Fodens tutor in Armagh

Posted by Mark Wilkinson on 31 August 2011

Ivor Stephenson gives an insight into the Armagh Summer School that was held in August for the 11th consecutive year involving tutors from Fodens


Armagh Brass Summer School 2011
1.      Team Fodens Band
After 11 consecutive years I can still vividly remember my worries and fears about our first summer school. I had acquired substantial funding and the services of eight members of the Fodens band to come to Armagh for a week in August, the flights were booked accommodation sorted and so on! Just one small problem two weeks before the kick off! – No participants (despite lots of advertising)! I was lucky that I was at home the Saturday before the event when a Mr Grenville Moore rang and after a chat he promised his support and sure enough when we collected team Fodens 1 from the airport I was able to say we had a modest number of participants.
Thank you Grenville!
Undaunted team Fodens 1 crasped the situation and by the end of the week quite a number of players had taken part and were able to perform a concert to the public – The word was out!! Since then Fodens committed and sent its fantastic teams 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11. A special thank you to each and every tutor, each one has displayed and passed on the special talents and qualities expected of members of the Fodens Band through the passing years little by little and with constant resolve to the Fodens Teams have cranked up the standards and expectations for the benefit of all participants.
2.      Team Summer School Band
This year’s 2011 Fodens Team
Anthony Mann, Fumika Kimura, Glyn Williams, Helen Williams, Leslie Howie, Mark Bousie, Michael Fowles, Richard Poole and Stewart Baglin
Commitment is balanced by the contribution of the various bands, 20 this year, both participants and working supporters through the years has been steadily increasing. On the transport front this year the appearance of ‘The Big Blue Bus’ has been a source of encouragement to us all. Then of course there are those that book in and reside in Armagh for the week too and what about those who travelled the thousands of miles by car. All of this increased activity has swelled the participant numbers to 120  with over 90 being  at every workshop and youth rehearsal! Its amazing to note how many find useful jobs little and large to do during this hectic week. Talking to these shakers and movers reveals that they take great satisfaction in contributing anything to drive the Summer School process forward and they increasingly look to the future.
3.      Team Armagh Old Boys
As I pen this article I must remember the input of this little group – a typical community band who have played a massive role throughout the passing years to be of service to all who have come to Armagh tutors or participants. Of course through this process we have made many good friends who come along to help ‘The Armagh Old Boys’ at their various community functions.
4.      The Support Team 2011
I have lived in Armagh for a long time and I was taught how to fund raise through the Old Boys in the early days. The good things we receive through our pastime have to be paid for with money or goodwill provision or both. In 2011 we need to acknowledge:-
a)      Armagh City and District Council for financial support
b)      City of Armagh High School for premises and caretaking
c)      1st Presbyterian Church for premises
d)      Armagh Old Boys Music Centre for financial support and premises
e)      The occupants of 16, 23 and 24 for beds etc
f)       Johnstons Bakery for generous portions of good food
g)      The friends, parents and supporting bands who provided transport, caring, food etc, etc.
What about 2012?? YES PLEASE
We could write a book about Summer school 2011, however it would be most effective to say that it has taken a quantum leap forward in terms of numbers and quality. This is simply due to many more folk taking ownership of the Summer School process.
The Fodens Band have forged a unique relationship with Brass Band enthusiasts in Armagh and Ireland something we can all treasure and build upon.
We look forward to 2012 – there is a place for you! There is a role for you! So lets be doing!!!



Foden's band maintains a world class reputation for providing entertainment in the field of brass music with a tradition and unique style Mark Wilkinson