Wansbeck Music Festival

Burradon Community and Balliol Primary Schools took part in the Wansbeck Music Festival on Friday 23rd March at Newbiggin Sports and Community Centre. (Unfortunately Backworth Park Primary School could not attend as it clashed with another school event.)

Nine children and one teaching assistant from Burradon travelled by mini-bus with our volunteer tutor Gavin, and met up with the Balliol contingent of eight children and one parent who travelled separately accompanied by two teachers.

Two other primary schools from Bedlington also took part as a combined forty strong band with cornets, tenor horns, baritone horns and trombones. They looked an impressive sight especially in the way they all brought their instruments up together when the teacher raised her arms ready to start!

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Burradon were up next. We played Ode to Joy and When the Saints Go Marching In. They were both arranged as two-part harmonies to show off our accomplished longer-serving members and give an easier part to the relative new starters, although one of newest starters had a go at part one and did a great job! The adjudicator, Christine Thompson said Ode to Joy was “very accurate in the tune notes and rhythm patterns. The dotted rhythm was very precise and all together. Trombone solo instrument well done!” and When the Saints had “a solid introduction. This started with great enthusiasm and carefully counted notes and rests. The fast section was lively and flowing…well done!”

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Then Balliol played Freres Jacques and our own arrangement “United” featuring The Blaydon Races. Freres Jacques had “a strong rhythmic pulse and the quavers were flowing..some good p (quiet) and f (loud) contrast”. United was “very rhythmic with some tongues working very fast. Some complicated rhythms here. The final verse was accurate. A great coda (where the band shouted ‘United’ to end the performance). Well done!”

Christine then invited all the brass players back up on stage and led us through some simple scale and dynamic exercises. As she said , it was fantastic to be part of such an inspirational mass of (mostly) young brass players!

For full adjudicator’s remarks see: BurradonBalliol

Hopefully some photos to follow…

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We’re off to the Wansbeck Music Festival!

Burradon Community Primary School and Balliol Primary School brass groups are going to this years’s Wansbeck Music Festival on Friday 23rd March at Newbiggin Sports and Community Centre. Sessions starts at 1pm.

They will each have 4 minutes to play 2 pieces of music and attempt to impress the adjudicators and audience. This is a fantastic opportunity for our brass groups to perform in public and hear other beginner brass groups.

We will be taking mini-buses from each school and there may be a few places for any parents who would like to come (please let us know).

Unfortunately Backworth Park Primary School cannot attend as it clashes with another school event.

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Christmas performances

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With Christmas nearly here, all three of our school bands have now performed for their Schools.

Burradon Community were first to go on Monday 11th December, performing Join the Band, Rock Around the Clock and Jingle Bells to the whole school, then the next day to parents at the end of our final session for the year.

Balliol played Carol of the Drum and Jingle Bells at the School’s Christmas service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Longbenton on Monday 18th. Chloe did a great job keeping rhythm on the drum for Carol of the Drum, and our youngest member Alfie enthusiastically livened Jingle Bells by playing…well you can probably guess!

At Backworth Park we played Join the Band, Rock Around the Clock, Away in a Manger and Jingle Bells to a special School assembly on Tuesday 19th.

It only remains to wish you all a very merry and musical Christmas and happy New Year, with our 2017 Christmas card featuring a drawing by one of our band members from Burradon Community Primary School.

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Brass in Concert

Some of our children were among over 90 children at The Sage Gateshead on Saturday 18th Nov to take part in workshops as part of the Brass in Concert weekend. The children spent the morning rehearsing a few tunes such as “Ode to Joy”, “Freres Jacques”, “Twinkle Twinkle”, “Old MacDonald had a Farm” and other easy favourites, then performed them on the Concourse of the Sage music centre.

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We also got to hear a performance of the UK’s top youth brass band, Wardle Academy Brass Band, give a very polished performance on the Concourse which included their award winning entertainment programme based around the USA Presidential elections last year, complete with Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton impersonators! To hear 46 brass and percussion players from years 7-13 was very inspiring, and it maybe some of our children will one day be that good!

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Funding from Community Foundation

We are delighted to receive the news that our application for a grant from the Community Foundation serving Tyne & Wear and Northumberland has been successful!

