January

Another Fun Weekend at Butlins
On the 18th January we made our annual trip to sunny Skegness to participate in the Butlins Mineworkers Open Brass Band Festival. The four hour coach trip seemed to pass by extremely quickly this year....probably a result of having had the day long coach trip to Germany last summer! We arrived in jovial mood ready for a curtailed evening enjoying the entertainment that Butlins has to offer. Due to our early morning rehearsal at 7:45am and the contest the next day we had to temper our enjoyment of the fun that Butlins has to offer and enjoy an early night!

The next morning we rose bright eyed and bushy tailed for our rehearsal in Reds. Everyone was present, so there were no casualties from the evening before and no over-sleepers! The rehearsal went well until the information as to our draw filtered through to us....number 1 yet again! Four years at Butlins and we have never managed a draw later than number 3! So it was a case of gathering our equipment and putting on our uniforms before making our way over to the registration room at the Royal Arthur Suite.

We took to the floor at 10am and played the National Anthem to open the contest. We then played the test piece for the day 'Lydian Pictures' by Simon Dobson. This is a really enjoyable piece to play and rehearse, with plenty to challenge the band and maintain the interest of all the players. The opening movement is entitled Fanfares and Dances, and as it title suggests opens with a fanfare sequence which we played quite well with the exception of a slightly not together first note. This leads into a tune which has an underlying beat and rhythm suggestive of a moving train. The second movement Romance features a beautiful mellow tune that moves around the band, featuring various soloists (principal cornet, euphonium, horn, flugel), all of whom gave good performances on the day....our flugel player, Mandy, had to perform the whole test piece twice since she had been asked by the following band to cover for their flugel player who was ill. The final movement of the piece, Folk Song, has a Celtic dance feel to it and commenced with the percussionists setting the rhythm for the tune to come.

Overall in the eyes of the Adjudicators we gave a capable if careful performance which lacked that little extra sparkle. Unfortunately that missing sparkle and the tired ending to the third movement meant that by the time they had listened to 19 bands in a long day of adjudicating they had forgotten about us. So when the pack of non-prize winning performances was shuffled we ended up in 15th place. Slightly disappointing but here's to a better result next time! We have already paid our entry fee and booked our chalets so we will see the Redcoats of Butlins once again in 2009.

The rest of the weekend was filled with the usual mix of adventure golf, swimming, drinking and eating....along with some listening to other bands, enjoying the entertainment from some good musical acts and laughing along with the Grimestein Oompah band. Butlins is definitely the best organised brass band contesting weekend at present.

Butlins Here We Come!
The Band re-commenced rehearsals on Wednesday 2 January in order to begin its work in earnest on the test piece, 'Lydian Pictures' by Simon Dobson, for the Butlins Contest on 18th to 20th January. We have three intensive weeks of practice to ensure that we put on our best performance on the day of this excellent Fourth Section test piece. So wish us luck and we will report the outcome as soon as we are back from our weekend in sunny Skegness.....that is if we manage to escape the potential flooding in Gloucestershire and its surroundings!

January

Friday 18th to
Sunday 20th
Butlins Mineworkers Open Brass Band Festival, Butlins, Skegness - Test Piece: Lydian Pictures by Simon Dobson

February

Another Kevin joins the Back Row Cornets
No that's not the Harry Enfield character! We are pleased to welcome Kevin Palfrey to the Band. He joins the Band after a brief spell away from playing due to work, etc. He has previously played with several Bands in the Gloucestershire area and we look forward to having him as a member of the Band. He will further strengthen our Back Row for the Area Contest and our summer engagements.

Five For Five!
Five of our intrepid brass players made the trip to Trafalgar Square in London on Thursday 7 February to join over 300 other brass players to form a special Neighbours Brass Band with Harold Bishop (Ian Smith) from the popular TV Soap 'Neighbours'. It was one of those madcap marketing stunts to advertise the fact that Neighbours is moving from BBC 1 to Channel 5.

The opportunity to play in Trafalgar Square with a large group of equally crazy brass banders is one that does not present itself very often and it was just one of those occasions that could not be missed. Three of us (Helen, Carole Sudworth and myself) made our way to London by train....and had one of those journeys where everything seemed to be working to prevent us getting there (missed trains, car parking troubles, slow trains, etc!). Despite the difficulties we made it just in time to register to take part in the event, collect our packed lunch and to put on our lovely blue advertising T-shirt! The other two members of our band, George and Martin Cullwick, were much more relaxed having travelled down by coach with 80 others from the Worcestershire Music Service bands....including a few percussionists masquerading as brass players.
 

At just before 1pm we had our first play through the arrangement of the Neighbours theme tune by Nigel Horne...brilliantly done so that everyone there could play it from a standing start. It was fantastic and the sound of the rows of trombones behind me blasting out the bars of four crochets was just great. Harold and his tuba then appeared at 1pm for the photo-call and recording. A little fooling around and then it was time to wake the people in Trafalgar Square up.....

We played through the piece three or four times, making sure that those that were unfortunate to have suffered travel problems on their way to Trafalgar Square at least had the opportunity to play. A very silly but great way to spend a Thursday!

Videos of this event can be found at the following links:

   

 

Silver Award for the Training Band
On Sunday 3 February the Training Band took part in its first ever contest, the GBBA Entertainment Contest at the Royal Forest of Dean College near Berry Hill. The Training Band drew 5th to play and so had some time to explore the venue and listen to the first band before they had to go and prepare themselves to take the stage.

We opened our performance in sparkling style with Francis Clifford's 'Concert Overture' and there were no obvious nerves, despite several of the adult learners having been nervous before taking to the stage. After that we played three movements from Klas Vleek's 'Real Pop', the opening Yokahama Rock, the mellow Wintertime and the fast and furious Super-Ski.

These were followed by the popular tune 'I Will Follow Him' from the movie Sister Act. After this our two soloists Cameron Purveur and Megan Taylor stood up and switched their trombones for hosaphones to show off their skills with the novelty piece 'One Note Bugler'! After that we performed the tricky 'Indian Rondo' by Hummel before moving onto one of the favourite pieces from 2007, the effervescent 'Schnappi, Das Kleine Krokodil'. To close we returned to the classical world with an upbeat arrangement of Bach's 'Toccata in D Minor'.


Overall the Training Band had a fun day out and following the deliberations of the adjudicator, David Hirst, they were awarded a Silver Award. Not bad for their first appearance at an event of this kind.

February

Sunday 3rd GBBA Entertainment Contest, RFDC, Berry Hill - Training Band

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Revised: April 21, 2008