Good News!

This year has a been a bit of a challenge- we’ve moved home and had to start paying rent for the very first time.

Fortunately, the lovely people at the Co-op accepted our recent application for a grant towards the cost of being at the church and so, for the moment, we can rest easy!

We were awarded the princely sum of £1575.00 from the Co-operative Community Fund, which was rather nice of them.

Thank you, Co-op!

Membership HFYFL JPEG

Classical Roots: How some stars made it by knowing their circle of fifths.

Some popular musicians who make it to the top all have one secret to success in common- they were classically trained. They probably sat hunched and frustrated over theory papers and lost sleep the night before exams, just like you. I am not referring here to people who make it through the Simon Cowell pop factory with an army of vocal coaches and songwriters, I’m talking about the people who made it to the top through sheer musical ability and determination.

The frontman of Muse, Matt Bellamy, is an excellent example of someone who had piano lessons as a child and actually did something with it. He met his bandmates at college and after winning the local battle of the bands, they decided to become internationally successful. And they did. A lot of their music is very influenced by classical music and composers. Rachmaninov anyone? They even wrote an actual classical symphony a few years ago.
The leading lady of Evanescence, Amy Lee is another musician who created her sound from her classical training. She has a particularly classical timbre to her voice and she often features her awesome piano skills in her songs.

Although he is mostly known as a jazz/pop musician, Jamie Cullum can not only play the piano, but also guitar and drums. He’s another one who’s clearly spent a lot of time practicing and knows all about notes and things.

There are others; Hearsay’s Myleene Klass studied the piano, violin and voice at the Royal Academy and Annie Lennox studied the flute there too. Going back even further, most of the Electric Light Orchestra were classically trained, too.

 Even although some of the greats weren’t classically trained, they often look to classical music for inspiration.

Daft Punk actually wrote a half classical, half modern score for the film Tron: Legacy. Its one of my personal favourites, especially for the big brass sounds towards the end of the film. These are contrasted by Daft Punk’s signature electronic sounds in other parts of the film. Awesome. Strangely, Pharrell Williams wasn’t invited to this one…

In short, yes, Grade 5 Theory could get you a Brit award, so don’t forget to learn your cadences!

p.s. If you know any I’ve missed, stick a comment below.

The Clef Factor

Last Saturday saw the culmination of our summer-long music competition- The Clef Factor. Everyone had taken home an instrument at the beginning of July and had until the 20th of September to learn as best they could before an X-factor style talent contest took place.

Loads of our wonderful musicians took part and each had their turn under the spotlight and the critical gaze of our guest judges (Duncan and Margaret). Everyone played spectacularly and each performance was more unexpected than the last (apparently Max had only started the sax that afternoon!). The individual performances, both in the Youth and Adult categories, culminated in getting everyone back on stage for a group rendition of a Queen medley- at least I think it was Queen…

At the end of the night, however, the judges gave their final verdict on the winners. Many congratulations to:

  • Youth Category 1st Prize- Harry on the Pocket Trumpet.
  • Youth Category 2nd Prize- Sarah on Piano and Alex on Clarinet
  • Adult Category Winner- Sandra Drake on the Soprano Sax
  • Best Teacher- Rachel

And then we all went and stuffed our faces with refreshments, cakes and sausage rolls courtesy of the lovely Sarah Sexton and Sandra Drake. Overall, much fun was had!

Finally, is with great honour that I can present to you part of a winning performance from Harry- enjoy!

P.s. You might have noticed that the website has had a bit of a makeover recently. Please let me know what you think- constructive criticism also welcome!

Weird and Wonderful: Orchestras of Great Britain’ve all heard of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields but in this article I’d like to give well-deserved credit to some of the stranger ensembles of our fair isles. Often self-funded and run voluntarily by individuals (of perhaps questionable sanity), these groups exemplify the original and- in my opinion- true meaning of the word ‘amateur’ i.e. an individual who engages in an activity purely for pleasure, not for financial benefit but because they have passion for what they do.

