Messages from JMcK

8th June 2015

Cancellation - Concert 20 June 2015

Dear Parents and HCTB members 

Please note that the joint concert involving HCTB on 20 June has had to be cancelled. This concert has had its problems from the outset; you may recall that it was originally scheduled for 27 June but subsequently had to be rescheduled due to an unfortunate clash with another local music ensemble. It is clear that the rescheduling to 20 June is also not without its problems. 

I am grateful to those HCTB members and parents, who, from an early stage informed me of their non availability for the concert on the 20 June. Despite these absentees Jon Cranston & myself felt that HCTB could still give a very good account of themselves and so HCTB remained committed to this event. However, with the addition of more recent notifications of absence a performance from HCTB is no longer viable. Hence this concert is now cancelled.

Please can I use this unfortunate scenario to please remind you of the need for prompt communication. I fully recognise and support the fact that there will occasionally be valid reasons for absence from band activities, but I do ask that you inform us at the very earliest opportunity of any legitimate and unavoidable absence. In doing so, Jon & myself are able to make plans and decisions in the best interests of the band and hence avoid the situation we have on our hands at present.  

The negative impact on HCTB for withdrawing from this concert is significant:

  • we are left with a bill for premise hire & no concert revenue with which to pay it.
  • we have lost a major opportunity to recruit future members (both of the other ensembles in this concert have, in the past sent many players along to the HCYBs).
  • HCTB deserve a performance - you are sounding good!
  • HCYBs placements for Sept 2015 are under revue at the moment; this concert would have provided another key opportunity for members to put themselves in the spotlight.
  • diminished reputation for HCTB.

More than anything, it is little more than an unfortunate series of circumstances (many unavoidable) that has led to me taking the decision to cancel and no band member will be 'held to account'! However, I do stress again that early communication from all parents of band members can avoid situations like this from arising.


HCTB have been working hard to prepare repertoire for this summer term & deserve the chance to perform. Of course, you will hear some of this at the End Of Year Summer Concert, but not all due to a lack of performance time. Jon & myself are looking at the possibility of opening up a Saturday morning rehearsal later this term at which HCTB can invite you in & perform to you - I will let you know more as soon as I can.


Saturday 20 June will now revert to a normal rehearsal day.


Many Thanks


Jock McKenzie

Director HCYBs




28th April 2015
Music for Youth National Festival

Dear Parents & band members

I am delighted to announce that HCYB have been selected to play at the "National Festival of Music for Youth". This is as a direct result of a fantastic performance at the Regional Festival in Aldershot last term.


Our National Festival performance will take place in Symphony Hall, Birmingham on Friday 10th July 2015. We will be performing during the morning session (Music for Youth will publish our exact time in the next few weeks). We will travel to and from Birmingham via coach.


Our performance in what is the UK's top concert hall will feature a musical premier of "Illuminations". This is the sequence of music played for the firework display at Disney Land, Florida USA. George Lewis (HCYB member) heard this music whilst on holiday there & was inspired to make a unique arrangement for brass band. Remarkably George has been able to obtain permission and licences from all relevant parties - Gavin Greenaway (composer), The Disney Foundation and Hal Leonard (Disney's publisher).


Please ensure this date is inked in to your calendar - rehearsals have already begun!


Many Thanks

Jock McKenzie


24th April 2015


Dear HCJB Parents and band members




I hope you all had a great Easter break.




Thank you to all of you who responded to my enquiry re HCJB performing at Testbourne School, Whitchurch on Saturday 4th July 2015. Your positive responses enable me to confirm that YES, this commitment will stand – HCJB will be performing on this date (please add it to your calendar). Despite persistent chasing I have still not yet had responses from a very small minority of you & at this late stage I will take no ‘notification of absence’ as in effect your confirmation that you too will also commit to this date – please let me know by return if this is not the case.




This performance on July 4th 2015 will be in lieu of a proposed HCJB performance on May 9th 2015. Despite a lot of work it has not been possible to tie up a venue / guest ensemble to share this opportunity with. Hence, Saturday May 9th will revert to a normal HCJB rehearsal.




