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Palm Sunday
Tewkesbury Abbey - 28th March 2010
It was a nice sunny day for the annual Palm Sunday service and short parade from the grounds of Abbey House into Tewkesbury Abbey. The Band followed the congregation providing the music to their first hymn 'All Glory Lord and Honour' as they followed the donkey through the Abbey grounds and into the Abbey. The Band then provided the music for the second hymn, 'Sing Hosanna', from the back of the Abbey whilst the Verger and assistants cleaned up the small present that the donkey had left in the Abbey entrance!

Concert with Brassband Panta Rhei Gent
We are pleased to welcome Brassband Panta Rhei Gent (Belgium) to join us as our guests in concert on Sunday 11th April 2010 at Churchdown Community Centre. It will be a wonderful evening of music with each band performing a half to the concert. The Belgian band's programme will include Horizons (Paul Lovatt Cooper), Bachetto (Johan Evenpoel), Trittico (James Curnow) and some great solo pieces.

Tickets are available now at 5 each from Sweets & Treats sweet shop on Tewkesbury High Street, St. John's Church Office in Churchdown (opposite the Hare & Hounds pub) or by calling 01684 291675. Seating will be around tables and the bar will be open prior to the concert and in the interval and at the end.

More TV stars in the Band
Regular supporters of the Band may have had that moment of watching tv and suddenly thinking...I know that man!...recently as our MD filled our screens on the BBC2 show A Band for Britain. Nigel was attending a parliamentary meeting at the House of Commons in his role of Treasurer to the British Federation of Brass Bands (BFBB) when he was joined by Sue Perkins who had come to add her thoughts to the group which was meeting to discuss funding (or the lack of) funding for Brass Bands compared to say, Opera.


Intensive Labour and Torquay Love!
Torquay Riviera Centre - 12th to 14th March 2010
On Saturday 13th the Band competed in the Third Section at the West of England Regional Contest. We had made the journey down to sunny Torquay on the Friday evening and after a trouble free trip we had a half hour rehearsal on the test piece, Labour & Love, in the Empress Ballroom at our hotel, The Rainbow. Our supporters and several hotel residents were given an outline of the story behind the music before we gave our performance.

We were drawn to play number four on the Saturday morning in The Forum at the Riviera Centre so once we had eaten our breakfast and had one final rehearsal run through of the piece it was time for us to make our way over to the Hall to give our contest performance. The piece Labour & Love is an incredibly descriptive piece in an operatic style that required all of the principal players in the band to perform solos and play the part of the characters in the story. We were pleased with our performance and all of our soloists contributed well on the day to add to the shape of the piece. There were a few minor slips but overall we gave everything that Nigel, our MD, had asked for and enjoyed ourselves. Unfortunately as is often the case on the contest stage the adjudicator was looking for something completely different! We came 12th out of the 15 bands competing and will have to achieve a good placing next year to ensure that we continue our time in the Third Section.

After playing we were able to relax, listen to a few other bands performances and enjoy the Torquay sunshine. We met lots of our banding friends,  had a few drinks and some great fish & chips! We also managed to find time to play crazy golf, tennis, have a paddle and hack our way around the pitch & putt course.

Labour & Love
The Band is busy preparing the first original piece of music for brass band, Labour & Love by Percy Fletcher, for the West of England Regional Contest at Torquay on 13 March. This piece was commissioned for the Crystal Palace Contest in 1913 and due to the wonders of the internet it is possible to listen to a very old recording of the opening to this piece played by the winning band at that contest, Irwell Springs Band. The clip can be found here with a history of the Irwell Springs Band.


Saturday 13th West of England Regional Contest, Riviera Centre, Torquay - Test Piece: Labour and Love by Percy Fletcher
Sunday 28th Palm Sunday Parade, Tewkesbury Abbey


19:13 Celebration Concert
Tewkesbury Abbey - 26th February 2010
On Friday 26th February the Training Band were pleased to perform a joint concert with the Abbey Choir in Tewkesbury Abbey. The concert was to celebrate the fundraising achievements of members of the Abbey congregation, the highest fundraisers receiving certificates to mark their dedication.

