Tewkesbury Abbey Fete
Tewkesbury Abbey - 31st May 2010
Monday 31 May saw the Band make its annual appearance at the Tewkesbury Abbey Fete. This year we played inside the Abbey up towards the Altar where a good audience of jumble-sailors and general fete-goers assembled in the choir stalls to listen to us play two 35 minute programmes of light music. The music we played was a selection of the items that we had entertained the audience with at Malvern bandstand with a few of the other items from our recent repertoire. We had an enjoyable time and hopefully attracted a few more people to what is always a well attended fete.


Malvern Bandstand
Malvern - 30th May 2010
The Summer bandstand season has arrived and a sunny afternoon on Sunday 30th May saw the Band make its first outdoor appearance of the year on one of our favourite bandstands, the one in Malvern. The afternoon showcased some of our recent programme items along with several new and several old ones. As always at Malvern there was a large audience sitting in the natural amphitheatre to listen to the Band's afternoon concert.

We opened the concert with 'Hymn to the Mountain' before entertaining the audience with some of Arthur Sullivan's music in the form of the 'Overture from HMS Pinafore'. Next there was little Russian jazz-inspired Strauss as we played the wonderful arrangement by Alan Fernie of Shostakovich's 'Second Waltz', one of those tunes that just sticks in your mind and gets you swaying in your seat! Staying in a classical mood it was on to our celebration of 200th anniversary of Chopin's birth with an arrangement of the tristesse 'So Deep is the Night'.

Moving back up tempo we played the Salvation Army march 'Goldcrest' before our cornet and flugel players led us on a walk though an Irish fair with Matt Kingston's fantastic arrangement of 'She Moved Through the Fair'. Our two bass trombonists then took us off to the Californian wilderness with a walk under the 'Wandrin' Star'; John Warner and Jonathan Petticrew gave a fantastic rendition of this classic song from the musical Paint Your Wagon that was taken to number one in the charts for three weeks in 1970. The first half was brought to a close with more music from the musicals, this time in the form of the symphonic arrangement of the music from 'Mary Poppins' by Andrew Duncan.

Our second half opened with an arrangement of American Negro Spirituals by James Curnow entitled 'Jubilation' before our flugel, Helen Poole, gave us a beautiful rendition of the Irish traditional song 'How Can I keep from Singing?'. More music from the stage followed with a quick trip for some more with a selection of the favourite tunes from 'Oliver!'. Thus was followed by a solo on one of the more unusual instruments, the car horn, by Susan Stayt-Mackey as the Band enjoyed a Caribbean calypso inspired romp with the theme from 'Herbie: Fully Loaded'.

This was followed by a little Welsh magic from that hip-swaying king, Tom Jones, as the band played 'It's Not Unusual!'. This was followed by a little Latin American music in the form of the cornet section feature 'Spanish Eyes'. Finally we gave the audience a 'Ticket to Ride' on a train to a 'Klezmer Karnival'.

A fun afternoon was had by all in Malvern and a big Thank You to Bb Bass player Chris Daw for helping us out.


Training Band Cabaret Evening
John Moore School, Tewkesbury - 22nd May 2010
The Training Band held its annual Cabaret Evening on Saturday 22nd May. This evening is an opportunity for the members of the Training Band to perform solos or small ensemble pieces to an audience of family and friends in an informal setting with drinks and nibbles.

The Beginner Band opened the concert with all of the band members parading into the hall dressed in builders clothing to play the theme tune to 'Bob the Builder'.  The first small ensemble saw three of the adult members of the Training Band (Linda Lee on flugel, Sue Wilmot on horn, and Penny Windsor on baritone)  take centre stage to perform Scott Joplin's 'Easy Winners'. They were followed by one of our younger cornet players, Shannon Huntley, who joined the band after seeing her friend play with them during last year's band camp. Shannon played a short tune from the Look, Listen & Learn tutor books called 'Let's Rock Doc!'. This was followed by one of our newest and smallest members Emmeline Turner on a trombone that is as tall as she is. Despite her young age and having only been playing with the Band since the beginning of the year Emmeline played the tune 'Off To Town' from the tutor books with amazing confidence.

Two more young trombonists, William Wade and Matthew Lee, dressed as Portugese then gave us a rendition of one of those pieces with a name designed to catch out the compere, 'Ribiera vai Cheia'. The Intermediate Band then accompanied Henry Hick and Hannah Norman as they played the duet 'Cherry Ripe' on their euphoniums. Matthew Lee then appeared on stage dressed for Strictly Come Dancing to give us a rendition of the lyrical study 'Waltz With Variations' by Philip Sparke. It was then onto a different kind of dance as the three adult members from earlier (Linda, Sue and Penny) were joined by another adult member, John Moore, to entertain us with 'Let's Twist Again'.

