December News

Goodbye to Brian & Jon

The band is sorry to say goodbye (at least for now) to Eb Bass player, Brian Cummings and Flugel Horn player, Jon Woodman.

 

Brian has been with the band for almost 10 years and, as well as being a valued and reliable playing member, he has also played a big part in the running of the band as a Committee member, playing a major role in the organisation of last year's band tour to France and also in the recent rewrite of the Band's constitutional documents.

Brian has promised to stay in touch, and will be helping us with the organisation of the next band tour planned for 2014 ... So thank you for everything you've done Brian, and we'll see you soon!

 

Jon joined the band around 25 years ago, playing Flugel for most of that time, and also playing an active role as a committee member for many years.

Like Brian, Jon will stay in touch with the band as his wife Jo is still Band Treasurer and a playing member.  We thank Jon for all the work and solo playing he has done for the band over the years and look forward to his return when he has a bit more time on his hands!

A Busy Christmas Programme

As always, December was an extremely busy month.  The band once again played a joint concert with Yate Choral Society for Chipping Sodbury Lions on Wednesday 12th, and small ensemble / carolling bands played at Stinchcombe Golf Club on Friday 7th, Didmarton Village Hall on Thursday 13th, Kingswood Village on Monday 17th and Dursley Community Centre on Friday 21st.

In addition to this, carolling bands played in Wotton, Dursley and Stroud High Streets and many local supermarkets.

We would like to thank our friends Audrey, Roy, Julie, Adam, Ann, Lorraine & Steve, Shirley, Mac, Geoff, Gill S, Gill W and June for helping so much with the collections for a very successful Christmas carolling programme.

A Winter Wedding

On Saturday 15th, a small group played at the Wedding of Adam and Katie Mason.  The band played a selection of traditional carols outside the church as guests arrived for the wedding ceremony and again at the reception as guests arrived for drinks.

The couple thanked the band for making a fantastic contribution to their wedding and said the feedback they had received from their guests was incredible.

The band would also like to say a big thank you to Phil Anderson who stepped in to play Euphonium for us, allowing other members to attend Pat's memorial service.

A Service of Remembrance

On Saturday 15th December St Andrew's Church, Miserden was full for a moving thanksgiving service in loving memory of veteran bandsman Pat Etherton.

Uniformed members of Wotton and Chalford Bands, conducted by Ken Wear, paid the most appropriate tribute by playing some fovourite pieces of music and accompanying the hymns.  Pat's son Richard joined the cornet section.

The combined band played Elgar's 'Spring' before the service began and during the service the 'Cossack march', 'Deep Harmony', 'Shepherd's Song' and 'I Dreamed a Dream'.

Pat's widow Irne and other members of the family, together with many neighbours and friends, were welcomed by the Rev. Val Bexon and there were heart-warming eulogies from Band Secretary Ian Ford, and the Chalford Band Chairman, Derrick Witts.

As the congregation left the church the band played the 'Radetsky March'.  The family invited everyone for mince pies and mulled wine at the nearby Carpenters Arms after the service.

Pat would have loved it!

Christmas Concert

Our annual Christmas Concert took place at Kingswood Village Hall on Sunday 9th December.  The varied programme included a selection of Christmas music, along with Euphonium Solo, Varied Mood from Alan Bruton.  The Training band also treated the audience to two performances - a selection 'Things that go Bump in the Night' in the first half and Christmas music in the second half.

As always we have many people to thank for helping to make the evening a success, from decorating the hall, providing refreshments, manning the door and helping with the raffle.  A big thankyou to Robert & Suzanne, Nora, Geoff, Rita and Julie.  The band is also really grateful to Stan Rodman for building a beautiful garden feature that we were able to auction for band funds - Thank you Stan!

November News

A Sad Farewell

We are very sad to announce the passing of Pat Etherton, our much loved Bass Trombone player who died after fighting a long illness.

 Pat was a very happy, cheerful and kind hearted man. He could always be relied upon to cheer band members up with his endless supply of jokes and anecdotes and he really was the life and soul of the party.  His one line comments would often diffuse a moment of tension in the band room. 

 His grey beard always made him easy to recognise in the band and he would often receive puzzled looks due to being right handed but playing a left handed Trombone!!!  When asked he would just say “it was how I was taught”.

