As part of York International Women's Week - YIWW 2021, our online event 'Femmes Fortissimo: Women Banding Together' is taking place on Sunday 7th March, 3-4pm
This free webinar is open to anyone wishing to attend, booking is required.
The programme for York International Women's Week 2021 is now available.
You can download it from the YIWW website.
Booking details for our free online event 'Femmes Fortissimo: Women Banding Together' taking place on Sunday 7th March, 3.00-4.00pm will be available from 7th February.
Watch out for the video of performances from the NYMAZ Big Brass Day event which is due to be premiered at 6pm on Thursday 26th November 2020.
The NYMAZ Big Brass Day is happening online this year and Femmes Fortissimo are pleased to be getting involved. All brass players Grade 4 standard and over who are under the age of 18 are welcome. Book your place via Eventbrite.
We had hoped to reschedule later in the year but in light of the ongoing restrictions and uncertainty around COVID-19 we have decided to cancel the Femmes Fortissimo 2020 Concert. We hope to be back bigger and better than ever in 2021.
In the meantime everyone stay safe.
Inspired by the Cory Band's efforts some of us decided to have a go at doing a lockdown video. It's definitely not as easy as they made it look but we did have fun giving it a go.
We've taken the difficult decision to postpone the Femmes Fortissimo concert on 28th March 2020. This is very disappointing for us but we feel it is the responsible thing to do at this point during much uncertainty relating to the coronavirus (COVID-19). We're looking at an alternative date later in the year so watch this space!
See our press release in The York Press about the Femmes Fortissimo 2020 concert celebrating female role models.
All-women brass band pays respect to female role models.
Femmes Fortissimo, with their annual charity concert for York International Women’s Week Festival, will be celebrating female role models with tributes to music icons from Aretha Franklin to WWII dance band leader Ivy Benson. The band will again be conducted by musical director Sue Sykes and this year are joined by guest soloist Rebecca Lundberg, principal trombonist with the renowned Fairey Band.
“The theme of York International Women’s Week 2020 is respect and recognition,” said Kate Lock, founder of Femmes Fortissimo. Hence, Aretha Franklin’s signature song, Respect is very apt. “In terms of recognition, we want to big up local musician Ivy Benson, who was born in Leeds and went on to lead her all-girl dance band throughout the Second World War. She was the start of ‘girl power’ – she was a huge star back then, but you don’t hear her mentioned much these days. Ivy used to recruit her girl trumpet players and trombonists from brass bands in the North of England, so it’s quite appropriate that we pay tribute to her. We’ll be playing her signature tune too, and we’ve also got a romping swing number that should get the party started.”
The up-tempo concert also features music from more modern icons of girl power, the Spice Girls, as well as music by Gloria Gaynor, Dolly Parton and Lady Gaga.
“We would love it if we could find any of Ivy Benson’s surviving players to invite to the concert as our guests of honour,” says Kate. “Melanie Chisholm, who was Sporty Spice, did a BBC radio programme about Ivy, featuring some of the band members - they call themselves the ‘BOGs’ – Benson’s Old Girls.
“I was carolling with my regular band, York RI Golden Rail, at Tesco at Askham Bar a few years ago and a lady said hello and told me she used to play for Ivy Benson. I didn’t get her name but if she’s still around, we would love to have her come. Or Mel C, for that matter!”
The Femmes Fortissimo concert is on Saturday 28 March at 7.30pm at the Church of the Holy Redeemer, Boroughbridge Road, York. Tickets cost £10, available on the door or in advance from
Proceeds from the concert will go to Kyra Women’s Project and NYMAZ, a North Yorkshire-based youth music development charity.