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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 £10 for adults, £8 concessions and free for under 12s and season ticket holders. Buy tickets now.
13 February 2019
ATTENTION ALL BRASS AND PERCUSSION PLAYERS!
Maidstone Wind Symphony is keen to recruit new brass and percussion players to complete our wonderful band.
We are blessed with some very talented players across our brass and percussion sections, but we would love to recruit some additional members to join them. We also have a vacancy for a string bass player.
Find out more about becoming a member in the Join Us section.
15 December 2018
We are excited to announce the release of our seasonal EP, A Christmas Festival.
In celebration of our 20th anniversary, MWS has released this wonderful and contrasting EP of seasonal music.
Under the direction of Jonathan Crowhurst, the orchestra performs two of the most popular staples of the festive wind band repertoire alongside two more reflective pieces.
The recording was made by Dave Rowell at the Salvation Army hall in Maidstone in October 2018 as part of the band's 20th anniversary season celebrations.
It is our third recording. In 2017 we released 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).
It followed our first professional recording Slide Projections, featuring trombonist Brett Baker and released in 2012.
The EP is available via digital download only through popular download sites including Amazon Music, Spotify and iTunes.
Sleigh Ride | Leroy Anderson
The Huron Carol | Canadian trad, Andrew Wainwright
A Christmas Festival |Leroy Anderson
O Magnum Mysterium | Morton Lauridsen
5 December 2017
There's been much cause for celebration for MWS members past and present over the last week or two.
Oboist Sam Willsmore has been offered a place at the Guildhall School of Music for next year while alumni and regular guest trumpet player Emily Bristow has won a place in the semi final of the Trinity Laban Soloists Competition.
Several members of MWS also took part in the Maidstone Music Festival at the weekend, including our youngest member, trumpeter Joseph Pickard, who picked up three first places plus some distinctions and a lot of bling along the way! Joseph has also just been offered a place at the Trinity Junior Conservatoire.
And finally, huge congratulations from everyone at MWS to euphonium player Phil Neeve and his wife Penny on the birth of their beautiful daughter Alice.
1 October 2017
Welcome to our new-look website! We hope you like the fresh new look and content. Please take a moment to take a look around the site and to share it far. Many thanks to Simon from Spectulise for his hard work getting the website launched.
1 August 2017
MWS will be holding its AGM in September, when we will be re-election the committee. We currently have vacancies for the positions of Fundraising Manager and Band-elected Trustee and are particularly keen for these roles to be filled, although all posts are available to apply for. Election is open to family, friends and supporters and we would welcome fresh ideas, energy and skills to continue to drive the band forward. For more detailed information please email email@example.com.
1 June 2017
Maidstone Wind Symphony will be
rounding off its 2016/17 season with an Evening of Chamber Music on
Saturday, 1 July.
The concert will be an opportunity to hear many of the talented members of MWS performing in a more intimate setting - as soloists, duets, small ensembles and as a choir. It will also the final performance by our principal tuba player and current Maidstone Youth Musician of the Year George Harrington before he moves away and begins university.
The programme promises a lovely and entertaining blend of styles, genres and colour in the wonderful setting of the Salvation Army church hall in Union Street, Maidstone. Ensembles on the programme include a clarinet quartet, a flute choir and flute duo, euphonium group and various solo performers.
The concert will begin at 7.30pm. Admission is £5 (under 12s free) on the door.
1 February 2017
Thank you to all the wonderful musicians of Maidstone Wind Symphony for your dedication in preparation and performance for this recording, countless hours of fundraising and great playing! Special thanks to Vicky, Kathryn, Russell and Helen.
Personally I would like to thank Jonathan Crowhurst. Without him this recording simply wouldn’t have happened. Not only a fine conductor, Jonathan has a passion for new music, supporting commissions and recordings, coupled with imaginative and creative programming. The music world needs more JCs.
To have absolutely world-class soloists featured on this recording is no coincidence, with musical collaborations and friendships established between MWS, Jonathan, myself and the soloists over a number of years.
Andy Findon is Europe’s most recorded flute player, a leading London session player for many years, stalwart of the Michael Nyman Band and simply an astonishing musician. Featured on this recording playing Fujiko, Andy recorded in one complete take with MWS, displaying seemingly effortless control, nuance and musicality.
Steven Mead is a force of nature!A globe-trotting euphonium soloist and teacher with countless recordings, world premieres and publications to his name. Steven and MWS had collaborated prior to him recording my Concerto for Euphonium and Wind Band, and I know Steven via my work in the brass band world.
The three-movement concerto was originally a commission from Glyn Williams and Foden’s Band, and has been expertly arranged for wind band by Jonathan Crowhurst. Steve displays incredible technical agility in the outer movements coupled with absolutely masterful control and sensitivity in the slow movement.
Les Neish does nothing for my music sales, as very few tuba players can play anything that I write for him! He commissioned and gave the world premiers of Salt of the Earth with Foden’s Band at the RNCM Festival of Brass in 2008, and has performed the piece worldwide since. Arranged by Urs Bamert and edited by Jim Fieldhouse, Les displays supreme musicianship, musical dexterity and range of colours and effects.
Rex Richardson is one of the most virtuosic and versatile musicians that I know, and it was both a challenge and pleasure to write Freedom of Movement for him with wind band!
From reading and interpreting virtuosic notated music to improvising over complex harmonic structures, the sound worlds created and understanding of the different musical feels that are required demand an experience and musically open-minded soloist. Rex and I worked together on my piece Spirit of Mingus in 2012 and I love the fact that he displays what they don’t teach you at most music colleges or in books – feel and groove - and Rex has that in bucket loads!
Freedoom of Movement was composed in the summer of 2016, commissioned by Virginia Commonwealth University in the United States and composed for American trumpet soloist and jazz artist Rex Richardson. Available both for wind band and brass band.
Maidstone Wind Symphony performed wonderfully on the stand-alone band pieces on this disc, Madiba and Paquito, both as an ensemble and soloists with the band. I am fortunate that Jim Fieldhouse was able to expertly arrange these works, along with this beautiful arrangement of Fujiko.
Dave Rowell has captured the recorded sound superbly, and in addition has great ears when it comes to editing and mixing. Thanks Dave!
It took a lot of work from everyone involved making this recording, and we’re all proud to present it to you. We hope you enjoy listening to Roar!
1 February 2017
When one talks about composers in the present age, there are few one can describe as having a truly unique and individual voice – Andy Scott is an exception.
Since exploring his world Dark Rain back in 2012, it has been a fantastic journey for myself and Maidstone Wind Symphony to play such wonderful and varied music. Every work, from Madiba to Salt of the Earth, from Fujiko to Freedom of Movement, has a unique style and yet a conscious stream which makes the music very much Andy’s . He has been an inspiration to collaborate with on this project, which has been five years in the making.
To work with the calibre of soloists on this disc has been a huge privilege and I want to thank them, Andy, Dave our fantastic engineer, and of course the band for all their magnificent work during those sessions back in October. On behalf of MWS, our thanks must go to everyone who mad this journey possible; all the donors, committees, venues – we are indebted to you.
I would also like to pay special tribute to our President Dan Daley who has been supportive beyond measure during my tenure with the band. If anyone encapsulates the spirit of MWS it is him. We will never be able to repay his endless generosity,
Finally, thank you to you for making this journey with us. Putting something new into the world is what making music is all about so I hope you enjoy it; every track has something different and we are all immensely proud of it. Thank you for listening.