Click here to see all the music videos we have put together over the lockdown period
Our latest video aired on Saturday 29th and is our entry into the virtual Whit Friday March Championships, organised by Foden's Band. The band was placed a very respectable 47th out of the 119 bands who entered, which included a large number of Championship Section Bands and bans from overseas. The band chose to play the march 'The New Colonial' by RB Hall, and our video features many young helpers from our band family.
The very best news! On Tuesday 25th we were finally able to meet up as a band again for our first rehearsal in a very long time. Whilst it's still not the same with 2 metres between us all, we were all delighted to be together again and really hope to be able to perform in public before too much longer.
The results of the Cory Online Brass Band Championships 2021 were aired on Sunday 28th March. We were placed a very respectable 8th which was a great result, given the high standard of the international competition.. Of course a very special mention goes out to Dave, Phil and Jason, our amazing trombone section who were awarded Best Trombone Section - Congratulations all (but especially the trombones!)
On Saturday 20th our contest entry was aired for the first time as part of the Kapitol Cory Online Brass Band Championships 2021. Our 10 minute programme is a celebration of our home county. Our section featured 12 bands from around the world..
... we were delighted with the performance and once again say a massive thank you to Gareth Hamer and our Musical Director, David Lawrence for knitting all our individual performances together so beautifully.
We will all be tuning in on Sunday 28th to hear the contest results!
We start our programme with a tribute to Gustav Holst, one of Gloucestershire’s most famous musical sons. Holst was born and raised in Cheltenham, and throughout his life never lost his love for the county of his birth. We will play the stirring March from his 1st Suite in Eb, originally composed for Military Band, but played here in the arrangement for Brass Band by Sydney Herbert.
For our second piece we will play ‘As the Deer’ arranged by Philip Wilby. It is a modern Christian worship song drawing on texts from the Bible. We offer it here as a tribute to William Tyndale, a local Gloucestershire man, who was the first person to translate the New Testament into the English language. The band are joined in this performance by Gloucestershire-born soprano Mary-Jess - the voice of Downton Abbey and the winner of the Chinese X Factor.
Our programme ends with Alan Fernie’s arrangement of "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free". Our principal cornet Bruce Davies features in this jazz song written by Billy Taylor and Dick Dallas, and known by many from a widely played version recorded by Nina Simone. After a year or more of lockdown, we are all looking forward to being free, and for the video we asked the band to show some of the things they are looking forward to being free to do – including of course, the Gloucestershire sport of Cheese Rolling!
Click here to listen to our other lockdown projects
Despite the current lockdown, the band has been very busy working on our latest online project. We are entering the 1st Section of the Kapitol Cory Online Brass Band Championsips and have submitted our short programme which will be broadcast online on Saturday 20th March between 6pm and 10pm. The short concert celebrates the band's Gloucestershire roots and will be made available for viewing on our website after the Saturday night preview.
At this time of year, the band are usually out and about in the community playing carols and organising our annual Christmas Concert. Sadly, as is the case for so many other organisations, this year is very different for us.
The band is entirely self-funding and raises its money through members' subscriptions but also through our summer concert programme and most of all, through our extremely busy Christmas Carolling programme which the band relies on to cover its costs for the 12 months to come.
We will be doing our best over the next two weeks to bring some Christmas cheer by playing in the community in small, socially distanced groups. If you hear us and we make you smile, please make a donation here in our 'virtual bucket'.
Link to our JustGiving page...www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/wottonsilverband
On Saturday 26th, the results of the Cory Online Brass Band Championships were announced. The band was awarded 4th place overall in the Second Section of this international competition, and won prizes for the Best Welsh Piece (Calon Lan), Best Cornet Section and Best Baritone and Euphonium Section.
Over the last few months, we have been busy preparing our entry for the Cory Online Brass Band Championships. Our ten minute performance includes 3 'lockdown' videos - Essence of Brass by Gavin Somerset, which provides an introduction to the band and its players; Calon Lan arranged by Philip Harper takes us across the bridge to Wales, and our finale is our recording of Highland Cathedral in celebration of the Wotton Hill tradition. (There is also a brief teapot solo from our talented Flugel Horn player, Ken Stout).
The band took part in the Second Section competition which was aired on YouTube on Friday 18th and we eagerly await the result which will be announced at the end of the competition on Saturday 26th. We received some very positive comments from the three adjudicators - Glyn Williams, Nigel Seaman and Rob Nicholson. Our Online Competition Entry
On Wednesday 7th the band took part in a special celebration for Brian Chappell who celebrated his 90th birthday. Brian is a much loved member of the band who has been actively involved in the organisation for over 50 years, during which time he has been a player, a committee member and a teacher. Many players have Brian to thank for helping them to learn to play brass instruments.
In preparation for a lockdown celebration, the band prepared a special video message for Brian which can be viewed here, but as COVID regulations had lifted slightly at this time, the band was able to meet and perform a short, outdoor, socially-distanced concert for Brian which took place at the Dursley Rugby Club.
It was fantastic to be able to join together to play as a band again, and we can't think of a better reason for the band to resume its live performances (if only for a moment!)
Although all may have seemed quiet, the band continues to work away. We are in the process of recording two further 'lockdown' video projects under the direction of Deputy Musical Director, David Lawrence and with the technical expertise of Gareth Hamer.
In addition to this, we are meeting up in small, socially distanced groups of six for the occasional outdoor rehearsal, holding Thursday night social/quiz nights and Tuesday night tutorials to keep us going and to make sure we are all fit and ready to resume banding just as soon as we can.
We have been overwhelmed by the reaction to our recording of Highland Cathedral. With more than 4,600 views, it has reached more people than we would normally reach on Band Sunday on the Hill! The project has also been a great way for the band to continue playing together and with this in mind, we are about to embark on our second lockdown project.
