Carolling our way to Christmas!
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 2009 (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, Twyning, Tewkesbury Marina, Montpelier in Cheltenham and The Queen's Head Pub at Aston Cross raising up to £1,400. A big Thank You to all who donated to our funds and we hope you enjoyed our playing! The real highlight for me being the trip to Twyning to play carols for our long serving member, Peter Williams, who has sadly been unable to attend practices during 2008 due to the illness of his wife.

Training Band Concert - Sunday 21st December 2008 at 2.30pm
The Training Band are busy preparing for their on concert on Sunday 21st December in the Watson Hall, Tewkesbury. The concert will feature many pieces that the Bands have been rehearsing this year including Grease, The New Recruit, Funkaphobia and Grease. The second half will be filled with festive favourites. Entry to the concert is free so why not come along and support our Training Band whilst enjoying a lovely afternoon concert!



Carols in Montpellier
On Thursday 11th December 2008 members of the Band met in Cheltenham's prestigious Montpellier to add some festive music to their charity Christmas evening. Fifteen members of the band played carols in various locations - including inside Lloyd's Bank! The acoustics in there were great - and we got mince pies! We were also very grateful to Gusto's deli who warmed us up with some lovely soup and hot apple juice with cinnamon!  


Carols with Carol on BBC Radio Gloucestershire
Tewkesbury Town Band was represented by five of our members when seven brass players from the County featured on BBC Radio Gloucestershire on Tuesday 9th December 2008 on David Smith's afternoon show. The aim of the event was to get as many people called Carol to sing carols on the radio! Only a few Carol's turned up to Kings Walk during the show but those who did were joined by choristers from Gloucester Cathedral, passing shoppers and backed by our brass players for six carols spaced between 3pm and 4pm. The show can be heard again during this week on the BBC Radio Gloucestershire website and includes an interview with band member Mark Windsor!


Christmas Concerts

Our annual Christmas Concerts at the Roses Theatre in Tewkesbury took place on the 6th and 7th December 2008, and were once again sell outs. We opened the concerts with Erik Leidzen’s  festive prelude ‘Christmas Joy’ to get the audience into the Christmas spirit. This was followed by Matt Kingston’s cleverly crafted selection of English carols ‘An Almost English Christmas’ featuring several of the less well known carols along with some more popular items.


The audience were then treated to some spectacular playing by Hannah ‘Sinatra’ Williams as she stood up to play Edrich Siebert’s ‘The Lazy Trumpeter’ from memory in a relaxed but by no means indolent manner.  The audience were then given the opportunity to exercise their lungs and sing the popular carol ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’.  After this interlude the audience were treated to a beautiful duet by our Soprano Cornet, Kev Bennett, and our Flugel, Helen Poole. This was the Andrew Lloyd Webber tune ‘Pie Jesu’ from his Requiem; a piece that may seem out of character with Christmas but whose title translates as ‘O Sweet Jesus’, a sentiment definitely in accord with the Christmas mood.

This was followed by ‘Let It Snow’ by Rieks van der Velde before we were joined by Bobby the Bear (aka George Cullwick) for the amazing arrangement of ‘The Bare Necessities’ by Leigh Baker. This featured George in a full bear outfit competing with wannabe soloists from all around the band, plus a crazy back row cornet percussion section and much more. George led the band in the tune excellently before leaving the stage in a huff at the numerous attempts by others to steal his thunder, only to return a few minutes later equipped with a sousaphone.

After this hilarity, the Training Band took to the stage for their short concert. They commenced with a version of the Scissor Sisters ‘I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’ that featured some impressive and very stylish dancing by the members of the Training Band. This was followed by two pieces composed on the same summer afternoon, the first by Helen Walters was entitled ‘Summer Sunshine’ and captured the positive mood of a warm summers day. The second by Robin Purser was entitled ‘Weekend Rain’ and featured Becki Wilmot on the glockenspiel as the sound of a summer shower.

Next the Training Band played a fun piece called ‘Mr Jolly’ by Gary Young complete with silly sounds from our percussion section. The penultimate item featured several members of the Training Band as soloists at the front of the stage, in a tongue in cheek version of ‘Hot Cross Buns’ arranged by the American Salvationist William Himes with the title of ‘Muffin’s Rhapsody’. The Training Band programme concluded with an arrangement of ‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas’ by Helen Walters featuring singing as well as playing.