First off, a group that you may actually have heard of because they have broken slightly into the mainstream in the last decade or so with the unstoppable rise of the mighty ukulele: the UKULELE ORCHESTRA OF GREAT BRITAIN. Combining comedy performance with this comedy instrument, they have now gone global and are almost permanently on an international tour, playing (among others) pieces such as “DAMBUSTERS MARCH” and “BORN THIS WAY”. They perform on an enormous range of ukuleles to achieve their sound: soprano, concert, tenor, baritone and bass. If I’m not wrong, the chap with the ponytail lives locally and is often at “Open Mic Nights” in the Crown public house in Otford.

Scrapheap OrchestraPerhaps a slightly less well known ensemble is the incredibly bizarre and truly fascinating LONDON VEGETABLE ORCHESTRA (Yes, the London Vegetable Orchestra) who made a RECENT APPEARANCE ON THE BBC PROGRAMME ROOM 101. There are no words! Apparently they have to actually make all of their instruments before each performance …now that’s dedication! I know of no other orchestras that can lay claim to doing that. I don’t know about you, but I reckon they really are very “gourd”.

And finally a personal favourite, a weird and wonderful orchestra that proves that even the most highly respected, established ensembles aren’t immune to taking themselves a little less seriously. A few years ago, BBC Four invited the esteemed BBC Concert Orchestra to venture into the realms of the madly inventive to become the BBC SCRAPHEAP ORCHESTRA. Professional instrument makers were challenged to make an entire orchestra solely from scrap (not scrap vegetables!), a challenge they successfully managed to complete in just 11 weeks! The musicians then played Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture on those instruments at the BBC Proms in the Royal Albert Hall (as you would!) where they were rewarded with a standing ovation! Skip to 4m 40s in THIS VIDEO to hear their performance or listen to the whole clip to hear some of the background story too.

If anyone can beat any of these crazy ensembles as Britain’s strangest orchestra, please let me know …or simply add your comments and thoughts below.


2014 Rehearsal and Concert Schedule Updated

2014The rehearsal and concert schedule for the remainder of 2014 has now been updated and can be accessed HERE. This schedule will be periodically updated on the JOIN page of the DVYM website. Please be sure to add these dates to your diaries!

On the JOIN page you will also find an updated list of all our current vacancies. If you know anyone interested in fulfilling these vacancies, please encourage them to attend a rehearsal where they’ll be welcome to join us.

Please note that the DVYM autumn term starts again on Thursday 11th September 2014 (for Ukulele Orchestra) , Friday 12th September 2014 (for Minims, Phoenix, and Improv) and Saturday 13th September 2014 (for Enterprise and Concert Band). In the meantime, have a great summer break and enjoy your holidays!

Enterprise and Minims Perform at Otford Primary School Fair

Otford MinimsOn Saturday 5th July Enterprise and Minims band joined forces with pupils from OTFORD PRIMARY SCHOOL to perform at the school’s summer fete. The occasion was a great opportunity for the DVYM bands and Otford school pupils to come together and share the pleasures of making music, performing and entertaining …and may hopefully generate a few new recruits for DVYM. Congratulations to Otford pupils for doing such a great job! You can see images of the bands playing on the website of the SEVENOAKS CHRONICLE.

Phoenix and Improv Perform at ARPS School Fete

ARPS PhoenixOn Saturday 21st June Phoenix Jazz Band and Improv Band performed at the ANTHONY ROPER SCHOOL fete. Despite a number of player absences, the bands played a wide-ranging selection of pieces that were well-received and even encouraged some spontaneous dancing!

JAMES DRAKE has kindly created a DVYM YouTube account on which to post recordings of DVYM performances. Click HERE to see videos of our performances at the fete -and our mystery dancer!

2014 Rehearsals and Concert Schedule

2014The rehearsal and concert schedule for the remainder of 2014 has now been finalised and can be accessed HERE This schedule will be regularly updated on the JOIN page of the DVYM website. Please be sure to add these dates to your diaries!

On the JOIN page you will also find an updated list of all our current vacancies. If you know anyone interested in fulfilling these vacancies, please encourage them to attend a rehearsal where they’ll be welcome to join us.

