(Tønsberg Concert Band)
Formed in 1928, Tønsberg Concert Band celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2018. The band is based in Tønsberg, about 100 km south of Oslo. There are about 40 musicians aged between 17 and 67 in the band, and there is a good sense of affiliation and fellowship among its members, irrespective of age or background.
Over the years, there have been many international tours, including Holland in 1958, Italy in 1983, Russia and Belarus in 1988, Germany in 1987 and 1990, New York in 1993, Great Britain in 1998, Valencia in 2003 and Kerkrade in 2009. There have also been frequent tours in Scandinavia.
Tønsberg Concert Band holds performances in concert halls and churches in Tønsberg and takes part in local parades. Since 2003 the band has taken part in the Norwegian Championships in Trondheim, where it has been highly acclaimed in the first and second divisions.
The band has always emphasised the demand for having highly qualified conductors, and its present chief conductor is Ray Farr.
Ray Farr (b. 1948) comes from a Salvation Army background and was educated at the Birmingham School of Music and at the Royal Academy of Music in London. After 10 years as a professional trumpeter with BBC Radio Orchestras he started his career as a conductor, adjudicator, arranger, teacher and researcher. He has appeared in hundreds of concerts around the world, and in some of the finest concert halls including the Royal Albert Hall and the Sydney Opera House, and has gained a reputation as a stylish conductor and a planner of interesting concert programmes ranging from light music to “avant-garde”. Ray is equally adept in classical and modern music and has conducted opera, ballet and oratorio, and works regularly with various orchestras, bands and choirs. As a conductor, Ray has made several CD and TV appearances.
In 2003 Ray accepted a position as Conductor in Residence at Durham University where he taught conducting and arranging, and combined this work with a busy freelance career.
As an arranger and composer Ray has over one hundred published works and has written two books; one on conducting and the other on the influential brass playing family The Distins.
As an adjudicator, Ray is enormously experienced having judged hundreds competitions, festivals and examinations around the world.
In 2004, Ray was voted “Conductor of the Year” by www.4barsrest.com and described by the specialist magazine Brass Band World as a ‘Legend’.
Today, he lives in Oslo, Norway from where he continues his busy career in various facets of the music profession.