The season’s first gig…

And so this season’s new DYJO bands have launched properly, with their first gig of the season! An absolutely packed house at Abbotskerswell, in aid of their twinning association (many thanks to Julie Arrow for arranging everything!), saw both DYJO2 and DYJO1 perform barnstorming sets to an enthusiastic audience – keep an eye on to see what gigs we’re doing later in the season!

End of the 2019 Residential

A great last day of a great Residential: it started with a vocal workshop led by the brilliant Emma Watson, while the Ambassadors had their skills stretched even further by Matt Carter. Then both DYJO bands went into full rehearsals before the afternoon giglet for proud parents… and they had every reason to be proud with all the progress the two bands made over the three days.

Many thanks to everyone involved: the DYJO Association and volunteer pastoral carers; the tutors, who all bring their individual talents to a great team; to Heatree, for hosting us again, now for about the 15th year; but most of all, to the players and parents, for making this all possible! Without you, there would be no DYJO!

Anyway, to cut a long story short, we know it’s going to be a vintage year!


Heatree, Day 2

We try to make the most of our days here at Heatree: it’s a crucial point in the season, where not only the bands play lots of music, but really start to gel as groups of people. At the heart of that, of course, is the music, and everyone’s love for playing it.

The morning and first part of the afternoon was busy with three sessions of full and sectional rehearsals with the complete team of tutors Graham, Brian, Alex and Matt, in the afternoon Matt assembled the new Ambassadors for the first time, whilst Graham, Brian and Alex did rhythm games and salsa dancing with everyone else, and then the traditional jazz jam took place, with a pile of solos from players from both DYJO1 & DYJO2. I think that’s enough for one day!

DYJO new season – new bands!

I’ve been somewhat tardy in noting here the start of the new DYJO season! We’re two Gathering Days down, and now at the Residential, one day having been completed already!

It’s an exciting season in store: not only have we got two new bands (pretty full in every section – though a trombone or two more would be welcome!), but we’ve got the prospect of a foreign tour too! (More news on that in due course.)

Our first day at Heatree (roughly our 15th year here) got off to a flying start, with both bands launching into rehearsals, including the regular ‘Learning Thing’, where we mix up the bands, and they go off and teach themselves a new tune. And most excellently they did it too!

DYJO visit to the Royal Marines at Lympstone

On Monday, some of our DYJO players took advantage of a wonderful opportunity to spend a day with the Big Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines CTCRM at Lympstone. It was the idea of Corporal Joe Rowlands, now a member of the band, and a past pupil of mine who helped DYJO out in the past when we’ve been short of trombones!

The day started with the Marines’ big band under the expert direction of Colour Sergeant Nick West playing through three varied tunes from the likes of Glenn Miller to Gordon Goodwin. Having whetted our young musicians’ appetites, our players joined them to sight read five more varied tunes, including Count Basie’s ‘All Of Me’ and the very funky ‘John Brown’s Other Body’. They were encouraged to recognise and respond to the different styles, especially thinking about the grooves and how to get the right ‘feel’ for each.

After a presentation on possible careers in the Royal Marines Band Service (always a bit of an eye opener for someone thinking about a career in music – visit for more details), the players split off into sectionals, before coming back together again to play through the five tunes – quite transformed from the earlier readings! They did so well, they even sight read through one of the tunes they had had played to them at the start of the day!

Certainly, a most interesting day – massive thanks to Colour Sergeant Nick West and his swinging band for making it so enjoyable and informative, with the music right at the heart of it all!

Thanks to Musician Kirsty Chatterton – RM Band Service for the excellent photos!

DYJO1 at Offwell

DYJO2 enjoyed beautiful weather last weekend on the Sunday. The forecast for the day before, when DYJO1 were playing at an outdoor event for TRIP Honiton in Offwell had suggested it might be sweltering, but it didn’t quite turn out that way… as Nic Steward writes:

“Outdoor gigs with DYJO have seen us cope with torrential rain and sweltering heat (sometimes on the same day!), but the speed with which Saturday evening turned from beautiful and balmy to brisk and blowy took players and audience by surprise.

Graham did his best to warm things up with references to Monterey, and arc-welding (sorry, Tom!), but the wind kept blowing.

But as ever, our players did us proud, giving two fantastic sets, and being 100% professional in truly challenging conditions. Well done to all of them!

And for those players for whom this was their last “proper” DYJO gig, it was certainly one to remember!”

You can find a great set of photos of the event from Rosie Parsons Photography here, but also keep your eyes peeled for an article on DYJO in Devon Life in the near future!


DYJO2 at Crediton

Well, the weather certainly turned out nice for DYJO2’s gig at Downes, Crediton! The 1st Crediton Scout Group are celebrating their 110th anniversary this year, and they asked DYJO2 to play at their celebration at Downes, Crediton, the one-time home of Sir Redvers Buller, whose famous statue sits outside St David’s Church and Exeter College in Exeter. Anyway, the sun shone, it wasn’t too hot, and lots of people came along to celebrate, enjoying two great sets from DYJO2.

It’s worth noting that this is the first time this season that DYJO2 had done a whole gig by themselves, and through the 16 tunes they played, there was both tight ensemble work, and piles of great solos from around the band.

It’s not quite the last time they’ll play as a band – that’ll be at the DYJO Leavers’ Concert on Sunday 8 September (details to be confirmed) – but this was a great way to mark the end of the main season for us!