The latest news and updates from Maidstone Wind Symphony.
13 January 2020
Maidstone Wind Symphony is delighted to announce the appointment of its new Music Director, Roger Graham.
Roger was born and brought up in Gravesend and started to learn the tuba at the age of 13. After two years of lessons, he gained a place at the Royal College of Music Junior Department and shortly after became the principal tuba player of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.
He trained at the Guildhall School of Music under James Anderson and John Fletcher. After leaving the Guildhall he worked as a London-based freelance musician with some of the London orchestras, film orchestras and West End shows.
His interest in wind bands was kick-started when he began working for a music publisher specialising in concert band repertoire. When the conductor of his local band was taken ill, Roger stepped up and took the rehearsal; the reaction from the musicians was so positive that he decided to take up conducting. Since then he has been a guest conductor for a number of bands and ensembles in the South East, combining this with his playing commitments.
Roger said: “I cannot put into words how delighted I am to have been offered the position of Music Director with Maidstone Wind Symphony. I realise that with this opportunity comes the huge responsibility of maintaining the momentum and levels reached by the band under the previous MD Jonathan Crowhurst.
“As I enter this new musical collaboration with these wonderful musicians, I am sure we will drive forward and continue to develop as an ensemble. We will continue to tackle some challenging landmark concert band pieces. We will also look to form connections with highly-talented composers and seek to perform some of the newest and most exciting repertoire. Most importantly, I am sure we will have some fun!”
Maidstone Wind Symphony President Dan Daley said: “I am delighted as President of this excellent ensemble to welcome the arrival of Roger Graham to fill this important role, and am looking forward to a long and productive journey together along what I am sure will be an interesting musical highway.”
Roger is Maidstone Wind Symphony’s fourth music director. He succeeds Jonathan Crowhurst, who stood down from the role at the end of the band’s 20th anniversary season. His first performance with the baton will be at our gala concert A Journey to the Stars: A Festival of Youth at Mote Hall, Maidstone, on Saturday, 28 March.
9 December 2019
Our interim music director Sam Willsmore explains his approach to programming this year's Christmas concert:
When I was tasked to create the programme for this concert, I knew I didn't want it to be a traditional 'Christmas Concert', so I started by trying to find a suitable theme.
One difficulty when creating a Christmas programme is finding the balance between pieces that both develop and display the ability of the ensemble whilst also performing well-loved festive favourites. I split the programme thematically into two broad halves, the ‘colder’ less festive half with a view to develop and demonstrate our abilities whilst also celebrating the winter season, characterised by music which is less familiar. The second half is the ‘warmer’ part of the concert and features music more associated with Christmas, which most should know and love.
Our programme presents a wide variety of music from the celebration of a single moment in time with Hymn to a Blue Hour to two different Sleigh Rides and a potential third if you applaud enough!
29 November 2019
MWS is going to be supporting Time for the Homeless this Christmas.
Members of the band and audience members at our Christmas concert are being encouraged to donate shoe box gift boxes for the organisation's volunteers to give out to the homeless and vulnerable after their Christmas dinner.
We have seen for ourselves the great work that the volunteers do running a soup kitchen beside All Saints Church in Maidstone, where our concert is being held. They also support people across Medway and Swale with food and other items, plus support and advice.
They are particularly looking for donations for men, but ladies' ones are also gratefully received. Here is a few ideas of what items to put In the boxes. These are just ideas and you don't need to include all of the suggested items:
MEN: comb, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shower gel, socks, gloves, hat, chocolates, sweets or biscuits, playing cards, colouring book, pencils, hand warmers.
LADIES: Brush, hair bobbles, toothbrush, toothpaste, sanitary items, socks, hat, gloves, sweets, chocolates, biscuits, colouring book, pencils, word search .
If you are coming along to Gaudete! A Celebration of Christmas on Sunday, 15 December, please consider bringing along a shoe box, or items to contribute towards boxes that we will then make up. For more information about TimeForTheHomeless see their Facebook page.
Thank you for your support.
9 October 2019
We are pleased to announce the appointment of the following members of the MWS management committee following our AGM:
We have a number of vacant posts on the committee and would welcome expressions of interest and applications for the following positions. New members can be co-opted at any time during the year.
If you are interested in any of these positions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for an informal discussion and more information.
11 September 2019
MWS is seeking a new Music Director.
The Committee is inviting expressions of interest an applications from prospective candidates who believe they are the right person to take up the baton and ensure MWS continues to develop its unique position, to pursue excellence, and to perform the innovative repertoire beloved of its musicians and audiences.
Potential candidates must be able to demonstrate:
Potential candidates should apply in the first instance to email@example.com before the closing date of Saturday 19 October 2019. Please include a covering letter and CV with your application/expression of interest. Interviews and auditions with shortlisted candidates will take place during November/December 2019.
We look forward to hearing from you.
11 September 2019
It is with great sadness that MWS announces the resignation of its Music Director, Jonathon Crowhurst.
One of the UK’s foremost wind orchestra directors, Jonathan has been an indefatigable force driving MWS forward to musical excellence so that it is now an award-winning ensemble with a rich history of collaborations (performances and recordings) with internationally-renowned musicians and composers.
Throughout his tenure, Jonathan has delivered passion, energy, enthusiasm, and unrivalled opportunities for all at MWS. The ensemble has been privileged to benefit from his extensive network of professional contacts, all of whom have been keen to work with MWS and to inspire its musicians and audiences. This is particularly true for the many young, gifted musicians at MWS whom Jonathan (as a keen educator) has positively encouraged to realise their musical ambitions.