 Pat played with Wotton for 11 years and previous to this, spent an incredible 44 years playing with Chalford Band.  He appeared at 6 national finals and in 2007, received a 50 year service award by the Gloucestershire Brass Band Association (GBBA), alongside his great friend Mac Chappell who was privileged to share every moment of Pat's banding career.  Pat could also be seen playing with Bideford Town Band who he would visit during his annual summer holidays in Devon.

 His dedication and contribution to Wotton is a testament to senior stalwarts and Pat has demonstrated that brass banding isn’t just about young people. He was a very active man who lived every one of his 82 years to the full and really loved Wotton band and we are all going to miss him. 

 We would like to pass on our sympathy and condolences to Pat’s wife, Irene, five children (Patrick, Richard, Jacob, Bridie and Sophie), Grandchildren and Great-grandchildren.

 RIP Pat

A Great Night Out

On Friday 23rd November the band enjoyed a superb evening at the Watersky Restaurant in Bristol.  An excellent Chinese meal was followed by a spot of dancing from some of our younger supporters (one of them was a bit taller than the others though!)  Thanks very much to Mark & Julie Hale for organising yet another fun event!

GBBA Contest

On Sunday 18th November the band took part in the GBBA Annual Test Piece and March Contest at The Larruperz Centre, Ross-on-Wye.

The band opened with John R Carr's march 'Bramwyn', followed by test piece 'Divertimento' by Bryan Kelly.

We were awarded a very respectable 4th place in both the March and the Test Piece contests and adjudicator, Steve Pritchard-Jones complemented the band on a controlled and balanced performance.

Remembrance Sunday

On Sunday 11th the band led the Remembrance Sunday parades at Wotton in the morning and at Dursley in the afternoon.  Our thanks go to Ian Ford who (as always) performed an excellent Last Post and Reveille at Wotton, to Brian Chappell and Diane Ansell for conducting the hymns during the wreath laying (Wotton & Dursley respectively), to Tim Hancock for playing the bass drum for us again, and to Julie Ashby for representing the band by laying the band's poppy wreath in Wotton.

October News

On Saturday 27th October the band played at the Poppy proms at Listers Hall in Dursley, organised by the Dursley and Cam Branch of the Royal British Legion and featuring Wotton Silver Band, Dursley Male Voice Choir and St Andrews Pipe Band (Cheltenham).

The band's concert included all the last night of the proms favourites - Jerusalem, Pomp and Circumstance and Fantasia on British Sea Songs, along with Euphonium solo - Benedictus from Alan Bruton, and Cornet Trio - Cornet Carillon from Ian Ford, Mel Millichap and Diane Ansell.

We are pleased to hear that the concert was a great success for the orgainisers with all proceeds going towards the Poppy Appeal.

On Friday 19th October the Training Band played its first concert without the main band.  The concert was a huge success - the band played brilliantly and was very well received by the audience.  A big well done to Diane for preparing the band so well and for arranging the concert.  Also, thanks very much to Ian, Ken and Phil Anderson for helping out on the night.

Welcome to Baby Thomas!

The band is delighted to hear of the safe arrival of Thomas Slade Gambling!  Our congratulations go out to mum and dad - our friends Nikki and Gordon who have been a great help to the band over the past 12 months (including joining us for our tour to France earlier this year).

September News

The members of Wotton Training Band are very busy in rehearsals for their first concert without the main band.  The concert will take place on Friday 19th October at St James the Great Church in Dursley.  The concert begins at 7.30 and tickets, priced at £3.50 are available on the door or from the band.  

September was a very sociable month for the band, beginning on Friday 7th with a fun night at Swindon Dog Racing Track.  The highlight of the night was the 'Wotton-under-Edge & District Silver Band race' and the picture shows our Chairman, Bruce Davies, presenting the prize to the winning dog (well the dog's owner).  Thanks so much to Mark for arranging such an enjoyable (& different) evening!

The band also got together on the evening of Saturday 29th at Cotswold Edge Golf Club to watch slide shows and videos of our tour to France earlier this year.  It was great to share memories of the tour and to see friends who helped us out -not just our great guest players, but also our fab tour guide, Edward and brilliant coach drivers, Stan and Adrian.  Thanks very much to Alan and Jon for arranging the evening and preparing the superb films and slide shows!