The first half of the concert concluded with a little bit of pantomime and story telling as the Band played ‘Jericho Re-Visited’ by William Himes. This tells the story of Joshua marching on to Jericho narrated by our MD, Nigel Morgan, complete in fancy dress as Joshua and featured guest conductor Carlotti Spaghetti Bolognesi (aka Robin Purser). We had the wall of Jericho built and destroyed by members of the Training Band to cues in the story. The Band had to exercise their vocal chords as well as play their instruments.

A brief interval followed before the Band commenced the second half with the bright ‘Gaudete’ arranged for brass band by Rodney Newton. This was followed by the final soloist of the night Martin Warner on Euphonium playing what seems to be one of the popular Christmas tunes of 2008, O Holy Night.

More audience participation followed as the audience joined us to sing ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ before they were able to check their tickets to see if they had won raffle prizes.  The various Band Awards were handed out across the two nights, including a Life Membership award to our Treasurer, Christine Poole, for her 31 years involvement with the Band.

The Section of the Year were then featured in Darrol Barry’s new Christmas trombone trio (for five players in our case!!) ‘Santa’s Little Helpers’, a fun piece that combines several Christmas melodies with some trombone tomfoolery.

After this the school choirs (Lakeside Primary from Hatherly on Saturday / John Moore Primary on Sunday) took the stage to entertain us with a selection of festive songs.  Following their songs the members of the school choirs joined the members of the Training Band to provide additional percussion to the Band’s playing of ‘Jingle Bells’ and ‘Rudolph’ conducted by that famous character from the North Pole, Santa Claus.

Michael Blake, our second baritone player, then managed to get his Christmas wish granted as he was allowed to play the glockenspiel as a solo item in ‘It’s Beginning to Look Like Christmas’. The concert was brought to a close with full audience participation in the carol ‘Hark The Herald Angels Sing’. We hope everyone had an enjoyable time and look forward to seeing you at one of our appearances in the future.


Awards 2008

Miles Amherst Junior Progress Trophy for the Junior member who has made most progress during the year - Grace Windsor

Grace Windsor is a committed member of both our Senior and Training bands. She frequently helps with our Beginner Band and also plays in various groups in school. Grace is a member of the Gloucestershire Youth Brass Band. Grace has continued to develop her Cornet playing skills  and has gained in confidence throughout the year. Well done Grace!

Fred Poole Memorial Cup for the Musician of the year - Hadrian Walters

Hadrian Walters has been in the Band for 17 years and has held the Solo Trombone position for most of this time. Hadrian not only puts in a lot of work as a player leading his section but also behind the scenes. Hadrian is a keen musician and spends a lot of his spare time listening to or reading about music. He travels to the European Brass Band Championships each year and always brings back to the band a gem of innovation! He regularly reads a wide variety of music magazines including Brass Band World, BBC Music, The Brass Herald, The Trombonist, The Brass Band Bridge (the quarterly magazine from the North American Brass Band Association)  and The Instrumentalist (the journal of the American Band Association). Through reading these and searching the internet, Hadrian regularly comes up with interesting and different pieces of music for the band to play from all over the world which helps us to stand out amongst other local bands and continue to entertain our audiences so well. Hadrian also puts in many hours helping with the Training Bands and teaching new members. As part of this he has also taught himself to play Eb Bass! Congratulations Hadrian.


Jeff Clarke Cup awarded to the Band Member of the Year - Christine Poole

This has been a special year for our Treasurer Christine Poole. As well as this award, Christine was also presented with Honorary Life Membership of the Band at this concert in recognition of her many years of service to the band which started pre 1981. The Band recognised the work that Christine puts in to the Band as Treasurer and also organising many social events for the band and refreshments at band events. She is Queen of Breakfasts at the Training Band 'Band Camp' each year and opens her tent to anyone wanting refreshments! Oh, its also been a special year as she has celebrated her 50th Birthday! Congratulations Christine!


Francis Martin Memorial Cup for the Section of the Year - Trombones

This year the Trombone section has continued to grow with six players at its peak. Unfortunately Pete Williams has not been able to join them for most of the year as he is looking after his wife but hopes to be back at some point!


