Leighton Buzzard Philharmonic Marching Band launching in town
'It will be a fantastic community asset and if I can give something back to the town, that's a great thing'
Leighton Buzzard's first philharmonic marching band is launching in town as it helps to fuel a cultural resurgence after lockdown.
Connor Allen, 29, has founded the Leighton Buzzard Philharmonic Marching Band which is hoping to start its first rehearsals after restrictions ease in late June.
The band is aiming to perform at local events each year such as the May Day Fayre and Leighton-Linslade Carnival, and is hoping that LBO land musicians will be inspired to join.
Connor told the newspaper: "Leighton Buzzard Philharmonic Marching Band will be a performance ensemble unique the area, providing entertaining, high energy music, combined with marching and choreography at a host of public events across the region.
"It's something I've always wanted to do, and in the wake of 2020 I thought it would be a good idea to set up a band locally.
"This is an exciting opportunity for players to get back to playing and entertaining crowds, to broaden their performance repertoire with something totally different, and most importantly, to have fun with a great bunch of new people."
If the easing of lockdown restrictions goes to plan, the band will meet up this summer to rehearse, with plans to perform during the winter season at events including Christmas carols.
Meanwhile, the long term objective is to set up a junior unit, which will act as a feeder into the main band.
Connor said: "Leighton Buzzard Philharmonic Marching Band aims to enrich the lives of people of all ages through a commitment to personal development and performance excellence, while providing enjoyment for our local community and audiences nationally.
"The arts have been hit by the pandemic, but now we have a brand new organisation to promote music.
"Drum and Bugle Corps originated in the US and they used to be huge over here during the 1980s.
"Their popularity has declined recently, but if we can get more local people involved it will be an excellent way to get them back up and running."
Connor's own musical journey started when he was 10-years-old, as he joined the Heath and Reach Brass band and learnt to play cornet.
He then entered into the marching music circuit, culminating in him joining the Kidsgrove Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps in 2016.
The band went on to compete in UK, European and world class competitions, including a US tour in 2017, and won the European championships in 2019.
Connor said: "My favourite memories are when we won the European Championships, as well as the friendships I made.
"The competitive circuit is a blood, sweat and tears game! But the reward afterwards, that's something special."
Connor isn't planning on introducing his new band into the competitive scene, with the focus right now being on rehearsals for the winter season. The band will practise in either Heath and Reach or Leighton Buzzard.
The instrumentation consists of trumpets, trombones, baritones, mellophones and marching tubas (sousaphones) and marching percussion.
There are still openings for a trumpet and a trombone for the 2021 winter season.
Connor concluded: "It will be a fantastic community asset; Leighton Buzzard has never had a marching band before and if I can give something back to the town, that's a great thing."
If you play brass, woodwind or percussion and are interested, contact Connor directly via Facebook at @LBPhilharmonic or via email at [email protected]