’s Rhapsody for Alto Saxophone. We wish him continued success for the future.

Many of our events are to raise funds for worthy causes either ones that we have chosen to support ourselves or those chosen by the organisers of the event at which we are performing. We are particularly proud this year to have supported two local charities: Stepping Stones Nursery and Colchester Youth Enquiry Service (Y.E.S.) to whom we were able to donate in excess of £800 thanks to the increasing size of our recent audiences.

Over the past few years the band has grown in both quality and quantity and has attracted excellent musicians on a regular basis. It is now better resourced than it has ever been with over 40 members. Our newest recruits are a trio of clarinets who signed up in April. Welcome Amanda Saywell, Colleen Williams and Richard Mitchell.

Busy lives and changes of circumstances sometimes mean that members have to leave though invariably resignations are accompanied by expressions of regret as leaving is often a wrench. This year four established members have left though all have asked to go on the ‘Deps’ list and are more than willing to step in if a gap needs filling at a performance. So rather than goodbye, it’s au revoir to Ruth Cross, Alto Sax (joined December 2001), Jane Tomlinson, Tuba (September 2003), Nina Selwood, Flute (June 2005), and Geraldine Phillips, Flute (May 2007). Our congratulations also go to Jane on the birth of Madeleine in May.

30 April 2008
Summer Gala Concert

14 June 2008, 7.30pm
Joint concert with TMS Concert Band
St Botolph's Church, Colchester
In aid of Y.E.S (Youth Enquiry Service)
Featuring soloist Jonathan Radford (Chetham's School of Music)

We are pleased to be, once again, joining forces with the students of Tendring Music School Concert Band when we return to the splendid setting of St Botolph's Church in Colchester on 14 June. This year we will be raising funds for the Colchester Youth Enquiry Service (Y.E.S.) who provide support, information and counselling to 11-25 year olds in Colchester (

We will also be welcoming guest soloist Jonathan Radford (saxophone) who will be travelling to Colchester for the event from his term-time residence at Chetham's School of Music in Manchester. Among his many achievements Jonathan was a regional winner of the BBC Young Musician of the Year 2008 contest and in 2007 gained the Associated Board’s Diploma for saxophone performance (Dip. ABRSM). Jonathan has been studying at Chetham's since the age of 13 when he gained a music scholarship. He will complete his studies in 2009.

Advance ticket sales will be available from Mann's Music (Colchester High Street) and Y.E.S. from 16 May at the discounted price of £6 and £4 (conc).

Tickets priced £7 and £5 (conc) will be available on the door.

27 February 2008
Open Evening

On Tuesday 25th March the Essex Concert Band will be opening its doors to visitors at Rowhedge Village Hall from 7.45pm to 9.30pm. Come along when you like and leave when you've had enough! If you have children who need to be in bed before we finish, no problem. We won't be offended if you leave early or arrive mid-way through. We will be performing a wide range of music during the evening but it will be an informal atmosphere. Come on in and take a seat.

Do you think you might like to come to band concerts in the future but are not sure whether it's for you?

This is the perfect opportunity to sample the music and there's no cost!

Are you a musician who would like to come along and play for the evening?

We are aware that not everyone wants to make a commitment to playing with a group on a weekly basis but if you would like to play with us for the evening please get in touch in advance via our e-mail address. Much of our music requires musicians to be around ABRSM grade 5-6 standard although some pieces may be easier and equally some will be more challenging.

An open evening wouldn't be an open evening without refreshments which will be available on a self-service basis. The band will take a break mid-evening, so why not come along and have a chat with us. Find out more about the people behind the music. We think you'll be surprised to find out what some of us do for a day job.

8 January 2008
Annual Charity Concert for Christmas

On 18 December 2007 the Essex Concert Band performed its annual concert of Christmas music and carols. With the refurbishment of the village hall in Rowhedge in full swing, the band were pleased to be welcomed to the nearby Church of St Lawrence.

Members of the audience enjoyed a broad mix of yuletide musical fare with marches, of differing character, opening each half, arrangements of carols in various stylistic guises, and the “evergreen” Christmas Song featuring saxophone soloists.

Even the Christmas movies seem to inspire composers to produce joyful music and the score from A Home Alone Christmas and the brass fanfares of A Finale for a Winter Festival gave an exciting end to each half of the concert.

The concert was held in aid of the local nursery for children with special needs: Stepping Stones. The Band were pleased to welcome the co-ordinator Carol Nice and members of her team to the event and even with the cold weather conditions the venue was full to capacity.

As is traditional for the event, no tickets were sold in advance but audience members were asked to donate to a collection on retiring home which raised £360 for Stepping Stones. The band very much hopes that the nursery, which is hoping to relocate to a new building during 2008, will be able to put the money towards new equipment.

31 July 2007
Summer Break

The band will not rehearse on 31 July 2007 or any Tuesday during August 2007.

The next rehearsal will take place on Tuesday 4 September 2007.

31 July 2007
July 2007 Newsletter
2006/7 Season Summary

During the past year we have worked once more with the splendid Tendring Concert Band* as well as visited many of our regular venues: Rowhedge, Kelvedon, Harwich and Tiptree. We were also fortunate to add new venues in Wickham Bishops and also St Botolph's Church in Colchester to our concert series. We very much enjoyed taking part in all of these events and hope that we will have the opportunity to return in the future.