On 1st September the band travelled to Devon to take part in the South West Brass Band Association's Brass Band Festival at The Exmouth Pavillion.

The competition was well attended and included bands from 1st to 4th sections.

The band performed an adjudicated 25 minute programme inside the Pavillion in the morning, and then played a further short concert in the gardens outside in the afternoon.

We were delighted to be awarded 5th place and received some really positive feedback from adjudicator, particularly complementing the band on its attention to detail and tidiness.

The adjudicator also complemented Euphonium player, Alan Bruton on his excellent performance of Benedictus - well done Alan - you did the band proud as always!

August News

On 25th August the band played a concert in the bandstand at Montpellier Park, Cheltenham.  Unfortunately the concert was cut a little short due to a massive thunder storm but regardless of the weather we received some great support from an appreciative (and brave) audience!

July News

On Sunday 29th the Band played at the EDF Family Fun Day at Barnwood, Gloucester.  We were really pleased to be able to get a picture of ourselves with the Olympic torch during our break!

We hope that the day was a great success for all at EDF (despite the stormy weather).

On Saturday 21st we returned to the lovely Cotswold village of Cold Aston to play at their annual summer fayre.  As always we were made to feel extremely welcome, and they even managed to arrange some sunshine for us!

On Saturday 14th we played in our home town of Wotton at the annual St. Mary's Church Fete.  The concert took place inside the church this year due to showery weather and included a brilliant 15 minute concert from Wotton Training Band.

On Saturday 7th, the band joined 20 other member bands of the GBBA to play at a special celebration at Highnam Court to mark the Organisation's 75th Anniversary.  The concerts began at 10am, culminating in a massed bands concert at 8pm conducted by Philip Harper and including 3 new music commissions.  We would like to congratulate the GBBA on an excellent, well-organised event and are delighted to have been able to play a part in this amazing day.

The first engagement of the band's busy July schedule took place on the afternoon of Sunday 1st in the sunshine at Bath Parade Gardens.  The programme of light music included solos 'Apres un Reve' from Ian Brown on horn and 'Benedictus' from Alan Bruton on Euphonium.

June News

The band played at Dursley RFC on the weekend of 16th and 17th June for two separate engagements.

 

On Saturday afternoon we played for the Dursley RFC Summer Festival where everyone was able to keep dry in the large marquee despite rotten weather!  Musical Director, Ian Dickinson led the band in a light programme of music, including the first British performances of some of the pieces from our French Tour.

On Sunday evening we returned to the Rugby Club marquee to provide the music for the Stinchcombe Proms, a community event in aid of St Cyrs Church.  

As usual, the second half of the concert included all the ‘Last Night of the Proms’ favourites - Fantasia on British Sea Songs, Jerusalem and Pomp and Circumstance, expertly conducted by the band’s Deputy MD, David Lawrence - thanks David for a marvelous job!

The concert was expertly compered by Terry Pascoe, and also featured the beautiful singing voice of Sasha Northover.  It was really well supported by an enthusiastic, Union Jack-waving audience and we hope it was as successful a night for the church as it appeared to be.  

Well Done Charlie!

The Saturday following the French tour our 2nd Cornet player, Charlie Poole, took part in the Gwent Youth Brass Solo Competition and came second in the slow melody class after playing ‘Bless This House’.  He was awarded his prize by Tom Hutchinson and Chris Thomas of the Cory Band who had been the adjudicators. This week he has also received an invitation to be part of the cornet section in the National Children's Brass Band of Great Britain and will attend a summer school in Repton in July.  

More great achievements from Charlie ... We are so proud of you!

Tour of France

The band has just returned from its first ever overseas trip.  51 players and supporters met at 5.30am on Saturday 2nd June to begin the longest journey in the band’s 118 year history, taking in Wotton’s twin town - Beaumont le Roger in Normandy, Paris and Disneyland. 

After a day of traveling, Sunday morning was spent sightseeing in the town of Evreux (near Beaumont le Roger) or at Monet’s Gardens in Giverny, and then in the afternoon we travelled to the very picturesque town of Beaumont where we were made to feel extremely welcome throughout our visit. 