We were then entertained by another of our young cornet players, Emily Brewis, with a beautiful rendition of the hymn tune 'Green Hills'. Two of our more experienced junior cornet players, Hannah Williams and Alex Blencowe, then took us back to the era of the Rat Pack with their rendition of the popular tune 'Me and My Shadow' on their trumpets. Matthew Lee was joined by his trombone colleague Jonathan Petticrew (both dressed in armed forces clothing) to give us a trip to the second world war with music from the film Pearl Harbour, 'There You'll Be'. The first half of the concert was brought to a close with the Beginner Band playing 'Lonely Stranger' and the Intermediate Band entertaining us with 'Swing With The Mountain King'.

The Beginner Band wearing appropriate masks opened the second half of the concert with 'Batman'. Lucy Windsor accompanied by Kim Benbow on piano then played the 'Theme from Poirot'  for us on her horn. Another of our young trombonists, Tom Petticrew, then took centre stage to take us back to the Seventies with a rendition of the Wings classic 'Mull of Kintyre'. Emma Keene introduced us to a small friend of hers from a lot further back in time...a dragon who apparently likes the odd tipple or two! She played the 'March of the Drunken Dragon' on her cornet. She was followed by another diminutive cornet player, Rebecca Marshall, who gave us a rendition of 'Light Up The Fire'.

It was then back to the Seventies for some more pop music with Amy Williams in full Abba outfit to play the hit tune 'Super Trouper' on her baritone. Hannah Norman then wowed the audience with a sonorous performance of the hit song from the musical Joseph 'Any Dream Will Do'. This was followed by one of the star spots of the evening. Gerry Petticrew (father of trombonists Tom and Jonathan) took the stage dressed in a very snazzy outfit of smarties covered shirt, waistcoat, sparkly top hat and bright orange shoes to play the Herbie Flowers tuba solo 'Tuba Smarties'; this was the first time he had played a solo since he had left school a number of years ago.


Grace Windsor then stood up by herself to play 'On My Own' on her cornet. This was followed by Thomas Keene on baritone and Henry Hick on euphonium entertaining us with the classic TV theme 'Dad's Army'. Alex Blencowe then took us of to Central America with a rendition of the 'Mexican Hat Dance' on his cornet. The solo spots were brought to a close by Gerry's accompaniest, Michael Blake, with a rendition of 'Retrato de Alfredo Gobbi' on the piano.

The concert and a fantastic evening of music making were then brought to a conclusion by the Intermediate Band wearing cat masks to play the theme from Disney's 'Aristocats' and the Beginner Band playing 'Postman Pat'.




European Brass Band Championships
Three members of Tewkesbury Town Band - Nigel Morgan, Hadrian Walters and Helen Walters, recently avoided the volcanic ash and flew to Austria to enjoy the European Brass Band Championships in the Brucknerhaus, Linz.

It was another fantastic weekend of music with no less than five new commissions being played including the test pieces 'Spiriti' by Thomas Doss for the A section and 'Up My Alley' by Albin Zaininger for the B Section. Other new commissions came from Cory Band with 'A Tale As Yet Untold' by Philip Sparke, Black Dyke with 'Red Priest' by Philip Wilby and Belgian band Brass Band Buizingen with 'Earthrise' by Nigel Clarke.

We flew out on Thursday morning ready to enjoy the 5th European Soloist Competition final that evening which involved three finalists: Harmen Vanhoorne and Glen Van Looy, both from Belgium, and from Scotland Katrina Marzella. All three performed some amazing pieces and the winner was Euphonium soloist Glen Van Looy. After the concert it was off to find some food in a rather nice local steak house!

Friday morning began with the EBBA (European Brass Band Association) conference where first there was a presentation by Dr Reinhard Mattes, Director of the Upper Austrian Culture Ministry, about Culture In Upper Austria. This was a good presentation and highlighted how important music is in their culture and thus supported financially and given the publicity and support it deserves. This was followed by a discussion on open or closed adjudication which Hadrian got quite involved in - he only made one comment but it led to people coming up to him whilst we were having lunch in the town, or a drink in the bar, to talk to him as they agreed with his comments!

After lunch it was back to the Brucknerhaus for the composers talk before the A Section test piece competition. It was another great evening of music with each band providing very different readings of the score. After some more food and a few drinks it was back to the hotel for a quick sleep before getting up early to go and listen to the B Section competition. In this section they place just once, but a programme of music to include the test piece. There was a great variety of music from Extreme Makeover (2006 European A Section test piece) to Summon The Dragon (the piece I walked down the aisle to at my wedding - Helen)! This section was one by Austrian Brass Band with both second and third places going to German brass bands.

