February 2006

Making music with Nigel
We were treated to plenty of tuition in breathing properly and the amusement of some more unusual warm-up exercises during our two workshops with Nigel Seaman. The members of the Band learned a lot about ensuring adequate balance within sections and across the Band, as Nigel took us through the test piece for the West of England Regional Contest in March, Anglian Dances by Alan Fernie. He even managed to win over some of the band members who were sceptical about the musical content of the piece. We all had a thoroughly enjoyable and educational time and are looking forward to continuing our work on the piece over the next few weeks to ensure that we give a great performance of the piece that captures the interest and attention of the adjudicators for the right reasons!

Flå Musikkorps' visit takes shape
From the 1st to 4th June 2006, the Band is playing host to the Flå Musikkorps, a Fourth Section band from the Trondheim area of Norway. Flå Musikkorps comprises 30 members in a traditional British brass band format. Their conductor is Steinar Mørkved, who also plays euphonium with the Military Band of Trøndelag. They will be arriving in Tewkesbury at approx. 3pm on 1st June where they will be staying at the Sleep Inn hotel. We have been busy organising a schedule of events to keep them entertained during their visit.
The evening of Thursday 1st June will include a “Welcome” social event where the members of Tewkesbury Town Band can meet their counterparts from Norway. Current thoughts for this are either a barn dance in the Watson Hall or a skittles evening at the Queen’s Head.

On Friday 2nd June the Flå Musikkorps will be visiting Warwick Castle in the morning before travelling to Stratford upon Avon in the afternoon. We are hoping to organize a venue in Stratford where they will be able to perform a short concert and raise some funds to mitigate the cost of their visit. That evening there will be a rehearsal for the following day’s concert in Tewkesbury Abbey.

The planned itinerary for Saturday 3rd June takes our Norwegian visitors to Gloucester for a morning of sightseeing. The afternoon brings them back to Tewkesbury to discover the delights of our wonderful town and abbey. As mentioned earlier, Saturday evening sees Tewkesbury Town Band and its Training Band take to the concert stage with our Norwegian visitors in Tewkesbury Abbey. The concert will conclude with several massed band items, hence the rehearsal on Friday evening.

On Sunday 4th June Flå Musikkorps having been treated to several aspects of our countries history, will be treated to the beauty of the Cotswold countryside. They will visit the picturesque villages of Bourton on the Water and Lower Slaughter. In the afternoon they will perform the final concert of their trip on The Green at Bourton on the Water. Sunday evening will see us say “Goodbye” to our visitors with a short concert and barbeque social event at the Queen’s Head public house at Aston Cross. Flå Musikkorps will then be boarding their coach to Stansted airport early on the morning of Monday 5th June.





The above is a packed schedule of events for both Bands but hopefully it will prove an enjoyable, if hectic, long weekend. Please note the above dates in your diaries and make every effort to help us entertain our Norwegian visitors in the usual Tewkesbury fashion! We will provide more updates on the visit as things are confirmed. Suggestions regarding coach companies to approach for the organising of the travel for the Norwegians are welcomed. As are any suggestions on places to take them for meals.


A Warm Welcome for Warner!
We are pleased to welcome John Warner into the Band. John, father of Martin [Euphonium], registered with our Band in January to help us out at the Butlins contest on bass trombone, and in his words, he enjoyed it so much that he has now decided to join the band permanently. John began learning the tenor trombone in 1999  with the Chase High School Band. During his time there and playing with Celebration Brass and Reed Band, John learnt to read both treble and bass clef and this made it easier for him to make the transition to bass trombone. We hope that he enjoys being a part of our band!

Nigel fever sweeps the County!
Nigel Seaman will be returning to Gloucestershire in March to do a workshop with the Gloucestershire Youth Brass Band [GYBB] who are preparing to take part in the National Youth Championships in April. We are proud to have our Band represented in the GYBB through Oliver Moss who is playing Repiano Cornet with the Band. Nigel Seaman will be joined on the 4th March by another Nigel, Nigel Weeks, resident conductor of the world famous Brighouse & Rastrick. Nigel no.2 will be conducting a newly formed (on that day) GYBB Training Band, which will also include some members of our Training Band. The course for the Training Band is open to any young brass player who is of Grade 3 - 5 standard. It will take place between 1pm and 7pm at Pates Grammar School in Cheltenham and will culminate in a free concert with the Colwell Arts Wind Band at 7pm. For more information or to register on the course, please phone Gloucestershire Music on 01452 330300.

