Newspaper articles in the DNA (Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace) regional newspaper

Saturday 11 February 2023

Saint Valentine’s: A harmonious Franco-British Encounter

On the occasion of Valentine's Day, concerts are offered to music lovers, including one in Reichstett on Tuesday 14 February, with the Corsham Windband Association and the Orchestre d'Harmonie de Schiltigheim. The English musicians will also perform in Strasbourg on Wednesday 15 February.

The Schiltigheim Wind Band has the great pleasure to welcome the Corsham Windband Assocation for a musical and touristic visit from 12 to 17 February. This orchestra of young (and not so young) English people comes straight from the south-west of England, from the small town of Corsham, near Bath.

A long history of friendship.

In Reichstett, within the framework of the operation "a love of Reichstett", the Corsham Windband will perform on Tuesday 14 February together with the Schiltigheim Harmony Orchestra.

For the second show, it will be the Corsham Windband that will appear alone at the Saint-Pierre-le-Vieux church, on Wednesday 15 February, as part of "Strasbourg mon Amour", with a repertoire of twelve songs still from the musical, as well as several songs from the Beatles' repertoire.

"Between our two orchestras, there is already a long history of friendship since this English band visits us on average every five years. It's no coincidence that one of our musicians is a native of Corsham", says Peter FELTHAM, clarinettist and communications manager of the Schiltigheim orchestra - but also the famous native of Corsham!

Peter FELTHAM has been based in Strasbourg since 1989. After learning the recorder at school, he took up the clarinet at secondary school. In 1981 the Corsham Windband Association was founded. From 1980 to 1985, Peter FELTHAM's music teacher, Sonia Blandford, was involved in setting up a college band. The CWA currently has over 100 young musicians and friends from Corsham and the surrounding area, aged from 5 to 75.

"Winged Roots”

In the Corsham Windband Peter FELTHAM continued to work with Sonia Blandford. She has conducted choirs, classical and wind bands throughout the UK, Europe and America. She has also directed national and international projects, written fifty-five books and co-created national organisations including the Charter College of Teaching and Teach First.

Avec le Corsham Windband, Sonia Blandford interprète essentiellement des musiques des comédies musicales, de séries télévisées voire de films. Quant à l'Harmonie municipale de Schiltigheim, elle a adapté de la musique classique. Sonia Blandford s'est également passionnée pour la tragédie lyrique, elle a créé une Traviata en version courte avec des narrateurs, signée du compositeur belge Jacob de Haan. Un opéra hip-hop s'en est suivi, intitulé H²0, une pièce de Pierre Thilloy avec les jeunes de l'Ecole des Arts de Schiltigheim.

The Schiltigheim Concert Band is also embarking on a project entitled "winged roots" with the association "musica scuola". Béatrice Larabelliot, music teacher at the Emile-Mathis secondary school, and two other teachers, will take their pupils through Schiltigheim and Bischheim to collect material for a show that will take place on 16, 17 and 18 June in Schiltigheim.

Tuesday 14 February at 8pm at the Salle des Fêtes in Reichstett. Admission free but limited to the number of seats available. Wednesday 15 February at 8pm at the Saint-Pierre-le-Vieux church in Strasbourg. Free admission (collection in aid of the church). On the programme, extracts from "the beauty and the beast", "Frozen", "Titanic", "West Side story” and several songs by the Beatles.

Photo caption: The Corsham Windband Association, in concert at Christmas in this photo, will be in Reichstett for Saint Valentine’s day with the Orchestre d’Harmonie de Schiltigheim.

Wednesday 15 February 2023

Sonia Blandford and the Corsham Windband Association in concert

Sonia Blandford will conduct the Corsham Windband Association in a repertoire ranging from musicals and film music to love songs by the Beatles and Elvis Presley. The concert will take place at Saint-Pierre-le-Vieux Church.

Sonia Blandford is Professor of Social Mobility at the University of Plymouth. After a career as a secondary school teacher, including a period as headmistress, she has a parallel career as a music director: of wind ensembles and as a writer. Her next book, Teaching and Learning to Unlock Social Mobility for Every Child, will be published in March by Routledge.