There was no time for lunch before the A Section own choice competition started. This included a great selection of the most popular test pieces at the moment including Vienna Nights, Journey To The Centre of the Earth, St Magnus and From Ancient Times, as well as some new commissions as mentioned above.

This was followed later by the Gala Concert which featured the amazing Austrian Youth Brass Band which had been formed 12 months ago especially for this event, the Cory Band as defending champions, and Austrian band Brass Band Oberösterreich. This was followed by the results and then the after party where members of the Austrian Youth Brass Band and several members of the competing bands provided some impromptu entertainment in the bar area!

The European Brass Band Championships is a fantastic long weekend of brass music and entertainment that it is highly recommended that all brass players should experience at least once. We're already looking forward to next year's event in Montreaux, Switzerland.


Saturday 22nd Cabaret Evening, John Moore School - Training Band [6pm]
Sunday 30th Malvern Bandstand [2:30-4:30pm]
Monday 31st Tewkesbury Abbey Fete [11:30am]


Tewkesbury Town Hall - 25th April 2010
The AGM evening was opened as usual by a short concert from the Training Band to an audience of band members, family and friends. The Beginner Band and Intermediate Band took it in turns to play some of their favourite pieces before both bands joined together for a big finale.

The Town Mayor Mr Philip Workman, as President of Tewkesbury Town Band, oversaw the AGM at the Town Hall on 25th April. A short but formal meeting outlined the officers reports and band accounts. Common themes from the annual reports were that we should together continue to ensure the future of our own band and the overall brass band movement by fully supporting; our young and not so young players in the Training Band; the small but hardworking Committee and how we are perceived in the area. Not all bands are in the enviable situation that Tewkesbury finds itself.

The new Committee for 2010/11 was elected with Helen Walters becoming the Band Chairman, Christine Poole, Sue Corrigan  and Jenny Norman remaining as Treasurer, Secretary and Contest Secretary respectively. The general committee members being Dave Dron, Linda Lee and Sue Wilmot.

"I would like to thank the small but hardworking committee for all they achieved last year. They need more bodies on the committee if they are to increase what the band wants or does. A small party of willing workers can only achieve so much."
"I should like to thank those members who have come up from the Training Band to the Senior Band who are making a most valuable contribution
." Nigel Morgan, Musical Director.

" We are very proud of all our younger members who are representing their counties of Worcestershire & Gloucestershire in various music groups both locally and at national competitions"
"Overall compared with many bands in the local area and nationally we are considered as a proactive, social and forward thinking organisation" Mark Windsor, Outgoing Chairman.

Concert with Cheltenham Choral Society
Cheltenham Town Hall - 24th April 2010
On Saturday 24th April the Band made its first appearance on the Cheltenham Town Hall stage as guests of the Cheltenham Choral Society for their Springtime Gala Concert. The Band opened the concert with the lively 'Hymn to the Mountain' that ensured that everyone was awake and ready for what was to be a great evening of music making. We followed this with the beautiful arrangement by matt Kingston of the Irish folk tune 'She Moved Through The Fair' featuring some delightful playing by our principal cornet, Helen Walters, solo cornet Alex Blencowe and flugel Helen Poole. Our first part of the concert was completed by the toe-tapping Salvation Army march 'Goldcrest'.

The audience were then treated to some wonderful singing from the choirs of Leckhampton Primary School, Charlton Kings Junior School and the Beauregard Youth Choir. The Band's second segment of the concert opened with Andrew Duncan's symphonic arrangement of the music from 'Mary Poppins' which features all the popular tunes and plenty of percussion effects to add to the humour. To calm the mood down the band played the William Himes' arrangement of the popular song 'Amazing Grace'.

There were more songs from the various choirs prior to the Band bringing the first half to a close with Alan Fernie's train journey inspired arrangement of the Beatles' 'Ticket to Ride' and Philip Sparke's arrangement of several Yiddish tunes as a 'Klezmer Karnival'.

The second half of the concert featured the combined voices of the Choral Society and the various young choirs . The main item in this half was a new piece, 'Shades of Jazz', from the pen of the Choral Society's Conductor and Musical Director, Ian Higginson, that combined all the talented choirs and a small jazz ensemble.

New Basses for Long Time Banders!
Thanks to the various fundraising efforts of the Band over the past few years we have finally been able to purchase two brand new York BBb Basses at a cost of £12,000 for the oldest section in the band! Dave Dron and Betty Clark now have the pleasure of playing the new instruments and of ensuring that the biggest instruments in the band stay looking shiny and new.

