RAF HALTON AREA BAND
Musical Director, Michael J. Pegram ARCM FVCM psm
The band was originally formed from RAF apprentices who learnt their various trades at RAF Halton over a three-year period.
Today Halton is the basic recruit training station for the Royal Air Force, but the band’s personnel are drawn from a much wider spectrum. Players also come from other stations; Benson, High Wycombe, Bentley Priory, Northolt and Brize Norton, as well as M.O.D. employees, some ex-service musicians and local civilians; some of whom work on the station.
Thanks to the enthusiasm of the players, the organization can now boast up to five different ensembles.
Firstly, we can offer a thirty-piece concert band, capable of playing a wide variety of musical styles, from popular to classics and from original wind band pieces to marches. The concert band has toured extensively over the last few years, playing to audiences in Norway, Malta, France, Germany and Austria, as well as here in UK. Charities benefit from the band’s concerts as well. Local charities are often supported, along with national appeals such as the Tsunami disaster.
The band also has a great c.d. to its credit and is due to record it’s second one in May 2005.
Next comes a highly talented and professional clarinet ensemble, ideal for the smaller, more intimate occasion such as a chamber concert or cocktail party.
If a little more carrying power is required, then a 10-piece brass ensemble is available, complete with drummer! This small band play a wide variety of music from light classics through show tunes to jazz; from Joplin to Purcell!
The latest group to be introduced is a 14-piece big-band, consisting of 5 saxes, 6 brass and a rhythm section. Called ‘Halton Blue’, the band can play a wide variety of big-band hits, from Glen Miller to later tunes in differing styles, such as ‘Mack The Knife’ and ‘Sweet Caroline’.
Lastly, but by no means least comes the marching band. This ensemble has supported the station on many ceremonial occasions; be it a graduation parade for the new recruits, a ‘Battle Of Britain’ sunset parade or other parades around the station, the RAF Halton Band leads the ceremonial way!
Variety is …
With the professional bands stretched more and more, RAF Halton Area Band has undertaken quite a few important and varied engagements over the last few years. From playing at the popular Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford in Gloucestershire, to the one pictured below. This was the final fireworks concert at the 2004 Eastbourne Airshow, where the band performed to an enthusiastic audience of over 1200 people.
Michael Pegram began his professional career with the Band of HM Welsh Guards, where he eventually became principal trombonist, touring extensively and appearing as a featured soloist.
In 1977 Michael attended the Bandmasters’ course at The Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall. He emerged in 1980 with top honours, winning the coveted Worshipful Company of Musicians’ medal.
Michael then served as an Army Bandmaster until 1987, when he left the army to pursue other musical activities.
He has been Music Director of the RAF Halton Band since April 1990. He is busy as a free-lance conductor, as well as being an arranger and composer, working with youth groups and also on radio and television. Michael is also an examiner for Trinity-Guildhall, London.