Dark Peak Music Foundation

…. a bright musical future

Welcome to our Blog.


Here we will put up stories and  news that we think may be of interest to our members, partners and supporters.

All events cancelled

Message from the Trustees

Re: All events postponed until further notice

To all members, trustees and EDs. CC Jayne Briggs and Dan Timmins
Dear Parent,
I am writing to you about the Dark Peak Music Foundation’s classes, rehearsals and concerts.
We have considered advice from a number of quarters and particularly taken into account the government’s firm advice about the need to practice “social distancing” and limit all unnecessary social contact.
We have therefore just taken the decision to suspend all rehearsals, classes, concerts and other activities with immediate effect and until further notice. This includes all ensembles, theory classes, Supertonics and Concerts.
This is clearly a difficult thing for our members who get so much, socially and musically from their weekly trips to the music centres, but we are very clear that we must put health and our community obligations first.
We do want to keep the spirit of Dark Peak alive over the period of closure and so Jeff and I will be looking at developing online events and activities to keep us in contact with one another and engaged in the music and social life that Dark Peak brings. We don’t really know what it will entail and so would welcome any help or ideas.
The Poland Trip is under review and we will be considering the position as the situation becomes clearer in the next couple of months.
Please do carry on making music and give us your ideas for online activities.
Best wishes
Andy Zuntz
Dark Peak Music Foundation

Coronavirus Advice

Message from the Trustees

Re: Coronavirus epidemic

Dear Players, Parents and Dark Peak Tutors,

Coronavirus Advice

The government today has given further advice and guidance on the Covid-19 pandemic as the response moves from the ‘containment’ phase to ‘delay’, so I thought it appropriate to update our guidance note accordingly. 

NHS advice to be found on https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/  is now consistent with our earlier position: 

Stay at home for 7 days if you have either a high temperature or a new continuous cough.

So, clearly, we would not expect anyone with these symptoms to attend any of our events.

There is no guidance at present from government to cancel any kind of gatherings, so rehearsals and classes should continue as planned, until different  guidance comes out.

However, if any local schools should be closed due to infection, then I think we should cancel our activities given the wide catchment area we have

I would re-iterate the previous advice, although I am sure everyone is aware of it: 

  • Avoid unnecessary contact.
  • Wash hands regularly and at the start of each session.
  • Do not share instruments

Instrument specific advice:

  • Be careful when emptying water from brass instruments. 
  • Flute players be careful not to direct the air flow towards others.

In addition we will not be providing biscuits and drinks at rehearsals. Student should bring their own water bottles if necessary. 

Please remember that Coronavirus is a changing situation and we will of course monitor developments, and consider how we, as an organisation, should react.

We will continue to follow the DfE and NHS websites and news channels and provide further general advice where relevant and appropriate.

Any thoughts from parents or tutors are most welcomed.

Should anyone be concerned about a pupil with whom they work or play, they should immediately refer their concern to their school, or parent if an individual lesson.

With thanks and best wishes.

Andy Zuntz


Dark Peak Music Foundation


Strings Playday

Dark Peak Strings Playday 


Dark Peak Big Band

Our First Big Band Course….

Dark Peak Big Band 2019

Our first Big Band Course took place before Christmas, with 16 players – Saxes, Trumpets, Trombones, Guitar, Bass, Drums, Vocals  and Piano meeting for six weeks at Victoria Hall Glossop under the Leadership of renowned Saxophone Player Carl Raven, supported by the Dark Peak’s Lisa Callaghan.

The players learnt a variety of challenging numbers over the course which culminated in a cabaret style concert – photos below. 

At the concert the players performed some of the pieces that had learnt and were joined by pro players, Carl, Jim Faulkner (guitar) and Dan Whieldon (piano) who played pieces as a trio and with individual players from the course. 

The course was deemed a great success by those who took part. The final concert was amazing and we will be considering how to take the Dark Peak Big Band idea  forward over the next few months. 

Here is a short video selection from the Concert.


The new Dark Peak Music Foundation range of merchandise is now available for order.

Using high quality Gildan brand clothing the silver grey hoodies have the Dark Peak logo on front and back. 

French Impressions

The first of our INSPIRE events for the year

French Impressions features Maria Snowdon (flute), Rosie Crook (oboe), Rosa Campos-Fernandez (clarinet from the Halle Orchestra) and Rachel Whibley (bassoon), Jeff Snowdon (horn) and the amazing pianist Ben Powell. The programme is a tour-de-force of great music from French composers, including the sometimes “whacky” and often incredibly beautiful masterpiece, Poulenc’s Sextet for Piano and Winds, together with a huge variety of other great pieces.

The concert is open to the public and we hope you will come along to share a really enjoyable Sunday afternoon with us. We want to pack the church to make a great atmosphere.

The INSPIRE concerts give members a chance to see some of the professional musicians who work on a weekly basis with the ensembles with their “professional performer hats” on. It can be a truly inspiring for pupils to see their teachers in their element, playing the music that they love.

Full details are on the attached flier and tickets are now on sale at www.ticketsource.co.uk/darkpeakmusicfoundation. As a special offer to members of the Dark Peak Music Foundation we are offering a family rate of £20 which admits 2 adults and 2 children.

Worlds Apart

“Worlds Apart” is the culmination of a major project showcasing senior level students of the Dark Peak Music Foundation and Peak District Music Centres, including national award winning ensembles Dark Peak Concert Band and Peak District String Orchestra. The concert also features the “Orchestra of the Peaks”, a full symphony orchestra drawn together especially for this concert from talented young musicians from across the area.

