The Guard's Chapel

Jonathan Spencer"BRASS EXPLOSION" - Music for Brass Ensemble

Wednesday 28th June 2017.
Admission FREE all day.

  • Morning - 10am to noon - Open Rehearsal featuring Adam Rapa
  • Afternoon - 2pm to 4pm Masterclass. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • Evening - 7pm Concert with the Guards Brass Ensemble and Surrey Brass

The Guards' Chapel
Wellington Barracks,
Birdcage Walk,
London SW1E 6HQ

About the Event

Brass Explosion is part of the exciting new Household Division Music History and Arts Festival. This all day event and evening concert features two brass ensembles, one military, one civilian. Surrey Brass and The Guards Brass Ensemble join forces to present the best music of the genre.

The concert celebrates two historic milestones - 15 years of Surrey Brass, and 100 years of massed bands of the Foot Guards. The setting of the Guards Chapel provides a perfect back drop with hundreds of years of heritage and history lining the walls. The ‘laid up’ Colours of our forefathers hang bears testament to both the past and present custodians of State and Ceremonial music making.

The day starts with an open rehearsal which will preview some of the music for the evening concert as well as other repertoire. On show will be rehearsal technique, musicianship, together with great tips on both individual instrumental and ensemble playing. The rehearsal will give everyone unparalleled insight into the daily life of a brass musician, and provide a range of practical advice and ideas about how to play better and deliver great performances. The rehearsal will be directed by Adam Rapa, who will be providing insight into brass playing at the very highest standard throughout.

In the afternoon, the masterclass will feature a number of players - maybe you? - in a workshop format that will exercise different styles of playing including classical and jazz. Simply watching many one-to-one tutorials with the participants will deliver one of the finest free brass lessons one could ever have - well worth attending. If you are a budding soloist or section leader this session is a must. It will showcase a wide variety of music at a very high standard. If you are interested in participating you can Register to perform. It's completely free!

In the gaps between sessions during the day, everyone is welcome to include a visit to The Guards Museum between 10:00am to 4:00pm. The museum contains a wealth of information and artefacts relating to the five regiments of Foot Guards (Grenadier, Coldstream, Scots, Irish and Welsh Guards). Along with the two regiments of Household Cavalry they make up Her Majesty’s Household Division and enjoy the treasured privilege of guarding The Sovereign and the Royal Palaces.

The evening concert programme contains a combination of original music and arrangements from many musical styles including original and arranged classical music, light music, film music, and jazz and features renowned guest soloist Adam Rapa. See below for more on the programme.

A special feature of the concert is a performance of "Song of Hope" by Peter Meechan. "Song of Hope" is dedicated to Ryan Anthony (principal trumpet with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra) and his charity, Cancer Blows raises both awareness and money to encourage research for cancers with a focus on blood cancers & multiple myeloma. Feel free to donate to this worthy cause!


This all-day brass event is free to all. Everyone is welcome to any or all of the sessions.



  • Surrey Brass - Jonathan Spencer (also Bandmaster, The Band of the Royal Logistic Corps)
  • The Guards Brass Ensemble -Andrew Porter (also Bandmaster of the Band of Irish Guards)

Guest Soloists

Adam Rapa, Trumpet Soloist

Musical Programme

The 7pm Evening Concert features a spectacular blend of music from Surrey Brass, Guard Brass, and Soloists - click on the links to preview the some of music.

  • "Vienna Philharmonic Fanfare"- a rather large and impressive work by Richard Strauss
  • "Holborne Tubes" - Anthony Holborne c1545-1602 re-imagined and arranged by Edward Chance
  • "Grand Fanfare" - Giancarlo Castro D'Addona
  • "Shepherd's Hey" - Percy Grainger arranged by Denis Wick
  • Screening of a film from the Battle of the Somme, accompanied by live music
  • "A Londoner in New York" - Jim Parker
  • "Song of Hope" - Trumpet Soloists Adam Rapa, Michael Chapple (SB), Colour Sergeant Ray Plant (GB)
  • "Children of Sanchez" - Soloist Adam Rapa
  • "Midnight in Moscow" - Kenny Ball arranged by John Hughes

The programme is continually evolving, so please visit again for an update, and if you wish to be notified automatically why not Join Our Mailing List?

About Surrey Brass

Surrey Brass is 15 in 2017 and you can read about us here.

To mark this auspicious occasion we are celebrating by playing some of the innovative and entertaining music projects we have commissioned since our formation, throughout our concerts this year.

Listen to Surrey Brass in Concert

About The Guards Brass Ensemble

The Guards Brass Ensemble was formed in late 2015 from brass players from around the Household Division Bands, with the sole intention of performing in the Guards Chapel Recital Series. Since then, the group has performed in scores of concerts with musical excellence and community engagement at the very heart of everything they undertake.

Read the full biography of The Guards Brass Ensemble. You can hear The Guards Brass Ensemble rehearsing here.

Tickets and Information

Tickets are FREE with a retiring collection.

Festival Information is available from The Chapel Office 02074143229 during office hours.

Parking and Transport

The Chapel is a short walk from St. James' Park Underground station (Circle, District lines)

Green Park, Waterloo, Charing Cross and Victoria Underground stations are also within walking distance.

Car parking is not available on site.

Support Surrey Brass 

Support Surrey Brass