March

Ever-expanding Membership
Four of our Training Band members have made the step up to the Senior Band, to increase their playing skills and provide them with increased opportunities to use their talents. We would like to welcome Megan Taylor (Cornet), Cameron Purveur (trombone), Jonathan Petticrew (trombone) and Gerry Petticrew (horn) into the Senior Band and hope that they enjoy the experience. Congratulations and long may their banding continue.

Consistent Performance in Torquay
The Band made it's annual pilgrimage to Torquay to participate in the West Of England Area Contest on the weekend of  Friday 7th to Sunday 9th March. We were staying at what has become our regular hotel, The Rainbow, which has the advantage of just being a short walk from the Riviera Centre where the contest takes place. We enjoyed a relaxed Friday evening enduring the cabaret singer in the hotel bar; I have a feeling Nigel had booked the singer especially to ensure we didn't overindulge the night before the contest!

We were in the first half of the draw and so on Saturday morning we had our final rehearsal at the hotel and then crossed our fingers that we would not be drawn number one. Thankfully, this time we avoided the dreaded number one slot and were drawn to play number nine. With a late contest start time of 11am, that meant we had a couple of hours to wait before giving our performance. At around 1pm we took to the floor in the sports hall and played a consistent solid performance of the set test piece, 'Four Cities Symphony' by Rodney Newton.

The test piece takes the players and listeners on a rapid tour around Europe. The starting point is London with a mix of Elgar and Walton as influences, a majestic opening reflecting the matters of state that occur in our capital city segues into the hustle and bustle of life in the city. The Band painted a good picture with its music and gave a controlled performance of this movement. From London we are taken to the romantic city of Paris, this movement featured our principal cornet, Helen Walters, in an extended solo and then a duet with our euphonium, Martin Warner. Both played their parts well and captured the mood of the music depicting a walk by the Seine.

Following the extended rest for half the Band during the second movement, we were then transported to Rome and its combination of religion and history. This was the quietest of the four movements and the trickiest to get the balance right in since the tune moved around the Band. A slight element of Respighi with the quiet march of a ghostly Roman army, and the religious chanting by the monks. Finally our journey took us to Moscow and the vodka fuelled dances of the cossacks. A bright finish to the piece that was well-played by the Band.

At the results we were placed 8th, exactly the same place as the previous year, and received a record-breaking grand total of 13 written "Good" x or y's from Mr Peter Roberts in our comments. His fellow adjudicator Mr Rob Wiffin was slightly less complimentary but still had plenty of constructive comments to add. As commented by 4barsrest we gave a solid performance which flowed well and was consistent throughout. We started the day as the 4th ranked Fourth Section Band and finished in exactly the same ranking, ready for the chance to try again in 2009.

March

Saturday 8th West of England Regional Contest, Riviera Centre, Torquay - Test Piece: Four Cities Symphony  by Rodney Newton
Sunday 16th Palm Sunday Service, Tewkesbury Abbey [9:15am] - Rained Off.

April

Once, Twice, Three Times a First Prize!
On Sunday 20th April the Band made its annual trip to Hungerford to participate in the Phoenix Festival of Brass, a relaxed and enjoyable competitive music festival for Fourth Section Bands organised by Phoenix Brass. The festival adjudication is ground-breaking in the UK in that the adjudicator speaks their comments onto a recording of the Bands performance. The adjudicator also sits out in the open so as to be able to enjoy the visual experience of the concert performances. Finally the entertainment prize is decide by a panel of six judges selected from the regular supporters of Phoenix Brass.

We had requested a late draw due to the fact that our young Eb Bass player, George Cullwick was playing with the Worcester Area Wind Band at the National Concert Band Finals in Warwick in the morning. Congratulations to them on achieving a Silver Award. So we were in the unusual position for us of being the last band to play!

 

We took to the stage at around 3pm and played three verses of our chosen hymn tune, Eventide ('Abide With Me'). This was a good start and the Band gave a well-balanced and tuneful performance sufficient to be awarded 1st Prize. We then commenced our entertainment programme with the exciting 'Hymn to the Mountain' by the young contemporary Swiss composer Etienne Crausaz. This piece opens with a strident fanfare sequence before calming down into a beautiful hymn-like melody played by the horns and baritones; before returning to the majestic fanfares to conclude. The Band played this well and certainly made the audience and adjudication panels sit up and listen!

We then played an arrangement of the popular tune that was featured in the hit film Sister Act, 'O Happy Day', arranged by another Swiss composer Jean-Francois Michel. An arrangement that really got the audience swaying in their seats, and that the Band really enjoyed playing. The Band's entire cornet section were then featured in an arrangement of Banda music by Alan Fernie entitled 'Mexican Holiday'. The cornet section played exceptionally well and put on a good show with movement to face into and away from the band on certain long chords. Another piece that had the audience dancing in their seats.

