Thursday 28th February 2008 by C. Freeman
Musician Liam Halloran is celebrating as not only has he been offered a place at a nationally renowned music college, but he is also playing at the world-famous Carnegie Hall in New York. Liam, who has played with a variety of ensembles is travelling to America with Northamptonshire Orchestral Winds to perform in a showcase event on 26 March. One piece, L'homme Armé is particularly complicated, meaning he has to play four concert toms, a snare drum, two bongos and cymbals across a four four pattern, over a three four bar but conducted in six eight time – all in a day's work for Liam but totally mindboggling to the uninitiated!
Liam, who is in the Sixth Form at Brooke Weston, has already been accepted at the Birmingham Conservatoire, although he may still be eligible to study at Trinity College London where he has been offered a reserve place. He is the first student from College to go on to a full time degree course in music and is delighted at the offers from two renowned establishments. Whichever he attends he will study a four-year Bachelor of Music degree specialising in performance and composition. Other modules, such as music psychology, musicology or theory will allow him to develop his own specialisms.
Liam, who plays drums, piano and guitar, only took up percussion less than a year ago although it will make up a large part of his course. Liam said: 'The percussion section includes lots of different instruments from massive kettledrums to smaller instruments like wooden blocks and maracas. It's not like only having only one instrument to concentrate on.'
Liam became interested in drums at the age of 10, first having lessons and then getting his own drum kit. When Liam's brother went travelling Liam took his place at piano lessons to get a grounding in the subject. Within a year he was playing at grade 5 level and progressing. Now he sight reads music and has achieved grade eight standard in drums (the highest before diploma level) and is due to take his grade eight exams in percussion as soon as possible.
Liam initially started performing with Thrapston then Rushden Brass Bands before moving to the Northampton-based GUS Band where he is now principal percussionist and section leader. He said: 'Last weekend I went to county brass band in the morning. As soon as I'd finished I went to Northampton to the Guy Woolfenden festival. He's head of contemporary composition at the Birmingham Conservatoire. I went to a celebration of his music and it lasted all weekend so I had to play all Saturday and all Sunday with a concert on Sunday night.' That punishing schedule is typical of Liam's weekend. However, he still manages to go to the gym and play squash and golf. Liam studies BTEC in music recording and acoustics as well as A-level Music, German, English and a touch of Chinese!
Liam is really looking forward to studying music at degree level and hopes it will lead to a full time career. He said: 'Most musicians have a lot of things going on and that's what I'd like to do, to be versatile and play in orchestras, jazz bands, do a bit of teaching, session work, and just do as many things as I can. Going to college will help me decide but at the moment I want to do as many things as I can, I just want to play, and play and play'.