The Trombones featured in our Christmas performances with their trio 'Santa's Little Helpers' which showed off their technique, wonderful sounds and a little bit of humour too! This was a fitting end to a year of hard work from the Section of the Year 2008!


Dave Crowe Memorial Cup for the Cornet Player of the Year - William Norman

William Norman is a fine young Cornet player and a worthy recipient of this award. He has continued to develop his skills during the year and has really expanded his sound and technical abilities. William has been promoted to Assistant Principal Cornet in recognition of this during the year, a seat which he also held this year with the National Children's Brass Band of Great Britain. This opportunity has led him to work with some of the finest brass musicians in the country today and perform at the Artrix Centre in Bromsgrove and at The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester.

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

Pied Piper Appeal Charity Concert
On Wednesday 3rd December the Band once again 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 Erik Leidzen’s festive prelude 'Christmas Joy' as the audience took their seats. The audience were then welcomed by the vicar of Tewkesbury Abbey, Revd Canon Paul Williams, before joining together to sing the carol 'The First Noel'. The compere for the evening Revd Geoff Crago then introduced the County Junior Choir and their conductor Vicky Barnes-Moffett. This group comprising children between the ages of 7 and 15 entertained the audience by singing a selection of festive pieces that ranged from the religious to the secular. My favourite pieces being ‘Mary & Joseph’ by L. Ager and K. Allen and ‘Make Me a Light’ by P. Wilby.

Everyone was asked to sing the carol ‘While Shepherds Watched’ with gusto before the talented organist Dale Wills entertained us with two movements from Leon Boellmann’s Suite Gothique [the Menuet and the Toccata]. Everyone then sang the carol ‘Away in a Manger’

The Band then began its short concert with the traditional tune 'Gaudete' (“Rejoice”) arranged for brass band by Rodney Newton. The fanfare passages rang round the Abbey and woke anyone who may have dozed off! We then took the audience on ‘An Almost English Christmas’. This is a showcase of English Christmas carols arranged by a local musician Matt Kingston featuring carols such as ‘Here We Go a Wassailing’, ‘Masters in the Hall’, ‘Sussex Carol’ and others. Next we played a tune that seems to have become popular again this year as part of an advertising campaign ‘It’s Beginning To Look Like Christmas’ featuring our second baritone player, Michael Blake, as a glockenspiel soloist!! We concluded our selection with a rendition of the ever-popular ‘Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer’ in a jazzy arrangement by Rieks van der Velde.

To warm the audience up once more they stood to sing the carol ‘As With Gladness’ before being treated to the beautiful singing of the mezzo-soprano, Amy Milliams. She sang a selection of festive tunes including ‘Bethlehem Down’ by Peter Warlock and the popular ‘Coventry Carol’. The Very Revd Nick Bury (Dean of Gloucester Cathedral) rounded the evening off with a thought-provoking address before the final carol of the evening ‘Hark The Herald Angels Sing’

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


Wednesday 3rd Pied Piper Concert, Tewkesbury Abbey [7:30pm]
Saturday 6th Band Christmas Concert, Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury [7:30pm] featuring Lakeside School Choir
Sunday 7th Band Christmas Concert, Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury [7:30pm] featuring John Moore Primary School Choir
Thursday 11th Carols at The Courtyard, Montpellier, Cheltenham [5:30pm]
Saturday 13th Cheltenham Racecourse [2-4pm] - cancelled due to waterlogged racecourse
Tuesday 16th Bishop's Cleeve Rotary Club Christmas Concert, St Michael's Church [7:30pm]
Wednesday 17th Carols around Twyning [7:30-9pm]
Thursday 18th Civic Carol Service, Tewkesbury [7-8pm]
Friday 19th Carols at Tewkesbury Marina [7pm]
Saturday 20th Carols at Morrisons, Up Hatherley [10am-6pm]
Sunday 21st Training Band Christmas Concert & Party, Watson Hall, Tewkesbury [2:30pm]
Wednesday 24th Christingle Service, Tewkesbury Abbey - Training Band [3:30pm]
Wednesday 24th Carols around Town clubs & restaurants, Tewkesbury [Evening; finish at Queen's Head Pub, Aston Cross]

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Revised: February 15, 2009