NEW! DVYM Ukulele Orchestra

Image © http://www.hitthescene.netDVYM is delighted to announce the launch of its NEW Youth Ukulele Orchestra under the leadership of JAMES DRAKE, who previously co-founded and lead the successful Tonbridge Grammar School Ukulele Orchestra.

The band will meet every Thursday evening at 5.30pm-6.30pm in the Olive Seal Hall at the rear of St Martins Church, Eynsford.

Membership is open to all aged 10-18 years old who can play at least four chords on a ukulele. Those who would like to have a go at the ukulele for the first time are also welcome to attend and may borrow a ukulele from James who has a few personally-owned instruments for use at the classes only.

James is kindly leading these sessions free of charge but there will be a small charge of £15 per term to cover hall rental charges. Please bring £1 per session for the first two sessions. For more information please CONTACT US. We look forward to welcoming you to our new and exciting venture!

Easter Concert -Sunday 6th April 2014

DVYM will be holding its EASTER CONCERT at ANTHONY ROPER PRIMARY SCHOOL, Eynsford on Sunday 6th April 2014 from 3.00pm – 5.00pm. The concert will feature a wide variety of pieces from Percy Grainger’s “Country Gardens” to “James Bond Returns“, from Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” to a medley of the music from “The Lion King” (Elton John). For more information, please CONTACT US. We look forward to seeing you there!

New Home for DVYM

Baptist ChurchDue to refurbishment works at St Martins Church, Darent Valley Youth Music will be moving to a new location. From Friday 28 February 2014, all rehearsals will take place at Eynsford Baptist Church (the church with the purple doors!), which has kindly agreed rent their premises to DVYM for the duration of the St Martin’s works.

Please note that all rehearsal times remain unaltered.

Please CLICK HERE for directions to the Baptist Church.

For more information, please CONTACT US.

DVYM Quiz Night -Sat 1st March 2014

Please come along and support the next DVYM quiz night, which will be held from 6.30pm-10pm on Saturday 1st March 2014 in the village hall at Eynsford.

You don’t need to be a “know-it-all” to take part; there’ll be something in it for everyone with questions covering a wide variety of topics testing all areas of knowledge from the simple to the tricky with a lot of “I really ought to know that” teasers thrown in for good measure. The quiz will be suitable for adults and children aged 12+. You can CLICK HERE to see a sample round of questions from a previous quiz.

The more contestants, the better the competition and the more lively the atmosphere. Just bring along a plentiful supply of wine, nibbles ….and a healthy dose of good-spirited competitive enthusiasm! For further information or to reserve your place, please speak to Sandra or Russell or CONTACT US. Entry is £5 per adult, £3 per child (18yrs or under); maximum persons per team is six.  We look forward to seeing you!

Music Theory Classes

clefNew music theory classes start on Monday 13th January 2014. These classes will be held at Anthony Roper Primary School from 4.15pm- 5.15pm every Monday. The cost of classes is £25 per person per 12-week term. Classes are open to DVYM members and non-members alike.

These music theory classes aim to teach students the fundamentals of theory of music up to and including ABRSM Grade 5 standard. The classes are intended to supplement and prepare students studying for formal GCSE examinations and working towards ABRSM qualifications. Those studying for ABRSM Grade 6+ practical music exams require ABRSM must have passed Grade 5 theory.

Tutor: DUNCAN DWINNELL. For more information, please CONTACT US.

17th Dec -Phoenix Jazz & Improv at Bluewater Shopping Centre

Phoenix Jazz Band & Improv Band are delighted to have been invited to perform again at BLUEWATER SHOPPING CENTRE from 7.00pm-8.00pm (GF entrance to ‘West Village’ between House of Fraser and John Lewis). The programme will comprise an extensive variety of jazz, easy listening and popular music including among many others: Strike Up The Band (Gershwin) – Vehicle (Ford) – Theme From Shaft (Hayes) – Back to Black (Winehouse) – Beggin (Franki Valli) – Skyfall (Adele) –  New York New York (Sinatra) – Forget You (Cee Lo Green) – Don’t Make Me Over (Bacharach) – Stone Cold Sober (Paloma Faith).

