May

Evesham Bandstand
Our first bandstand appearance of the year took place in the sunshine at Evesham on Sunday 31 May. We squeezed on to the bandstand and despite being two front row cornets short (well done to Helen and Robin for maintaining their stamina throughout) gave a good concert for the large audience enjoying the sun in the park.
 

We opened with the march based on a Frisian Air 'The Boy From Menaem' by Goff Richards and followed this with the 'Overture to the Music for the Royal Fireworks' by Handel to commemorate the 250th anniversary of his death. The first of our soloists, Hannah Williams, then stood up in the warm but breezy conditions to play 'The Lazy Trumpeter'. We then went to the movies with an arrangement by Andrew Duncan of Ennio Morricone's beautifully wistful 'Once Upon a Time in the West' which featured our soprano player, Kev Bennett, and the fun tuba solo 'The Bare Necessities' featuring George Cullwick. A step back in time followed with 'Jamie's Patrol', a piece describing the approach and retreat of a Highland military band. The final soloist of the first half was one of our young players, second cornet Grace Windsor, who stood up to play 'The Sunshine of Your Smile'. The first half was brought to a close with three popular Welsh tunes interwoven by Andrew Duncan into a piece called 'Welsh Echoes' that featured our Chairman, Mark Windsor, on solo saucepan!
 

We opened the second half of our afternoon concert with the uplifting Salvation Army march 'Goldcrest'. This was followed by a short 'Stroll in the Park', a fun light piece by Philip Sparke reminiscent of Gershwin's 'Walking the Dog'. Our final soloist of the day was our principal cornet, Helen Walters who demonstrated her ability to triple tongue in H. Round's 'Trumpet Triplets'. We then took everyone back in time to the 1950's and 60's with four tunes popular from that time. The first was the spiritual 'O Happy Day', the second featured our back row cornets in a quartet version of the duet 'Something Stupid', the remaining two were combined in an arrangement by Goff Richards entitled 'Rock Around the Croc' - I'll leave you to figure out what the tunes were!

We then took a swift hunting trip to Vienna for the Strauss polka 'Auf de Jagd' but only found Latin American cockroaches 'La Cucaracha'. We rounded off our concert with a trip through the United States of America with Harold Walters' 'Hootenanny'. A good afternoon in the sun, hopefully the rest of our bandstand concerts will be blessed with such good weather.

Musical Appreciation and a Generous Gift
Occasionally there are moments and events that catch you totally by surprise. One such event happened on the evening of Wednesday 20th May. As sometimes happens we were contacted by e-mail by an individual who was on holiday in the area and wished to come along to one of our practices. Knowing how welcome Helen & I are made when we do the same we wrote back to the individual inviting them along, asking them what instrument they play and providing details of how to get to the Band Room.

The individual in question was an American by the name of Paul Gunther, and as it turned out he didn't play a brass instrument he just enjoyed listening to the sound of an English brass band. So we welcomed him and his daughter, Janelle, into our Band Room and allowed them to sit with several of our band supporters and listen to us rehearse. He and his daughter enjoyed the experience and in their own words had a marvellous time and were overwhelmed. On the night he left a donation of $200 for the Band (which we only found out about after he and his daughter had left to return to their accommodation) and we presented him with one of our CD's.

Due to the generous donation we wrote to him to say a big 'Thank You' and that we were glad he and Janelle had enjoyed themselves.

Later that week we received a further letter from Paul re-emphasising the great time that he had during his visit to our rehearsal and saying that his wife had told him that if he had enjoyed it so much he should give a larger donation. So he also enclosed a further donation of $1,000 to the Band. To say that we were overwhelmed by his generosity is an understatement.

On behalf of the Band I would like to say an enormous Thank You to Paul, Linda and Janelle Gunther.

Tewkesbury Abbey Fete
On Monday 25th May the Band made its annual appearance in support of the Tewkesbury Abbey Fete. This year was one of those unusual years where the weather was fine!! As a result the fete was spread out all over the grounds of the Abbey and there were thousands of visitors milling around. The Band performed two half hour slots during the afternoon featuring a mix of music from our current programme.

 

Training Band Concert, St John's Church, Churchdown
On Friday 22nd May the Training Band gave a concert in St John's Church, Churchdown to raise funds for the continued work of the Training Band and for the Gloucestershire Branch of the Alzheimer's Society. The Concert featured a mixture of items from the Beginner and the Intermediate Training Bands and was well received by the audience.

