Messages from JMcK


11th May 2105
HCYBs Open Rehearsal

Dear Parents and band members

Below is a copy of a letter distributed to all brass players on the HMS data base. It may well be the case that you have friends or know others who are brass players. If so please would you copy this letter to your friends and colleagues. The future success of the HCYBs relies on you spreading the word!

Many Thanks

Jock McKenzie


Dear Parents and musicians

I would like to invite brass players and percussionists to come along and play at the Open Rehearsal for the Hampshire County Youth Bands. This takes place on Saturday 6th June 2015 at our rehearsal base at Perins School, Pound Hill, Alresford, Hampshire SO24 9BS, from 10am until 12 noon. I am confident that you would have an enjoyable and inspiring  time with the bands and perhaps may wish to consider future membership.

There are three brass bands: Hampshire County Youth Band, Hampshire County Training Band and Hampshire County Junior Band all of which rehearse at the same time across the school site. Each of the bands undertake a yearly programme of rehearsals, performances, workshops and masterclasses. Typically each of the bands undertake an overseas tour every two years. The bands have a reputation for musical excellence and opportunity.

At our Open Rehearsal, guests will have an opportunity to sit in and play with the band of their choice, and, if relevant guests can swap bands if they wish to get a taste of the different levels of musical challenge. There will also be an opportunity to see & hear the other bands in action. Parents of our guests will have the opportunity to meet with members of our parent organisation – Hampshire County Youth Band Association for more information about band activities, membership etc. A coffee shop will run throughout the morning.

To get the best from our Open Day, guests will need to bear in mind our minimum standards of musical challenge when choosing which band to play in and also may find it helpful to know the typical age ranges of current band membership:

Junior Band – Stage / Grade 3 (formal qualification not necessary). Average age range Year 5 – Year 8

Training Band – Stage / Grade 5 (formal qualification not necessary). Average age range Year 9 – Year 11

County Band – Stage / Grade 7 (formal qualification not necessary). Average age range Year 11 – Year 13

If, as I hope you would like to attend our Open Rehearsal please can you email Emma Davis – HCYBs admin support

Please can you provide details: Name, age, instrument, approximate playing standard and choice of band. You may also wish to take a look at our website for additional information at


Many Thanks


Jock McKenzie – Director of Hampshire County Youth Bands

Hampshire Music Service 
Rookwood Centre, Penshurst Way 
Eastleigh, Hampshire SO50 4RJ

Tel: 023 8065 2037 
Fax: 023 8061 8241 
Twitter: @HantsMusicHub
Facebook: HantsMusicHub

YouTube: HantsMusicHub


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