Church Concert in Beaumont-le-Roger

The first concert of our tour was held in the beautiful church at Beaumont.  A large audience was entertained by a variety of music including solos - ‘Benedictus’ from Alan Bruton on Euphonium and ‘On With the Motley’ from Bruce Davies on Soprano Cornet, and the band concluded the concert with the rousing French National Anthem which was very much appreciated.   

The band presented the town with a piece of Bristol Blue Glass commemorating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and we were then invited to a drinks reception where we had the opportunity to meet with members of the twinning association and local councilors.  The evening concluded with a meal at the Lion d’Or in Beaumont, where even the youngest members of our tour group were made to feel extremely welcome. 

We cannot thank Beaumont-le-Roger enough for the hospitality shown to us and the tremendous support for our concert.  We are extremely proud to be associated with the town through the Wotton Twinning Committee, and hope that this will be the first of many visits for Wotton Silver Band. 

Concert in Jardin du Luxembourg

On Monday, the band left Normandy and travelled to Paris where we played a lunchtime concert in the stunning setting of the Jardin du Luxembourg bandstand.

Despite really cold weather (considering it was June!), many people stopped and listened to our concert which included Euphonium Duet ‘Well Did You Eva’ from Alan Bruton and Pete Stanulewicz, and the Trombone feature ‘Frolic for Trombones’ from Dave McWhirter, Phil Goodfield and Gordon Gambling. 

After the concert many of us took the opportunity to do some sightseeing in Paris, including a trip down the River Seine. 

The following day we set out for Disneyland.  Whilst the players prepared for our late morning concert, most of our supporters ventured into the park to make the most of the ‘Disney experience’.  However, they all returned to support us (most of them sitting in the front row of the audience sporting a wide variety of Disney ears!) 

We played a programme of light music including ‘There’s No Business Like Show Business’ and ‘Elizabethan Serenade’ on stage in Discoveryland at the impressive Videopolis Theatre, and then spent the rest of the day soaking up the ‘Disney experience’. 

Without doubt the tour was a tremendous success and there are many people that need to be thanked for making it possible.

First of all, a huge thank you to our Soprano player Bruce Davies who first suggested the idea of a tour a year ago.  Bruce headed up the Tour Committee and was a first class Tour Manager - thanks Bruce - it probably would have taken another 118 years without your input!

 

The Tour Committee - Bruce Davies, Brian Cummings, Jo Woodman, Lyn Ford, Jenny Lovell and Julie Ashby deserve a big thank you for all the work that went on behind the scenes: fund raising; organising concerts, raffles and social evenings; planning the tour detail and keeping everyone up-to-date with regular newsletters. 

A big thanks to Emma Metcalfe for designing the brilliant ‘France’ logo that we wore on the back of our tour t-shirts and displayed on the tour bus, our itinerary packs, tour folders, etc. (and also for putting up with Bruce while he has been somewhat ‘focussed’ on the tour!) 

We must also thank the guests who stepped in to help us with the tour.

First and foremost a massive thanks to our Tour Musical Director - Paul Hemmings who spent much of May on the M4 commuting from his home in Reading to Wotton to get us into shape for the tour.

Also thank you so much to our guest players - Lisa Hancock (solo cornet), Emma Metcalfe (horn), Phil Goodfield (trombone), Gordon Gambling (bass trombone), Tom Goodfield (Eb Bass), Nick Cornock (percussion) and Nicki Pettiford (percussion).

 

Thanks to everyone who came on the tour for making it a fun-packed, successful event and also thanks to those members who couldn’t come with us this time, but made a huge contribution to the fundraising efforts over the past 12 months.

 

The only question that remains unanswered is..............

 

Where are we going next year Bruce?? 

May News

We are almost ready for the band's first European tour in it's 118 year history.  The fund raising events have been extremely successful and we thank all our supporters, friends and local businesses who have helped us to raise the funds we needed to make the tour possible.

 

The band leaves Wotton on Saturday 2nd June to head to twin-town Beaumont-le-Roger in Normandy where we perform a concert in the church on the evening of Sunday 3rd.  The following day we leave Beaumont for Paris where we perform a lunchtime concert in Jardin du Luxembourg on Monday 4th, and a concert at Euro Disney on Tuesday 5th.

