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UniBrass Band Camp receives financial backing

Unibrass Band Camp 25-30 August
Friday, 9 July, 2021

The UniBrass Foundation will benefit from new funding sources in order to deliver an exciting new playing and social experience for young musicians.

Band Camp, the new summer school for students and those aged 18-25, has received a grant of £14,980 from Arts Council England as well as an additional £981 from Ecclesfield Parish Council, the local council for the course accommodation.

Running from Wednesday 25 - Monday 30 August 2021 near Sheffield, this 5-night residential is open to any brass or percussion player aged 18-25 (including school leavers, university students, or those not at university) and anyone over 25 currently in higher education.

Band Camp will involve a mixture of full band rehearsals, sectionals, workshops, and performances, with other guest artists to be announced soon. The new sources of income will allow organisers to enhance the musical tutoring included in the course and incorporate a number of workshop opportunities into the programme.

Along with musical director David Thornton (Grimethorpe Colliery Band and Head of Brass, RNCM), tutors have been confirmed as Steve Jones (Cory band), Brett Baker (Black Dyke), Sam Fisher, and BBE Brass Foundations specialists Helen Minshall, Paul McLaughlin and Sheila Allen.

Performance opportunities include a final formal concert at Sheffield Cathedral, and outdoor events at Sheffield's bustling Barkers Pool Square and Hathersage’s beautiful 1930s outdoor swimming pool. The programme will include a world premiere of a brand new piece for brass band, Revolution by John Frith.

UniBrass trustee Alex Parker said: “We have been really pleased with the popularity of Band Camp, with over 30 participants already signed up. Now that we have received this financial boost, we will be able to make Band Camp really something to remember.”

In true UniBrass style, participants can expect an enjoyable balance of musical and social activities. It will be a musically beneficial week with interesting repertoire and performance opportunities, alongside excursions, outdoor activities, and plenty of evening entertainment.

Based at Hesley Wood Scout Activity Centre, Chapeltown, near Sheffield, participants will stay in bunkhouse dormitory style accommodation or have the option to camp if they prefer.

The course will cost £160 (camping) or £190 (bunkhouse) with most meals being provided. Payment can be made in instalments or as one lump sum.

Musical director David Thornton said: ‘Right from the outset, the UniBrass initiative has been an extremely important addition to the brass band calendar. The UniBrass contest has already injected energy and drive into band activity and now Band Camp will extend that work. I’m looking forward to a great event; full of quality music, creativity, team building, fun and performances. I personally can’t wait!’

Band Camp participants will develop musically, form a group of like-minded friends, and enjoy a blast of brass after what has been an unusual year.

Andy Straiton, UniBrass Chair, said: ‘We believe that Band Camp fills a gap in the market with a new opportunity for young people to get involved with UniBrass and find out what we are all about - whether they currently go to university or not. We have a great week planned musically, with plenty of socials too, all at an affordable price.’

UniBrass and event partners Brass Bands England are constantly monitoring the Covid-19 situation and working within all guidelines.

With only half a dozen places remaining, organisers are encouraging those interested in taking part to sign up now. Registration for the event will close on Sunday 25 July or when final places have been allocated.

Secure one of the last places at Band Camp!