Christmas Carols....Carols...and more Carols!

The weeks leading up to Christmas saw the members of the Band busy entertaining the public with Christmas Carols in the hope of raising money to fund the bands activities into 2008 (these include the provision of free tuition and membership of our training band, provision of instruments, music and uniforms).

We had a fun if tiring time playing at venues as exotic as Morrisons in Up Hatherley, Waitrose in Cheltenham, Tewkesbury Marina, Montpelier in Cheltenham and The Queen's Head Pub at Aston Cross raising up to 1,700. A big Thank You to all who donated to our funds and we hope you enjoyed our playing!

Festive Fun at our Christmas Concerts: 8th & 9th December 2007

The weekend of 9th and 10th December saw the Band and the Training Band entertain over 700 people at our annual Christmas Concerts in the Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury.

The night was dark and quiet until a quintet of youngsters from Tewkesbury Town Band began playing 'Silent Night' as the story of this carol was narrated to the audience. The lights came up and the audience were invited to sing along as the rest of the Band joined in. The Band then played the Christmas opener 'Oxford Intrada' by Jan de Haan as an introduction into the carol upon which it is based 'O Come All Ye Faithful'. The Band then concluded its first section of the concert with the energetic arrangement of Joy to the World by ...., simply entitled 'Joy!'.

The Training Band then took centre stage for its short concert. They opened with the combined Intermediate & Beginner Bands playing 'The Lazy Lemon' by the Training Band leader Helen Walters. This was followed by the Intermediate Band playing the popular arrangement of JS Bach's 'Toccata in D Minor'. A piece that proves very effective and shows off the talent in the Training Band. Things were quietened down slightly with 'Folk Frolic No.1' featuring the combined Bands once more. The Intermediate Band then livened proceedings up with another popular tune, this time from the film Sister Act, 'I Will Follow Him'. The talent of Training Band and Senior Band member Hannah Williams was then acknowledged by the presentation of her certificate for passing Grade 5 Theory. The Training Band concluded their part of the concert with the festive favourite 'When Santa Got Stuck Up The Chimney'.

The Senior Band then returned to the stage to accompany their very own vocalist, Helen Poole (solo cornet), as she magnificently sang two songs from the musicals 'Memory' and 'I Could Have Danced All Night'. She thrilled the audience with her singing and received rapturous applause at the end. The first half of the concert was then brought to a close with the Band playing a selection of 'John William's Epic Themes'. These started with Nigel dressed up a Darth Vader to introduce the piece, which commences with the Star Wars Main Theme and The Imperial March. We then took a tour to the US Olympics via the Olympic Fanfare before being rescued by 'Superman', cue a quick change behind a telephone box and the appearance of our very own Super-MD!! How we kept straight faces whilst playing I don't know!

After the interval the Band introduced the second half with a 'Christmas Carillon' by James Curnow. This was followed by the Romance from A Carol Symphony entitled 'A Box of Delights'. This piece is built around the Coventry Carol and The First Noel, and built from a beautifully played duet between Mandy Hounsome on flugel horn and Clive Miles on solo horn to the full band playing The First Noel in a round style. A short break for the raffle was followed by a 'Sleigh Ride' (with excellent whip cracks from Michael Blake and a fantastic whinny from Robin Purser) to the North Pole where there is enough snow to build a 'Snowman'

The Tewkesbury Town Band Awards Ceremony followed (split over the two nights) with the various awards shown below being presented, along with a special award to Nigel Morgan (Musical Director) to commemorate his reaching the milestone of 10 years as the conductor of the Band in June of this year.

After the awards ceremony the Band took a well earned break and enjoyed the singing of the children from Tirlebrook Primary School (Saturday night) and Alderman Knight School (Sunday).

The Concert was brought to a close with the usual Christmas sing-along featuring 'Jingle Bells', 'Rudolf', 'I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day' and 'Hark the Herald Angels Sing'.

