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The National Children’s Brass Band of Great Britain in concert under the direction of Guest Conductor Mareika Gray with Guest Percussion Soloist, Simone Rebello.


Rhythm is the heartbeat of music and The National Children’s Band of Great Britain and Mareika Gray have chosen it as their theme for this year’s summer course and concert. The programme features rhythms and music from around the World including Brazil, Africa, America, Belgium, Scotland, Spain and Great Britain.


The Halls, Norwich

To watch the concert online click here.

Belgium composer, Lennert Van Laenen’s (runner up in NYBBGB’s 2022 young composer competition) new piece Sparkle explores the unusual combination of syncopation and melody nurturing fun and relaxation.

Goff Richards is well known for his innovative rhythmic compositions and Zimba Zamba doesn’t disappoint. This exciting percussion feature for soloist Simone Rebello fuses South African and European rhythmic traditions seamlessly.

Rhythm isn’t all about excitement and drive, sometimes the lilting rhythm of a lullaby can sooth a baby to sleep. Lady Stewarts Air by Scottish composer Peter Graham, Joseph Barnby’s Sweet and Low and Sleep by Eric Whitacre are very much in this vein and are a welcomed contrast to the hustle and bustle of William Lemon’s Helter Skelter.

Barry Gott and Richard Phillips offers a diverse number of complimentary rhythms and harmonies in their extended works Glasshouse Sketches and Joy, Peace and Happiness and James Anderson brings stability and reliability to the programme with the good old British march, Goldcrest.

Soul Bossa Nova by Quincy Jones is a piece of music which is synonymous with rhythm and has its origin firmly based in African Samba. It combines several simultaneous rhythmic layers but always keeps it’s strong second beat characteristic.

Berenska’s Taps in Tempo (another percussion solo for Simone Rebello) underlines the most fundamental element in all rhythms, ‘tapping in tempo!’

One of the most rhythmic and original works in the programme is a surprise. Nat Chivers’ SURPRISE! features body-music, also known as body percussion or body drumming. This is a fascinating amalgam of composition and choreography. The music creates the shapes and patterns of the dance; the dance makes the sounds and rhythms of the music resulting in visible music/audible dance.

Whatever other elements a given piece of music may have, rhythm is the one indispensable element of all. Rhythm can exist without melody, as in the drumbeats of so-called primitive music, but melody cannot exist without.

Programme notes: Dr Robert Childs