The Ulster Youth Orchestra held it’s Wind Band Day Extravaganza in association with the Education Authority on Saturday 2nd April 2016 at the Education Authority, North Eastern Region, Antrim Board Centre. Mike Fowles, Musical Director of Ratby Co-Operative Band and Musical Director of Fodens Brass Band and Anna Hughes Williams, solo cornet player with Fodens Brass Band and professional educator flew over to take the Junior and Senior Wind bands and work with 50 woodwind, brass and percussion players aged 10 to 18 from the four different regions for the day with the help of Paul McCrisken and the woodwind and brass tutors of the Education Authority, North Eastern Region who gave up their Saturday to come and help out.
The day began at 1:30pm with Mike taking the 50 musicians for a session of warm ups before players broke into the junior and senior bands and began work on their respective concert programmes. Players had great fun throughout the day and when 6:30pm arrived an informal concert was given to a hall of around 100 parents and friends. The junior band, under the baton of Anna Hughes-Williams, gave confident performances of Big Mac March, Gimme Some Lovin’ and Funky Rockin’ Choo Choo with whistle soloist Ruth McCann’s debut adding to the enjoyment! The senior band, led by Mike Fowles performed Fanfare and Flourishes followed by a fabulous version of Music from the Lion King with added singing (Penguin llama, penguin lamb Obama – that was as much as many of us managed!). The concert ended when the two bands came together in a stirring rendition of Defying Gravity which sent everyone home with a spring in their step and a song in their heart! Donations of £100 were raised.