Peter Fletcher Director of The Music Continuum

Peter Fletcher

Peter Fletcher was educated at Stand Grammar School, Edge Hill College of Education and The University of Manchester. He was Head of Physical Education and also taught English from 1965 to 1977 in Wigan. He then moved into community education and was Head of Orrell Community Education Centre from 1977 to 1985, when Wigan Council first developed a community school programme, coordinating a wide range of classes and activities particularly encouraging dual use of school facilities with the local clubs and societies. During this time, he started training part-time adult education teachers and then, in 1985, moved to Wigan and Leigh College as head of the teacher training unit, responsible for enabling college staff to obtain teaching qualifications and develop as professional educators.

In 1995 he took early retirement from the college and his work expanded to include training trainers from the NHS, Bruche Police Training School and social services staff, developing teaching and presentation skills.

In 1998 he set up a training and consultancy company and coordinated the Graduate Teacher Programme for Manchester University and also worked for Centra, specialising in training and development work, based around assessment and evaluation procedures, that involved working with government departments in Botswana and Romania and university departments in the USA.

In 2003 he created a unique school-based graduate teacher training programme for Wigan schools, independent of any university, and approved and validated directly by the Teacher Training Agency. This enabled a group of ten primary schools and five high schools to be directly involved in teacher training and assessment for the first time. His company trained school-based mentors and operated and assessed this program until he retired in 2009.

He is co-founder of the Wigan Jazz Club and Wigan International Jazz Festival with Ian Darrington but his interest has been as a listener and organiser rather than as a musician. He assisted Ian on WYJO trips to Hong Kong and Poland and provided the band with their first ever gig at the community centre in 1978.

From 2012 to 2017 he worked as a volunteer for Age U.K. helping people with benefit claims and advocating on their behalf, reinforcing his belief that social isolation is a major problem for the elderly.

His particular interest is in developing community-based musical activity, encouraging people to participate and enjoy socialising as well as playing. He is also keen to develop links with local groups who can use music to assist people with social or mental health issues.

He now works as Co-director of The Music Continuum and joint promoter of the Wigan International Jazz Festival.

Ian Darrington Director of The Music Continuum

Dr Ian Darrington MBE

Ian Darrington was Director of Jazz Performance for Wigan Council from 1977 until his early retirement in March 2011. Whilst working for Wigan he had special responsibility for jazz education, having joined their instrumental teaching staff in September 1977. Ian was educated at Dudley College of Education, Huddersfield Polytechnic, Bretton Hall College of Education and the University of Liverpool.

He is co-founder and director of the Wigan International Jazz Festival, now in its 33rd year and co-founder of the Wigan Jazz Club now in its 35th year. He was also musical director of the Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra, a post he held for well over thirty years. Through his work with WYJO he toured France, USA, Hong Kong, British Columbia, Poland, Republic of Ireland, Czechoslovakia, South Africa, the Faroe Islands, Hungary, Israel, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Australia and Romania as well as extensively through the UK.

Artists that Ian & WYJO worked with include Maynard Ferguson, Bobby Shew, Salena Jones, Georgie Fame, James Morrison, Buddy Childers, Conte Candoli, Bill Perkins, Eddie Bert, Bill Watrous, Elaine Delmar, Marion Montgomery, Jiggs Whigham, Don Rader, Don Lusher, Kenny Baker, Eric Delaney, Phil Woods and many more.

Ian has performed big band workshops throughout Europe, South Africa and the USA. He served as a clinician for the Daily Telegraph Young Jazz Competition working in schools and colleges throughout the United Kingdom. He was adviser and guest musical director to the Cork School of Music Big Band between 1992 and 1996. In 2005, as guest musical director for Warrington based ‘High Brass’ Ian directed a studio album featuring the music of Stan Kenton, Pat Metheny, Hank Levy and Bob Curnow. The album is titled ‘Time for a Change’

From 2011 and 2014 Ian worked as manager to singer / songwriter AJ Brown involving him in visits to Louisville, Atlanta, New York, Nova Scotia, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Grahamstown.

At the 2000 International Association of Jazz Educators Conference in New Orleans Ian Darrington was awarded the Humanitarian Award for Jazz Education the first non – USA musician to receive the award. In October 2001, for his services to music, Ian was awarded the MBE by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. Other awards he has received include Vocational Services Award in recognition of services to the community from the Rotary Club of Great Britain in September 2001 and the Award for Outstanding Contribution to Local Education from the National Union of Teachers in 2012.

In summer 2002 Ian was appointed to the board of the International Association for Jazz Education, serving as the European representative, a post he held for six years.

He now works as a freelance Festival director, company director, music adjudicator and big band clinician.