April

A very new member of the band!
Congratulations go to Neil and Sarah Crowe on the birth of their third child, Daniel. Daniel Peter Crowe was born at 8:59am on Good Friday weighing in at 8lb 10.5oz. Both he and Sarah are doing well and are now at home. He looks beautiful! We look forward to seeing him at training band soon!!

Marching into April
The year marches on and during April so does the Band with three regular marching engagements. The first being an appearance at Tewkesbury Abbey's Palm Sunday service to lead the congregation and a donkey in a short parade through the Abbey grounds. Following this, the Band concluded their part in the service by accompanying the congregation in a rousing outdoor rendition of "Sing hosanna".

On April 23rd, a national hero required a musical entourage to lead him into battle against a fearsome dragon. The Town Band being the brave souls we are were only too happy to oblige, leading our hero to battle to the sound of 'The Standard of St. George' and 'Slaidburn'.

Finally, the Band had the honour of leading the Mayor of Tewkesbury in the Civic Parade through the Town to the annual Civic Service at the Abbey.

Amazing AGM!
[Pictures to follow] 

Last night, Wednesday 9th April, the Band held its AGM in Tewkesbury Town Hall. The meeting was preceded by a stunning concert from our Training Band that really highlighted their progress over the last twelve months. Opening with Stuart Johnson's 'Fanfare' and followed by his 'Musette' the performances demonstrated the skills of all the players, some who have only been playing for about 3 months, all playing together as a group with the intermediate band. We have so many players now that we have a beginners group and an intermediate group who joined together to make an impressive looking, and more importantly, sounding, band. 

Next up was three of our beginners; George Cullwick (Eb Bass), William Norman (Cornet) and Melissa Burd (Soprano cornet). Unfortunately, the fourth member of the group, Becky Musto (Tenor Horn) was unable to make it to the concert as she had chicken-pox. The three did a splendid performance of 'Trotting Tuba' though that got one of the loudest applauses from the audience of the night! 

Next was a bit of fun as the intermediate band played an arrangement of the 'Birdie Song'. The tempo was then taken back down again as it was the chance for two of our intermediate group to shine; Elly King (Flugel) and Guy Irvine (Tenor Horn), playing the beautiful melody, 'Danny Boy', sympathetically accompanied by the rest of the band. 

And so it was to the last item, Andre Wagnein's 'Take it Easy'. This piece has three movements; 1.Take it Fast 2.Take it Slow and 3.Take it All. It was a tricky piece but was performed with such style and enthusiasm, it was a performance that the main band would have been proud of! Well done to all involved!

The AGM saw another positive review of the Band's year and the election of new officers to the committee. After 8 years as the band's secretary, Juliet Jeffrey decided that it was time to take a break and completed her resignation that she announced at last years meeting. Also standing down was our Chairman Adrian Pawley and his wife Susan Pawley, Treasurer, and several other committee members. Thanks go to all those mentioned above for their hard work during their time on the committee. This left lots of opportunities for band members and friends to get involved. The election of officers was as follows:

Chairperson: Judy Bailey
Secretary: Sue Corrigan
Treasurer: Christine Poole
Contest Secretary: Peta King
Committee Members: Angela Musto, Helen Morgan, John Jemmett and Martin Ashworth.

Tenth in Torquay!

After several months practising this years Third Section Regional test piece 'Northern Landscapes', including a practise under the baton of Nigel Seaman, the day of reckoning finally arrived on Saturday 5th April.
Being the Northern-most band in the West of England region our weekend began with the long trek to Torquay late on Friday evening. A journey we hoped would seem brief in comparison to a trip to Dundee if we were lucky enough to be placed on the day! On arrival in Torquay it was straight to bed ready for the early start on Saturday morning with a warm-up rehearsal planned for 8:30am (no-one in the hotel would have been able to oversleep!!). The morning rehearsal went reasonably well and received warm applause from a group of hotel guests who had popped in to listen to our practice. 
For the third time in four contests our contest secretary drew the first place in our section of the draw. Unfortunately this time number one in our section of the draw meant that we were to be the first band on stage. So we made our way to the Riviera Centre at 9:30am to sign on and prepare to take the stage and start the contest at 10am. Despite comments to the contrary from our friends at 4BarsRest.com the venue of the Riviera Centre is far from ideal with a poor acoustic and one of those wonderful stages on which it is physically impossible to place a brass band without losing the bass section of the band into a cavernous gap behind the theatre stage curtain. This venue also has the wonderful feature of forcing the competing bands to stand alongside the audience in front of the stage whilst it waits to go on and prepare to play. This left us standing by the audience for almost ten minutes while they finished setting up the stage as we were first on. 
The farce continued since once we were on stage it was impossible to read our music due to the excessive strength of the spotlights being used. How much foresight does it take for the stage manager to sit at each stand on stage with a piece of music to see the effect? To cap it all, every spotlight seemed to be linked to the same control so that if the front of the stage had reasonable lighting then the back had to make do with dim lighting. Sadly, this fiasco did little for the band's focus and concentration on the task ahead.

