Report on the Workers Music Association Summer School 2004

Dave Payn

Active Member
Having got back from Wortley Hall nr Sheffield last weekend, I can happily report that despite, from the brass band froont, a lack of numbers, due in no small part I guess, to clashing with Bromsgrove, as well as financial constraints, this year's Summer School was a roaring success, in my opinion!

It is considered expensive (at £395 for the week) but it is, as the slogan for the WMA suggests' 'Music Our Holiday'. As well as the brass band there are:

Symphonic Wind Band
Big Band
Intermediate Jazz
Jazz for Beginners
Harmony and Theory
String Orchestra
Symphony Orchestra
Folk/Ceilidh Band
Wind Ensembles
Solo Singing
Full Chorus
Dalcroze Eurythmics

And the 'cross fertilization' of students onto more than one course adds to the fun. Regular mini concerts are given throughout the week and most students get at least one chance chance to perform.

As far as the brass band is concerned, it isn't aimed at being a 'specialist' brass band course like Wessex and Bromsgrove, but a chance to simply play different pieces, improve one's technique/reading/ensemble playing etc. Throughout the week the composers we dabbled in were:

Giles Farnaby
Matthew Locke
Peter Graham
T J Powell
Gustav Holst
Brian Fahey
Lennon and McCartney
Malcolm Arnold
Percy Fletcher
James Curnow
Jeremiah Clarke
Chris Hazell
Jan Koetsier

So quite a variety there. Nevertheless, the Summer School needs to find a new home (there are rumours as to where it might move to but that's classified info!) as the success of the school has outgrown Wortley Hall and spaces are becoming more limited as more 'multi-bed' rooms turn to 'en suite' and less and less students can be accomodated. Hopefully, with a move to a more spacious environment, we'll have room to accomodate more students and perhaps get a full brass band (we had 17, which included another tutor and one euphonium who'd only been playing a few months but he improved dramatically with every day!) so that we can tackle more repertoire and more challenging repertoire, and MAYBE cut the student costs a bit. For a week's worth of making music in many different styles it's great fun and value. The only drawback is the brass band tutor.... )

Watch this space for further developments for next year's course!
WMA summer school

Sorry I missed it this year Dave, I had a great time there last year and really enjoyed playing tuba in the orchestra, clarinet in the wind band and singing in the chorus, as well as playing EEb Bass in the brass band.

It was indeed because it clashed with Bromsgrove this year that I didn't go. I wouldn't have missed it for any other reason.

Hopefully it won't clash next year and I will see you there

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