With over 100 young musicians involved, the programme opens with John Williams’ “Olympic Fanfare and Theme” from the 1984 Olympics. Other blockbuster scores include Star Wars (the Force Awakens) and highlights from Jurassic Park. Together with the great orchestral tone poem “Finlandia” by Sibelius and Ellerby’s charming musical evocation of the “Tales from Anderson”, it promises a  varied and exciting evening, climaxing with a rousing performance of hits from “Grease”.

The Concert is at the Octagon in Buxton on Friday 12th April, 7.30pm. Tickets are available at discounted rate online at www.ticketsource.co.uk/darkpeakmusicfoundation.

Apollo Saxophone Quartet Workshop

Apollo Saxophone Quartet Workshop

There is an exciting opportunity for young Saxophonists coming up in February.

The renowned Apollo Saxophone Quartet will be performing in Glossop Parish Church on Friday 22nd February 2019, as part of the Glossop Music Festival.  ASQ and the Glossop Music Festival, in partnership with the Dark Peak Music Foundation  will offer educational and performance opportunities to Derbyshire sax players in advance of the concert.

Two members of the Quartet, Carl Raven and Jim Fieldhouse, will run a workshop in the afternoon for young Derbyshire sax players of all abilities. The aim is to create an ad hoc Sax Ensemble to prepare and play specially arranged pieces.  The pieces will be performed before the ASQ concert in the evening to the full audience. Students from the RNCM Saxophone Department will support the event. 

The workshop will consist of two sessions of rehearsal  running from 2pm until 5.30. Refreshments will, of course be available. The event will include rehearsals and ensemble playing and there will be ample opportunity for one-to-one advice throughout. 

The players will then perform their pieces before a full audience at the evening’s concert, and have reserved places, free of charge for the remainder of the performance. 

We believe this is a wonderful opportunity for young players of all abilities to get some first-class tuition, meet professional players and conservatoire students and gain experience of live concert performance.  

Places are limited so please do spread the word and encourage young sax players of all standards to get in touch. 

For bookings or other queries please contact Andy Zuntz at a.zuntz@darkpeakmusic.co.uk 

Jazz Inspire Concert 14th September

Don’t miss a great start to the year with a terrific concert in our continuing Inspire Series. Come and listen to the music of George Gershiwn and Cole Porter played by local professional musicians.

DA R K  P E A K  M U S I C   I N S P I R E   C O N C E R T

The Dark Peak Inspire Series was launched two years ago to promote special events including professional concerts, masterclasses and workshops, extending the work of the music centre beyond our core activity.

We are delighted to be presenting the third of our professional concerts at St Luke’s Church Glossop,  at 7.30 on 14th September 2018.

This autumn we welcome Carl Raven (saxophone), Dan Whieldon (piano), Gavin Barras (bass), Dave Walsh (drums) and Emma Dixon (cello).

The programme consists of the music of George Gershwin and Cole Porter, arrangements for the quintet made by Dan and Carl.

Be sure to book early for this inspiring concert!

Admission £10 adults, under 18s free.   Tickets available at www.ticketsource.co.uk/darkpeakmusicfoundation

Please forward this information on to your friends and family.  Please contact a.zuntz@darkpeakmusic.co.uk if you would like to help publicise this event we have flyers and posters to display and distribute.

Italy Tour 2018

It was an early start for 60 members of the Concert Band and Sinfonia as they boarded a 90-seater luxury coach bound for the Veneto region of Italy. But the party was soon in full swing as the group departed on their 30-hour journey to one of the most beautiful areas of Italy.

The tour was organised through Specialised Travel Ltd, and we were treated to a 4* hotel, excellent meals (the best being in an amazing open-air restaurant outside Lavarone) and well publicised concerts in great venues.

The group gave two concerts in stunning venues high in the Dolomites, one in the beautiful Alpine town of Lavarone and the other in the magnificent cathedral in the spa town of Asiago. Both concerts were packed with locals and holiday makers who gave a rapturous welcome with standing ovations for both concerts. The Duomo in Asiago was particularly impressive with the audience packed to the very back of the cathedral. 


As well as the concerts, the young musicians had the chance to visit Verona, the setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, visiting the very balcony which was said to have inspired the story, and the amazing city of Venice, taking in Saint Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace as well as having time to explore in small the groups. The group learnt about the powerful family dynasties that ruled the different regions of Italy in the renaissance period, and the rise of the great Venetian Empire from the swamps of the venetian lagoon. They had a taste of the great cultural, musical and artistic developments in these cities as well as being able to explore and soak up the special atmosphere of Venice by night.

The tour alternated between the sweltering heat of the Italian plain and the fresher climate of the Alpine uplands, with some impressive coach journeys with stunning Alpine scenery and hair-raising mountain roads (expertly negotiated by our superb drivers Ken and Sean).

The group had a very wide age range, with a substantial group of players from the Intermediate Wind Band joining us. The initial plan was to include some repertoire specifically for their ability level, but in practice they played everything, even the most advanced wind band classics.

Our team of 8 staff, which included two ex-members of the music centre now studying music, ensured that everything ran safely and to plan with suitable activities for all age groups. But the highlight of the activities had to be swimming and boating in the lake at Lavarone, surrounded by mountains. The now infamous “Pedalo” race in the lake was captured on film by our resident photographer Gareth Widdowson.

All the official pictures of the tour by Gareth are available on our Flickr gallery via the website and plenty of other pictures are shared on the Facebook page.

The Music Foundation runs international concert tours every two years and it has become a major part of the life of the music centre. We’re already looking forward to the next tour which we hope will be to Poland in 2020.