Many of our events are held in support of very worthy causes but we were particularly pleased in December to be able to support the work of the Colne Endeavour Music Club** with whom some members of the band are very closely linked.

Our season closed on 22 July when we appeared on the bandstand in Colchester with guest conductor Matt Andrews. Dispite the forecast the weather was kind to us and the event was very well supported.

We have welcomed several new members this year whose skills have added to the quality of the playing as well as to the excellent atmosphere within the band. With our membership at a new high we are now in a situation where some sections have reached capacity. However, we will always find room where we can and welcome enquiries from potential members.

Beyond Music
After a slow start to the season the past 3 months have seen us very much as a performing band, so much so that we have been too busy to organise our usual end of year social. Hopefully we can put this right in the Autumn and we look forward to coming together in an ‘off-duty’ capacity.

Finally, a huge thankyou to you the audience as well as the partners and friends of the members for all the support and help we have received during 2006/7. We look forward to seeing you all again next year.

Our full newsletter is available to download by clicking here.

* Part of the Tendring Area Music School held at Tending Technology College on Saturday mornings.

** Through music, the club aims to develop the personal and social skills of the members regardless of any disability or special needs the person may have.

14 May 2007
'Spring Collection' - in aid of the British Heart Foundation

On 12 May the Essex Concert Band presented a 'Spring Collection': a concert of choral music and music for concert band featuring the Manningtree High School Choir and singers from Witham Music Theatre.

The concert at St Botolph’s Church in Colchester delivered an eclectic mix of styles with great tunes from stage and screen, barbershop renditions and a few classical moments thrown into the mix as well. Highlights of the evening included the Concert Band’s dramatic performance of Malcolm Arnold’s challenging Tam O’Shanter Overture using to great effect the acoustics of the church. The concert closed with a performance combining the Concert Band and their guests in a finale of music from the ‘Swing When You're Winning’ album by Robbie Williams.

Many thanks go to all those who attended for their generosity which will enable the band to make a considerable donation to the British Heart Foundation.

The concert on Saturday marked the end of the spring series of events for the Essex Concert Band who will now begin preparing for their summer events. For anyone who missed the concert, details of our future events are available in the Performances section of the website.

6 March 2007
Concert in aid of Comic Relief

The concert will be a joint event with the Tendring Concert Band which forms part of the Tendring Area Music School held at Tending Technology College on Saturday mornings (age of musicians ranges from 11-18).

This is now the third occasion where the Essex Concert Band has been invited to perform with the Tendring Concert Band. Such an event provides the young musicians of Tendring Area Music School with the opportunity to sit amongst the more experienced players of the Essex Concert Band.

With the high standards that both groups maintain this is certain to be an evening of fantastic music making, including such music as You'll Never Walk Alone, Tijuana Brass in Concert, I Will Follow Him (from the film Sister Act), Music from the films Gladiator and Chicago and Magic Flute Overture.

Full programme:

Olympic Spirit
Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy
Magic Flute Overture
You'll Never Walk Alone
Tijuana Brass in Concert
Mask of Zorro
New Baroque Suite


Highlights from Gladiator
Trumpeters Lullaby
Music from Chicago
I Will Follow Him (from Sister Act)
Instant Concert

As on previous occasions, entry to the event is free although there will be an optional retiring collection in aid of Comic Relief.

We hope to see you there!

When: 17 March 2007, 7.30pm
Where: Tendring Technology College (Lower School), Landermere Road, Thorpe-le-Soken
, CO16 0LQ

22 December 2006
Annual Charity Concert (Christmas) - Update

A huge thank you to everyone who turned out on a very foggy and cold Tuesday evening, helping to raise over £350 for the Colne Endeavour Music Club.

We hope you enjoyed the evening and look forward to seeing you all again soon.


30 October 2006
Annual Charity Concert of Music and Carols for Christmas

The annual concert of music and carols for Christmas will take place at Rowhedge Village Hall on 19 December 2006, at 7.30pm.

This year we are very pleased that the concert will be in aid of the Colne Endeavour Music Club (registered charity no.1049771) with whom some members of the Essex Concert Band are closely linked.

The objective of the club is, through music, to develop the personal and social skills of the members regardless of any disability or special needs the person may have. Meeting every Friday at St Helena School, the Colne Endeavour Music Club begins with individual and group lessons, then coming together for full band practice.

The parent organisation is the Colne Endeavour Music Trust. The Trust supplies instruments to those who need them - ranging from recorders to French Horns.

Membership, tuition and the use of instruments are free.

As in previous years, we do not charge entry to the event but ask that you show your appreciation and support in the form of a retiring collection so that we can help the club continue to operate free of charge to its members.

See also


18 July 2006
Essex Concert Band Entertain London Audience

London’s St James’ Park was filled with the sound of music on Sunday 16 July when Rowhedge based Essex Concert Band performed as part of the Royal Parks’ Summer Season.

Under the direction of guest conductor Matthew Andrews, the concert band entertained visitors alongside The Mall throughout the afternoon with music from the classical and big band eras, musical theatre and light band repertoire including the trumpet trio feature, Trumpets Wild.

One band member commented: “We perform regularly in Colchester and the surrounding villages but its great to get the chance to play to new audiences in new places. And with the sun shining too! It’s been a great afternoon and we’ve been well supported both by passers by and our families and friends, many of whom travelled from Colchester to be with us today.”

A full press release is available.