The Phoenix Concert Band
A brilliant sunny day greeted our first appearance at the Radlett Festival. There was much to see and do at the festival, with a number of very good musical performances by a
variety of ensembles, all kicked off by ourselves!
Concerts in 2016 with an indoor/outdoor concert in the summer at Christ
Church (our rehearsal venue). It was supposed to be outdoors, but the
heavens opened so we went indoors instead!
21/12/2013 - Our Christmas concert was held to raise money for St Francis Hospice. Together with busking in St. Albans, we raised just over £750, which we were delighted to present to the hospice.
04/12/2013 - The Occasional News!
We've done a few concerts since the last time this
page was updated, and we've grown a bit as well (again!),
26/07/2012 - Shenley Gardens, 15th July
Its always a risk playing outdoors, but after raining everyday for many weeks, we managed to play a completely un-interrupted concert with no stops for rain at all! The ground was soggy, we squelched our way on and off. Anyone wearing heels had no chance!
22/05/2012 - Our news updates are quite sporadic...
We've had quite a lot of new players join us recently, though we're always keen to hear from anyone who may be interested in joining. With the new players have come several new chances for the band to play, as well as some return visits. A key one for us just recently was Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat at the Radlett Centre, very close to where we rehearse - a real chance for ourselves to get to know the local community.
22/05/2009 - The band has moved! We're back rehearsing in Radlett (where we used to rehearse when the band started), this time at Christ Church, where we held our first cream tea concert. The room has a great acoustic for rehearsals, and extra rooms for our sectionals as well.
21/05/2009 - The band has recently taken given its second afternoon tea concert, again in Radlett - this time at the local synagogue, which had a great acoustic for us to play in. Happily its an experience for us to repeat, as we've been invited back, which is always good!
26/08/08 - Our first news update in ages, and quite a bit to report.
The band had its first afternoon tea concert in Radlett in April, where we played in Vision Hall, a lovely setting for us. The regulars in the audience appreciated the more intimate environment of the venue, and whilst we played several curious onlookers pooped in to see what was happening!
In what has been a disappointing summer with the weather, we returned to Shenley in July, playing in the wonderful gardens - on what must have been the hottest day of the year! Nevertheless, the band played extremely well, and though the venue is quite large, the audience never feels too far away. Even quiet, intimate pieces can easily be heard and appreciated. Particularly poignant was the performance of Dam Busters, marking the 65th anniversary of the daring raids undertaken by 617 squadron.
13/12/07 - The first time we took part in the National Concert Band Festival, we received a gold award in the Community band class. This time, for our second visit, we received a silver, but in the more challenging Open section. The adjudicators picked up on some areas for us to work on, and also complimented us in others, such as ensemble, balance, and the way the band is meticulous in following the conductor. Which rather took the conductor by surprise...
So a good result, and something to work on.
29/07/2007 - Another first for us, this time to the Walled Garden, at Shenley, Herts. This was a lovely setting for a concert, where the sun shone after a wet spring and early summer - and for us, another compliment with an invitation to return next year.
27/05/07 - A first visit to the village of Gawcott, where we played in the delightful village church. The church has a great acoustic, and gave the band a great lift. We were on good form, and we were paid the best compliment - an invitation to go back and give another concert.
24/02/07 - Our turn for a return visit from the Stevenage Choral Society, and another warm welcome from Canon Dick Lewis at Christ Church in Watford.
We were able to repeat the choral works we played at Stevenage, and to great effect in the acoustics of the church, which seemed to very much appreciated by the audience.
The concert was marked by continuing sales of its first CD, Fiesta, still available, though the stocks are dwindling!
16/11/06 - Our concert in Stevenage was our first in Stevenage, in front of an appreciative audience, who were entertained with a mixed programme of music. Two pieces were played which involved ourselves and the Stevenage Choral Society - Rutters Gloria, and Chilcott's Jubilate, both quite demanding pieces that worked well in the generous acoustic. Our Deputy Conductor, Owen Elton stepped in at the last minute, as Musical Director Chris McGinity was incapacitated for the concert.
