ALNWICK PLAYHOUSE BAND HISTORICAL INFORMATION
Alnwick Playhouse Concert Band was founded in 1994 by Ray Thompson and Glen Hogg who, having previously been members of the disbanded North Northumberland Orchestra, decided to form a concert band.
An advertising campaign to recruit members was commenced and a selection of music was borrowed from the local high school and a neighbouring concert band in readiness for the first rehearsal. It was a great delight that 24 musicians attended the Playhouse on the 2nd November 1994 for the inaugural rehearsal. This higher than expected level of interest provided the necessary assurance that a concert band in Alnwick was a viable proposition.
Having made successful grant applications to local arts and charitable organisations to purchase more music, the Band began preparing for its concert premiere. On the 18th March 1995 in the Playhouse, to a near sell-out audience and to great critical acclaim, the Band performed its first ever concert. Since then the Band has gone from strength to strength and is now an established musical group of repute within the town.
The Band takes its name from its adopted home, Alnwick Playhouse, where rehearsals take place on a weekly basis and where the Band performs its main concerts. The Band is very fortunate to have such an excellent venue as its base and is grateful for the continuous support it receives from the management and staff of the Playhouse.
The Band members, whose ages range from 12 to 60 plus, come from throughout Northumberland. None of them receive remuneration for playing in the Band. They play because they enjoy music making with likeminded people in a friendly environment.
The Band is administered by elected Band Officers who collectively form the Band Executive. Again, none of the Band Officers receive personal remuneration for fulfilling their respective roles. They take on this extra responsibility because of their commitment and dedication to the Band.
The Band is funded from proceeds it receives from concert performances, from donations and grants from charitable organisations and from members’ subscriptions, all of which go to meet the continuous expenditure on music and instrument maintenance.
Approximately 60% of the Band members are students and therefore there is an annual turnover in the membership as the older students leave to pursue their further education. However, 9 of the original 24 founder members are still with the Band.
In 1995 the Duchess of Northumberland agreed to become the Band’s Patron. The Band members are grateful that Her Grace wishes to be associated with the Band in this way.
As well as performing its main concert in the Playhouse in the spring of each year, the Band has played at many other venues including churches, village halls, parks, schools and village fairs at locations throughout the North East of England.
A successful bid by Alnwick Playhouse to the National Lottery Board in 1998 to purchase a selection musical instruments has added significantly to the overall range of sound produced by the Band’s playing.
September 1998 saw the birth of the Alnwick Playhouse Starter Band, an initiative launched as an opportunity for inexperienced musicians of all ages to play together and to provide the Concert Band with a ready source of future members. The Starter Band has proved very popular and currently has 52 members spanning a wide age range. Since its launch, a number of Starter Band members have already made the transition to the Concert Band.
A major milestone in the Band's history occurred in May 1999 when, for the first time since its formation the Band performed a concert overseas. At the invitation of L’Union Musicale de Lagny, an amateur orchestra based in Lagny sur Marne, near Paris, the Band made the long trip to France over the May bank holiday week-end. This visit was important not only for the musical opportunity it provided for the Band but as an opportunity to enhance the spirit of unity and friendship that exists between musicians the world over.
At the Band's annual spring concert in April, ‘Outreach 2000’ was launched. This musical celebration for the new millennium consisted of a series of concerts in village halls throughout Northumberland during spring and summer months of 2000. Venues were chosen where the Band had not previously performed, in the hope that 'new' people would be introduced to the Band's music.
The Band’s semi-quaver logo, designed by Glen Hogg, one of the Band's co-founders and current secretary, features the red and yellow vertical interlocking bars of the Northumberland County flag and the ‘Percy’ lion. Characterised by its straight tail, the lion appears on the Duke of Northumberland’s family coat of arms and is a symbol which has become associated with Alnwick for many generations.
Updated 17th November 2000
For detailed look at our Constitution click : CONSTITUTION
CELEBRATING 20 YEARS
This year is a special year for us as the Alnwick PLayhouse Concert Band celebrates 20 years of playing music.
Special events are planned for November with an Anniversary Concert on November 15 2014 in the PLayhouse.
Watch this space as the programme unfolds throughout the year.....
Below is a list of Concert Programmes, Band Members and further information about the different concerts over the years.