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.

Dark Peak Biggest Big Band

The big event of the week is the start of the exciting Biggest Big Band Project.

Would your child like to be involved in an exciting online project led by renowned local sax player, Carl Raven?

The project is open to all players in Dark Peak Music, any instrument, any standard, and it will unfold over the next few weeks as Carl takes us through a brilliant process he has designed which will culminate in the creation of a virtual Big Band: The Dark Peak Biggest Big Band.

Carl will be putting together a video of a piece of music performed by your child, bit-by-bit like a jigsaw, only your child will be creating the pieces under Carl’s video guidance.

We think this exciting project is a first, and we are sure it is going to be absorbing, fun and challenging for all involved.

If you would like your child to be involved, or want some more information please email bigband@darkpeakmusic.co.uk with his/her name, instrument and approximate level of ability.

We will then contact you with further information on how to participate, including the stringent safeguarding protocols we will have in place!

You can see the introductory video underneath this post  .

We do hope your child gets involved!

Dark Peak Music@Home

Message from the Principal Musical Director

Dark Peak Music@Home

Dear Players and Parents and Friends,

I hope you are keeping well in these difficult times.  Dark Peak Music is a positive and forward looking organisation and we are determined to do what we can to support people as they deal with the challenges that this epidemic is bringing. 

We don’t know when we will be able to play again in our bands, orchestras and ensembles. It may not be before September, although we can remain hopeful that things may resume sooner than that. We know that you will all be sad to not be able to meet friends and play together for some time. I for one am already missing the company of a slightly bonkers, but brilliant bunch of young people armed with musical instruments.

It is so important that you continue to enjoy developing your playing ready for when we are all back together in groups and there is lots we can do to keep each other engaged. I wanted to let you know that our amazing team of professional musicians have stepped right up to the challenge, developing some great ideas to keep us all enjoying playing. 

The first idea is to transform our Facebook page into a hive of musical activity which we are calling Dark Peak Music@Home. 

  • Through this we are going to host a range of activities including a Virtual Concert Hall featuring all our wonderful young musicians. Put those phones and iPads to good use recording your favourite tunes, share them on the Virtual Concert Hall and get all your friends and relatives to join our Facebook Page to make it a busy and exciting musical hub. 
  • We will also post weekly performances from our ensembles over the years, including some of the great performances of the Concert Band on its international tours. 
  • As well as performances we will be posting Musical Games and Activities for younger children from our Supertonics leader Emma, and silly songs and games for the whole family from our Chinley Junior Band leader Rosie.
  • Carl Raven will also be organising Online Sessions for Big Band Players – open to anyone who would like to get involved.
  • Theory lessons with Hephzibah will also continue by email and online. Hephzibah will contact you directly about how this will work.
  • I can feel a KAZOO orchestra coming on – it would probably hit the national news!

If you have any ideas to contribute, please email me. There is plenty more we can be doing. 

So our message to all our members and supporters is get involved and let’s make the Dark Peak Page a hub for students, parents, grandparents and friends.  A PRIZE FOR THE FIRST PERSON TO GET A VIDEO OF THEIR PERFORMANCE UP 😊

At a time like this we must remember that music is more than just a pastime or a trivial entertainment. As a musician you have the power to inspire, motivate and uplift other people.  If people around you are isolated or lonely and need cheering up, play them one of your favourite tunes to lift their spirits. Play it with your all your heart, and don’t worry if it isn’t perfect – it will be a real gift for them. In the words of the esteemed educator Paul Harris “Performing is an act of giving. If you play with commitment and generosity at any level, everyone is better for it.”       

Safeguarding point:  The Facebook Page is an open page but is carefully monitored by the Trustees. All posts should be uploaded on parents’ accounts and do not put up any surnames of performers, phone numbers, email addresses or any other personal data.  We will review the ‘open’ status regularly to ensure we are all kept safe.

We have a real chance to do something wonderful together now, so  let’s act together and make Dark Peak Music@Home a real success! 

With very best wishes. 

Jeff and all the Trustees and Ensemble Directors

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