Jonathan’s insatiable desire for - and commitment to - innovative wind ensemble repertoire has done much to foster a wider interest in the genre and to make it more accessible. This he has achieved through a combination of his unrivalled musical knowledge, understanding, and expertise with his exceptional ability to craft for his audiences performances that are resplendent and memorable for their theatricality, drama, and intensity.
We are hugely indebted to Jonathan for all this and so much more: we shall certainly miss his uniquely individual charisma and his highly-distinctive brand of humour.
Our profound, heartfelt thanks to Jonathan for everything he has done for us individually and collectively; we wish him the utmost success in his future endeavours.
In his parting message to the band, Jonathan said: “For the last eight to nine years some of my proudest moments have come via the baton conducting MWS. The many wonderful and memorable performances and concerts, the new music, the recordings, the fantastic soloists and probably the most important of all, watching the development of its members both young, old and older. What more could a conductor ask? It has been quite an adventure.”
We have now begun the recruitment process for our fourth Music Director. Our concert dates for the 2019/20 season are unaffected, with our principal oboe and budding young conductor Sam Willsmore taking up the baton for our season-opening concert on Thursday, 24 October.
For more information about the Music Director position or for an informal discussion please email Russell Joyce firstname.lastname@example.org
5 April 2019
This season we are celebrating 20 years of Maidstone Wind Symphony.
The band was founded as Maidstone Winds by Brendon Le Page in 2008 and held its first concert at The Corn Exchange, Maidstone, in October.
Over the past two decades under the direction of Brendon, Jeremy Cooper and current music director Jonathan Crowhurst, the orchestra has established itself as one of the UK’s leading amateur wind ensembles.
The orchestra has
been led by Jonathan since 2010 when it changed its name to Maidstone Wind
Symphony. In 2015 it became only the second wind
orchestra to win the National Concert Band Symposium with its performance of
John Mackey's Wine-Dark Sea Symphony for
In 2017 the band released a new recording, Roar!, featuring the wind music of award-winning composer Andy Scott. The disc features collaborations with special guest artists Rex Richardson (trumpet), Steven Mead (euphonium), Les Neish (tuba) and Andy Findon (flute). This Christmas sees the release of our festive EP, A Christmas Festival.
Maidstone Wind Symphony is a dedicated advocate of contemporary composers and regularly gives premiere performances. It is renowned for its highly-acclaimed interpretations of wind band music with repertoire ranging from traditional and popular classics through to contemporary band masterpieces.
The orchestra also regularly engages some of the world’s finest woodwind and brass soloists and is proud to have collaborated with a wide range of wind bands, brass bands and choirs over the years. Alongside regular concert performances, the orchestra presents inspirational workshops with its guest soloists.
Thank you to audiences past, present and future for
your support of music making in Maidstone. Here’s to the next 20 years!
20th Anniversary Concert
Our 20th anniversary season will reach its climax with a concert featuring some of our most popular ever repertoire in the company of our music directors past and present.
The concert on Saturday, 29 June at All Saints’ Church, Maidstone, will be a chance for players past and present to come together and celebrate two decades of top-class music making with MWS.
The concert begins at 7.30pm. We will be holding a pre-concert reception for members past and present. Former members interested in attending the reception and concert can email email@example.com
13 February 2019
MWS is delighted, once again, to be invited to headline at Maidstone Proms in the Park on 25 May 2019 at Whatman Millennium River Park, an unforgettable day of FREE outdoor musical entertainment at the purpose-built Millennium Park Riverstage and arena.
Though considered an expansion of Last Night of the Proms (arguably the most famous of all classical music festivals), Proms in the Park actually has its origins in the 18th Century 'promenade concerts'. These were a regular feature in London’s public gardens and so called because of the informal atmosphere, at which eating, drinking and promenading were permitted.
Sir Henry Wood, the conductor most associated with The Proms, established the repertoire for the Last Night of the Proms that continues to this day: Fantasia on British Sea Songs, Rule Britannia, Land of Hope and Glory, and Jerusalem.
The party atmosphere was largely at the encouragement of the colourful Sir Malcolm Sargent, who first conducted the Proms in 1947. He grasped a prescient opportunity to enliven already raucous audiences emboldened by post-war victory to create a sense of triumphalist celebration, the hallmark of all Last Night of the Proms performances ever since.
Modern Last Night of the Proms audiences continue the tradition, resplendent in outlandish costumes, singing passionately (even though they might not know the words!), firing cannons of streamers, blowing penny-whistles, and sounding quacking ducks in a high-spirited celebration of patriotic pride.
The Proms is now an integral part of the British festive social fabric, indelibly lodged in the national consciousness. And such is the expectation when MWS takes the stage, to
–initially perform a number of specially commissioned contemporary arrangements from popular film and theatre (including, among others, The Greatest Showman, The Wiz, Mary Poppins, and The Wizard of Oz) and then
–finish with rousing performances of the Henry Wood Proms classics …in which singing, flag-waving, duck quacking and high spirits are encouraged if not mandated!
In keeping with MWS philosophy, we’re committed to delivering not merely a concert but a memorable spectacle, an interactive celebration of life and music both for the audience and (more importantly) with the audience. We look forward to you joining us in the revelry and merriment!
For more information on the Maidstone Proms in the Park, please see Visit Maidstone's website.
Written by Russell Joyce, Chairman
13 February 2019
Alongside preparing some exciting repertoire for the Festival of Wind and Brass concert on Easter Saturday with Matilda Lloyd, members of MWS are also busy rehearsing for solo and small ensemble performances at our annual Evening of Chamber Music.
This concert has been hugely well received by audience members over the last two years. It's a chance to hear some of the talented musicians from within the band in a more intimate setting. We do hope you'll be able to join us.
Tickets are Ł10 for adults, Ł8 concessions and free for under 12s and season ticket holders. Buy tickets now.