About The Guards Brass Ensemble
Late in 2015, ten lowly brass players from around the Household Division Bands put regimental repartee to one side and joined to form the divisional Ensemble of Excellence, Guards Brass. The concept of the group was the brainchild of Colour Sergeant Mike Altree from the Band of the Grenadier Guards with the sole intention of performing in the Guards Chapel Recital Series.
Since the initial outing, the reputation of the group has spread far and wide with exciting opportunities arising for these grounded and humble guys.
The first outing was almost a performance on home ground, after being invited to play in the Guards Chapel Recital Series. Meticulous rehearsal under the watchful eye of Warrant Officer Class One, Bandmaster Andrew Porter and with tutelage from world esteemed brass aficionado and Bass Trombone supremo Roger Argente (also a great friend of Surrey Brass), saw the group take on the challenges of music specifically penned for his own group ‘Superbrass’, a collective of some of the finest brass and percussion players currently working on the professional London music scene. The music takes on a diverse range of styles and draws on vast technical challenges to showcase the virtuosic abilities of the group. The recital took influence from the music of Spain and presented every single member of the group with personal challenges. From the free flow improvised jazz Flugel and Trombone solos in ‘Dulcinea’ to the highly embellished and technical Piccolo Trumpet solo in ‘Air des Espagnoles’ no turn or rest was left to chance.
The setting of the Guards Chapel provided a perfect back drop for the recital with hundreds of years of heritage and history lining the walls. The ‘laid up’ Colours of our forefathers hang bearing testament to both the past and present custodians of State and Ceremonial music making. The assembled audience, lunch boxes and sandwiches in hand, were wowed by a display of finesse and musicality and were in no way bashful in showing their appreciation with rousing applause after rousing applause.
Since this first concert nearly two years ago, the group have gone from strength to strength and performed in scores of concerts up and down the country with musical excellence and community engagement at the very heart of everything they undertake. Engagements have ranged from taking part in the 'Festivo' Christmas Concert at Windsor Castle, through engagements and workshops with numerous Music Services, Schools and Universites from around the country and high profile appearances with truly world class performers such as James Fountain of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Gary Curtin from the Black Dyke Band and Roger Webster from Grimethorpe Colliery. The jewel in the Guards Brass crown is undoubtedly tonight's performance with Adam Rapa, arguably the leading light of trumpeters that the world has to offer. With high end musical output at the epicentre of their mission, Guards Brass certainly fly a very proud flag for Household Division and Army Music.
You can hear The Guards Brass Ensemble rehearsing here.