The Holborne Brass Ensemble was formed in 1985 by freelance players active in the Birmingham and West Midlands area. The players, whilst essentially classically-trained musicians, were involved in a range of musical genres including orchestral, theatre, brass band, big band and jazz work and this versatility was immediately put to use for the benefit of the group.
The Holborne Brass Ensemble quickly became established as a sought-after concert attraction in a wide variety settings including chamber concerts of original contemporary repertoire, sharing concerts with a range of choral groups to lighter concerts in which the group could demonstrate their full range of skills including trad jazz, solo features and cabaret items. Within just a few years of existence the ensemble achieved the distinction of becoming finalists in the prestigious Royal Overseas League Competition for young professionals in London.
The personnel of the group has remained remarkably consistent with Les Whitehouse and Trevor Jones being founder members and only 3 different players occupying the horn and tuba seats. This stability has enabled the Ensemble to develop a high-degree of musical understanding and telepathy and enables it to be musically adventurous in terms of its concert repertoire.
Holborne has always operated as a larger group when the need has arisen and still performs as a larger ensemble on a regular basis. Once again, the personnel of the larger group has remained consistent over many years and this stability enables the large ensemble to devise and perform extensive concert programmes with relative ease.
The current large group personnel is:
The Ensemble has performed in many of the country’s major concert venues including Birmingham Town Hall, the Royal Concert Hall (Nottingham), Worcester Cathedral, Southwell Minster, Pitville Pump Rooms (Cheltenham Festival), Pershore Abbey, Dudley Concert Hall.
Throughout its existence the group has consistently shared the stage with choral groups and has always provided programmes that complement the programmes offered by the choirs but also provided bespoke arrangements for joint items. Consequently, the Holborne has travelled extensively and performed with Canoldir Male Voice Choir, Filton Male Voice Choir, St. Michael`s Singers, Viva Musica, Worcester Male Voice Choir, Kiddermister Male Voice Choir, Bromsgrove Choral Society, Gentleman Songsters, Radcliffe on Trent Male Voice Choir etc....
The groups partnership with Kidderminster Choral Society, and its conductor Geoffrey Weaver, has been in place almost since the group’s inception and, in addition to the many concerts they have shared over the years, the Christmas Concert in Kidderminster Town Hall is now a well established event and sold out within days of tickets going on sale.
Holborne Brass Ensemble is in regular demand to perform as part of concert series established by a variety of organisations and has performed as part of the Cheltenham, Tenbury Wells, Great Witley, Live and Local and Harvington festivals. The group maintains its eclectic approach to performance which has seen it share the stage of with Maryetta and Vernon Midgely (Friday Night is Music Night), Alan Titchmarsh and also provide the music for the opening of Cadbury World (Birmingham)!
The current immediate plans for the group will be to record a new compact disc and stage a major concert in celebration of its 25 years existence in 2010.