At the Saint-Pierre-le-Vieux church (Catholic), she will conduct the Corsham Windband Association in a repertoire ranging from musicals (West Side Story, Beauty and the Beast...), film music (Titanic, 007 Skyfall) as well as love songs by the Beatles (Hey Jude, Eleanor Rigby...) and Elvis Presley (Can't Help Falling in Love).

Coming from a disadvantaged social background, it was through reading and playing music that she became a member of the Sunday Times 500 list of the UK's most influential people in 2015 and 2016, bordering on stars such as David Beckham. In 2016, she received the Woman of the Year Award. During her time in the European Union, she has worked extensively with EU institutions on education as well as social inclusion.

Among the 500 most influential people in the UK

For Sonia Blandford, music helps explain the learning process that leads to leadership. She herself plays several instruments (trumpet, saxophone, clarinet, trombone, double bass).

If she were to rank her various activities in order of preference, she would put writing first, followed by music and then teaching. As for her leisure time, this British lady likes to spend her free time with her two daughters and her granddaughter, walking and visiting cultural and historical places, without forgetting her passion, literature.

Wednesday 15 February at 8pm at the Saint-Pierre-le-Vieux church (Catholic), 6 place Saint-Pierre-le-Vieux in Strasbourg.

Photo caption: Sonia Blandford will conduct the Corsham Windband Association this Wednesday at 8pm at the Saint-Pierre-le-Vieux church. Photo DNA

Sunday 19 February 2023

An English Valentine's Day with the Corsham Windband Association

As part of the "Reichstett mon amour" Festival, the town council organised a great Valentine's Day concert on Tuesday in the village hall with two very talented wind bands. The large and mostly young audience was delighted.

The two orchestras invited by the town council of Reichstett to celebrate Valentine's Day could not represent this festival any better, as they already have a long history of friendship.

It is thanks to Peter Feltham, a native of Corsham, a small town in the south-west of England, who has lived in Strasbourg since 1989, that the Corsham Windband Association, directed by Sonia Blandford, and the Schiltigheim Wind Band meet in Strasbourg every five years. This English band is made up of 34 young people aged between eight and eighteen who benefit from musical instruction and weekly band rehearsals.

Accompanied by former adult members, they performed romantic melodies from the movies, such as Frozen and The Beauty and the Beast, Mary Poppins and Titanic.

Also on the programme were love songs by the Beatles and the 1961 version of Elvis Presley's Can°t help falling in love, known in French as Plaisir d'amour, with solo saxophonist Sam Bernaldt-Ross.

A vehicle for social advancement

Four-year-old Zoe excelled on percussion to the tune of the New Zealand sea shanty Soon may the Wellerman come. Sonia Blandford, international music director and founder of the Corsham Windband Association, says that over the past 43 years, thousands of young people have gone through the orchestra, which has been a vehicle for social advancement, often enabling them to go on to university or join major orchestras like the Royal Scottish Orchestra.

After a gourmet break offered by the volunteers of the Saint-Michel Catholic parish council, the Schiltigheim wind band continued on the theme of love under the direction of the dynamic conductor Maxime Maurer. Peter Feltham presented the pieces: the story of Robinson Crusoe, a piece by Bert Appermont, Bloom by Steven Bryant celebrating spring, Concerto d'amore, by Dutchman Jacob de Haan, with baroque, swing and jazz accents. Time for hope was composed by Alain Crepin during the lockdown to motivate musicians.

The two orchestras joined each other on stage for a romantic finale with Michael Sweeney's arrangement of the theme from West Side Story and The Bare Necessities, from the cartoon The Jungle Book.

To conclude this day dedicated to love, you can see on the town’s website some twenty photos of lovers taken on the Gouesnou roundabout, which was decorated for the occasion, and declaration of love messages on the digital message board at the north entrance to the town.

Photo caption : The Corsham Windband Association, directed by Sonia Blandford, played in Reichstett. Photo DNA