KEMS Concert Band was formed in 2005 and its membership continues to grow under
the popular leadership of Julia Harding.
We play a broad range of light music: film scores, musicals, classical, jazz and
swing, and band classics such as Sousa marches. We perform in local churches, village and community halls, shopping centres and,
weather permitting, bandstands.
Joining KEMS Concert Band
KEMS Concert Band is a community wind band whose members range in age from late
teens to 70+. We always welcomes enquiries from prospective players; in the first instance,
please e-mail us brief details of your playing experience.
At the present time, we have a particular need for drum kit/percussion. Contact Richard Moss 01477 533764) if you would like to know more.
A highlight of 2017 was our performance with the other KEMS sections in the KEMS
60th Jubilee concert at the Royal Northern College of Music. The other key highlight was our involvement in the Adopt a Composer scheme – see panel to the right.
A consistent part of our programme is our appearance with KEMS Choir at the
carol concert in the Stable Yard at Tatton Park, accompanying hundreds of
people and raising hundreds of pounds for charity; in 2017 we collected money
for Mind. 2017 also saw our first appearance at Chatsworth House on 30th December.
The Band likes to try different venues and formats: we have performed in a
quarry, shopping centres, bandstands, accompanied a ghost walk round
Macclesfield and with an alphorn duo.
We also enjoy performing with other musical ensembles; these have included both
adult and school choirs, and a recorder group.
We have established a biennial touring schedule, with over 40 members and
partners taking part in tours to Belgium and France. Our third tour was to Brussels in August 2017.
Well that was it! Just over a year after the journey started, we were delighted
to perform Martian Saloon, the piece Christopher Schlechte-Bond wrote for KEMS Concert Band under the Adopt-a-Composer scheme, to a near
capacity audience at Brown Edge Village Hall, Staffordshire.
We were determined that Chris’s première should take place in front of a good audience, so we decided to return to a
venue that had given us good support 18 months or so ago; Brown Edge, a village
just outside Stoke-on-Trent.
Our band has good connections there through the Mansfield family (4 of whom
played in the band on the day), so we were optimistic about being able to sell
a good proportion of the 150 seats the hall will hold. We also invited the Mini
Glee Choir from the adjacent St. Anne’s School to take part, hoping to draw in some proud parents. Happily, it was
just about standing room only on the day.
Chris had been up to see us 10 days earlier to give us some final pointers and
coaching, and brought a couple of friends on the day to stiffen our percussion
section (Chris S-B also helped out) and add a euphonium (thanks Phoebe Garratt
and Chris Ford), and the final two run throughs had gone really well.
We had themed the concert “Out of This World” to link with the new piece, and the first half consisted of concert band
staples such as Phantom of the Opera, Wizard of Oz and the children and band
performing some Mary Poppins. All very conventional - looking at the preponderance of grey hair in the
audience, we did wonder how Chris’s piece, with its whistling, chanting and whispering, as well as playing, would
go down in the second half. Chris professed to be happy; what would the
audience feedback be?
We need not have worried; Martian Saloon was well received “atmospheric, eerie, exciting” were just some of the words used, and within a week, the request had already
come in to book us for next year.
So our 12 month journey had come to an end. The band were stretched and
challenged, but we would like to think we acquitted ourselves well. We also learnt about the development of a new work and it was great to have the
composer’s insights. We hope Chris also enjoyed and learnt from the experience and wish him every
success in his musical career.
Thanks to all at Making Music for making this possible and to BBC Radio 3 for
coming along and recording our performance. It will be great to be able to
listen to our playing.
The Adopt a Composer scheme is run by Making Music in partnership with Sound and
Music and in association with BBC Radio3. It is funded by PRS for Music
Foundation and the Philip and Dorothy Green Music Trust.
Click HERE to hear extracts from ‘Out of this World’ and interviews with Christopher Schlechte-Bond and musical director Julia
Harding on the BBC website.
Click on the player below to hear the complete broadcast performance.