8th Dec -Christmas Concert -3pm-5pm at St Martin’s Church

DVYM will be holding its annual CHRISTMAS CONCERT at ST MARTINS CHURCH, Eynsford on Sunday 8th December from 3pm-5.00pm. This year, we are delighted to announce that Phoenix Jazz Band as well as the newly reformed Minims will be performing in addition to Enterprise Band & Concert Band. The wide ranging repertoire of Christmas festive favourites and popular “hand-clappers” will provide an afternoon of festive delight and jollification.

A warm and hearty welcome awaits all who attend to enjoy the music …and the traditional seasonal refreshments. We look forward to seeing you there.

29th Nov -Phoenix Jazz at Sevenoaks Christmas Lights Illumination

On 29th November, Phoenix Jazz Band will be once again be providing music at the Sevenoaks Christmas Lights Illumination in Sevenoaks High Street playing an extensive programme of jazz, easy listening and popular music including among many others: Strike Up The Band (Gershwin) – Vehicle (Ford) – Theme From Shaft (Hayes) – Back to Black (Winehouse) – Beggin (Franki Valli) – Skyfall (Adele) – St Louis Blues (Handy) – New York New York (Sinatra) – Forget You (Cee Lo Green) – Summertime (Gerschwin) – The A Train (Strayhorn) – The Girl from Ipanema (Sinatra) – Don’t Make Me Over (Bacharach) – Stone Cold Sober (Paloma Faith).

Drummer Required

drumkitDarent Valley Youth Concert Band is in need of a new drummer. This is an exciting opportunity to join a thriving and friendly youth concert band.

No formal auditions are required but applicants should have -or have verifiable evidence that they are studying for- ABRSM Grade 4, MUST be able to read music …and MUST be available on Saturday mornings for rehearsals.

For more information, please enquire via our CONTACT page. We look forward to hearing from you.

Exam Congratulations

Music Theory

Congratulations to Max, Miriam and Rachel on passing their ABRSM Grade 5 Music Theory exams. A tremendous achievement. Well done!

Studying for ABRSM Grade 5 Music Theory enables players :

to broaden their knowledge of music composition and structure;
learn more about rhythm and notation, harmony and counterpoint;
improve sensitivity and confidence in their performance through an increased understanding of musicianship.

Students taking ABRSM Grade 6, 7 and 8 practical examinations will need to have passed ABRSM Grade 5 Music Theory beforehand.

If you are preparing for ABRSM Grade 6 practical exams or are simply interested in studying ABRSM Grade 5 Music Theory, please speak to Duncan about joining his theory classes on Tuesday evenings or contact us via our Contact page.

Autumn Term 2013

Autumn Harvest
Autumn Harvest

2013 Autumn Term Dates Announced

First Rehearsal: Minims, Phoenix & Improv -Friday 13th September

First Rehearsal: Enterprise & Concert Band -Saturday 14th September

For more information on term times, see our complete list of term dates HERE. Dates for the spring and summer terms will be announced shortly after the start of the autumn term. We look forward to seeing you all again in September. In the meantime, here’s hoping for an improvement in the weather. Enjoy the summer holidays …and keep practicing!

Eynsford Scouts Fete -Sat 13th June 2013

Scouts Motto
Scouts Motto

Saturday 13th June 2013Eynsford Scout Fete at Harrow Meadow, Eynsford, Kent (1.00pm until 5.00pm)

Phoenix Jazz Band and Improv Band

Programme: Phoenix Jazz Band and Improv Band are delighted to accept an invitation from First Eynsford & Farningham Scout Group to perform at their Scout Fete. It is our pleasure to support this thriving local group who provide a social focus offering local youngsters aged 8yrs-18yrs a varied, exciting and educational programme of activities, especially outdoor pursuits and adventure. Last year the group was proud to celebrate a long and rich history at its 100th anniversary! For more information on the musical programme to be provided by Phoenix Jazz & Improv Band, please click HERE. We look forward to seeing you there.