Musicians from the RAF band which played at the Royal Wedding, Diamond Jubilee and London 2012 Olympics have performed with pupils from Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Music Service.
The Brass Ensemble of the Central Band of the Royal Air Force visited Wellsway School, Keynsham, on Monday 3 February – to lead a music workshop; rehearsing with 15 pupils in the morning for an afternoon performance in front of the whole school.
The performance was a homecoming for one of the RAF musicians – Bass Trombonist Jonathan (Josh) Hayward – a former pupil of Longvernal Primary School and Somervale Secondary School, who had trombone lessons from the age of eight through Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Music Service.
Andrew Foister, Assistant Head of the Council’s Music Service, said: “I used to teach Josh when he was a member of the Mendip Music Centre, as well as the School’s Philharmonic Orchestra, Symphonic Wind Band and Brass Tacks. It was great to welcome him back – along with his band mates – our current students were thrilled to have this opportunity to rehearse and perform with such a prestigious and accomplished set of musicians.
“After Josh left school he went to the Welsh College of Music and Drama, and the Royal Academy of Music, then spent some time teaching and freelancing before joining the RAF as a Bass Trombonist with the Central Band. Josh comes from a family of brass players, his father is a trombonist and conductor and his two sisters play cornet and French horn.”
The musicians rehearsed “The Earle of Oxford’s March” by William Byrd (arr. Howarth) and “Mr Jums” by Chris Hazell. These two pieces were then performed in the afternoon (2pm-3pm) by the Ensemble and the pupils as part of the concert.
Councillor Dine Romero (Lib-Dem, Southdown), Cabinet Member for Early Years, Children and Youth, said: “Bath & North East Somerset Council is committed to providing every child aged 5-18 with the opportunity to enjoy music, whether they want to sing, learn an orchestral instrument or play in a band.
“Being involved with music can really benefit children –through improved behaviour, self-confidence, concentration, motivation and the ability to participate in team work. We’re really grateful to the RAF’s Central Band for giving our students this amazing opportunity which I’m sure they’ll never forget.”
The Central Band is often at the forefront of many State and Ceremonial events. In 2011, the Fanfare Trumpeters from the Central Band performed at one of the biggest ever TV events, the Royal Wedding. The following year it had a major part to play in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations – the highlight being a military pageant at Windsor. The Central band was also in the public eye during the London 2012 Olympics – entertaining audiences at many events including tennis, canoeing, road cycling and beach volleyball.
As members of the RAF, Central Band musicians are also required to support British forces on operations abroad. Musicians have been deployed in roles as diverse as detainee handlers in Afghanistan, watchkeepers in Iraq and ambulance drivers in the Falkland Islands.
Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Music Service provides tuition in schools for small groups and one-to-one lessons for around 2,500 pupils each week. 450 young people attend the five local music centres each week. This includes a youth choir; music time for ages five to seven; wind bands and a full symphony orchestra.