The Intermediate Band opened with the jolly march 'Touchdown' from the pen of James Pendleton. This was followed by 'Four Spirituals' each preceded by an appropriate bible reading; the four spirituals being 'Dem Bones', 'Amazing Grace', 'Jericho' and 'When The Saints'. The Beginner band then took the stage to show off their skills! Their programme opened with Helen Walters' reflection on last years wet and rainy band camp 'Summer Sunshine'. This was followed by an arrangement of the French traditional tune 'Au CLair de la Lune' by Helen  featuring a wonderful opening gong clash from one of our youngest players, percussionist Ben Stock. Next came one of the Beginner Band favourites 'Mr Jolly' by Gary Young, before we took a trip to the wild west to meet an 'Afternoon Cowboy'. The first half of the concert concluded with the percussionists having fun in the piece 'Soul Mate' from the Beginner Band Book.

After refreshments and the sale of raffle tickets the second half of the concert commenced with Darrol Barry's  'Rocktangle' to wake the audience back up after their snacks. We then returned to the wild west this time to meet a few indians for a tour of their 'Big Wig Wam'. The Intermediate Band then featured several of its members in the easy solo feature from the pen of William Himes 'Muffins Rhapsody' based on the popular beginners tune Hot Cross Buns. The Band then brought things back up to date with a version of the popular Mika tune 'Grace Kelly', an upbeat version of 'This Little Light' and an arrangement of the theme from Kung-Fu Panda 'Kung-Fu Fighting'. The concert was brought to a close with a descriptive suite by James Pendleton 'Castles of Scotland'. This work comprises four movements each based on a different Scottish Castle. The first movement 'Edinburgh Castle' has a military feel to represent the military tattoo, 'Stirling Castle' and 'Rothesay Castle' provide beautiful slow interludes that transport you to the picturesque countryside of the Scottish Borders, before the final movement 'Loch Doon' provided an impression of the historic battles along the Scottish borders.

The audience greeted the end of the concert with rapturous applause and requested an encore so the Intermediate Band played 'Muffins Rhapsody' again.

The successful concert was followed by the Training Band members enjoying a sleepless 'sleepover' in the Church Hall playing games, eating snacks and chatting!

Charity Quintet, Ozleworth Park
On Sunday 17th May a quintet of players from Tewkesbury Town Band were invited by the Cheltenham Music Festival to provide some musical entertainment for an Open Garden event at Ozleworth Park in support of the Wellchild Charity. Despite the rain the event was well supported and the quintet comprising Robin Purser & Helen Walters on trumpets, Hadrian Walters on trombone, Dan Slater on euphonium and George Cullwick on tuba provided a selection of old and new music which was well received by those hardy individuals under umbrellas and in raincoats!!

Phoenix Festival Brass, Marlborough
Sunday 10th May saw the Band make its annual trip to the Phoenix Festival of Brass Entertainment Contest. This year it had move venue from the school in Hungerford back to its original venue of Marlborough Town Hall; so our trip was slightly shorter than usual.

 

We competed against four other bands and were the third to play on the afternoon. We opened our programme with the hymn tune 'Rockingham' that caught the ear of the adjudicator Mike Kilroy and earned us the Best Hymn Tune prize. We followed that with the Gordon Langford arrangement of the Frisian Air 'The Boy From Menaem' which required a controlled performance in the boomy acoustic of the Town Hall to get all the detail across.

After that we played a beautiful arrangement by Matt Kingston of the Irish tune 'She Moved Through The Fair' featuring a wonderfully atmospheric opening from Helen Walters and Will Norman on cornet, and Helen Poole on flugel. Things then went up tempo with the fantastically fun 'The Bare Necessities' featuring George Cullwick as out tuba soloist and numerous other wannabe soloists from around the band. A special mention must go to Helen Poole who played a fantastic jazzy interlude at the beginning from memory.
 

We then provided the audience with a little story in the form of the tale of Joshua and the Battle of Jericho with William Himes' 'Jericho Re-visited'. Guest conductor Monsignor Fettucini (aka Robin Purser) took the baton whilst Nigel Morgan read the narrative over the band's descriptive playing. We closed our programme with a rapid romp through the Strauss polka 'Auf de Jagd'.

Our playing earned us the overall 1st Prize from adjudicator Mike Kilroy, and we also achieved 2nd place in the Entertainment Section, from the entertainment panel of four Phoenix Band followers, and 2nd prize in the soloists competition. Our Congratulations go out to all the other participating bands for making a great afternoon of music. The Senior Band are sad to be making our last visit (for some time hopefully) to this Festival since we will no longer be eligible to attend following our promotion to the Third Section. However, we are hoping to continue our support of this Festival in the future with the participation of our Training Band.

