Salute to Youth
In a month when Championship Section bands all over the country are busy preparing Gilbert Vinter's 'Salute to Youth' ready for the Regional Championships, here is my salute to the talented youth of Tewkesbury Town Band. Hopefully these examples are replicated in bands all over the country.
High School Musicals
Over the past two weeks Helen & I have enjoyed two excellent school musicals. The first was Tewkesbury High School's production of 'Kiss Me Kate' which featured our talented teenage trombonist Cameron Purveur as the sole member of the school orchestra's brass section....a busy few nights for him then! The show was fantastic and Cameron made us proud with a really good performance.

The second was Chosen Hill School's production of 'My Fair Lady' featuring a trio of our talented youngsters in the brass section of the orchestra; Grace Windsor on cornet, Jon Petticrew & Megan Taylor on trombone. They showed excellent concentration during what was an impressive production of this show with a huge cast. There was some fantastic playing of several tricky solo items by Jon, Grace and Megan.

I'm already looking forward to the next productions and if these two schools are anything to go by then Gloucestershire is full of talented musicians, actors, dancers and singers!

Solo Success
At the end of January our talented assistant principal cornet, Will Norman, participated in the Crosskeys Festival of Brass as the principal cornet of Flowers Youth Band. He was their chosen soloist and gave a thrilling performance of 'Buster Strikes Back' which impressed the adjudicator and won him the soloists award. Congratulations.
Lucky to be Me!
Our Repiano player, Hannah Williams recently took part in the qualifying round of the Rotary Clubs of Cheltenham Sunrise & Gloucester Young Musician of the Year playing the piece 'Lucky to be Me' and successfully qualified for the final which takes place on Sunday 1 March 2009. Congratulations and we will hopefully be there to support you in the final.

Hannah is a multi-talented musician who as well as playing the cornet is a keen chorister in Tewkesbury Abbey Choir. This year she has been appointed as Head Chorister so our congratulations go to her for achieving this important role and we are sure she will give her usual 100% in leading the choir.

County Youth Band Successes
Whilst mentioning the young talent in our Band we should also congratulate all our young members who have gained membership of their County Youth Brass or Wind Bands.

From our Worcestershire contingent we have George Cullwick on Eb Bass and Michael Blake, both who are member of the various Worcestershire Youth Ensembles and as a result have appeared on the stage at Symphony Hall and in George's case appeared internationally in Australia on the Worcestershire Youth Band tour of 2008.

From our Gloucestershire members we currently have four members of the Gloucestershire Youth Brass Band in our midst. These are Grace Windsor and Hannah Williams on cornet, Lucy Windsor on horn and Jon Petticrew on bass trombone.

Congratulations to all and keep developing your musical landscapes! Keep making good music and enjoying the experience of the language that crosses all borders.

I should also mention that the above represent a fraction of the talented youngsters that are developing their skills in our Training Band and at present the future sounds good!


70 Not Out

Thursday 22nd January saw our Bass Trombonist, John Warner, reach the grand age of 70. The Band marked the occasion with a cake and the usual rendition of Happy Birthday. John is an enthusiastic bandsmen who only began playing on his retirement in 1999! Those present at Butlins will have seen him enjoying himself as an important member of the Band during the contest and with the trombone choir just before the results ceremony. Happy Birthday John and may there be many more to come!


Noble Truth at Butlins

Our annual expedition across the country to Butlins in Sunny Skegness took place on the weekend of Friday 16th to Sunday 18th January. This year's test was the interesting work 'Four Noble Truths' from the pen of Philip Sparke. A quick musical trip into the mysteries of Buddhist philosophy! This was an exciting and musical work that had plenty to challenge the Band and keep all players interested whilst at the same time proving to be great to listen to.

For the first time since we started coming to Butlins the Band was drawn later than number 3, in actual fact we were drawn three from the end at number 16. This led to the strange situation of having to wait around until around 4pm before we were to play!

The first two movements are the high octane stress related movements which required a significant amount of concentration and the ability to maintain the constant rhythmic pulses throughout. The first movement had a tricky off-beat start which the Band negotiated well and the melody moved rapidly around the Band with all players contributing well. The dynamic contrasts were well-managed and the tricky cross-rhythms between the 1st and 2nd trombones/baritones worked well despite all the nightmares in practice!

The second movement had a great pulse and really feels like a piece of modern dance music in places with the constant rhythm. The music then changed direction in the third movement with an atmospheric start and some wonderful lyrical playing from a quartet of players (solo cornet, euphonium, horn and 1st baritone). This continued into a wonderful broad passage that grew from pianissimo to fortissimo over several bars before fading away to a bass note at the movements conclusion.

This note carried the piece into the final movement which continues in a maestoso style with various fanfare moments from the cornets and trombones coming through over the cantabile tune on the euphoniums. The piece then continues to build to a hugely expressive conclusion.

After playing we dispersed for a couple of hours either to eat (all you can eat pizza) or to participate in a mass trombone ensemble. At 7:30pm we all gathered in The Reds for the results ceremony, which included the three tunes from the mass trombone ensemble led by Doug Yeo and several awards to the Butlins bandperson of the year, etc. Eventually the results were announced and the excellent Eccles Band were the winners of the Fourth Section. We came a creditable 7th and were very pleased by our performance, the musicality of which was praised by both adjudicators, Lynda Nicholson and Simone Rebello. The adjudicators comments were good and constructive.

Following the results it was the dash over to Centre Stage to watch a fantastic concert by Grimethorpe Band and to be entertained by the Grimestein Oompah Band until the early hours.


Friday 16th to
Sunday 18th
Butlins Mineworkers Open Brass Band Festival, Butlins, Skegness - Test Piece: Four Noble Truths by Philip Sparke

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Revised: March 29, 2009