The Lion City Brass Band is a newly formed ensemble trained under the baton of ME4 Ignatius Wang, a graduate of the famed Royal Marines School of Music in the United Kingdom.  

Made up of great brass players who are carefully chosen for their commitment to education, the group intends to create a community of good brass teachers who can create programmes for young brass musicians to learn the right fundamentals and the art of brass playing.

“For long time brass players in Singapore, there is always an identified gap as to why after so many years, there isn’t any brass bands in the scene. When I returned from my studies abroad, my teacher Mark Glover suggested that it is time we should start a brass band together.”

“I realized that this idea would make a difference in the music scene and especially in the brass scene. It allows us to create a medium so that everyone can understand what brass can do, what brass is about, and in a brass band, the level of virtuosity is something you do not witness even in wind bands or orchestra,” Ignatius reflected.

With a strong aim and a team of fantastic players, sustainability seems to be an issue as there are no brass bands at the secondary school or community level.

“Playing in a brass band requires a high level of technical ability; we have some of the best players here, but even then, we hear complaints about sore lips at the end of each rehearsal. However, I suppose this is a good start, as what we are doing is very interesting, which is to perform good music and put up annual concerts, but in a educational perspective… ”

“And in order to do that, we have to be very sturdy, not just musically but financially as well,” Ignatius continued.

In the band’s preparation for its inaugural concert this Sunday, it has chosen a set of repertoire that seeks to redefine brass playing by showing the versatility of its players.

“As it is our very first concert, we wanted to show what brass band music is all about and what brass players can do. We will be featuring energetic pieces such as “Enter The Galaxies” and “Fire in the Blood” by Paul Lovatt-Cooper, who has very kindly sponsored his music for us. We will also be performing the main highlight of the concert, “Paganini Variations” by Philip Wilby, which is a very popular contest piece used in brass band competitions all around the world.”

“The concert will also see the showcase of our soloists – Mark Glover on the Euphonium and Lau Wen Rong on the Cornet, and also a composition by Singaporean composer, Dr Kelly Tang. Titled “Ignition”, we felt that the work was symbolic to our aim, which is to ignite the scene and to kick-start something to create energy,” he exclaimed.

The Lion City Brass Band will be presenting “Lion’s Pride: Ignition” on Sunday, 15 May, 5pm at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music Hall.

For more information on their concert, visit their FB event!

(cover photo credit: Marvin Khoo)

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