From small notes to growing into a crescendo of glory for academy

'Making Music Fun, Making Music Together' that is what a small band of people set out to do when launching a new village band.

Tuesday, 5th July 2016, 8:14 am
Updated Tuesday, 5th July 2016, 10:17 am
Red Admiral Music Academy from Mawdesley rehearsing ahead of their set in the Hebden Bridge Hymn and March Contest

Now as the Red Admiral Music Academy approaches its second anniversary, membership has grown from 15 to 80 members from ages seven years to 73 and families of three generations playing side by side.

The academy was founded and led by experienced musician and musical director Danny Brooks in June 2014 to offer and inspire people of all ages to play brass instruments in a fun and friendly manner.

The group offers brass 
tuition with a team of 10 of experienced brass musicians, who all play for top level brass bands, giving up their spare time to pass on their knowledge to members.

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Red Admiral Music Academy opening the new Mawdesley band stand

Member Mark Cobham says: “We started with just 15 members but we very quickly started to grow and as we approach our second birthday concert we have around 80 people learning to play brass instruments and that growth is set to continue.”

Since their inception the band has not just grown but accomplished great things. Just this year members raised £1,750 from a concert in aid of the Croston Flood Relief fund for those affected by the Boxing Day floods.

And as well as opening the new band stand on Mawdesley Millennium Green, the band played at Chorley Town Hall as guests of world renowned Leyland Band and most recently won their first march contest.

Mark adds: “The march contest took place in June at Hebden Bridge and was our first competitive event and 
also our first time playing whilst marching.

Red Admiral Music Academy from Mawdesley

“So as well as our players having to master some new pieces of music, they have had to learn to march and play at the same time.

“After several weeks of hard work we arrived at the Hebden Bridge Hymn and March Contest ready to give it our best shot, 10 bands played in total and several of those were in the top section and amongst the best in the country.

“As an unregistered band we were firmly ranked at the bottom of the table.

“That didn’t faze us though and every player did themselves and Red Admiral proud and we won the best 4th section/unregistered band section and came 8th overall, beating two other very good bands.

Red admiral academy player George Cobham, 13.

“This was an amazing achievement for our first competitive outing and the cheers could have been heard back in Mawdesley!”

The academy now has three bands rehearsing each Friday evening at the St Peter and St Paul R C Parish Centre, Mawdesley, with the starter band catering for those completely new to playing brass instruments; a beginner band being the next level up and the main training band for players who have progressed to a higher standard of musical ability.

Mark adds: “We have partnered with our village schools for the last 18 months to deliver small group brass tuition within school and from September we will be extending this service to a number of other schools in the local 
area which will lead to further members coming through.

“One of the main reasons for our growth is that we are fully inclusive and accept players of all abilities from complete beginners to experienced players looking to play in a more relaxed environment.

Red Admiral Music Academy opening the new Mawdesley band stand

“We don’t cherry pick our players like most other brass bands do, everyone is welcome and everyone is given the same opportunity to progress to the best of their ability.

“In the short two years in which we have been running we have put on numerous concerts and played at lots of 
local events so our players have lots of opportunity to perform and put their skill to use, they are not just rehearsing for the sake of it.”

A lot of work goes on 
behind the scenes to manage the academy, organise concerts and events and help fundraise for equipment and instruments and this is carried out by a dedicated team of enthusiastic volunteers who work closely with Danny to ensure the proposition continually develops and the organisation continues to grow, not only in numbers but also with the quality of music it performs.

The academy has a busy calendar for the rest of the year with a Proms in the Barn event on Saturday September 17 at Cedar Farm in Mawdesley and numerous concerts in the run-up to Christmas.

For now, efforts are concentrated on the birthday event, which takes place on Saturday July 16 at Mawdesley Village Hall ,with performances at 2pm and 7:30pm.

Tickets are £6 for adults and £4 for children and are available from Mark Cobham on 07554 609024.

Red Admiral Music Academy from Mawdesley

All proceeds will go to Red Admiral Music Academy and will be put towards additional instruments to help them continue to grow.


Red admiral academy player George Cobham, 13.