Christmas Cracker kicks Christmas off with a Bang

Aldbourne band was thrilled to take part in the 2018 Christmas Cracker on Sunday 25th of November with Sheila Harrod and the Kentwood Show Choir. Playing to a full Wyvern Theatre with a terrific atmosphere, our guest conductor, Chris King, led the band in a great set of music as we both supported the choir and took centre stage throughout the concert.
We also made new friends and thoroughly enjoyed listening to guest artist, Kim Cypher, a talented jazz singer and saxophonist. Here are some photos of the evening for your enjoyment, and we look forward to performing with these artists again in the near future.
Back in the band room this week, we’ve been hard at work with Glyn Williams preparing for the next series of concerts, the first being the Prospect Hospice’s Light up a Life carol service this Sunday 2nd December at 4.30pm in Wroughton. We then look towards a busy weekend on the 7th and 8th of December with the Chiseldon Church (7.45pm) and BBC Wiltshire’s Salisbury Cathedral (5pm) concerts. We hope to see some of you there! #Aldbourneband #Dabchicks
Thankyou Ron Milsom for the fabulous photos and permission to use them.

Aldbourne Band looks forward to a busy Christmas Season


2018 has been a busy and historic year for the Band with so many great achievements and concerts.  As we turn our focus to Christmas, we have some fabulous concerts and carol services lined up with lots of great performances and music to look forward to as the season gets into full swing.  We have really enjoyed rehearsing the music as we prepare for our first Christmas Season with Glyn Williams, ensuring we reach the high standards he expects of us!

We have our first Christmas Concert today (Sunday 25th of November) at 6pm in the Wyvern Theatre, Swindon with guest conductor Chris King, where we are once again very pleased to be supporting Sheila Harrod and the Kentwood Show Choir.  It is a sold out concert so we know the Wyvern Theatre will have a super atmosphere.

On the 1st of December a small group from the Band will be performing in the Blue Boar, Aldbourne as a Oompah Band in aid of MNDA (Motor Neurone Disease Association) at 8.30pm, and on the 2nd of December we shall be supporting the Light up a Life service at the Prospect Hospice in Wroughton at 4.30pm.  This is a lovely and moving carol service in remembrance of all who have passed away this year.

We shall then move onto the busy weekend of the 7th and 8th of December for our next series of carol concerts.  On Friday the 7th of December at 7.45pm, we will once again be at Chiseldon Church for their Annual Carol Concert.  This is a lovely venue and the Band really looks forward to performing here every year.  On Saturday the 8th of December, the Band is very excited to have been invited again to take part in the BBC Wiltshire’s “Carols at the Cathedral” service . This is performed in front of 1000 people to then be broadcast across the county on Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning.  At time of writing only a few tickets are left!

On Saturday the 15th of December, our attention then turns to our beloved village where at 6pm we’ll be hosting our own Christmas Carol Concert in St Michael’s Church, Aldbourne with special guests St Michael’s School Choir.

Last but not least, we of course will be continuing the village tradition of welcoming in Christmas morning at 4am(!) when an ensemble from the Band play around the village, ending up at the top of St Michael’s Church Tower playing “Good Christians Awake”!

Being a subscription and self funded band, in amongst all these concerts and services, we shall also be busy playing carols around the local area of Swindon, Marlborough and Aldbourne. This will help support us financially as we strive to reach the highest echelons of Brass Banding and build on the achievements of this year.


#Aldbourneband #Dabchicks

Aldbourne Band – We will remember them

Aldbourne Band’s involvement in WW1

As we focus on the upcoming Armistice Weekend, Aldbourne Band has had the opportunity to reach into its archives to better understand its players involvement in WW1 and the ultimate sacrifice of 5 members of the Band of that era.  It is especially poignant reading the names as many of them are still common in the village and we are especially privileged to have some descendants of members of that time still playing with the Band today.  In particular, we have James Sheppard (Bb Bass player and past long-standing Chairman) whose grandfather Fred Sheppard and great uncle Fred Barnes both served in WW1, and Martha Jerram, a Youth Band member, whose great great grandfather also served.

WW1 took its toll on the village with 190 men serving in the Armed Forces.  43 of those men never returned, 5 of whom were Bandsmen who we honour and remember their ultimate sacrifice.

