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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Price

Celebrating a new CD and an old friendship

It was 20 years ago, almost to the day, that I set foot in the renowned Yorkshire Building Society band room for the first time. I joined YBS just a few weeks before the European Championships in 2004, under the exhilarating musical direction of Professor David King.

As a precocious (and no doubt fairly irritating!) 18-year-old, I didn't really know what to expect. Of course, I knew that they were good, and that they won lots of competitions, but that did not prepare me for what I would face.

Whilst the quality of playing and sheer intensity of the musical experience was just awesome, it wasn't the talent and dedication of this group of banding behemoths that blew me away. It was the fact that I was taken in by these people, treated as family, taught important life lessons, and years later, left the band with many lifelong friends.

Sheona was at the heart of the YBS band for so many years, and has of course forged an incredible career as a world renowned tenor horn soloist. But for many years she has also worked as a secondary school teacher, and it was as teachers that we reconnected after the YBS years. Working together was an absolute hoot - we laughed (and cried) together, learned so much from each other, and were (dare I say it) a pretty formidable team. Since then it has also been my privilege to work with her as an adjudicator, to tutor alongside her on residential courses, and continue to admire her incredible musicianship.

Every time I have written anything for the tenor horn, it has always been with her musical voice in my mind. It was a great pleasure to be able to write a piece for her back in 2013, and I was equally thrilled when, a couple of years ago, she asked if she could include it on an upcoming solo album.

Well, the CD is finally out, and honestly, I don't think I've ever heard such a stunning recording of any of my own music! It's a privilege to be in the company of such esteemed composers, and especially lovely to share album space with Peter Graham, to whom I owe a huge amount. The album is a masterclass: the Foden's Band are on incredible form, and Sheona's playing is simply sublime.

Thank you Sheona, and here's to the next 20 years!

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