We’re a community of professional musicians, highly-experienced amateurs and very keen learners/returners.
Music Director and Conductor – Daryle Lowden
Daryle spent most of his 24-year army career with the Band of the Welsh Guards, playing clarinet at Trooping the Colour and the Cenotaph Services of Remembrance in Whitehall. He grew up in an armed forces family in Plymouth, playing in school and youth bands. He has also performed in London’s iconic concert halls alongside many of London’s professional orchestras, and travelled on numerous overseas tours. A highlight was performing in a masterclass for Andrew Marriner (Principal Clarinet of the London Symphony Orchestra) – a dream come true after buying Andrew’s recording of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto 20 years before! Daryle has been part of the Barnes Concert Band community for 16 years, as Principal Clarinet and now our Musical Director. He enjoys the friendly welcoming atmosphere and the challenge of developing the band and his own skills, whilst entertaining our audiences with a wide variety of demanding and entertaining music.
Committee Chair and Clarinet – Andrea Lee
Andrea’s schooldays were crammed with playing clarinet in concert bands, ensembles and orchestras for local shows. Then her career as a government economist took priority, until the Band offered an opportunity to start playing again. Andrea recently took a music course with the Open University/Trinity Laban Conservatoire [which gave her experience in conducting the Band] and now studies arts management – perfect experience for our Committee Chair! Andrea says “It means a lot to me that the Band is welcoming to new players and we support each other to learn and improve our musicianship.” At our regular band socials, we’ll raise a glass to that!
Percussion Manager & Principal Clarinet – Gemma Norford
Gemma studied music at University and has split her working life between the music industry and floristry. Previous companies have included the Royal Opera House, PRS for Music and ABRSM. She is Head of Junior Music at an independent school in South West London. Gemma has been a member of the Band since she first moved to London in 2006 – she mostly plays solo clarinet, although can also be found in the sax section and on bass clarinet when the need arises! Gemma says: “It’s a friendly community band and I’ve been privileged to make some very good friends. We often get together socially to play music in small groups, go for a cycle or just for a drink!”
Treasurer and Principal Trombone – Clive Preston
Clive has played trombone for almost 50 years in orchestras, brass bands and wind bands and has been with the Barnes Concert Band since 2002 – one of the longest-serving members. He also plays with the Richmond Orchestra. Clive’s professional life was in the City, working in IT – playing in the Band was always a welcome relief! He volunteers with Christian Aid, the Museum of Army Music and the Museum of Richmond. The Band are hugely grateful to Clive as he chases subs, balances the books, guides us expertly through music administration – and Daryle waits with bated breath to find out how much he has to spend on our new repertoire.
Publicity Manager and Clarinet – Fiona Pitcher
Fiona started playing the clarinet at secondary school, inspired by her father’s love of the instrument, and his frustration that he hadn’t had such an opportunity. After a career in wildlife TV which included creating the BBC’s SPRINGWATCH and AUTUMNWATCH, she returned to playing, thanks to the band and some patient teachers. She conquered Grade 8 – taking the exam alongside students who were mostly younger by more than one decade…. The band has been a support and an inspiration. Fiona loves the team spirit – she won’t forget the moment
she performed a concert solo – and enjoys taking photos and videos of the band in action. “Live TV was always fun,” she says, “but playing live music at a good standard in a happy atmosphere beats it hands down.”
Website Manager and Flute – Liz Holden Bithell
Liz reached the dizzy heights of Grade 5 violin before a teenage strop ended her music career. Decades as a BBC News journalist, juggling family life, were lightened with an attempt to teach herself flute. Proper lessons and years of supporting primary school music led to Grade 8 and the Trinity ATCL teaching diploma. Liz set up local ensembles with children and adults, and founded the BBC Ariel staff orchestra. But with zero experience in wind band playing, she joined the Barnes Concert Band and is so appreciative of the Band’s support and encouragement of life-long learning. Ridiculously-proud of her best-ever result [a high distinction in Grade 1 oboe!], Liz eventually staggered through Grade 8 violin, and absolutely loves the flute challenge of Daryle’s inspirational Barnes Concert Band repertoire.
BCB Secretary and Bassoon – Susie Herman
Life begins at …50. Well, that’s when Susie took up the bassoon, after years in a houseful of harps, harpsichords, cellos (her children’s) – and a huge collection of percussion instruments amassed during 15 years running Muzsika, a Family Music Centre in North London. (Many of these instruments have now gone to their new home at Great Ormond Street Hospital, where in January this year, Katya Herman set up its first full-time Music Therapy department. https://petersonfamilyfoundation.org/great-ormond-childrens/.) A chance meeting with other reed-warbling enthusiasts at a Guildhall Double Reed Day opened up a whole new sound world including the Palace Band, the Bloomsbury Wind Ensemble – as well as opportunities to play in care homes and community centres, to busk on the South Bank, and to be a member of the You, Me Bum Bum Train Orchestra (quite an experience!) Crossing the Thames to live in Barnes was a good move – how wonderful it is to play in the Barnes Concert Band gigs.