The latest news and updates from Maidstone Wind Symphony.
15 March 2020
After carefully monitoring the ongoing situation regarding coronavirus, we have regretfully decided to postpone our Journey to the Stars concert on 28 March 2020. We are exploring options to hold the event at a later date and will be contacting all ticket holders and workshop participants in the coming days.
Our main priority in taking this decision is the health and safety of our members and audience, and we have taken on board the actions of other groups and wind/brass organisations, as well as the general Government guidance as the picture continues to evolve.
At the current time we are continuing to monitor plans for our next concert, the Festival of Wind and Brass, on 3 May 2020.
In recognition of the impact of coronavirus on many of the musicians with whom we regularly perform, we are encouraging our supporters to donate to the The Royal Society of Musicians, a charity which helps freelance musicians losing income due to the ongoing situation and the hardships this presents. Please do donate if you are able.
26 February 2020
Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at an MWS rehearsal?
Have you thought about joining us but aren't sure if we're the right ensemble for you?
Or do you just fancy a night of music making with like-minded wind band folk?
Our new Music Director Roger Graham would like to invite you to an open rehearsal with the band on Tuesday, 10 March 7.30pm-9.15pm at Maplesden Noakes School, Maidstone.
The free opportunity is open to any woodwind, brass, percussion or string bass players of Grade 7+ standard. We are primarily an adult ensemble but we also welcome younger players aged 13 or over eager to gain additional experience alongside their youth music commitments.
If you're interested email email@example.com for more info and to sign up.
14 February 2020
Do you know a budding young artist? Or does your child love everything to do with space?
We want to harness the creative talents of Maidstone's young artists to design the programme cover for our intergalactic family concert A Journey to the Stars
We want your poster-style interpretations of a journey through space. Entries will be shown on a big screen during the concert. What's more, one primary-aged and one secondary-aged winner will be chosen for the front and back covers of the souvenir programme!
The competition is open to anyone aged 18 or under on the day of the concert (28 March). We welcome individual entries as well as mass entries from local schools and other youth organisations. All entrants will receive a 10% discount on concert tickets.
The closing date is Friday, 28 February. For more information, design specifications, Ts&Cs download the Competition Information Pack.
The afternoon concert on Saturday, 28 March will take the audience on a musical journey through space with an exciting programme of music to excite and entertain, showcasing inspirational young performers along the way.
We will be staging a range of workshops and instrument taster sessions on concert day, offering something for everyone from beginners to more experienced instrumentalists, composers, and budding conductors. See the concert event page for full details.
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