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Pandora's Box Premiere by Cory Band

At the recent 160th anniversary joint concert with Cory band, not only did we have the wonderful opportunity to play the haunting, atmospheric composition written by Cory's talented composer in Residence Chris Bond, but in return, Cory played a piece of music written by me! It was an honour and an overwhelming experience to have these world-class musicians perform something I had written. The composition was entitled Pandora's Box, a piece I wrote initially for piano as a teenager (then much shorter and part of a suite called 'Ice Man'). Around three years ago, it occurred to me that the music would transfer well to brass band, particularly as, when it was a piano piece, I always felt I didn't have enough hands to play all the harmonies and effects that were in my mind. It took, I recall, less than a month to arrange it for band, and the piece was renamed Pandora's Box to suit its very different emotional quality. Then I was left with the fears that I'm sure many composers have: Would anyone want to play it, and is it in fact even playable? With its ever-changing key changes and fast scale runs, I knew it was a bit too much of a challenge to present to Bratton Silver Band, talented musicians though they are!

I approached Cory Band early this year to find out whether they would be prepared to run through the piece, just so that I could hear it played live and make any necessary changes, as it is impossible to imagine a full band effect when composing on a computer or piano. I visited their band room for a rehearsal in the spring, where they sight-read it almost perfectly! They seemed to enjoy the piece and it was proposed that they would perform it at the joint concert later in the year.

It was incredible to hear their stunning performance of my music. I am tickled to wonder what my 14-year-old self would have thought about having her piano-tinklings manifest in this way many years down the line! I am very grateful to Philip Harper for agreeing to play the music and supporting me in this grand debut; to Cory band for their excellent playing, and to Bratton Band, who over the years have forged the strong, lasting relationship with Cory which allowed me to follow my dream.

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