March

Active AGM
Tewkesbury Town Hall - 30th March 2011

On Wednesday 30th March, we held our AGM in Tewkesbury Town Hall. As has become tradition, the meeting was preceded by a concert from our Training Band. Both the Beginner and Intermediate Bands performed a variety of pieces including Cheesy Feet Rock, Loving Music, The Young Prince, Handbags and Gladrags, Twinkle, 3 Days, Wallace and Gromit, and On The Hill. Each piece was introduced by a member of the Band. We also had a special rendition of Happy Birthday for Sue Wilmot as it was her birthday!

Following this, the meeting got underway under the Chairmanship of our President, Geoff Pope, The Town Mayor. We were proud to also have in attendance four of our vice presidents: Mr Pete Williams, Mr Roger Workman, Mrs Martin and Mrs Cadbury. The Band's Annual Report showed the Band was in a healthy position with 64 members and between the Bands, had completed 42 performances during the year, playing to over 6000 people. The Band had enjoyed making new overseas friends when we hosted a joint concert with Brass Band Panta Rhei Gent in March last year. Our Friends scheme has continued to develop and at the end of the year had 30 members. Whilst the Band has had a good year financially, the task of fundraising enough to purchase two EEb Basses is still a big task for the coming year. Looking ahead to the future, the Band is hoping to tour to Europe in 2012 and to America in 2014 to celebrate our 40th Anniversary. The Training Band report was pleasant listening with a membership of 44 and some stories of happy memories from performances during the year.

The Chairman's report opened with praise to the Band for always performing in a professional manner, priding ourselves on looking smart, sounding confident and entertaining our audiences well. It went on to talk about the Band's closeness to the community and family friendly environment (31 players are related to someone else in the Band!). Our supporters were thanked for their encouragement at concerts and contests, as well as their help behind the scenes, ensuring that everything is in place for our performances and to make our events successful. The Band is fortunate to have active members in the wider brass band and musical scenes, with involvement on a local level with Gloucestershire Music and the Gloucestershire Brass Band Association, on a national level with the British Federation of Brass Bands and the British Trombone Society, and at an international level with the European Brass Band Association and its annual festival. Having members interested in the wider musical aspects helps us to push the boundaries and continue to develop. 

Our Musical Director highlighted in his report how successful the band has been musically, and that this has been reflected in our profitable self-promoted concerts during the year, as well as the many other performances the Band has completed. He noted that the band has changed from being predominately made up of older players, towards one where the young people graduating from the Training Band are beginning to fill the seats, with 12 full time members of the senior band being under 18.

Next it was time for the election of officers and committee members. Sue Corrigan had decided to step down as Secretary of the Band after a record 9 years serving the band as Secretary. A bouquet of flowers was presented as a token of our thanks to Sue for all she had done over this time. Sue will continue to work as the Band librarian as well as playing 1st Baritone. Sue Wilmot agreed to take over from Sue as secretary, and Helen Walters and Christine Poole remain as Chairman and Treasurer respectively. Penny Windsor was elected to the committee for the first time. Linda Lee and Dave Dron were also re-elected to the committee.

The new committee is already making plans to ensure the year ahead is just as successful!

 

Light Music Making in Torquay
Riviera Centre, Torquay - 12th March 2011
On Friday 11th March the Band made its annual trek down the M5 to Torquay for the West Of England Regional Brass Band Championships. The irony being that the journey to the Regional qualifying contest is about 140 miles further than our journey would be if we were to qualify for the National Finals which are now being held at The Centaur complex at Cheltenham racecourse. Despite it taking almost an hour for the coach to get from the meeting point to the motorway due to there being an accident....the rest of the journey went incredibly smoothly and we arrived at our hotel in Torquay for 9pm. On arrival we rapidly unloaded the bus and made our way to a rehearsal room to have a quick run through of the following day's set work, 'A Little Light Music' by Philip Wilby. This went well and so we felt justified in retiring to the bar for a coke or other cold drink!

As is usual it was an early rise and shine on the Saturday morning for breakfast and a final run through of the piece at 8am. It was then the wait for the draw to find out exactly where we might be playing. The call came through and we were down to play number 8 out of the 12 bands that had entered our section (Corsham had withdrawn on the day reducing this number to 11).