On the evening of May 27th the band played at Eastwood Park for members of the Beaumont-le-Roger Twinning Committee who had been visiting Wotton.  It was a beautiful summer evening, showing the wonderful views from Eastwood Park at their very best and giving the band and the Beaumont visitors a chance to meet each other before next week's tour.

The band played at the lovely village of Hillesley near Wotton-under-Edge, for their annual Summer Fete on Saturday 26th May.  It was a beautiful sunny day and the band played a vairied selection of music under the baton of Paul Hemmings, who is briefly joining us as Musical Director for our tour to France.

As usual, the first Sunday in May saw us climbing to the top of Wotton Hill to welcome in the Summer with a selection of hymns and marches.  As usual, our great friend Gordon Phillips helped by waving the stick and the Wotton Arts Festival team provided refreshments for the audience.  The weather was good to us this year and it was fabulous to see such a lot of people turning out to support us in this rather eccentric tradition!

Goodbye to Kirsty

The band is sad to announce that 1st horn player, Kirsty McWhirter has decided to leave the band due to family commitments.  Kirsty has been part of the band for many years and will be missed by one and all, but we hope we will still see her out and about supporting us, as husband Dave is still very much part of the band on solo trombone.  Good luck Kirsty, keep in touch and enjoy your time with little Leo! 

April News

On 30th April we held the draw for our 'Win a Band Concert for £10' competition.  The prize was won by Chipping Manor Dental Surgery in Wotton-under-Edge and we will be working with them to plan a charity concert for the work they do with 'Bridge2Aid' (a partnership that supports the emergency dental training of a Tanzanian Clinical Officer).  More news on this to come, but in the meantime congratulations to Chipping Manor and a huge thank you to everyone who took part!

 

On Saturday 28th April, the band performed a concert at St. Mary’s Church, Wotton-under-Edge with the wonderful organist Nigel Davies.  The concert included individual performances from both the band and Nigel, who is a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists and has been Director of Music at Dursley Parish Church since 1992.  The concert also featured a number of pieces combining both band and the St Mary’s church organ, which is famed for having been played by George Frederic Handel.  

The concert featured solos 'Apres une Reve' from Ian Brown on Horn and 'Benedictus' from Alan Bruton on Euphonium, and band and organ joined together for music including 'Suite Gothique' and 'Procession to the Minster'.

The concert, which is was a first for Wotton Band, was a great success and the band will certainly be looking to perform similar joint concerts in the future.

Last month the band took part in the West of England Regional Championships, held at the Riviera International Conference Centre, Torquay.  Although, our result was a little disappointing, the band really enjoyed, and benefited from working on the test piece (Cross Patonce by Goff Richards) and we received lots of good feedback from members of the audience. 

Win a Band Concert for £10 !!

We are holding a draw where the prize is a concert by Wotton Silver Band at a time of date of your choice.  This could be an event you run annually, a special celebration (wedding, birthday party), or a fund raising event of your own, and could be inside or outside.  To enter, all you need to do is send us a cheque made payable to ‘Wotton Silver Band’ or transfer us the money and we will send you a ticket.

 

For further details contact Jo on 01453 887774 or jo.woodman2@gmail.com.

A Warm Welcome to Ian Dickinson

The band is delighted to announce the appointment of Ian Dickinson as our new Musical Director. Ian Studied music at the Cambridge College of Arts & Technology in the 1970‘s. He moved to Bristol in 1974 to join the Stanshawe Band, which later became the Sun Life Band (SLB).


Ian spent 20 very successful years with SLB, initially as Assistant Principal Cornet and then on Flugel Horn.  Apart from traveling much of Europe and performing regularly for the BBC and recording many records and CDs, the band had many competition successes, including the runners up awards at both National & British Open Championships, culminating in gaining the Open Champions title in 1990, followed by The World Music Festival title in Kerkrade in 1992.

Ian has been conducting bands for many years and until recently had a very successful spell with Portishead Town Band, whose rapid progress saw them rise from the Second Section up to the Championship Section under his direction.

 

Ian brings a wealth of experience, both as a player and a conductor.  The band is excited by his appointment and looks forward to working with him in the next chapter of our long history.