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Harper enjoys the musical fiika in the Swedish outback

Cory MD Philip Harper is enjoying a pretty good musical break in the picturesque surroundings of rural Sweden.

Swdish break
  Philip Harper has been enjoying the music as well as the fiika in Sweden this week

Cory MD Philip Harper is currently enjoying a musical break in Sweden as part of the conducting team at the 45th brass and wind course in Jonkoping, the picturesque city on the edge of Lake Vattern.

85 musicians from all parts of the country are participating in three bands under the direction of Philip, Yngve Nordstrom, Jorgen Advall and Berit Palmquist.

Varied repertoire

As well as taking part in sectional and full band rehearsals, the players also have the chance to enjoy individual lessons from one of the ten tutors, or take part in extension activities such as Big Band or music theory classes.

The course will conclude with a final concert at the local Immanuel Church on Saturday, where the bands will perform works as varied as Edward Gregson's 'Connotations' to Duke Ellington's 'Caravan', 'The Marriage of Figaro', as well as 'Fantasy on British Sea Songs', 'Nicaea' and 'The Umbrellas of Cherbourg' amongst many others.

Fantastic week

Phil told 4BR: "It's already been a fantastic week, with a unique atmosphere where young and old, and players of all levels of experience relish the opportunity to play and learn together.

I arrived on Sunday to be met by the organiser Berit Palmquist who has everything under control. She's been running the course for the last 30 years, although it's been in existence since 1972. When the players arrived on Monday we did some 'get to know you' sessions, and then it was straight into the routine of rehearsal, eat, rehearsal, eat etc!"


He added: "The hospitality is fantastic, and we've enjoyed some brilliant rehearsals, as well as some cosy fiika, which is a uniquely Swedish term for 'coffee and buns'!

Evenings have all had an activity too, such as an excellent tutors' concert, some great team-building workouts and talking about building a band."

The hospitality is fantastic, and we've enjoyed some brilliant rehearsals, as well as some cosy fiika, which is a uniquely Swedish term for 'coffee and buns'!Cory MD, Phil Harper

Banding trio

The Cory MD also told 4BR that he has been finding leading three different bands an interesting experience: "That's been something which I've found stimulating — two brass bands and a wind band, all with different personalities and characteristics.

Considering how to get the best out of a group is one of my fascinations with conducting, so it's been very rewarding to have three groups with which to build up a rapport.

I'm also looking forward to delivering some workshops and seminars to the conducting course which has begun today being led by Torgny Hanson."


He concluded: "It's to the credit of the Swedish band movement that this conducting course is only one of a series of regular meetings for the participants, which offers a great opportunity to develop over a longer period with a greater level of reflection."

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James Chamberlain

BMus (Hons) PGCE
Conductor, Teacher