At around 12pm we took the stage in The Forum at the Riviera Centre and surprised some in the audience as we were the first band to play the two outer Fanfare movements of the piece standing up as marked in the score. The opening fanfare went well and caught the attention of the audience. The interweaving of the tune around the Band worked effectively and opened the suite well. The first movement segues straight into the second 'Clog Dance' which opened crisply with Aidan Hayers on the snare drum. The cornets (featuring Alex Blencowe) then took the tune and bounced the jolly light ballet style clog dance along to it's conclusion with various interjections from around the band.

The lyrical central movement 'The Lady of the Fountain' is based on an Arthurian legend surrounding a Welsh knight and opens with a real sense of mysterious foreboding built around a wonderful crescendo/diminuendo feature on the euphoniums. The initial melodic theme came from a beautifully played lyrical solo cornet tune by Hannah Williams. This thematic material then moves around the band with features for the flugel and some fantastic playing by the back row cornets and the second trombone at the zenith of the movement, before everything calms back down and the mysterious mist returns over the courtyard surrounding the fountain.

The final major movement was the tricky tarantella based on an ice cream Dr Wilby had in Cardiff Bay! This movement starts off with the ice cream vendor on his bicycle riding into Cardiff Bay and tinging his bell....fantastically played by Becky Wilmot on solo triangle! This then moves into a total swirl of motion as the people flock across the bay on a hot sunny day for their ice creams. The cornets and euphoniums did fantastically well to keep the flying triplets moving in a passionate Italian piece seemingly inspired by works such as 'La Danza'. After this dash round the bay we arrived back at the concluding fanfare...a quick standing up whilst the timpani and percussion rolled and the final chords were played to conclude a great but difficult work.

We enjoyed the challenge of the piece and played it to the best of our abilities on the day. There were a few too many unforced errors on the stage but musically our performance entertained the audience and received good applause at the end. At the results we were awarded 8th place which is our highest Third Section placing at the Regional Contest and ensured we survived to complete again in the Third Section. We would like to say a big Thank You to Debbie and Shona McDougal who helped us out on the cornet section to provide cover for our 34 week pregnant Principal Cornet player, Helen Walters.

Following our performance Aidan Hayers who plays kit percussion was requested to help the band following us whose percussionist was ill. So Aidan, who was only at his second ever brass band contest, had to stay on the stage and play percussion for Weymouth Concert Band. This he did without cool calm confidence and helped Weymouth to a 9th place.

The rest of the weekend was spent enjoying the wonders of Torquay: the beach, the shops, the fish and chips, etc.

Training Band Concert
St John's Church, Churchdown - 5th March 2011
On Saturday 5th March the Training Bands held a concert in St John's Church at Churchdown to showcase some of the music that they had been practising over the past few months. The concert opened with the Beginner Band who played three items from Alan Fernie's 'Junior Rock Suite'; all of which have amusing titles. The foot-tapping 'Cheesy Feet Rock' opened the concert before being followed by 'Odd Socks' which thankfully there were none present amongst the band members albeit they have been known in rehearsals! Finally it was the groove of 'Bad Hair Day' to round off the the pieces from this suite.

The Beginner Band then entertained us with some popular TV theme tunes in simple arrangements for beginner brass. First it was the ever-popular theme to 'Postman Pat'. This was followed by the theme to those plasticine heroes 'Wallace and Gromit'. The Beginner Band rounded their part of the concert off with an original work by Helen Walters called 'The Young Prince'.

There was a quick change around and the Intermediate Band took the stage and opened their part of the concert with the rhythmic alien feature 'Space Trek'. This was followed by an arrangement of the popular song 'Handbags & Gladrags' which featured Emily Brewis on the first rendition of the tune.

The first half was brought to a conclusion with the Native American folk melody inspired suite 'Dakota' by Jacob de Haan which was supplemented by a visual presentation highlighting the themes behind each of the five movements. The suite opens with the stirring 'The Great Spirit' which introduces the melodic theme for the first time as the creation of the earth and life is depicted according to ancient Native American legend. This is followed by the dramatic musical impression of the Indians chasing down their evening meal in 'Buffalo Hunting'. After a hard day out on the plains pursuing buffalo they settle down for a relaxing evening around the campfires where they spend some time in contemplation and debate before 'Smoking The Pipe'. Before retiring to bed the natives hold a ceremonial ritual resplendent in their finest clothes and holding spears as they dance around the campfire in a 'Ghost Dance' to appease the spirits. The suite is brought to a close with a solemn rendition of the main theme in memoriam for those innocents who were slain by the American's at Wounded Knee ('The Pilgrims at Wounded Knee').

