Get set for MADhurst festival, in Midhurst

Midhurst’s nine-day summer festival of music, arts and drama will kick off this year with the sound of big brass band music specially commissioned for the occasion.

Once again the oompahpah comes from musical dynamo Alistair Gibson, the 20-year-old Easebourne trombonist who put together the 60-strong brass band which debuted at the MADhurst festival last year.

The brass band consisted of 20 cornets, eight euphoniums, six horns, eight tubas, nine trombones and four percussionists with musicians mostly aged between 16 and 21 coming from all corners of the country to take part.

Alistair came up with the idea of forming a brass band after becoming a MADhurst committee member last year and this year he has gone one better when, under his baton, two brand-new pieces will be played for the first time.

The concert will open MADhurst 2012 in style on Sunday, August 19.

In the afternoon the brass band will play well-known pieces from classic brass band numbers to Last Night of the Proms favourites, and it will also feature two brand new pieces.

The first is Fanfare for the Future, written especially for the festival by Fodens Cornet player Andy Stevenson, and the second is a new euphonium solo written for Royal National College of Music student Matthew Watling by composer Iain Mundy.

“The concert last year was so well received that we instantly started planning for this year,” said Alistair.

“I got immediate commitment from many talented young musicians who travelled to Midhurst from all over the country and we have plans to make this year’s event even more special including new pieces that will be heard for the first time.”

MADhurst chairman Simon Goodale told the Observer: “We are very lucky to have someone like Alistair in our midst who can bring all these gifted young people from as far afield as Scotland to play at the MADhurst Festival.

“The response from the audience last year was tremendous and we are delighted that the musicians are back for the second time.”

The new MADhurst festival has been launched at www.madhurst.co.uk and includes details of the first events announced for this year’s event.

Any businesses wanting to join the carnival procession and volunteers willing to help out can email simongoodale@btinternet.com.