Okay, on with the performance that no-one felt worthy of significant comment. James Scott managed a single line per movement (each of which was about as useful as his pre-result commentary - something to do with how wonderful 'Prague' was as a piece of music...and I thought we were playing 'Northern Landscapes'. An interesting thought would be that as with our test piece Northern Landscapes, good music never needs defending but speaks for itself!), and the sole comment from 4BarsRest.com was that we did not play the National Anthem; something we were requested not to do by the contest officials since the Fourth Section were doing the honours on Saturday morning. 

All the disruption had unfortunately un-nerved the band and our performance on the day was disappointingly not our best. The first movement 'Industry' was unsteady and slightly rushed with one too many blips. Not the solid start required as first band on to create that impression which lasts to the end of the day. This said, there were still good moments and the movement did have some of the bounce that we were trying to give it and some great dynamic contrasts.

'Seascapes', the second movement, was our best movement on the day with wonderfully smooth and flowing solos from Helen Morgan on cornet, Susan Pawley on Flugel and Donna McNeill on Euphonium. The excellent phrasing by Helen being the subject of James Scott's one liner on this movement. This movement proved a beautiful contrast to the mechanical nature of 'Industry' and the menacing rhythmic third movement 'Earth Dance'.

 

The 'Earth Dance' began with a terrifically menacing fugal explosion of sound from the bass and euph sections which captured what we believed to be the mood of the movement. This progressed round the band well with the dynamics remaining under control throughout. The moving motif in the middle was well played by the back row cornets and trombones with the explosive accents shocking without becoming loud. This progressed to a comfortable, if not slick ending. Sadly Peter Graham felt it necessary to alter the ending to this movement in the brass band version, removing what I feel is a wonderful reprise of the Seascapes motif played on the trombone that resolves the movement and links it to the final movement 'Flight'. Maybe one day we will know why. In its place there is a timpani and bass drum feature which was well played by our percussionists, Peter Strawson and Keith Rose, but which does not sit comfortable on my ears as the ending to the movement.

The final movement 'Flight' saw the band soaring away with intense rhythm. This is musically the most comfortable of the movements in the piece and we did manage to capture some of the excitement and thrill of flying high over the Northern Irish landscapes in our playing. By this time though we were sounding a little tired and some raggedness entered our playing. Dynamically we were in control and we ended well. Congratulations to our front row trio of Helen Morgan, Adrian Pawley and Tom King for playing their hearts out and covering for a missing solo cornet and soprano player.

Our efforts were rewarded with 10th place, an improvement of five places on our performance of last year and a continuation of our movement upwards. Overall we were pleased if slightly disappointed in the knowledge that we did not give our best performance on the day. If only James Scott had given us good constructive comments as to what we are doing right and what we can improve upon then we would have been happy with his adjudication.
Being first band on did mean that we had plenty of time to relax and enjoy ourselves in the bar, listening to other bands and playing crazy golf! Our congratulations and good luck for the finals in Dundee go to the winners Michelmersh and their fellow qualifiers, St Dennis and Filton Concert. I also enjoyed the performance by our long time friendly rivals Portishead which deserved a top six placing.

Congratulations!
Congratulations go to friends of the band Jim and Jane Mason on the birth of their first child, Alice. Hope all is well!

April

Saturday 5th  West of England Area Contest, Riviera Centre, Torquay - Test Piece: Northern Landscapes by Peter Graham
Wednesday 9th Band AGM & Training Band Performance, Tewkesbury Town Hall, 7:30pm
Sunday 13th Palm Sunday Service, Tewkesbury Abbey 9:15am
Wednesday 23rd St. Georges Day Parade, Tewkesbury 7:30pm
Sunday 27th Tewkesbury Civic Parade 5:30pm

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Revised: July 08, 2005