06/11/06 - After our first "Last Night of the Proms", the band is off to Stevenage for a combined concert with the Stevenage Choral Society, featuring the music of John Rutter, and Bob Chilcott.
We were very lucky to have soloist Jonathan Warburton playing Bass Trombone with us. He played the Gordon Jacob 'Cameos', and gave an exemplary performance, showing that the Bass trombone can be played with real grace and subtlety. Gordon Jacobs widow was with us in the audience, and was very appreciative of Jonathans performance.
04/07/06 - A slightly delayed news update, after two significant events for the band. Most recently, the band enjoyed a return visit to the Bothy, for a rather hot outdoor concert, which featured a first outing for our training Big Band, Little Phoenix. The band was set up to provide Big Band playing for any players in the main band who wish to play Big Band music, and had a successful first performance at the Bothy.
The second was the departure of the band from FairField school in Radlett, where we've been for almost five years, and had great support, especially from Michael Burr, the site manager at the school. We've now moved to Hertswood school in Borehamwood, where we've had a great welcome from site manager Paul Barlow, who has been very supportive as we've settled in to our new surroundings.
11/04/06 - Back at Christ Church, this time with the Essex Concert Band, in a successful return visit by our friends from Essex. With our very own Malcolm Bateman on the organ, the audience were treated to a rip roaring finale to a concert that started in fine style with Owen Elton at the Phoenix helm with Star Wars, and regular MD Chris McGinity stepping in to conduct 'Lets Face the Music and Dance'. Essex MD Geoff Harniess took over and conducted three pieces by the ECB, including Stevie Wonder, and Four Norfolk Dance by Philip Sparke. We finished with the Finale to Saint Saens 3rd Organ symphony, and an electrifying arrangement of Bach's Toccata!
03/12/05 - The band made an appearance at a regular venue, Christ Church in Watford, but this time it wasn't a concert! Building on our success at the National Concert Band Festival, we decided to record our first CD, 'Phoenix Fiesta', edited and manufactured in time for Christmas. A bargain at £6.50 each, or 2 for £10, available with one phone call to 020 8364 9862!
30/11/05 - This Sunday marked a key moment in the history of the band, when, at our first appearance at the National Concert Band Festival, held at Colchester on Sunday the 27th, we came away with a gold award.
After intensive rehearsal, the band gave excellent performances of Fiesta, by Philip Sparke, and Partita by Edward Gregson, and with it the prospect of a trip to Glasgow for the finals.
14/09/05 - the first seven months of the year proved to be one of our busiest, with regular concerts, and a new venue added at St Aidan's Church, Northampton, and a very hot outdoor concert at the Bothy!
But band members have been busy in other ways - Congratulations to Andy and Emma on getting married, and to Tony and Claire - for getting married! Also big congratulations to Dawn and Christine - both giving birth for the first time over the summer.
This autumn we've no concerts - instead, we'll be taking part in the National Concert Band Federation competition, and making a recording - our first. Meanwhile, we're finalising our date for next year, and we'll have those announced, soon
24/05/05 - A busy start to the year, with several concerts under our belt - and a successful ski-ing holiday, with no broken bones.
The biggest event for us was our concert at Christ Church in Watford, with the Universitair Harmonie Orkest, from Leuven, with over 90 musicians on stage. A simply staggering sound! We're planning a repeat visit to Christ Church, this time hosting a return visit by the Essex Concert Band. Details as soon as we have them.
- A close to the year, ending with a concert at Northwood College, Carols
at Leverstock Green (for a few of us), the traditional end of year curry at
the Radlett tandoori, and into the New Year with many of the band away on our
second ski-ing trip. And then it's back, with quite a few concert lined up! We
do have three vacancies in the band - we need a horn, a bassoon and tenor sax,
so do call if you play any of those.
21/10/04 - A great concert at Christ Church in Watford, the first time we've played there, and we raised over £500 for Penniwells Riding for the Disabled. We're looking forward to going back, in April, in a joint concert with Universitair Harmonie Orkest, Leuven, Belgium.