After the interval the Intermediate Band opened the second half of the concert with Matt Kingston's fantastic Little Shiny Brass arrangement of the famous march 'Blaze Away'. Thomas Stephenson then stood up to play the introductory theme to the music from the film The Deerhunter, 'Cavatina'. Next it was time for some fun and plenty of movement as the cornet section as a whole stood to play the New Orleans inspired 'Swingin' Dixie'. A flashback to our band camp in Nottinghamshire last year came from the piece we played especially for the visit to Nottingham Castle, 'Everything I Do' from the film Robin Hood Prince of Thieves.

Being in a church the Intermediate Band then played three verses of the hymn 'Praise My Soul' and encouraged the audience to join in with the singing. After the audience participation the Band played a piece by a young Belgian composer, Patrick Verhaegen, which had been written in honour of one of his musical mentor's Luc Vertommen, 'Loving Music'. Our concert was brought to a rousing conclusion with a march entitled 'On The Hill' by the same Belgian composer.

A fun night that was enjoyed by all and raised some well needed funds for the Training Band. Thanks to everyone who participated either as a player, parent or audience member.

Saturday 5th Training Band Concert, St John's Church, Churchdown
Saturday 12th or
Sunday 13th
West of England Regional Contest, Riviera Centre, Torquay - Test Piece: A Little Light Music by Philip Wilby
Wednesday 30th AGM - including Training Band Concert, Tewkesbury Town Hall

February

Tewkesbury Winter Ales Festival
Tewkesbury - 5th February 2011
On Saturday 5th February the Band were invited to provide just over an hour of light music to entertain the patrons at the CAMRA Tewkesbury Winter Ales Festival in the Watson Hall, Tewkesbury. The Band played a selection of popular and fun favourites including '
Is This the Way to Amarillo', 'Baggy Trousers', 'Schneewaltz', 'Hootenanny', 'The Floral Dance' and 'Land of Hope and Glory' before rounding proceedings off with the Beer Festival favourite 'Dambusters'. This was followed by the sampling of a the odd winter ale or two and a sandwich!

February

Saturday 5th Tewkesbury Winter Ales Festival

January

Skegness Fun!
Butlins Mineworkers Open Brass Band Festival
Butlins Skegness - 21st to 23rd January 2011
The first few weeks of January 2011 saw the Senior Band prepare for its annual trip to sunny Skegness on the East coast of Britain to take part in the Butlins Mineworkers Open Brass Band Festival. This year's test piece was 'Hungerford Town' by Darrol Barry which was commissioned by the Hungerford Town Band and captures four elements of the history of the town of Hungerford in four musical interludes (The Black Prince, The Coach Road, St Lawrence's Church and The Bear) that are sewn together into one continuous piece of music. You can read about the history of the town of Hungerford that inspired the music here and here.
 

 

The Third Section this year was scheduled to follow on from the Fourth Section in the Royal Arthur Suite so we did not have the usual early Saturday morning start following our Friday evening cross-country bus journey. It did however mean that we had to stay focussed for most of the Saturday especially since we were drawn to play number 11 and so only took to the stage around 4:20pm.

Despite an opening stanza from the trombones that featured some interesting harmonies the Band went on to play a thrilling and detailed account of 'Hungerford Town' with Kev Bennett on soprano cornet adding some beautiful icing on the cake. Helen Poole on flugel played a beautifully expressive interlude at the St Lawrence Church section of the piece and Helen Walters on principal cornet played with her usual panache despite being nearly 6 months pregnant! At the evening results ceremony in the Reds venue the Band were awarded their best ever Third Section finish in a major contest finishing 8th out of the 15 competing bands. An incredible result given the number of youngsters in the band and a percussion section that featured two teenage debutants, Becky Wilmot and Aidan Hayers.

