Over the course of the weekend of 14-15 February, Cory Band worked for the first time as the official education partner of the UniBrass Championships, now in its fifth year. The competition was begun by students at the University of Lancaster in 2010 as a way of encouraging brass players to continue to play throughout their years in Higher Education, and has become a vibrant and important brass festival.
With 20 bands contesting the title of UniBrass Champion on the Saturday in the Warwick Arts Centre, a quartet from Cory Band consisting of cornets Tom Hutchinson and Stephanie Wilkins, tenor horn Owen Farr and trombone Chris Thomas, presented workshops for the general public throughout the day, culminating in an afternoon performance. Then it was a rush to waiting cars for the four Cory players, who needed to get to the band’s concert that evening in another part of the country, the Hafren Theatre in Newtown, Powys.
However, the following day saw a return to Warwick for Owen and Chris, joined by Cory conductor Philip Harper, to deliver more workshops, this time for about 150 university students before they made their way back to their respective universities. Owen and Chris gave masterclasses on the art of playing and practice routines, whilst Philip gave a workshop aimed at aspiring conductors. Then everyone joined together for a massed blow – only just fitting into the room!
The education events were supported by Besson Musical Instruments, and future projects with the Cory Band are planned with UniBrass. Philip Harper commented: “UniBrass has come a long way in a short time, and we’re very pleased to be able to assist the development of these players in this way.”