I have today been approached by the family of the late Joe Ireland to help organise and conduct a concert in his memory. This concert is intended to celebrate his wonderful life in music and words. It is also intended to give his widow Marjorie a lasting memory of Joe’s friend’s appreciation of him. I regard this as a tremendous and very singular honour, as I loved the man dearly and I have of course agreed. Joe was such a special influence on many brass players who have their musical roots based in West Cumbria. He devoted many years of his life to teaching and conducting and is best known for the links he had with Dearham Band for over 50 years. However, we must not forget he also had links to other bands in the area and taught in Cumbrian Schools. During a period, which later also included involvement with young players and the Cumbria Youth Band, a rich vein of talent emanated from his teaching stable, many of whom went on to become professionals and play for top bands some of which populated as far away as Australia. His innate musicality and influence have been a wonderful foundation for those like me who learned by listening to Joe during rehearsals. He had no formal musical qualifications to speak of, but his natural understanding of shape, phrasing and how to portray a musical line, were so beneficial to many young aspiring brass players. His patience and kindness where the bedrock of his approach! His natural modesty a lesson to us all! So, I would like to appeal to any brass players who were taught by, conducted by, or simply regard themselves as friends of Joe, to please contact me if they would like to take part in such a tribute! The family have floated the idea of having the concert in the newly built civic hall in his hometown of Maryport! (I hope it will be big enough). If there was ever anything in life that is certain, it is that very many people will wish to attend. The stage should hold up to 35 and it would of course be possible to change the band at half time. I have an idea in mind to play music he loved and this is likely to include music such as Suite Gothique and Themes from the New World Symphony! Also I think the idea of interviewing a few friends on stage, whom can regale us with anecdotes and stories would be nice. I will be writing something for the concert, (not sure what yet) and of course perhaps solos from one or two famous brass exports from Cumbria would be fantastic! Due to media interest, It’s likely that “BBC Radio Cumbria” and “Border Television” will be involved. Also the concert / event… will be videoed. Pre concert marketing activity is likely to be involved and it may become an all ticket affair. There is a possibility that some charity may also be involved. As I say, early days yet… but please contact me as soon as possible. Dearham Band have not yet been consulted (phone only rang at 4pm today) as they are no doubt celebrating their 3rd place at the Northern Area at some hostelry on the way back from the Dolphin Centre. The event is hoped to be staged around about June. Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 07970 458079 if you aren’t connected. E-mail is preferred so I can keep track of responses. Please denote what instrument you play and I would ask that you be in practice. Those no longer playing are of course needed, in other roles. When a man such as Joe comes along, it is important to celebrate his life, for we know not when his like shall pass again!