We should take this opportunity to congratulate Betty Clark on achieving the milestone of 55 years of banding. Betty has played with Tewkesbury Town Band for the last 12 years but began her banding 33 years earlier when she joined the Women's Royal Army Corp Band. Over those 33 years Betty played with a number of bands and appeared at some great events including Royal Tournaments, Lord Mayor's Shows and the Edinburgh Tattoo. Apparently she is also a member of our film and television stars club having appeared in the film 'Carry on Sergeant'!

We would like to thank all of our generous donors and hard working band members for their assistance in raising the funds for the purchase of these instruments. Our fundraising now moves on to the task of raising another £10,000 to replace the two EEb Basses which also need replacing.

Concert with Brassband Panta Rhei from Ghent, Belgium
Churchdown Community Centre - 11th April 2010
During February the band were contacted by Paul Voet, the conductor of Brassband Panta Rhei, asking us to perform a joint concert with them as part of their short tour of the Midlands over the weekend of 9th to 12th April. We were only too pleased to assist them in putting on a concert and took the opportunity to make some new European friends. The result of this was a swiftly organised concert at Churchdown Community Centre with cabaret style informal seating for the audience around tables with nibbles and drinks.

There was a slight panic just before the concert as our Belgian guests had yet to arrive at the venue as we took the stage to open the concert with the bright and expressive 'Hymn to the Mountain' by Swiss composer Etienne Crausaz. This had the audience awake and ready for the great entertainment to follow. As we were playing this piece Brassband Panta Rhei arrived in their coach. We then played Matt Kingston's beautiful arrangement of the traditional air 'She Moved Through the Fair' which featured some lush cornet playing by our principal cornet, Helen Walters, and our young front row cornet player Alex Blencowe.

The mood was then taken upbeat with a joyful rendition of the Salvation Army march 'Goldcrest' by James Anderson that had the audience tapping their feet and swaying in their chairs! This was followed by a brief trip outdoors with Philip Sparke's 'A Stroll in the Park', a light number that cleverly captures the mood of a gentle summer's walk in the local park. The cornet section were then featured in Ray Woodfield's arrangement of the Bert Kaempfert classic 'Spanish Eyes'.

The audience were then treated to a trip to the magical musical world of 'Mary Poppins' in a magnificent symphonic arrangement by Andrew Duncan. This featured all of the popular tunes from the musical and some great solo contributions by Helen Walters on cornet, Helen Poole on flugel, John Jemmett (who was deputising for the band) on horn and some spectacular percussion contributions from our percussion team of Dave Brown, Susan Stayt-Mackey and Hannah Williams.

This was followed by a relaxing of the atmosphere with the playing of  William Himes arrangement of 'Amazing Grace' before we took the audience on an old fashioned steam train journey with Alan Fernie's arrangement of the classic Beatles song 'Ticket to Ride'. Our half of the concert was brought to a rousing finish with the audience clapping to the ever-increasing beat of 'A Klezmer Karnival' by Philip Sparke.

Brassband Panta Rhei took the stage after the interval to give a fantastic concert featuring several of the items that they were intending to use at the Flemish Open the following weekend. They opened with the atmospheric 'Horizons' from the pen of Paul Lovatt-Cooper, a composer becoming increasingly popular with top section bands in the UK. They then played an interesting and different piece from the pen of the Flemish composer Johan Evenepoel, 'Bachetto' that was well received by the audience. The audience were then treated to an exciting and interesting performance of James Curnow's tricky 'Trittico' featuring all kinds of cross-rhythms and melodic features. This was well-played and enjoyed by an audience more used to the lighter side of brass band music.

The lighter side of Panta Rhei's repertoire was then brought to the fore with a clever arrangement of MAynard Ferguson's 'Coconut Champagne' featuring the band's F-tuba player in the solo spot taken by the baritone saxophone! The solo horn player then wowed the audience with a slick rendition of Kenneth Downie's 'The Piper of Dundee' that saw his fingers moving like quicksilver. A little more jazz inspired brass followed featuring a solo spot by the band's trombonist as the band played Steve Sykes arrangement of Duke Ellington's 'Caravan'.

The audience enjoyed the concert and applauded long enough to secure an encore from Panta Rhei band in the form of a beautiful arrangement by their Musical Director of Mascagni's 'Prayer'. After the concert the band's got to know each other over a few drinks until the bar closed. We look forward to our paths crossing again some time in the future.


Sunday 11th Concert with Brassband Panta Rhei Gent from Belgium, Churchdown Community Centre [7pm]
Saturday 24th Concert with Cheltenham Choral Society, Cheltenham Town Hall [7:30pm]
Sunday 25th AGM - including Training Band Concert [5pm] Tewkesbury Town Hall

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