Team Nigel!
The band has a new (temporary!) policy of only allowing people called Nigel to conduct us! We are pleased that Nigel Seaman will be working with the Band on three occasions prior to the Area contest in March. Nigel will be taking time out of his very busy schedule conducting Desford, Markham, Burry Port and several other bands as well as performing with the BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra, to come to Tewkesbury to do a three hour workshop from 2pm until 5pm on Sunday 12th February and will be joining us again on two Wednesday rehearsals on the 15th of both February and March.


Where there's a Will there's a way!
Our Band is in a fortunate position that when a position becomes vacant in the senior band, we have a plethora of possible players to fill the seats located within our training band and it just so happens that a lot of them are called William! We are pleased to Welcome William Norman into the senior band to play 2nd cornet alongside Sarah-Jane. William recently passed his Grade 4 ABRSM cornet exam with distinction and he has been a committed member of our training band since 2002. We are sure that he will enjoy playing with the senior band and his debut will be at the Area contest in Torquay on March 19th.


Sunday 12th Workshop with Nigel Seaman 2pm - 5pm
Wednesday 15th Workshop with Nigel Seaman 7:30pm - 9:30pm
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January 2006

Temporary rehearsal venues
During its temporary homelessness the Band has managed to secure some excellent rehearsal venues in Tewkesbury. The senior band is rehearsing in the Expressive Arts building at Tewkesbury School on both Wednesday and Sunday evenings and so we are hoping that some of the "expressiveness" will rub off on our performances! We are also very thankful to PolySteel Band for the offer of the use of their bandroom during this time as well. The Training Band is also rehearsing at Tewkesbury School on a Sunday and at the St Johns Ambulance Hall in Tewkesbury (Link Road) on a Friday evening and so it is business as usual for all our bands, just in different venues. We are hoping that the replacement of the roof on our current bandroom at Ashchurch Army Camp will not take too long and we return back to a nicer, dryer building than we left.

Journeyman Principal Cornet Moves On

We are sad to report that our P(rincipal) C(ornet), Martin Musto, has once again decided to leave Tewkesbury Town Band for pastures new. This time he has accepted an offer from the West Mercia Constabulary Band to become their Principal Cornet. West Mercia Constabulary Band, conducted by Steve Pritchard-Jones, are a Third Section band in the Midlands Area that given their points total should make the move up to the Second Section next year unless something goes drastically awry. We wish Martin the best of luck in his new position and hope he enjoys playing the cornet solo in 'Entertainments'.

On the positive side, we still have a Cornet Front Row that contains two former Principal Cornets of the Band, Helen Walters and George Raggatt, and we are pleased to announce the promotion of Helen Walters back up to Principal Cornet. Helen relinquished the Principal Cornet role in June 2003 when Martin returned to the Band following a stint with Lydmet Lydney Band. She is looking forward to the challenge of leading the Band once again, with the able support of her Front Row colleagues, Helen Poole and George Raggatt.

Fun at Butlins in Sunny Skegness!!
Friday 20th January saw the Band make the long journey to Skegness to defend its position as the Butlins Mineworkers Open Brass Band Festival Fourth Section Champions. An excited group of bandspeople boarded the coach at 4:30pm for the journey to the glorious East Coast resort and the promise of sun, sea, sand and most importantly of all brass bands and beer! We arrived at 9:45pm following a coach journey that featured the inevitable word games and memory puzzles (its strange what people were taking to Skegness with them!). Immediately on arrival we made our way to the Skyline Centre at the heart of the resort for the necessary refreshments and Butlins entertainment.

As happened last year Saturday morning required the Band to be up bright and early for a 7:45am rehearsal...this time in The Reds entertainment building. Whilst we were playing through the testpiece for the final time prior to the performance that counts, the Butlins Redcoats were drawing us out of the bag for the number 1 draw and the contest premiere of Iain Rayner's 'A Cavendish Suite'! So there was a rapid rehearsal of the National Anthem to ensure that Will Duff, our young percussionist making his contest debut was confident with the drum roll start....no pressure, one of the top percussionists in the country in the adjudication box and the first sound of the day to play on your contest debut!!! I am pleased to say that there were no hiccups and the Band gave a rousing opening to the contest. 