A big Thank You should also go to Rob Folland of Cheltenham Silver Band who stepped in at short notice on Euphonium due to the bereavement of our 2nd Euphonium players mother. Our thoughts are also with Julia and her family.

 

May

Sunday 10th Phoenix Brass Band Festival, Marlborough
Friday 22nd Training Band Concert, St John's Church, Churchdown
Monday 25th Tewkesbury Abbey Fete [1:30-2pm and 2:30-3pm]
Sunday 31st Evesham Bandstand [2:30-4:30pm]

June
Stroud Bandstand
On Sunday 28 June the Band made its annual appearance at the bandstand in Stratford Park, Stroud. It was a warm summer's day for once and the area near the park was busy with an antique bus fair and model railway exhibition. The Band played a varied programme including items such as 'The Boy From Menaem', a tribute to Handel with the first movement from 'Music for the Royal Fireworks', several solo items ('Trumpet Triplets' featuring Helen Walters on cornet, 'Sunshine of Your Smile' featuring Grace Windsor on cornet, 'The Bare Necessities' featuring George Cullwick on Eb Bass, 'Rusalka' featuring Will Norman on cornet) and several light numbers 'A Stroll in the Park', 'La Cucaracha' and 'Rock Around the Croc'.

A special mention must go to our guest players Rhydian Griffiths on percussion and Tracey King on Soprano Cornet. A big thank you to both and a bravery award to Tracey for taking on the Soprano solo feature in 'Once Upon A Time in the West'.

Half Century!
On Saturday 27 June Helen and I travelled to Oxford to celebrate the 50th birthday of former band member Martyn Sudworth. As is requisite at an event such as this we had taken our instruments along and joined in with a band of his family and friends for a brief birthday concert.

School Fete Fun
On one of the warmest days this summer, Saturday 27 June, the Training Band appeared at the John Moore School Fete playing two half hour programmes of their favourite tunes for an appreciative audience. The Fete was an excellent showcase for the various activities and clubs that children in Tewkesbury and its surrounding area can get involved with to constructively use their energy and enthusiasm. The Training Band also had a stall advertising what we do and providing people with the opportunity to have a go on an instrument. We look forward to meeting some of the many individuals who had a go at our band room where they can begin their participation in a fantastic and fulfilling life of music making.
A Cave and a Town Hall
One of the great things about being a musician is the weird and wonderful contrast in locations that you get to display your talents! On Saturday 20th Helen and I were invited to join Gloucestershire Symphony Orchestra as they gave a concert in the unusual underground location of Clearwell Caves. This was a fantastic location for a concert with one of the caves providing a natural amphitheatre. The concert featured several pieces with a natural world theme and was kept to a maximum of 1 hour in duration due to the low temperature in the caves.
The first piece was Dvorak's 'In Nature's Realm', an atmospheric piece of writing reminiscent of Beethoven's Pastorale Symphony in places that really set the scene for the concert. This was followed by three movements from Elgar's Wand of Youth Suite No.2 'March', 'The Little Bells' and 'The Wild Bears'. The best piece of writing for the brass section of the orchestra and for me the most fascinating piece of the evening was 'Luna Nueva' from the pen of Gloucestershire composer Hayley Savage. This piece captures the atmosphere of the rainforest and featured the children's choir of Primrose Hill School in Lydney providing words and rainforest effects with shakers, scrapers, etc. The concert concluded with the famous 'Sorcerer's Apprentice' by Dukas.

In contrast to this the following week Helen & I appeared in Cheltenham Town Hall with the Lakeside Concert Band as part of the Not Youth Makes Music concert!

 

St Catherine's Church Fete
On the afternoon of Saturday 20th June the Training Band made what has become its annual appearance as entertainment at St Catherine's Church Fete in Gloucester. The Band entertained the fete-goers as they queued to gain entry to the event with a selection of their favourite tunes and then played at two other times during the afternoon for the gathered crowds.

We played some original works for brass band such as James Pendleton's 'Castles of Scotland Suite' as well as a selection of popular tunes arranged for band, 'Grace Kelly', 'Kung Fu Fighting', 'I Don't Feel Like Dancing' and 'Scooby Doo'. There was plenty of time for the Training Band members to look around the stalls, eat ice creams and buy plants!