Also, our dates for the first half of next year are pretty much set up - see our concerts page
20/07/04 - A while since our last News update, and since then we've dodged the showers at the Bothy in Finchley, our second visit to this superb location, already befitting from some much needed renovation, which will include cafe and artists studios. The money has come from the National lottery, which the band is also hoping to benefit from, with its own bid for funding. Happily for the band, we've been asked to make a third visit - hopefully it'll be a bit drier!
19/03/04 - If our combined concert with the Essex Concert Band was probably the biggest sound of the year, our concert at Leverstock Green must have come close! With a very full band, the sound we made easily filled the hall at Leverstock Green - which is not the biggest we've played in. This limits the size of the audience, but they seemed to enjoy our efforts - and our recently launched 'Follow the Phoenix' scheme attracted more than 60 new members from this concert alone.
10/02/04 - In to 2004, and with (probably) the biggest sound we'll make all year - the combined forces of ourselves and the Essex Concert Band came together once again, to give a roof raising performance of the finale from Saint Saens organ symphony, AND Mars, from the Planets. This rousing finale to a well attended concert was all to raise money for the St. John's Ambulance.
11/01/03 - Our last concert of the year ended on a high note with a full house at Rickmansworth, and a big blow out curry to complete the seasons activities. Since then, we've had another band away trip - to La Plagne, in the French Alps, for our first ski-ing trip! Photos to follow! Now we're looking forward to the coming season, with our next concert over in Colchester, for a return visit to our friends of the Essex Concert Band.
06/11/03 - A little while since our last update, and since then we played at The Eastman Hall for Wealdstone Active Community. We were raising money for BBC Children in Need, and received a very useful feature on Radio 2, a very pleasant surprise.
Our concert dates are firming up for next year, with the first half being quite busy.
You can keep in touch with our activities through our mailing list - regular e-mails are sent detailing the bands activities as they are announced, and as we get near to concert dates.
11/08/03 - Two new sections added - Music and Photos. The Music section lists just some of the music from the last two years, and the photos section shows what (some of us) look like!
20/07/2003 - The biggest news is the relaunch of the Web site! A different colour, a new logo, but more importantly, more information about the band!
15/07/2003 - We ended the first part of the year on a real high note, with a concert at the Bothy, in Finchley. This Grade One listed venue runs an expanding Arts festival during the summer, and the band were delighted to be asked to play. We left the stage thinking we had given a good concert, which the organisers confirmed within minutes, by asking us back again - the best feedback to get!
19/02/2003 - The band is now running a mailing list via email to keep you up to date with the dates of our latest concerts (and any other news) - click here for more details.
04/01/2003 - 2002 marked our first full year as a band, and a very successful one it was too! The band gave concerts in Colchester, Watford, Leverstock Green, Rickmansworth, Harrow, Loughborough and Rickmansworth (again!).
This year promises to be just as busy, with concerts in Leverstock Green and Finchley already planned (click here for more details). More news soon (including reviews of our recent performances, and details of the programme for those to come).
11/06/2002 - Two successful concerts in two weeks - the first, with the Essex Concert Band, raised over £500 for the Essex Air Ambulance Service, and a simply huge sound when both bands came together for the Holst Suite in E flat, and Bach's Toccata in D.
At the second we almost raised the roof at St Mary's Church in Watford, as part of their spring music festival, again featuring Bach's Toccata, but this time with the organ of St. Marys, played by one of our Tuba players, Malcolm, who very fortunately, learned to play on the organ at St. Marys!
Our apologies to those expecting us at the Bull theatre on Barnet - we'd offered our services to Barnet Borough Arts Council to do a fund raising concert. We don't know what they were expecting, but no-one can find any evidence of them having done any publicity, sold few tickets, and had to cancel.
This was quite a contrast to the previous week, when we played to a full house at St.Marys school in Rickmansworth. The concert featured ourselves and an excellent ensemble from the school, lead by Ron Pettie - who also happens to be our drummer.........
Our concerts list shows just our confirmed dates - but we've a couple more concert lined up between now and the end of the year, so watch this space!
Regular visitors to the site may notice the photo page has gone. There's reasons!
First, the photo was out of date, second the band is much bigger (40 players), and third, we have some new ones on the way!