5th November 2006
he Jaguar Band gave a concert in Chicago, U.S.A to a standing room only venue. Prior to the first piece the Director, Dave Lea, put the audience at ease and in relaxed state with his opening remarks which were filled with a warm address and engaging sense of humour. The listener could not help but relate to the Director on a personal level, and by the faces and body language of the players it was obvious that they also had an emotional attachment to him.
The programme opened to a musically explosive start with Hora Staccata by Dinicu. Each piece thereafter started with an energy packed attack and set the tone for the balance of the programme. It was easy to see why this band has so many awards in the United Kingdom and in the United States. I could go through each piece but the description would be the same - fabulous. I would like to tell you something that you have not read about. How does this band achieve such high praise and awards year after year? I could not help but notice that not only was the Director able to relate to all age levels of the band members, but also was very welcoming to the young players in the audience that were allowed to join in at the end of the programme. Those young audience members showed their gratitude by playing with great pride. They were with the best of the best.
From a pre-concert interview with Dave Lea I found him to be a tough taskmaster musically, but with the charisma to motivate his players to produce 150% for him and in the process an aura of mutual respect and loyalty was evident between the Director and all of the members. You could see that Dave Lea had the unique ability to draw out the best in his players and has developed the highest degree of team spirit that I have ever seen. Maybe this is why he has had a fabulous long running record with the band since he became the Director in 1988. Dave Lea also has developed the keen sense of a great team leader by allowing several of the players to showcase their talents both young and old. The Director's son, Kevin Lea, was one of many that performed solos to the thunderous applause of the audience. With these young soloists there is assured a continuous supply of great players in the Jaguar Band from Coventry. It was one of my greatest pleasures to attend the concert and to meet Dave Lea in person.
The Brass Herald February 2007