Awards 2007

Miles Amherst Junior Progress Trophy for the Junior member who has made most progress during the year - Hannah Williams
Hannah is one of the talented youngsters that have  progressed from our Training Band which she joined in 2003. She has rapidly progressed through its ranks, and was promoted to the Senior Band during the summer season of 2006. She is a keen musician and as well as being a member of the Senior and Training Bands, is also a member of the Gloucestershire Youth Brass Band and the Abbey Choir.

Hannah recently passed her Grade 5 theory exam and can now progress from her Grade 5 practical qualification to the next level. Congratulations.

Fred Poole Memorial Cup for the Musician of the year - Helen Poole
Helen has grown up with the Band and is a deserved recipient of the trophy donated to the Band following her father's untimely death.

Helen has not only proved a solid Assistant Principal Cornet player during the year, she has astounded us all and our concert audiences with her fantastic singing voice. She showed great confidence in singing a selection of songs from The Sound of Music at last years Christmas concert, followed this up with the Last Night of the Proms songs in June, and rounded of 2007 with two more excellent performances of songs from the musicals at our 2007 Christmas concerts.

We know that her receipt of this trophy will have made her mother, Christine (our treasurer), very proud.

Jeff Clarke Cup awarded to the Band Member of the Year - Peter Williams
Pete is one of the original members of the re-formed Band and over the 33 years has worked tirelessly for the good of the Band. Whilst the Band was on tour in Miesbach, he and Alan Robinson spent many an hour operating the dehumidifier in the Bandroom to ensure that the damp and moisture were removed as soon as possible so that the Band could return. He spends many an hour in the Bandroom improving the facilities for us all.

Pete plays trombone with the Band and for much of its history has been the Chairman of the Band, he was its first Chairman in 1975 and is the current Chairman in 2007! He is known to enjoy a goodly slice of cake; and on occasion has been asked to dress up for the good of the performance - either as Robin Hood (men in tights style!) or as Tinkerbell!

Francis Martin Memorial Cup for the Section of the Year - Front Row Cornets
The Front Row Cornet Section comprising Helen Walters, Helen Poole, Robin Purser and Oliver Moss were awarded the Section of the Year trophy for their consistent hard work throughout the year.

Throughout the year they have been challenged to work hard on the pieces that we have been performing and as a section they have the best attendance record of the Band for this year. Helen Walters and Robin are both members of the Band Committee and spend many hours assisting with the day to day running of the Band. Robin as instrument manager had a difficult year as the flooding of band room and the loss of instrument cases has meant significantly more work for him!

It is good to see Ollie back at band after a tough year suffering from major illness in the form of Crohn's Disease.

Dave Crowe Memorial Cup for the Cornet Player of the Year - Mark Windsor
Mark is a busy and efficient member of the Band. His whole family are involved in the Tewkesbury Band community, his eldest daughter Grace plays alongside him on the back row whilst his wife Penny and their youngest daughter Lucy are members of the Training Band. As a result he can be found helping out at the Training Band with his latest instrument, the percussion... a talent that has earned him several starring spots on jingle bells and kit percussion for the Senior Band (including playing the kit for the CD on the track 'Bolero'). A well-deserved award!

For more information on why these awards are presented and for a list of past winners, follow this link! Tewkesbury Town Band Awards

St Michael's Church Christmas Fayre, Lifford Hall, Broadway
On Friday 7th December the Training Band made yet another Christmas Fayre appearance at the pretty Cotswold village of Broadway. They played carols on a green outside the Hall for 40 minutes to attract people to the Fayre. Then after a short break for a warm drink and a mince pie they performed a short concert on the stage in the hall that was thoroughly enjoyed by all the stall holders and their customers.

Hospital News!
Our Bb Bass player Dave Dron has recently undergone major heart surgery to replace a valve in his heart. We are pleased to report that he has come through this fine and is now back at home and can't wait to return to the Band and pick up his Bb Bass once again. Our best wishes go out to him whilst he recuperates.