Players are also keeping in touch with a weekly 'virtual' pub quiz and we are setting up small groups to meet up and play together under the direction of Deputy Musical Director, David Lawrence. So, whilst it's not banding as we know it, we are doing our best to ensure we are ready to perform together again as soon as we are able to.
If you haven't yet seen our Highland Cathedral project, click here
During these very strange times, we are busy keeping the band ticking over with a few projects which have been based on our annual trip to Wotton Hill on the first Sunday in May
The tradition that started in 1910 for the band to play a free concert to the public on ‘Wotton Hill’ will continue in this unusual year, albeit in a modern way. The event is a highlight of the calendar for us and traditionally heralds the start ofour summer outdoor concert season, when we hike up the hill on the edge of the town, with its fantastic views of the countryside, to play a selection of marches and hymns.
This year, due to the global pandemic, the band is not permitted to meet or perform together but the performance will go on, in not just one but two forms.
A competition was launched on the town’s Facebook page for locals who wish to open their windows to play their hi-fi’s at full volume tracks from the band’s CD, Legacy. Within minutes of posting on “Wotton Noticeboard” the band had received dozens of requests for CDs, which the band is posting out to the local residents free of charge.
Meanwhile, band members have been busy practising at home and have individually recorded performances of The Highland Cathedral, recorded on individuals’ smart phones in their bedrooms,which will be digitally stitched together into a full band video performance by friend of the band, Gareth Hamer.
As it happens the last place Gareth went for a walk before ‘lockdown’ was onWotton Hill, and now with a bit of spare time he is able to help with this project. But the WottonHill connection doesn’t stop there. To show off the splendour of Wotton Hill on the planned video,Deputy Musical Director David Lawrence searched the internet for aerial views of the scenery and found some drone footage taken by Dale Curtis – Dale’s grandfather Maurice Brown was a long standing member of the band, being the conductor from 1919-1939 and being one of only two members of the band in the 1960s, who were determined to keep the band alive for generations today. The band owes a great debt indeed to Maurice.
David Lawrence said, “the fact that the band members have gone to these lengths to keep the connection with Band Sunday on Wotton Hill alive in this unusual year shows not just their commitment to music making but also their sense of pride in their home town and its community. I’m sure that Maurice would have been very proud.”
The video performance of Highland Cathedral will be released at 11:00am on the traditional day of ‘Band Sunday’ which this year would be 3rd May.
The band has another Wotton Hill related project in the pipeline, commissioning the internationally recognised brass composer Christopher Bond to write a concert piece to tell the story of the Band Sunday tradition. Christopher is working on this piece now and the band are planning to premier the piece in September when they are hoping to be back making live performances.
Christopher has been described as “one of his generation’s most exciting compositional voices for brass”, having written for an array of soloists in addition to many leading brass bands. Since 2015,he has been Composer in Residence to the world-famous Cory Band, working with the band on new music, arrangements and outreach projects, with further commissions having included Brighouse & Rastrick, Grimethorpe, and Leyland Bands, and solo commissions from Owen Farr, Tom Hutchinson, Steve Stewart, Brett Baker, Stephen Sykes & Lode Violet. His work has been broadcast both locally and nationally on BBC Radio 2, 3 & 4, and ClassicFM.
A first-class graduate of the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, Christopher’s work has been performed extensively throughout the United Kingdom, including at Wales Millennium Centre, Durham International Festival of Brass, RNCM Festival of Brass, Regent Hall London, St John’s Smith Square, as well as at the BBC Welsh Proms at St David’s Hall, Cardiff. Internationally, performances have included Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Japan, Canada, the USA and extensively across Europe.
In 2012, The Royal Diamond Jubilee Fanfare was commissioned and performed in the presence of HM Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh as part of the Diamond Jubilee Tour. This was followed in 2014, with the orchestral sound track for Magic in the Skies; the summer season of firework displays at iconic British landmark, Land’s End in Cornwall, for which Christopher worked with BAFTA-winning actress, Miriam Margolyes in the recording of his work.
At ‘Brass in Concert’ at The Sage, Gateshead, in 2015, Christopher won the Composition Prize for his Aristotle’s Air. In 2017, the work was chosen as part of the own-choice programme for both Brassband Willebroek and the National Band of New Zealand at the World Music Contest in Kerkrade, The Netherlands, with both bands taking the 1st and 2nd placings consecutively. Further performances of the work included Cory Band’s winning televised 2018 Band Cymru performance, and in 2019; the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain.
As an arranger and transcriber, Christopher has worked for international harpist, Catrin Finch, transcribed for Cory Band & Only Men Aloud, as well as having several published arrangements with Hal Leonard: Moon River, Game of Thrones, Second Star to the Right, Hallelujah, and perhaps most notably, his transcription of Selections from The Greatest Showman.
As a conductor and educator, Christopher was Resident Conductor of Tongwynlais Temperance Band between 2014-2017, having worked with the band on four successive top-3 placings at theWelsh Open and four consecutive qualifications to the National Finals at the Royal Albert Hall. In 2019, he was appointed Resident Conductor with City ofCardiff (Melingriffith) Band. Christopher co-directs an education company, Create! Music Education, and is Head of Brass & Orchestral Performance at St John’s on-the-Hill preparatory school in Chepstow.
Christopher is increasingly in demand as an adjudicator and judge, having adjudicated at the National Youth Brass Band Championships of Great Britain, Wychavon Festival of Brass, West of England Bandsman’s Festival, and Cory Band’s Annual Composition Prize.
Christopher owns his own publishing company, selling his music worldwide at christopherbondmusic.co.uk.