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In April this year 30 primary school children from the Saff went to the National Youth Brass Band Championships in Warwick. Against the best bands in the country and with just a few months preparation they came home with the award for Band showing most potential. Quite an achievement. But it is only the start. This project is about pride, identity and the power of music to transform lives. A local action group has set itself the challenge to a. make the band a community asset, b. embed brass in the community, c. raise the standard of playing through peer to peer learning and leadership and d. celebrate diversity. We are working with Marriott Primary School, who are providing premises, staffing and venue for the project, for 2 hours a week for 60 weeks!
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
This project started when Marriott Primary School decided to tackle under-achievement by offering brass playing to 3 whole year groups. There was some resistance at the start but soon the brass players won over the community. Over the last 3 years the children have shown musical skill and passion surpassing all expectations. Drum and Brass, the Leicestershire Schools Music Hub and Southfields Concert Brass Band have helped the school to form its own band. And now we are backing local families to set up a permanent youth band with a clear progression and youth leadership model. The Brass of the Saff is the only youth brass band in Leicester City. And it is about transforming lives, building confidence and generating pride and resilience. We are run by and for the local community and we actively promote young leadership, cultural diversity and strong local partnerships.
Steps to get it done:
Our first volunteer is a 16 year-old child care student. She volunteered to help out with the after-school band simply to pass the time while waiting for her brother. She felt it would be useful experience for her own career. She has since picked up an instrument and learned to play too. In just a year she has passed her Silver Music Medal and now coaches the cornet section in the band. She has blossomed into a capable and popular role model who inspires younger players. Our latest volunteer used to be really quiet when she started playing. After a year in the band she has passed her Bronze Medal, performs in public with the band and is preparing her first solo. She has grown into a confident and valued player who is happy to support less experienced members. These are two of many similar stories of the transformational power of music. The Brass of the Saff is inclusive and supportive and while music is our core activity, wellbeing, pride and sense of community are our core aims.
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Click on the pink tape measure to see the report!
Two days, not long to prepare and put on a concert - especially with all our visitors. Bob Sheldon and Councillors came to check out our project delivery, Jon Read (trumpet player with the Specials and top guy) and Marcus Joseph (sax player and equally top guy), Gemma Fuller (trumpet player and top lady) all came to support and inspire our players. Darren Lea from Warwick Music popped in for the concert and to interview players and families. And photographers from the Mayor's office and the Leicester Mercury swung by too. Lots happening then, and still we managed to prepare 5 pieces and 3 ensembles for the concert. Thanks to all those who came and watched! We also prepared for Music Medals and for Arts Awards. Not a moment was wasted. And this was hard work but as ever, our players rose to the challenge admirably. The best thing was the camaraderie that developed over the two days. With that concert ahead, everyone pulled together as a team. And of course we pushed the boundaries of brass. We have a dhol player, we created a rap to start our Tick Tock piece and we played a short version of John Cage's classic 4/32 silence. It was just the best 2 days ever. Thanks to the team, Linda, Cara and Melissa, thanks to the families and here's to the Summer Band Camp! Oh, and you guys paid for it so thanks to you too!
Head over to our Facebook group @brassofthesaff to see pictures of our very first Band Camp day. We welcomed some amazing musicians: @jonathanread from the Specials and @marcusjosephsax, we met the Mayor Peter Soulsby and Councillor Elly Cutkelvin, both if whom have supported the band, and we made some great music. What really bowled us over though was the focus, creativity and sheer grit of the young players, who played a challenging programme and still came out smiling! Well done Brass of the Saff!
Several adults have asked if they could learn to play one of our beautiful new instruments. The answer is... YES! Come to St Hugh's Church on Sturdee Road on a Thursday at 7.30 pm and have a go. If you like it, we run a beginner session at that time every week. It is never too late to start. We are also thrilled that the makers of our beautiful instruments, Warwick Music, are are to pay a visit to the Brass of the Saff this week. Looking forward to seeing you guys! Onwards and upwards!
The first 10 instruments are here! And we are naming each one after our wonderful donors. These two are Cara and Angela. Thanks ladies, you should have seen the band's faces when we unveiled these today! We started work on our contest pieces as well. After the first 10 minutes I felt we had set the bar too high. But after an hour I was feeling amazed at our players - underestimate the Brass of the Saff at your peril! We will keep you updated as we approach the contest on March 30th. Thanks, Julie (Drum and Brass)
Happy New Year to our supporters! We're now ready for new players (yes that includes you Kirstyanne!) as Drum and Brass has ordered the first 10 instruments using the money you all so kindly gave. We enjoyed playing carols for the community and in the Leicester City Centre over Christmas. Now it's contest time. From next Tuesday we'll be hard at work preparing for the National Youth Championships in Warwick on March 30th. So it's literally all to play for! And we'll be dressed for the part, also thanks to you, in our new uniforms. Watch this space! regards, Julie (www.drumandbrass.co.uk)
Well together we did it! This Leicester Crowdfunding campaign has been an amazing experience for the band. With your help we have made many, many new friends and more than exceeded our ambitious target. The final Community Bucket donation was the best Christmas present the band could have. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. The donations will be taken from your accounts in the next couple of days. Now our journey to the National Youth Championships begins and we hope you will stick around and share our journey. I'll be posting here but also, do join our Facebook page and/or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Come and see us, we'd love to meet you and say thank you in person! The Brass of the Saff will play tonight, Thursday 13th December at Oadby (outside Subway) at 6 pm and on Saturday 22nd December at 3.30 pm outside Santa's grotto in the New Market Square or listen out for us on Radio Leicester on the breakfast show on Christmas Eve! We'll be thinking of you as we play. In the new year we shall buy our new instruments in rainbow colours. This says loud and proud that we welcome every single person in the Saffron Lane community to join us to celebrate life through music. If you know anyone who would like to join, email us! We meet every Tuesday between 3.15 and 4.45 pm at Marriott primary School, Broughton Lane, Leicester. We can loan instruments and provide music coaching, whatever your age. This is your band, come play! meanwhile on behalf of The Brass of the Saff Have a very Merry Christmas and a fabulous New Year regards Julie and all at Brass of the Saff