Our Timpani player, Keith Rose, is currently being missed by the Band whilst he is waiting for surgery on his leg. Sadly he has been unable to attend band practice since early October. We look forward to welcoming him back soon.

Pied Piper Appeal Charity Concert
On Wednesday 5th December the Band made its annual appearance at Tewkesbury Abbey as part of the charity concert to raise funds for the Pied Piper Appeal. The Band is one of the few musical groups that has appeared at every one of the Pied Piper Appeal concerts that have been held annually since 1997, and we have seen the popularity of this concert increase year on year.

The Band opened the concert with a rendition of James Curnow's 'Cornet Carillon' that echoed around the Abbey to great effect. The audience were then welcomed by the compere for the concert, Geoff Drago (from BBC Radio Gloucestershire) before joining together to sing the carol 'Ding Dong Merrily on High'. The ten piece choral group Velum Chorus then entertained the audience by singing a selection of festive pieces that ranged from the religious to the secular.

The Band then began its short concert with the 'Oxford Intrada', a piece based on the carol O Come All Ye Faithful by Jan de Haan that takes its name from the place where it was first performed Oxford Cathedral. We then went for a 'Sleigh Ride' through the snow to the North Pole to try and find 'Santa Baby'. Helen Walters confidently performed this cornet solo from memory whilst wandering around in front of the Band! We then asked for further wintry weather with the tune to 'Let It Snow!'. To conclude our section of the concert we played the tune from the Wizard song that captures every child's wish for an eternal Christmas 'I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day'. We then provided the accompaniment to ..... , a 15 year old pupil from .... who gave a fantastic rendition of 'The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy'.

There was a reading from Gervais Finn's "Christmas Nativity" before the Churchdown Male Voice Choir rounded the concert of with a selection of Christmas favourites.

Everyone had a great time and we hope that the concert raised plenty of money for the Pied Piper Appeal!

Tewkesbury Abbey Christmas Fayre
The Training Band are being kept busy at the moment with their myriad of Christmas appearances. Saturday 1st December saw them appear at the Abbey's Christmas Fayre for a half hour performance from 1-1:30pm. We were slightly short on numbers but still gave a good show and had a good audience in the first three rows of chairs who were happy to delay their shopping until after we had finished. We played several carols and some of our Christmas tunes "Rudolph", "When Santa Got Stuck up the Chimney", "Jingle Bells", "Little Donkey" and "Walking in the Air".


Saturday 1st Tewkesbury Abbey Christmas Fayre - Training Band [1pm]
Wednesday 5th Pied Piper Concert, Tewkesbury Abbey [7:30pm]
Friday 7th Broadway Christmas Fayre - Training Band [6-8pm]
Saturday 8th Band Christmas Concert, Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury [7:30pm] featuring Tirlebrook School Choir
Sunday 9th Band Christmas Concert, Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury [7:30pm] featuring Alderman Knight School Choir
Thursday 13th Carols at The Courtyard, Montpellier, Cheltenham [5:30pm]
Sunday 16th Training Band Christmas Concert & Party, Watson Hall, Tewkesbury [2:30pm]
Tuesday 18th Bishop's Cleeve Rotary Club Christmas Concert, Woodmancote School [7:30pm]
Wednesday 19th Carols at Waitrose, Cheltenham [5-8pm]
Thursday 20th Civic Carol Service, Tewkesbury [7pm]
Friday 21st Carols at Tewkesbury Marina [7pm]
Saturday 22nd Carols at Morrisons, Up Hatherley [10am-6pm]
Monday 24th Christingle Service, Tewkesbury Abbey - Training Band [3:30pm]
Monday 24th Carols around Town clubs & restaurants, Tewkesbury [Evening; finish at Queen's Head Pub, Aston Cross]

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Revised: February 09, 2008