The concert opened with the Training Band who played two movements from the 'Castles of Scotland Suite' by James Pendleton, musical pictures of the settings of four Scottish Castles. The first movement describes 'Edinburgh Castle' with all the pomp and ceremony of the famous tattoo coming through in the music. The second movement is 'Stirling Castle' and is an incredibly atmospheric setting in a contemplative mood, the final chord of which rang round the Abbey. The Training Band then took the mood upbeat with Two Rock Classics, 'Pinball Wizard' and 'Don't Look Back in Anger'. A brass band original from the pen of Darrol Barry followed, 'Starchaser', which is a piece in the style of John Williams' music for numerous space films. The first half of the Training Band's performance closed with a great arrangement of Disney tunes by the Scottish composer, Alan Fernie, entitled 'Disney Matter'.

The Training Band were then followed by the Abbey Choir who sang three beautiful pieces of music. The Mayor of Tewkesbury Borough was then invited to hand out certificates to the various deserving members of the Abbey Congregation before the Choir continued the concert with three more items.

The Training Band commenced their second half with a rendition of the pop song 'Congratulations' in honour of the dedicated Abbey fundraisers. This was followed by the theme music from the hit Disney cartoon 'The Aristocats' before the mood was mellowed with a wonderfully sonorous rendition of the 'Maori Lullaby'. There was more Disney with an arrangement of the tune from Beauty and the Beast, 'Belle'. The concert was brought to a close with the final two movements from the Castles of Scotland Suite, the melodic 'Rothesay Castle' and the rousing 'Loch Doon Castle'.

Concerts, Concerts, Concerts
The Senior Band may be busy practising the Area test piece, Labour & Love, during February ready for their return to the Third Section at the West of England Regional Contest on 13 March. However, many of its members have also been busy with the other musical groups that they play with performing concerts around the country.

Katie Travers and George Cullwick took part in a joint concert between Worcestershire Youth Brass Band and Tredegar in All Saints Church, Evesham. Hadrian & Helen Walters and Susan Stayt-Mackey performed with Lakeside Concert Brass in two charity concerts. The first was a fun evening of music held at the Holy Trinity Church in Tewkesbury to raise money for a children's charity with the audience sat round tables in a cabaret style. The second was an evening of music held at Ribstone Hall School in Gloucester to raise funds for the Haiti Earthquake Appeal; Susan also played with the Colwell Arts Band in this concert.

Members of Tewkesbury Band could also be found attending concerts around their locality during February. Several members enjoyed an entertaining jaunt through the history of low brass instruments led by Chris Cranham and Stuart Death of the Travelling By Tuba duo. We even had the opportunity to try out some of the old instruments that they had brought with them to demonstrate on, including a sackbutt, a cornett and an opheicleide. A large contingent from the Band also enjoyed an evening of fantastic music and playing by the International Staff Band of the Salvation Army at the Gloucester Citadel.

Tewkesbury Winter Ales Festival
Tewkesbury - 6th February 2010
On Saturday 6th February the Band were invited to provide an hour of light music to entertain the patrons at the CAMRA Tewkesbury Winter Ales Festival in the Watson Hall, Tewkesbury. The Band played a good selection of popular favourites including '
Beyond The Sea', 'Sway', 'The Pink Panther', 'Hootenanny', 'The Floral Dance' and a few brass band originals including 'A Stroll in the Park' before rounding proceedings off with the Beer Festival favourite 'Dambusters'.


Saturday 6th Tewkesbury Winter Ales Festival
Friday 26th Celebration Charity Concert, Tewkesbury Abbey - Training Band


Diamond Time at Butlins!
Butlins Mineworkers Open Brass Band Festival
Butlins Skegness - 22nd to 24th January 2010
The first few weeks of January 2010 saw the Band prepare for its annual trip to sunny Skegness on the East coast of Britain to take part in the Butlins Mineworkers Open Brass Band Festival. Following our promotion to the Third Section with effect from 1 January 2010 this contest saw our first outing as a Third Section band since 2004. The January snow didn't prove too disruptive and we managed to only miss one rehearsal from our planned rehearsal schedule prior to the contest. The Band enjoyed a trouble free coach journey across the country to Skegness on Friday 22nd arriving in time to hear the late evening concert by Redbridge Brass Band, last year's Championship Section winners, and to enjoy a relaxing drink or two.

