Brass band to perform concert for African music charity

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Belper’s premier league brass band is gearing up for the first in a series of charity concerts to support a groundbreaking international development charity.

Derwent Brass will perform at the Landau Forte Theatre, Derby, on Saturday, April 8, to raise funds in aid of Brass for Africa.

Derwent Brass player Rob Stew

Derwent Brass player Rob Stew

Tuba player Rob Stew said: “Derwent Brass has a rich heritage in charity work which was started many years ago and led by band patron Roy Poole.

“Roy was the hard working chairman of the former Friends of Nightingale MacMillan Unit’ in Derby Hospital, for whom the band helped raise an amazing £28,000 over the years.”

In a fitting tribute, the upcoming event is billed as the Roy Poole charity concert.

Rob said: “Roy still continues to be key in organising concerts with Derwent Brass to raise money for numerous worthwhile charities.

“We now feel that the time is right for the charity to connect, in a meaningful way, to the brass band community at large.”

Brass for Africa is a charity which provides instruments, education and opportunities to orphanages and child refuge centres in Uganda and Liberia.

Established in 2009, it continues the philanthropic spirit of British brass bands, which grew out of factories in the Industrial Revolution period when owners sought to add value and richness to their employee’s lives.

In that tradition, a band is seen as a family unit where everyone shares the same importance and responsibility.

The charity believes this experience can be of huge value and importance to both children and teachers, many of who have never enjoyed the benefits of living in a happy family environment.

Rob said: “It makes perfect sense for us the help this brass-related charity. The brass band movement does an enormous amount of fantastic, musical education work, delivered by people who love brass music.

“That’s what brass bands are really about, and that’s what Brass for Africa is really about.”

In the last eight years, the charity has helped 1,000 children and young people develop skills and confidence in 12 different communities, with many of the youngsters going on to become teachers.

These alumni gain a salary, training, health care and other support which helps to break the cycle of poverty.

Teachers are trained by professional musicians on placements with Brass for Africa, and Rob hopes to be among them soon.

He said: “I am looking forward to the opportunity to make a personal visit to Kampala to experience it and help in any way I can.”

The charity has proved so successful that its founder Jim Trott was able to fund and build a refuge and learning centre for the young girls of the Katwe slum in the Ugandan capital of Kampala, offering food, clothing, education and other needs.

Jim said: “We are absolutely delighted that Derwent Brass have chosen to support the charity. They will help to bring hope to disadvantaged children and young people.”

To learn more about the charity and those it helps, visit www.brassforafrica.org.

The concert will start at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £7 in advance, £9 on the door, or half price for children under 14.

The programme will include traditional brass works, big band standards and film scores, plus the world premiere of Pulse, a new composition by Matthew Eden.

For more details and ticket bookings, call 01773 384121, see www.derwentbrass.co.uk or visit Foulds Music store on Iron Gate, Derby.

The Landau Forte Theatre is on Fox Street, DE1 2LF, and offers free car parking, disabled access and a bar.