This year the Fourth Section contest had moved to the venue of the Crazy Horse complex which required a short trip through the underpass to the other side of the road. This venue was larger than the Lakeside venue of last year and had a slightly brighter acoustic. The facilities were once again good, though being number 1 on the signs to the registration hall had not appeared. The Band warmed up, signed on and then took to the stage (aka the dancefloor) to perform the enjoyably jolly 'A Cavendish Suite'. We all gave of our best and hopefully conveyed some of the musical images (the Grand Hall with its great architecture and aristocratic parties, a stroll around the spring gardens, and a horse ride through the extensive grounds of Bolsover Castle) in our performance.

We were pleased with our performance and all of the soloists performed well, especially in the exposed solos/trios in the second movement featuring Sue Musto on flugel horn, Robin Purser on Soprano and the trombone trio of Hadrian Walters, Martin Cullwick and John Warner. We would also like to say a big Thank You to our guests from Cheltenham Band, Matt (on Bb Bass) and Hayley (on Cornet).

Following our performance of 'A Cavendish Suite' the serious part of our weekend was over, and all by 10:15am on the Saturday morning!! We could then pop along to the R&J Handley trade stand to be measured up for our new jackets (more news on these soon), and explore the entertainment facilities of the Butlins resort....the swimming pool, the amusement arcade, the various bars, the trade stands, etc. In the afternoon we popped in to the Championship section contest to support our good friends from Polysteel (Flowers) Band.

After the "all you can eat" buffet at Papa John's pizza emporium we made our way, complete with blue hair, to The Reds to secure a corner for the results ceremony at 8pm. The lights flashed, the laser show zapped and the music beckoned Stan "the man" Lippeatt to the stage. Butlins generously handed over a cheque for £1,000 to the Brass Band Aid team who had been working tirelessly all day selling raffle tickets and enthusing bandspeople with the desire to raise funds for Africa. A great project that is proving a huge success, and they were able to pass on a cheque for £10,000 to Worldvision (the NGO in Africa that is helping construct a school).

Then it was time for the results announcement....sadly, this time round we were not in the prizes and were placed 6th. Our congratulations go to the young Thoresby Colliery Youth Band who were the Fourth Section champions for 2006. So we were slightly disappointed but we enjoyed the day, gave a respectable performance of a tricky testpiece, and had four players make their contest debuts without too much trauma! Despite the result we still partied hard and long to the accompaniment of IP Brass, the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, and The Dreamers.....some partied well into the early hours of Sunday morning....and most suffered the after effects!

Sunday saw the essential stroll along Skegness Beach and the necessary paddle in the cold sea! The Championship section bands were busy with their entertainment programmes as the contest for their first prize hotted up, and once again several of the Tewkesbury contingent were present to cheer on our friends from Polysteel. We are pleased to announce that they achieved 1st prize in their contest and wish them our hearty Congratulations!

Bandroom refurbishment

Saturday 14 January saw the band pack up its belongings and place them in storage whilst the bandroom at Ashchurch army camp has its roof replaced with a leak-free model! In the interim period of two to three months the Band can be found practising in the Expressive Arts Centre at Tewkesbury School on Wednesday evenings. If you are intending to attend one of our practices during the next few months it would be advisable to contact a member of the Band in advance to confirm the location of the practice.

Happy New Year!
Happy New Year to you all from Tewkesbury Town Band. We hope that you have enjoyed 2005 and that you are looking forward to our events in 2006 as much as we are! The Band is due to start rehearsals again tomorrow evening (Wednesday 4th January) and we will be practising hard so that we can hopefully put in a fine performance at the Butlins Mineworkers Open National Contest on Saturday 21st January. Then it will be down to Torquay for the West of England Area Contest, before a Summer filled with concerts and a visit from a Norwegian Band! Before we know it, we will be getting the sleigh bells out once again for Jingle Bells!

Website updates!
In between practising and sneezing [we have both been hit with the inevitable new year cold!] we are trying to finish writing up reports from our busy November and December months. Please keep looking back to find new articles and photos!


Friday 20th to
Sunday 22nd
Butlins Mineworkers Open Contest, Butlins, Skegness - Test Piece: Cavendish Suite by Iain Rayner


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Revised: June 06, 2007