A big thanks also goes to Robin Purser who had made the journey to Skegness from Newcastle where he is now working at the Sage in Gateshead to play second cornet and have a fun weekend with us. The weekend had plenty of musical entertainment in varying styles for us all to enjoy as well as all the usual Butlins Skegness activities such as a winter paddle in the North Sea, funfair rides, the odd bar or two, plenty of trade stands to spend money at, and the swimming pool! On the Sunday there was a choice of two entertainment contests to listen to. For those wanting to see the best bands entertain with short 25 minute concert programmes there was the second half of the Championship Section Contest in Centre Stage. For those wishing to experience the developing future of the brass band world there was the Junior and Youth Band contests in Reds. So we had our usual fun filled musical weekend at Butlins!

 

Training Band Christmas Concert
Our Band Room, Tewkesbury - 9th January 2011 (postponed from 19th December 2010)
The first Christmas event of 2011 was staged on Sunday 9th January...almost as early as the supermarkets and shops start stocking their items for the festive season! In actual fact the concert in question was the 2010 annual Training Band Christmas Concert which had been postponed from the 19th December due to the severe cold spell that we encountered in the week before Christmas with the snow and ice making it dangerous for travel.

So we decided to cheer up the early weeks of January by holding the postponed concert in our band room to allow the Training Band members to play the various Christmas tunes they had been practising to their families and friends.

The Intermediate Band opened the short concert with Matt Kingston's arrangement for junior brass of Holzmann's famous march 'Blaze Away' which set the party alight! This was followed by an arrangement of the Bryan Adams' classic pop song 'Everything I Do' from the film Robin Hood Prince of Thieves which the Training Band had added to their programme in 2010 ready for their Band Camp at Ibstock and their visit to the bandstand at Nottingham Castle.

The Intermediate Band's opening set was brought to a jolly conclusion with a choreographed version of the cornet section feature 'Swingin' Dixie'. As the title says this is a New Orleans Dixie style piece which had the cornets dancing, the trombones and baritones swaying and concluded with the whole band standing.

The Beginner Band often gets to play the most interestingly titled pieces. Their opening number is one such piece, 'Cheesy Feet Rock' from a clever little suite for beginner brass by Alan Fernie called 'Junior Rock' which creates fun foot-tapping music from the limited range of notes available.

This was followed by another of the movements from this same suite 'Odd Socks' which I hope none of the Training Band members were wearing on the day!

The Beginner Band finished their short section of the concert with an easy arrangement of the theme from the 'Wallace and Gromit' cartoons. A tune always guaranteed to bring a smile to everyone's faces as they recall the exploits of the mad inventor Wallace and his helpful dog Gromit.

The Christmas section of the concert had to be played without the usual Christmas hats and paraphernalia due to the late date of the concert meaning that everyone's decorations and Christmas items were safely stashed away in the loft until December! The Beginner Band opened this section of the concert with Helen Walter's arrangement of 'Rudolph'. This was followed by the Intermediate Band with an upbeat arrangement of 'Deck The Halls' before they slowed the pace with Vivaldi's beautiful 'Winter'.

In true Tewkesbury Band Christmas tradition it was then time for the fun item which featured Emma Keene as a reindeer and Matthew Lee as Grandma to lead the audience in the singing of that well known Christmas song 'Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer'.

The concert was brought to its conclusion with both bands joining together to play William Himes' clever arrangement of Good King Wencelas for beginner soloists (featuring the whole of the Beginner Band as soloists playing from memory), 'Christmas Debut: Good King Whatsisname'.

Certificates were then awarded to each of the members of the Training Band to mark their membership of the Training Band during 2009. The Ron Caddock Memorial Trophy for the Training Band member of the year as voted by the Band members was awarded to Lucy Windsor. A clear winner this year, Lucy is always willing to help set up percussion and sit with younger Beginner Band members to help them in their first weeks.

The concert was followed by a short Christmas party for all the members and families of the Training Band.

         

January

Sunday 9th Training Band Christmas Concert & Party, The Band Room, Tewkesbury [2:30pm]
Friday 21st to
Sunday 23rd
Butlins Mineworkers Open Brass Band Festival, Butlins, Skegness - Test Piece: Hungerford Town by Darrol Barry

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Revised: October 06, 2011