Thanks to the generosity of their funders for the Give2 North Tyneside Community First Fund, we now the funds to take children and their parents/guardians to events such as the forthcoming Brass in Concert workshops at the Sage Gateshead, the Wansbeck Music Festival next March, and to organise workshops with other musicians.

Thank you!

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Farewell to Mara and Angelos

20171018_161926bWe bid farewell to Mara and Angelos and their mother Katerina, from Balliol Primary School brass group as they leave to return with dad George to Greece. They have been absolute stars during their time with us, performing family solos twice at School performances.

Angelos was also our youngest member, being in year 2 when they joined in Sept 2016. His musical knowledge and his ability to convey it was quite impressive – for example when I asked the group if anyone knew what the “dot” after a minim meant?

His answer was “when a note is followed by a dot it has half the length added to it. So in this case the note is a minim which is 2 beats, but the dot means we add half of 2 beats which is 1 beat, making it 3 beats altogether”. A much better answer than I could have managed!

In recent weeks, Mara was a great help assisting with teaching the new starters by demonstrating notes on the cornet. She is developing into a very good player.

Katerina, Mara and Angelos performed with us at the Wansbeck Music Festival in March, and the recent North Tyneside’s Got Talent at Whitley Bay Playhouse, and we knew we could rely on them to play well and help the others.

On their last session they performed once more for us, including a rendition of Kumbaya.
We wish them every success and happiness for the future, and hope they will keep up their
music in Greece!

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North Tyneside’s Got Talent!

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Wow! Our combined brass groups performed brilliantly at North Tyneside’s Got Talent at the Whitley Bay Playhouse last night.

24 children, 1 parent and 2 teachers played “Join the Band” and “Rock Around the Clock”. The numbers and the performance surpassed all our expectations, and we had many people coming up to us afterwards to say how good we were!

When you consider that 15 of the children have only been playing for 4 weeks, it is a fantastic achievement.

Well done everyone!

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North Tyneside’s Got Talent (prep)

We’re off to perform at North Tyneside’s Got Talent at the Whitley Bay Playhouse (Marine Avenue, NE26 1LZ) on Tuesday 10th October, 6:30-8:30pm!

We will have a combined band from the 3 Schools playing our new piece “Join the Band”, and a favourite from last term “Rock Around the Clock”.

We will pay for one ticket for an adult to accompany each child performing. Additional tickets for family and friends are £6 each. In all cases please fill in a form and return to us via the School (see our Letters home page) so we know who’s coming. Please bring children to the Playhouse by 6:15pm at the latest so we can be set up ready to perform at the start.

It’s going to be a brilliant experience!

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New starters

We’re pleased to welcome a total of 21 new starters to our after-school brass groups, joining the 17 returners from last year.

Balliol has the biggest take up with 9 children from year 4 joining. One of the new joiners already has two older sisters in the band, and now their father, younger brother and older sister at High School have all joined making it a real family affair! With 19 members of the band, and so many new starters, it’s quite a challenge!

Burradon and Backworth have smaller numbers of new starters, but all showing a lot of promise.

We’re hoping that the returners will be able to help the new starters and gain confidence in themselves by doing so. The specially arranged music has easy parts for the new ones and more challenging parts for the returners as we try to keep everyone interested, learning and having fun.

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School’s back and so are we!

The brass groups start back during the second week of term (Sept 12th, 13th and 14th) with new starters at each School joining our returning members in years 5 and 6.

We’re planning to quickly work up 2 performance pieces in which the new starters can play a simple part, while the continuing children tackle a more complicated part. We have a new piece called “Join the Band” and the successful arrangement of “Rock Around the Clock” that we played last term.

We are planning to take a joint band to North Tyneside’s Got Talent at the Whitley Bay Playhouse (NE26 1LK) on Tuesday Oct 10th 6:30-8:30pm, and to take the children to take part in the Brass in Concert workshops at the Sage Gateshead (NE8 2JR) on Saturday 18th Nov 9am-3pm including a performance on the Concourse, and to showcase a joint band at the “Best of Brass” Concert at St John’s Church, Killingworth (NE12 6BL) on Saturday Nov 25th 7-9:30pm

We can’t wait to get started!

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