The Saturday morning draw by the Butlins redcoats gave us the number 15 draw being the final band on in the Third Section and the final performance on the day of the test piece 'Diamonds'. This piece was composed for the 2008 Liverpool City of Culture celebrations by Tom Moss and is based around three historically famous diamonds: Koh-I-Noor (the Moon of Light), Cullinan (the Crown Jewels diamond) and Briolette (the disappearing diamond). Sound clips from the Liverpool celebrations can be found at the website of Tom Moss.

So we had a few hours to spare following our 9am rehearsal before the big performance of the day. A chance to hear some of the bands playing in the other sections, all of which run concurrently during the day with the exception of the Championship Section which followed the Fourth Section in the Centre Stage. Around 2pm the Band met at the registration point ready to play.

The title of the piece 'Diamonds' is a clever dual reference by Tom Moss to the fact that the children and tutors of the youth brass bands that had been invited to participate in the Liverpool city of culture celebrations were real gems and 'diamonds' in what they do.

The first movement 'Koh-I-noor' opens in a strident epic march style similar to the stirring film music of John Williams for the Indiana Jones films. This is not surprising given the history of one of the world's largest diamonds originating from India and having been seized as a spoil of war by various different cultures and rulers. It is also a diamond that is supposed to contain a curse that affects the fortunes of male owners; a diamond that it is only safe for a woman to own!

The Band opened up with confidence and captured the themes and detail well. In the words of adjudicator Alan Fernie we were 'big and beefy' and 'enjoyed this' movement! A fair summation of our playing and a movement that had real drive and spirit to it.

The second movement 'Cullinan' is the quietest and smoothest of the three movements. It opens with a beautiful cornet solo of the main theme that then leads into a larger band version of the theme. The tune is broad and passes around the band reaching a climax of the big theme at rehearsal mark F. A good descriptive movement capturing the royal poise of the famous Cullinan diamond (also known as the Star of Africa), a diamond that actual comprises of nine parts, all of which have been incorporated into the British Crown Jewels. The Band played well but sadly the adjudicators were not happy with the overall balance and flow that we achieved from the music.

The final movement 'Briolette' begins with a warm sonorous flugel and soprano cornet duet before building to an industrious middle section which slows to a reprise of the earlier tune before reaching a tremendous climax. This movement contains one of those two bar phrases that goes round and round in your head for weeks afterwards it is just so catchy. This movement and the piece as a whole are a great test of your stamina. There is a middle section where the horns and trombones have bar after bar of crescendo from subito mf to f...a great diaphragm exercise!

The Briolette of India diamond is reputedly the oldest diamond on record and in a link to our test piece from the areas in 2009 was reputedly taken on the Third Crusade by Richard the Lionheart in the 12th Century. It then disappeared until it can next be traced in the 16th Century when Henry II of France presented it to a blond mistress. It disappeared again before surfacing in 1950 when a New York jeweller purchased it from an Indian Maharajah. The name of the diamond comes from its cut known as the briolette, an exaggerated double rose cut, and it is one of the purest diamonds in existence.

The Band enjoyed playing this piece and that came through in the adjudicators comments albeit we had just a little too much 'red meat' for them in our playing! Our final placing of 11th out of the 15 bands was slightly disappointing but the adjudicators comments were positive and the standard of the competition was strong. We were also the highest placed newly promoted band and finished head of Maltby Mineworkers Band who were National Finalists last September. So a lot of positives can be taken from our performance.

We had our usual fun filled weekend listening to good music, drinking, eating and having our January paddle in the North Sea!


80th Birthday Surprise
Tewkesbury - 29th December 2009
Between Christmas and the New Year a small group of players from the Band joined together at the request of a very good friend of the Band, Chris Caddock, to provide some brass music for the 80th birthday party of his mother, Ethel Caddock. Helen Walters, Robin Purser, Helen Poole and I (Hadrian) were only too pleased to quickly put together a short programme of carols and other quartet music for such a special occasion. We were ably assisted by Chris and a friend of his called Nigel.

Ethel is the wife of the late Ron Caddock who was a great influence on the Band during his lifetime and is still well remembered by those who were in the Band at the same time. It was great to play a part in her 80th birthday celebrations.


Friday 22nd to
Sunday 24th
Butlins Mineworkers Open Brass Band Festival, Butlins, Skegness - Test Piece: Diamonds by Tom Moss


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Revised: June 01, 2010