 

 

A whistle down the wind!
Our Annual Proms concert took place at the Roses Theatre on Saturday 13th June and this year it featured one of the Worlds greatest whistler's, David Morris. David had previously starred with many a musical ensemble from top brass bands to orchestras from around the world. So on 13th June it was his chance to appear with Tewkesbury Town Band and wow the Tewkesbury audience with his talents.

We opened our concert with the traditional Frisian Air, 'The Boy From Menaem', arranged by Gordon Langford. Little is known about the story of the boy but the music provides an upbeat concert opener with a fanfare introduction followed by a jovial tune that passes around the band before reaching a rousing conclusion. We followed this with the fast Strauss polka 'Auf der Jagd' which had the audience in a whirl as they went off to the hunt! Matters then took a more romantic turn as William Norman beautifully played the cornet solo 'Rusalka's Song to the Moon' by Dvorak bringing tears to the eyes of those more emotional members of the audience.

William was then joined by his front row colleagues, Helen Walters and Robin Purser for the jazzy 'Tijuana Holiday' by Derek New. A piece that keeps all of the band on their toes. Some hauntingly beautiful soprano playing was featured in the exquisitely descriptive theme from 'Once Upon A Time in the West' by Ennio Morricone arranged for brass band by Andrew Duncan. This was followed by some great solo saucepan playing by our Chairman, Mark Windsor, in another arrangement by Andrew Duncan of three popular Welsh tunes (Sosban Fach, David of the White Rock, and Watching the Wheat) into a great piece entitled 'Welsh Echoes'.

After that build up it was then time for the star act that everyone had been waiting for.....their curiosity could now be answered. David Morris took the stage to expertly whistle his way through three tricky tunes with our accompaniment highlighting his skill and the variety of styles that he can whistle in. He opened with the fast and furious triple tonguing (triple whistling?) item 'Trumpet Triplets' by Henry Round. This was followed by the popular slow melody, 'Londonderry Air', before he stunned the audience with his rendition of the 'Post Horn Galop'.
The Band then concluded the first half of the concert with the delightful Irish folk melody 'She Moved Through The Fair' expertly arranged by Matt Kingston featuring some wonderful cornet and flugel playing, and the Handel tribute 'Hallelujah' from Messiah arranged by Philip Sparke.
The second half of the concert opened with another item to mark the 250th anniversary of Handel's death, the 'Music for the Royal Fireworks' suite arranged by Denis Wright. We then led the audience on 'A Stroll In the Park' before being re-joined by our guest soloist for his second selection of whistling favourites! He opened with Sousa's 'Stars and Stripes Forever', before showing off his ability to hold a good slow melody with 'The Sunshine of Your Smile' and concluded with the fast and furious Monti's 'Czardas'.

The concert was then brought to a rousing conclusion with the Last Night of the Proms favourites, 'Fantasia on British Sea Songs', 'Pomp and Circumstance no. 1' and 'Jerusalem' with the audience being led in their flag waving and singing by our very own multi-talented, Helen Poole, star singer and flugel player! A big thank you goes out to Robert Morgan of Lydbrook Band who helped us out on cornet and our good friend Dan Slater who played 2nd Baritone.

 

Helen Poole

 

Band Social - Bandroom Pig Roast

On Saturday 6th June the Band had a pig roast social event kindly organised by Linda Lee at her house. Unfortunately the weather proved pretty awful on the day so we rapidly re-arranged the venue to being at our new Band Room. Around 65 or so of the Band's members, parents and supporters enjoyed a fun afternoon and evening sampling some great food and enjoying a light-hearted concert by the combined members of the Beginner, Intermediate and Senior Bands of the Tewkesbury Town Band organisation.

The concert featured one of our youngest players at the age of 7, Ben Stock, from the Beginner Band on percussion and one of the oldest members of our Band at the age of 74, Keith Rose, also on percussion. It really goes to show the universal language of music and how it touches all generations. We played a selection of pieces from the repertoires of all three bands and everyone had a go even if they didn't know all the notes!

After the concert we enjoyed a delightful spread of snacks, cakes and pork sandwiches! Thanks to all the organisers of the event for their hard work.

June

Saturday 6th Band Social, Pig Roast - members, friends and family of all three Tewkesbury bands are welcome!
Saturday 13th Proms Concert, Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury [7:30pm] - Featuring special guest soloist David Morris, World Champion Whistler
Box office: (01684) 295074
Saturday 20th St Catherine's Church Fete, Gloucester - Training Band
Saturday 27th John Moore School Fete, Tewkesbury - Training Band
Sunday 28th Stroud Bandstand [2:30-4:30pm]

 

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Revised: November 01, 2009