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Besson Friday meets Misa Mead and Helen Harrelson

Philip Harper, Steven Mead and Roger Webster find out more tonight about the careers of Helen Harrelson and Misa Mead — two players who have made their musical mark far from their homes.

Mead
  Misa Mead and Helen Harrelson are the guests tonight on Besson Friday's at Home

For this week's 'Besson Fridays at Home' programme, the special guests are baritone star Helen Harrelson and euphoniumist Misa Mead.

The two Besson artists have gained widespread critical acclaim for their work and for the promotion of brass performances — both achieved from far their original homes.

Rochdale and Tokyo

Helen moved from Rochdale in the UK to Kansas City in the USA, whilst Misa moved from Japan to the UK via Paris.

Helen was going to be a town planner, but fell in love with playing brass instruments. She went on to study at the RNCM in Manchester, and played with Foden's, Leyland and Black Dyke bands before moving to Kansas initially as part of her teaching assignment.

There she not only linked up with the emerging Fountain City Band, but also met her future husband Lee Harrelson. Since then her pioneering work with youth — and in particular the National Youth Brass Band of America has seen her at the forefront of organisational management and creative work in the brass band scene in the USA.

Misa also speaks of her musical journey — and from enjoying exploring brass music making in Tokyo to studying and working in Paris and eventually finding her way to a small village in the English countryside with her euphonium playing husband Steven.

Her international travels have certainly coloured her musical approach — one that continues to make a mark with her innovative use of social media platforms.

We also discover how fish and chips play a role in their lives and how they look to explore new musical avenues.

Performances

All this and Philip, Roger and Steven find out more about their thoughts on the importance of solo and ensemble competitions in the development of young musicians and the mentors who they have learned from on their musical journeys.

We also hear some of Black Dyke's winning performance of 'Albion' at the Royal Albert Hall back in 2001 and from Fountain City Band at Brass in Concert as well as enjoying a short clip of Misa in a rehearsal conducted by the legendary tuba player and teacher Roger Bobo.

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