The busy Christmas carolling schedule is now well under way as we aim to spread Christmas cheer (as well as raising much needed funds for the year ahead!)
Merry Christmas from all of us at Wotton Silver Band!
We were delighted to be able to go ahead with our annual Christmas Concert this year at Kingswood Village Hall on Saturday 11th. We were joined by the Training Band for an evening of Christmas music. The varied programme featured solos 'In the Bleak Midwinter' from Marcus Dunstan on Soprano Cornet and ''Frosty the Snowman' from Jason Andrews on Bass Trombone. Thanks to everyone who felt able to join us despite the circumstances this year, and helped to make the evening a real festive celebration.
On Remembrance Day - Sunday 14th, the band led the parades at Wotton in the morning and Dursley in the afternoon. Both parades were very well attended and supported, despite a slightly different format this year due to Covid restrictions.
On both occasions The Last Post and Reveille were expertly sounded by the band's Principal Cornet player, Bruce Davies.
The band is really pleased to welcome our new Musical Director, David Boorer.
David led his first rehearsal on Tuesday 2nd as we began our preparations for our busy Christmas Schedule including our annual Christmas Concert which will take place on Saturday 11th December at Kingswood Village Hall.
David took up music at the relatively late age of fourteenwhen his music teacher suggested he learntthe bassoon. At sixteenDavid joined the Royal Marines Band Service andwas taught by John Williams of the City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and by Ian Cuthill while he was a student at the Guildhall School of Music.
David has had a forty-year playing career that has seen him perform as an instrumentalist in major venues nationally and internationally as well as a soloist onboard the Royal Yacht Britannia.
David took up conducting in 2009 when he was stationed near Rickmansworth and discovered a new passionfor music outside playing.
After moving to the West Country in 2011 a chance meeting with Tiverton TownBand'sprincipal cornet player led David to theposition as MD of Tiverton Town Bandand he took over the baton at Phoenix Brass in January 2012.
After leaving the Royal Marines in 2013 David gained a BA(Hons) in English Literature, and following a family move to Lincolnshire took over as MD of Alford Silver Band.
Moving back to Devon in 2018 David took over as MD once again with Phoenix Brass in Crewkerne, as well as with Chard Concert Brass.
Welcome to Wotton David!
On Sunday 17th the band gathered to continue the tradition of Band Sunday. Band Sunday is normally held on the first Sunday in May, when, in a tradition that first took place in 1910, the band climbs the hill to welcome in the Spring with a concert of hymns and marches. As our plans for May 2020 and 2021 were both thwarted by Covid, we decided to make up for it by playing in October - surrounded by autumnal colours rather than the sights and sounds of spring.
David Lawrence brought down the baton to strike up the band, the music drifting on the breeze over the town, signaling a return to normality.
After an hour's performance, the players carried their instruments and music stands back through the trees and fields with a sense of happiness and contentment that they had carried on a wonderful tradition which has after all survived two world wars and now also a global pandemic. Through it all Wotton Silver Band has played on!
Huge congratulations from all of us at Wotton to Sam Iles who, on Saturday 2nd, competed as a member of Foden's Band who became the 2021 National Champions of Great Britain!
Sam joined Wotton Band as percussionist in 2014 and his amazing performance of 'Helter-Skelter' from our 2016 CD, Legacy, gives a clear indication that he was already destined for great things.
We are so proud of you Sam - Congratulations!
(Congratulations to the rest of the band too).
Click here to find out more about our Legacy CD.
On Saturday 25th we were finally back for our first indoor performance since the Area Championships at the Riviera Centre, Torquay in March 2020. All tickets for the concert were sold out two weeks earlier, so we played to a full (safely distanced) and very appreciative audience.
The band played a varied programme of music, and included three splendid solos - 'On with the Motley' from Marcus Dunstan on Soprano Cornet, 'Lullaby of Birdland' from Ken Stout on Flugel Horn, and 'In Christ Alone' from Mandy Norman on Euphonium.
Under the Edge Arts have posted recordings of two items from the night - 'Lullaby of Birdland' and 'Queen's Greatest Hits' on Facebook, so if you would like a listen please click here.
After the concert, the band was also able to say a proper public thank you to David Lawrence who has directed the band throughout a very difficult 18 months. Following the retirement of our Musical Director in March 2020, David offered to step in as musical director early in the lockdown period and along with music tech expert, Gareth Hamer, spent a huge amount of time and effort piecing together all our lockdown recordings. David has continued to direct the band since coming out of lockdown, making it possible for us to 'hit the ground running' after restrictions were lifted.
Thank you David - we are so very greatful - you have done us proud!
We are pleased to announce that Morris Harper is moving from percussion to take the position of principal Eb Bass, and are also delighted to welcome 2 new players to the band - Gerald Hartley joins us on cornet and Mark Chapman joins us on Eb Bass (hopefully we will have some photos coming soon!)
This now leaves us with a vacancy on Tuned Percussion, so please contact us if this is of interest (see Vacancies)
On Saturday 8th, it felt wonderful to be back making music again after such a long break. Our first post-lockdown engagement took place in the picturesque village of Cold Aston where we joined them once again for their annual village fayre. Even the miserable weather couldn't dampen our spirits - It's a joy to be back!
Throughout the summer, we have fortunately been able to hire a large room at Hamfields Leisure in Berkeley where we have been able to rehearse whilst remaining 2 metres away from each other. Whilst not an ideal way to play, this has at least allowed us to continue to meet up and begin to get match fit for the engagements ahead of us. We are hoping to be able to return to our band room in Wotton before too much longer, but in the meantime, it's a big thank you to Hamfields for having us!
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.
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