It was then time for our soloist, Martyn Sudworth, to wow the audience with a dazzling performance of the technically challenging solo originally written for violin by Vittori Monti 'Czardas'. For this item Martyn exchanged his baritone for a euphonium and stepped forward to play the piece from memory. A performance that earned him 2nd place on a day that had seen very good solo performances by all chosen soloists causing the adjudicator to have a difficult choice to make. In this instance he opted for the expressive cornet playing of the Cricklade principal cornet (our congratulations to him).


The mood was quietened down with a brass band favourite from the pen of Eric Ball as an arranger. The piece in question being '
All In The April Evening' by Hugh Roberton, a beautiful melody that sits well on brass instruments, and was expressively played by the Band. Our final piece was the fourth movement 'Charter Fair' from Peter Graham's 'Haslemere Suite'. This is a rambustious descriptive piece of the annual Charter Fair held in the town of Haslemere; the hustle and bustle of the fair is ever-present and there is a slight Russian feel to the general theme of the music. The Band captured this well and the piece provided a rousing finish to our programme.

We then awaited the results and the raffle! We were thrilled to be awarded 1st Prize in the Hymn Tune contest, 1st Prize in the Overall Contest and to be adjudged the Most Entertaining Band by the panel of 6 brass band enthusiasts. Our congratulations go to the Bass Section of Midsomer Norton & Radstock Silver Band for winning the Best Bass Section prize, and to the soloist from Cricklade Band for winning the Best Soloists prize.

An enjoyable day out that will hopefully be better supported by Fourth Section Bands in 2009.
 

A couple of Silvers!
On Sunday 13th April the National Youth Brass Band Championships took place at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. The Band was proud to be represented by several of its younger members at this contest. Hannah Williams and Grace Windsor played with the Gloucestershire Youth Brass Band, and George Cullwick played with the Worcestershire Youth Brass Band. Both of these Bands competed in the County Section of the contest and both achieved Silver Awards. Our Congratulations to both Bands.

AGM

The Training Band once again welcomed everyone to our AGM in Tewkesbury Town Hall on Wednesday 2nd April with another impressive concert. The Intermediate Band opened the concert with Harold T. Scull’s ‘One Note Bugler’ introduced by William Norman. This rousing March like piece got everyone’s feet tapping before the Beginner Band slowed things down with a beautiful performance of Gary Young’s ‘First Tune’. Hannah Williams then introduced the next Intermediate Band piece which was the ‘Indian Rondo’ from Hummel’s Noble Savage.

 

The Beginner Band then added a bit of Regency to the performance with a stately, elegant performance of Francis Clifford’s ‘Promenade’. Hannah Norman then set the scene along the great river for the Intermediate Band’s spine-tingling performance of ‘Shenandoah’ arranged by Mark Vause. Before the Beginner Band played their last piece for the evening, a presentation was made to Alice Williams (Training Band Supporter!) of her Grade 5 Theory of Music Certificate which she passed with Merit. The Beginner Band then entertained the audience with another Francis Clifford number, this time, a very drunken (on the Trombones!) arrangement of ‘Drunken Sailor’. This then led to the final piece, introduced by Cameron Purveur, ‘Greased Lightening’ from Cameron Mabon’s Grease Selection.
The Band members and supporters then enjoyed a lovely cup of tea or coffee provided by the fantastic Poole-Dron duo while the chairs and tables were re-arranged ready for the meeting.
The Band’s President for 2007/8, Mayor Ken Powell, opened the meeting with a list of thanks to the Band for all its performances in the Town during his past year in office. Apologies were given from the Band Chairman, Peter Williams, who was unable to attend as he was visiting his wife in hospital, and so the first report was from the Band Secretary Sue Corrigan. This highlighted how stable the Band has been over the past year with no one leaving the Band but only welcoming new players. The Treasurers Report was dominated by the many transactions caused by ‘The Flood’ and a story of how she had to explain to the Insurance Assessor who had come over from America as they were so in demand, exactly what a brass band was! The Musical Director’s report was full of praise for the Band’s performances over the passed year and highlighted the performance in Gloucester Cathedral as part of the Flood Appeal Concert as maybe our best performance ever. The Training Band report included details of the 19 engagements that the Training Band has completed over the past year and showed the healthy state of the Town Band as there are 35 members in the Training Band, 10 of which are now playing with the Senior Band as well (6 as registered players).


Then it was the excitement (!) of voting in the ‘new’ committee. The Band was pleased that all the committee were happy to re-stand in their previous positions and welcomed Linda Lee on to the committee. For the first time the Band elected a Vice-Chairman in the form of Rob Robinson and a Band Manager in the form of Kev Bennett who has a very effective way of getting everyone to listen in the bandroom! The Band also agreed to invite four people to become the first Vice-Presidents of the Band. These were Mrs Martin, Mrs Cadbury, Mr Nicholls and Mr Workman.

The general feel of the meeting was that it had been a difficult (due to the floods) but very successful year and it is hoped that this coming year continues to build upon that success.
 

Wednesday 2nd AGM - including Training Band Concert [7pm]
Sunday 20th Phoenix Brass Band Festival, Hungerford

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Revised: June 08, 2008