In 2008, St. Jude’s School took part in a Government funded scheme aimed at introducing children to playing musical instruments. St. Jude’s had 90 Year 4 children on the scheme, as the principle was to give as many children as possible the opportunity to experience the benefits of learning how to play an instrument. The scheme was only funded for two years, enabling the school to hire the instruments and pay for a teacher.
After the first year, the children had the opportunity to join a newly formed school brass band, continue tuition via Surrey Arts and to perform at various school and outside events. This was successful for a number of years by relying on parental contributions. However, after government funding was withdrawn and pressures on family budgets changed, there simply was insufficient money to maintain it and so the scheme reduced until it ceased in July 2017, and with it the school brass band.
In 2017 The Egham Band decided to run its own scheme. Following initial planning and fundraising The Egham Band Youth Brass project was born. Discussions were held with our first school, St Jude's CofE Junior School, Englefield Green. The scheme had to be sustainable, which means that the instruments had to be purchased rather than hired. Various applications for grants have been made over the last nine months, positive results from the applications were difficult.
It was decided to start the scheme in September using 25 brass instruments owned by the music teacher and The Egham Band, although the children could not take the instruments home it was a start. Since September 75 children from Year 5 at St. Jude’s have started to learn to play.
Several of the parents purchased instruments for their children and from funding we have recently secured from Music for All, the United Church, Egham and several local individuals and organisations we now have 40 p-Cornets. If we can prove the project successful it is hoped to extend the scheme to other schools in the area.
December 2018 saw the first public outing for St Jude’s Year 5 children and St Jude’s Brass - the newly formed brass group. The concert held at St John’s Church in Egham was a huge success with well over 100 family and friends in attendance.
Christmas came early to the project when a member of the local community pledged the funds to enable us to purchase the remainder of the p-Cornets so that there were enough for each child to have one - Truly amazing generosity.
In the same tradition of the Egham Youth Band opening the second half of The Egham Band’s concerts St Jude’s Brass opened the second half of Egham Youth Band’s concert in January.
St Jude’s continued to improve with each lesson and additional children joining St Jude’s Brass as they became more confident.
Talks with a second school interested in the project - Thorpe Junior - progressed and plans were made to start the scheme in September of 2019. The project was very fortunate in the fact that our Father Christmas stuck again and offered to purchase all 30 p-Conets to ensure that the scheme got off the ground in September - WOW!
Summer saw a great performance from St Jude’s Brass at the Englefield Green Village Fair. The Egham Band headed to Thorpe Junior School’s summer fair to demonstrate what their children could be doing in 10 years time. The band was well received and several parents took the opportunity to ask questions about the soon to be brass lessons in the school.
Over the summer term and summer holidays the children of St Jude’s Brass have moved away from p-Cornets to several types of brass instruments loaned by The Egham Band, we seem to now have quite a few horn players! The summer holidays did not mean that rehearsals for St Jude’s Brass stopped, oh no, they got their first taste of playing at the Bandhall in Egham supported by members of The Egham Band and Egham Youth Band
December 2019 saw the 2nd annual concert for The Egham Band Youth Brass Project. This year the concert involved St Jude's School Year 5, St Jude's Brass, Thorpe Primary School, The Egham Youth Band and The Egham Band. Also appearing were the Year 5 students from Bishopsgate School who are also running a similar project in house. We are also very grateful for the loan of Joanne from Bishopsgate who has taught the St Jude's year 5 students. The concert was once again held at St John’s Church in Egham, it was a huge success with well over 100 family and friends in attendance, the church was full!