I was particularly pleased with the standard of the HCJB performance at the recent Spring Extravaganza. It was also great to see the event so substantially and enthusiastically attended by parents / family and friends – thank you all for your support.




Many Thanks


Jock McKenzie



Re: HCTB concert date change

Dear Parents and band members

You have already been notified of an unfortunate cancellation of the HCTB concert on 27 June 2015. A new performance opportunity has been found on an alternative date. Please can I ask you to note the following information. As always, please inform us at the very earliest opportunity if your son / daughter is unable to attend any band activity.


  • Saturday 20 June 2015
  • Concert 7pm (HCTB shared jointly with “Portchester, Fareham & Gosport Training Band” and “Gosport & Fareham Wind Training Orchestra”)
  • The concert will be preceded by a mid afternoon rehearsal (time TBC)
  • Venue: Henry Cort School, Fareham   


Many Thanks

Jock McKenzie



Extracts of a letter sent out by e-mail Friday 26th October 2012.  Confidential and out of date elements have been removed so please check your e-mail.

Dear Parents and band members

Attendance and commitment 

The HCYBs enjoy an excellent reputation for musical standards and opportunity. Our standards and values are as a result of the commitment shown by so many of our members across the bands as well as the work and skills of our staff team. All members and parents are aware of the conditions of HCYB membership including the crucial elements of regular attendance and commitment to all band activities. Of course there will be instances where absence is unavoidable e.g. illness, educational activities etc but otherwise full attendance is a requirement of HCYBs membership.

All three bands have made an excellent start to this our 50th Anniversary year, but, at the same time there has been a high level of absenteeism at rehearsals. As a result musical standards and productivity suffers. Equally significant is the period of notification given for absence by some. All rehearsals are carefully planned for by our staff; we don’t simply turn up on a Saturday morning to announce “what shall we play today”? All too often this term notification of absence has been last minute (if at all in a minority of cases) or even given in retrospect. I should point out that falling ill at short notice is understandably a different context altogether). This forces conductors to abandon at the very last minute what was planned for the good of the bands & hence the standard of band playing and productivity suffers. Band / ensemble playing is a team activity – everyone matters and conductors plan for everyone to matter!

Please can I ask all members and parents to consider this matter with understanding and recognition of the excellent commitment shown by the very substantial majority of our members. Put simply we want you to be members of the bands and we want you to have a great time, but we expect you to commit!

Insurance of HCYB instruments 
Our band instruments are used in many varied situations. Very often, members use our instruments in a non HCYBs context i.e. school / college use, community bands, transit, storage etc. It is particularly this varied use that creates a situation where insurance issues fall ‘between the cracks’. It is for this reason that each year I pay a very substantial sum of money from the HCYB account to adequately insure our instrumental stock with a specialist company and policy. This protection ensures that our equipment is safe and operational in all manner of situations inside and outside of direct HCYBs use. The protection of these instruments ensures that instruments of a good (and often professional standard) quality are available to all band members that need them & who stand to benefit from their use in the HCYBs and beyond. This protection also ensures that our instruments can be maintained to a workable level. The day has never yet come when a student has been denied a place in the HCYBs purely because they do not possess a suitable instrument – I do not wish that scenario ever to arrive! Appropriate insurance of our band equipment goes a long way to safeguarding this provision.

Although not officially requested, some parents have chosen to include HCYB instruments on their household contents insurance, but the instrument has of course been insured at the same time under the official HCYB policy. In the recent past the there have been instances where household insurance policies have not ‘paid up’ in the event of a stolen / damaged / lost etc HCYB instrument. For this reason and those stated above it is essential that all HCYB instrument insurance matters are handled through our official policy. HCYB does not charge a loan or rental fee, but I would ask that parents contribute to the cost of insurance as requested (if in possession of a HCYB instrument). The amount requested is significantly subsidised and does not seek to differentiate between sizes and values of instruments.

Many Thanks

Jock McKenzie 
Director, Hampshire County Youth Bands