...when the weather is typically Mancunian!
Hope you are enjoying this lovely British summer: sunshine, rain, wind and all!
Over the summer weeks, the GMP band volunteers have a bit of a break from rehearsals and gigs. Well, we say a break, but there are always a few gigs that we manage to squeeze in, because we just can't resist them.
Some of us go on holiday with families and friends, some take the opportunity to do gardening and DIY, and some even manage to get in a spot of performing with *gasp* other bands!
This summer there have been a few new additions to the GMP band family too, as some of our players have welcomed the arrival of new children. Future musicians in the making!
Rehearsals for the wind band and big band start up again in a couple of weeks, and the preparations start for the autumn/winter busy season. There are lots of new dates being added to the calendar on our website, so be sure to have a look and see if we're performing near you. You can also keep up to date with us on Twitter and Facebook - do please follow and like us.
If you're thinking about booking one of our bands for your event, please get in touch with our manager Barry (details on the contact page)
Carol is a talented professional musician whose long, varied career has seen her perform and collaborate with world-renowned musicians. She has energy, enthusiasm and passion for making music, and loves sharing that with others.
Carol's life has always revolved around music, for as long as she can remember: both her parents were musicians and her younger sister Johanne is a talented singer, songwriter and clarinettist too. Carol first studied the piano and then picked up the guitar in her teens. A chance encounter with a bass guitar sparked a life-long passion and career spanning almost 50 years.
Carol's early career on bass guitar took her all over Europe playing rock and pop music with touring bands. She joined the Wally MacKenzie Big Band, giving her great opportunities to play and sing, and during the 1980s, Carol worked on cruise ships and at many famous cabaret venues. She co-owned and ran a recording studio and played with the well-known show band - Lemon Tree. They made many TV appearances, including Children in Need in 1985 and 1987, and performing at the London Palladium.
The band were proud to be invited to perform for part of a BBC Crimewatch Roadshow programme in June 2017. The show featured an interview with Chief Constable Ian Hopkins, and paid tribute to those that died as a result of the attack in Manchester MEN arena.
We set up in the amphitheatre in the Great Northern Square, in the city centre. Passers-by on their way to work and people in nearby offices took photos and videos of us playing and shared them on social media before the broadcast!
Band manager Barry Frost was interviewed live, and talked about the funds that the band help local charitable causes to raise - a figure that now stands at almost £390,000!
Sgt Jonathan Kenna, who plays percussion with the wind band, was also interviewed about the band and his role in GMP.
This is a selection of photos from the live broadcast.
Rachael is originally from Bolton, and started volunteering with GMP band on clarinet in 2012 when she came back to the North West after university. She was looking for a high-standard wind band and GMP was a perfect fit!
She has lots of experience in a variety of ensembles, and has played in concert bands and clarinet choirs/quintets since school - by the end of secondary school she was Grade 8 in both clarinet and piano.
In her former career as a primary school teacher, Rachael loved teaching music to the children - especially the choir, drums and recorder. She left teaching following the birth of her young son and is now in the process of setting up her own business.
All our events are now listed in our new band calendar.
Find out more about where we're playing and when, how to get tickets and venue details.
George is something of a legend within GMP band: without him we might not be in existence today, celebrating 140 years of music!
An experienced singer, saxophonist and clarinettist, George is most at home fronting our big band. He's often found singing classics from the greats such as Matt Monroe, Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra in his own, inimitable style. He also plays bass clarinet with our wind band, and sometimes joins the saxophone quartet on baritone sax.
He was a service police officer for over 30 years, working in three different forces and ending his career with Greater Manchester Police. Much of his service was spent as a member of various traffic units as an advanced driver and motorcyclist.
George took a break from policing for a few years, pursuing his love of music and becoming a professional entertainer - he adopted the stage name 'Steve Lee' and was lead singer and harmonica player with the Steve Lee Show Band. He toured extensively throughout the British Isles and beyond. From Thurso in northern Scotland to
Southampton, and in prestigious venues in Greece, Germany, Italy and Turkey - as far as Adana near the Syrian Border. He worked with many well-known names en route and he has many tales to tell from his time as a pro!
When George rejoined GMP, he became involved with the band, which at that time was a full-time ensemble made up of serving officers. He would sing with the Big Band, and when he eventually passed the audition, became a full time player on clarinet.
The band was disbanded in the early 1970s, but George and several of his friends and colleagues rescued it a few years later, bringing it back as a voluntary ensemble.
It's with great delight that we welcome Alexander Webb to the ranks of the Greater Manchester Police Band volunteers, as our new conductor.
Alexander is a graduate of the percussion programme at the Birmingham Conservatoire, and in 2016 accepted a place to become the Timothy Reynish Conducting Scholar at the Royal Northern College of Music. He first studied with Guy Woolfenden and now studies with Mark Heron and Clark Rundell. He has also participated in masterclasses with Nicolas Pasquet, Jac Van Steen, and Sir Mark Elder.
He maintains a busy schedule as a freelance musician balancing percussion performance with his conducting engagements. As a percussionist he has worked with the English Symphony Orchestra, Queen’s Park Sinfonia, Desford Colliery band, and in 2012 was awarded the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Scheme place for timpani.
As a conductor Alex has worked with a variety of ensembles across the UK; including The British Police Symphony Orchestra, Swindon Chamber Orchestra, National Youth Wind Orchestra of Great Britain, and Liverpool Mozart Orchestra. He has undertaken tours around Europe, Asia and to the United States; and has also made recordings for broadcast on BBC Television and Radio. Alexander is very generously supported by the Waverley Fund.
Alex has already begun rehearsals with the wind band and has a couple of concerts with us under his belt. With some high-profile events coming soon, the band are thoroughly enjoying his conducting and are benefiting greatly from his knowledge and experience.
We hope you'll be able to see us perform soon, and enjoy Alex's conducting as much as we do!
Hi Barry and the Band,
We just wanted to say a massive ‘Big Top’ thanks for joining us yesterday; the passion with which you all donated your time is truly remarkable and I hope that you are all feeling proud today.
We generated fantastic income of £845, which equates to 34 nights accommodation; having the event complemented with a live band is magical, really builds the atmosphere and ensures all our guests had an extra memorable time.
With your support, we secured over 200 hours volunteering on the day; we certainly would not have been able to put on such a wonderful event without you sharing your talent and time.
We received lovely, heartfelt thanks and feedback from a cross section of guests who all wished to praise the event, everyone’s hard work and dedication to making a real difference to the families we support and our wonderful facilities.
Thank you for joining us and being a part of our fifth anniversary celebrations and we look forward to working in partnership with you in the future.
Melissa Kirk – Deputy House Manager
Ronald McDonald House Manchester
Volunteers’ Week is an annual celebration of the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK. It takes place from 1st-7th June every year, and Greater Manchester Police are celebrating the great work volunteers help the force to do in local communities with a series of videos.
Amongst the volunteers from throughout GMP, our very own Helena Hornby is featured. In this short YouTube video, she explains why she volunteers for GMP, and how she enjoys making a difference in communities through music.
The GMP band has around 60 volunteers - collectively they give over 12,000 hours a year to making a difference through music. To date, they've helped local communities to raise over £380,000 through the various events they've played at.
You can find out more about Volunteers Week on their website - http://volunteersweek.org
Also, why not look at our 'Meet a Musician' section and find out more about Helena and some of our other volunteers.