Eb Bass – Mark Picken

Most memorable playing moment …
Some of my best band memories are those from the various international concert tours I’ve been lucky enough to be part of. Performing at the Menin Gate in Belgium, the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa and Prague Castle in Czech Republic being a few highlights.

Away from Brass Bands, playing in The Directors, (Rock, Rhythm and Blues Band) at the closure event of the Courage Brewery in Reading in 2010, where I’d worked for 20 years, was one of the most emotional and memorable performances. Live music at its very best.

Proudest banding moment …
A couple of moments that stand out for me:

Firstly, hearing one of my brass band arrangements played by The Wingates Band on BBC Radio 2 programme Listen to the Band, and secondly having a composition published for the first time.

Previous bands …
Nailsworth Silver Band
Barnes Concert Band
South Berks Concert Band
The Directors
Roy Bailey Dance Band
Watership Brass, The Newbury Town Band. (as player and current MD)

Favourite piece …
I remember hearing Philip Sparke’s early brass band works (e.g. Music for a Festival, A Swiss Festival Overture, Jubilee Overture, Land of the Long White Cloud) when I was growing up. I remember thinking this was different to what had come before. It showed that a brass band could play melodic and exciting contemporary music.

Not a huge fan of many band test pieces, but as a longer work Glorifico Aeternum by Dean Jones is a cracker.

Musical ambition …
To simply enjoy playing regularly again.
To continue to write and arrange music that people enjoy.
….and to always remember – it’s only a hobby.

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