Tonbridge continues to deliver excitingly vibrant and fabulously variety-rich events throughout the summer.
The next spectacular is a wonderful series of free musical concerts on the Bailey Lawn in the beautiful grounds of Tonbridge Castle on Sunday afternoons during August and everyone is very welcome.
The concerts, organised by Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, will be performed by a mixture of amateur and professional bands between 3pm and 5pm. Stephen Gregg, one of council organisers, said: “There is no need to book a ticket, we invite everyone to just turn up on the day and enjoy the music.”
Why not take a picnic and experience your own alfresco summer spread or take advantage of the refreshments on offer?
The Hildenborough Women’s Institute will be selling cakes alongside Jem Mochafella, who is serving tea, coffee and other refreshments.
Or if you fancy a small tipple, The Sociable Wine Company (www.thesociablewinecompany.com) will also be on hand throughout each afternoon.
Cllr Maria Heslop, Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council’s Cabinet member for community services, said: “I’m delighted to welcome back these wonderful bands for another season of free summer concerts on the Castle lawn.
“There’s sure to be something to suit all musical tastes from big band to jazz and the great band classics – the perfect way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon.”
Brian Piner, President of The Rotary Club of Tonbridge said “It is always an honour to support local events and charities and we are very happy to be doing that at some of the bands’ performances again this year.”
Jon Hamilton Big Band
Music at the Castle kicks off on Sunday 7 August with the Jon Hamilton Big Band.
The line-up includes saxophone, trumpet, trombone and rhythm sections with regular soloists and two talented vocalists, Ruth Fahie and Nigel Garrard.
Formed in 1988 by Jon Hamilton Puxley, the Jon Hamilton Big Band was initially a rehearsal band providing musicians with the opportunity to participate in playing music in the ‘Big Band Style’ including ‘Swing Era’ numbers made famous by Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Glenn Miller, etc.
Some founder members, such as trombonist Keith Neaves and baritone saxophonist Cathy Leaver, are still in the line-up today.
The band has had a number of Musical Directors, including pianist and film music arranger Julian Kershaw, John Peel (trumpet), Lyndsey Bennet (trumpet), Jim Clarke (trombone) and composer/arranger Colin Charman, who generously donated a considerable amount of additional music to the band’s library.
Julian Kershaw arranged the song ‘She’, which was performed by Elvis Costello and The London Symphony Orchestra in the hit film Notting Hill. He was also named in the credits for the TV series Merlin.
They are currently directed by lead alto saxophonist Richard Melkonian, who hails from Naugatuck, Connecticut.
From a very early age Richard played in a variety of dance bands, and impressively received his BA in music from Yale University.
The band began rehearsing on Monday evenings at The Royal Oak, Wrotham Heath, before moving to the Fleur de Lys in Leigh, where they gave their first public performance in December 1992. Their current venue is the ‘comfortable and palatial’ music centre at The Judd School, Tonbridge. www.jhbigband.co.uk
Second Wind concert band
Second Wind is a traditional concert band whose repertoire includes many favourite concert band pieces as well as novel and exciting arrangements of well and lesser-known music of various styles.
It reflects an array of musical tastes from classical to stage and film, pop, rock, jazz, swing, Latin and marching tunes.
The band’s diverse range of music means they are in demand at a host of indoor and outdoor events where many popular tunes are grouped together.
Second Wind’s musical development is in the capable hands of Conductor and Director of Music Martin Forward.
The band was formed in 1998 by a group of like-minded players from around Sevenoaks. Many members now come from further afield and most of the original musicians are still playing with the band, which has become a social hub as well as musical group.
The band has a nucleus of accomplished musicians but has always welcomed new players from all levels of ability.
It seeks to encourage members to develop their musicianship and enjoy the excitement and fun of belonging to a band and performing publicly.
Rehearsals are held every Friday evening from 6.45pm until about 8.45pm in the Village Hall at Underriver. www.secondwind.org.uk
Invicta Jazz Orchestra
The Invicta Jazz Orchestra is a friendly group of 30 amateur musicians whose ages range from GCSE students to members who are now retired.
Director of Music Scott Jenkins was a founder member of the band.
Scott spent three years at Middlesex University studying a BA in Music (Jazz). He spent several years with the Kent Youth Jazz Orchestra and the National Youth Jazz Orchestra.
He also performs with the bands Rac-a-saX, a saxophone quartet, and the Swagger jazz quartet, which mainly focuses on funk and fusion music.
The Invicta Jazz Orchestra has played at several venues during past year, including the Whitstable Oyster Festival, Sevenoaks Summer Festival, Faversham Festival, Cranbrook Music Festival, and the Marlborough Jazz Festival, and is now adding Music at the Castle in Tonbridge to this impressive list.
The band practice every Thursday, and under Scott’s direction the musicians often rework and improve the existing repertoire as well as adding new numbers. www.invictajazz.com
Sevenoaks and Tonbridge Concert Band
Music lovers already had a taste of the Sevenoaks and Tonbridge Concert Band – when they played at the Tonbridge Carnival in June.
The singers and musicians filled the summer air with an eclectic repertoire of original works, arrangements of orchestral pieces, military band items and light music.
The band can call upon an impressive and ever-growing catalogue of music spanning different musical periods and genres.
Formed in 1980, the Sevenoaks and Tonbridge Concert Band has become a well-established member of the area’s musical community. As well as local players it attracts musicians from across Kent, East and West Sussex and South East London.
The band’s spring and autumn concerts usually follow a theme exploring a wide range of music chosen both to please the audience and to provide a challenge to the players. This also enables them to raise money for selected local charities. From time to time the band will support a noted guest soloist in a major work.
They have a busy programme of appearances at community events across south east England and also occasionally tour in the UK and abroad.
At Christmas members will be staging a traditional festive concert in Sevenoaks.
The concert band generally recruits experienced ensemble players, and members range from school students to well established musicians.
To support and develop less accomplished players, they have a fabulous training band, whose members are encouraged to join the concert band as they progress. www.stband.co.uk
Free entry every Sunday between 3pm and 5pm