Our ensembles are grouped in tiers to reflect the expected age and experience for the ensemble members. All of the music performed by our ensembles is specially arranged by our Musical Director, Ian Chalk and is written knowing the experience and capabilities of the members of each ensemble. It also means that our ensembles play unique arrangements and have never played by anyone else!
Junior Band is our entry level ensemble for young people who are just a year or 2 into their musical journey (approximate Grade 2/3) and is suitable for all instruments. This ensemble is all about learning about how to be in a band, working together while making some very cool music across a range of different genres. Junior Band provides a foundation to prepare young musicians to progress to our Tier 2 ensembles as they build their skills and experience.
These are our intermediate level ensembles for young musicians of approximately Grade 4 standard and above. In these ensembles we are playing music with a greater emphasis on detail and accuracy preparing our members to eventually be invited to join our Tier 3 ensembles.
RnB Orchestra: imagine a symphony orchestra with a grooving rhythm section playing recent RnB, soul and pop hits! We've also got room for singers. The RnB Orchestra is suitable for all instruments. To give you an idea of what to expect from RnB Orchestra here's a demo of our arrangement of the Bruno Mars hit 'Leave The Door Open'
Big Band: arranged for 3 sections (woodwind, brass and rhythm) Big Band plays modern arrangements of cool jazz tunes that are fun to play but also challenging. The specially written arrangements allow plenty of room for jazz improvisation. Here's a demo of the our arrangement of Helen's Song by George Cables which is a good example of our Big Band repertoire:
These are our advanced level ensembles and members join through invitation or audition. Ensemble members need to be Grade 7 or above and Tier 3 ensembles have one person per part. The aspiration for these ensembles is to be one of the best in the UK for their genre.
Jazz Orchestra: this is the natural progression for Big Band members from our Tier 2 ensembles. Here we play more challenging, professional-level arrangements to a very high standard. Here's the Jazz Orchestra performing at the Royal Albert Hall in 2018.
Funk Soul Band: this is the progression for members of the RnB Orchestra. Great soul and funk music ranging to classic Motown to recent hits and even our own compositions. Here's Funk Soul Band's winning performance of Stevie Wonder's 'I Wish' at the York Music Hub's 'Best Of The Bands' 2019