These are;

William Thomas Dew: Private 21234. 6th Wilts Battalion. Died of Wounds received Friday 3rd Nov aged 23

John Orchard: 3186 Sgt. 8th Battalion Kings Royal Rifles D.C.M. (Baritone Player) aged 23

Chummny Westal: Euphonium Player (Although records are a little lost in time and he was only known by his nickname so cannot distinguish which Westal was in the Band as both were tragically lost.

TC Westal: 1013 Gunner Royal Marine Artillery. Died 10th August 1918

CE Westal: Gunner 198546 Royal Field Artillery. Died in Belgium, October 1917.

Frank Henry Wakefield: Corporal 26450. 2nd Wilts Regiment. Killed in action March 21st 1918

Richard John Loveday: 6th Battalion Wiltshire Regiment. Killed in action 29th April 1918

Other Bandsmen served with distinction and survived the War. These were 4 brothers; Fred, Frank, Wilf and George Jerram, George Hull, Walter Barnes, Fred Barnes, and Fred Sheppard.

Aldbourne Band acknowledge and celebrate the service and ultimate sacrifice these young men gave through our participation in the upcoming Commemoration Concerts and Act of Remembrance this Armistice Weekend on the 9th, 10th and 11th of November.  We dedicate our performances to each and every one of them.

Across the length and breadth of the country, numerous bandsmen sacrificed their lives, and in 1926 J Henry Iles erected a plaque to the memory of them.  It is poignant to know that even our village lads are included.

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them”

Acknowledgment of this archive history is given to Graham Palmer, with additional information provided by James Sheppard, Harry Sheppard, and Pete West.

If you would like to read more about our History, please check out the following website:


Wychavon heralds good Performance after 8 year Hiatus

The Aldbourne Band competed in the Wychavon Festival of Brass yesterday, and were pleased with our result after an eight year absence from participating in an Entertainment Contest. Coming 2nd overall, we were especially happy to win best overall Percussion Section and best overall Baritone Section prizes, and would like to extend our congratulations to Filton Concert Brass for their winning performance. We would especially like to thank Chris King for his fabulous arrangements and his work with the Band, and also our wonderful supporters who joined us yesterday.
We now turn our attention to the upcoming Remembrance weekend. This coming Friday (9th November), the band are playing in the Memorial Hall in Aldbourne to commemorate 100 years since the end of WW1, and the following evening will be playing at the Festival of Commemoration in Christ Church in Swindon, which starts at 7pm. We welcome Danny Dullforce as our guest Conductor for both occasions. The following morning on Armistice Day itself, the Aldbourne Band will be taking part as usual in the Act of Remembrance in the village outside the Memorial Hall. In the evening, the Aldbourne Youth Band conducted by Janet Roe will be playing in ‘A Testament of Youth: Renewing our hope 100 years on’, a service of inspiring music and reflective readings, also held in Christ Church, Swindon, and starting at 6.30pm. We look forward to taking part in these concerts and services as part of the Historic 100 year ending of WW1. #Dabchicks #Aldbourneband

Aldbourne prepare for busy Autumn Season

The Aldbourne Band is now hard at work preparing for Wychavon Contest<> plus a series of concerts through Autumn, after a busy summer season which culminated in our inaugural appearance at the British Open.
The first outing is our upcoming “Night at the Movies” concert on the 28th Of October in St Michael’s Church, Aldbourne at 6pm. The Band is really excited to be playing out a completely new challenging programme based around some great Movie Tunes that includes; Star Wars, Concerto for Motorcycle and Orchestra from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and E.T. to name but a few. This is being jointly conducted by Glyn Williams and Chris King
Less than a week later we’ll be heading to the Wychavon Contest. Aldbourne has not taken part in an Entertainment Contest for some years, and are very pleased to announce that Chris King will be leading us for this Contest with an exciting and diverse programme of music. We are looking forward to stretching ourselves in a strong and experienced field.
On the 9th, 10th and 11th of November, Aldbourne Band will be busy supporting the Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the end of WW1. On the 9th we’ll be in Aldbourne playing at a concert as part of the village’s celebrations. On the 10th we have a Festival of Commemoration Concert at Christ Church, Swindon in aid of the RBL. On the 11th we proudly take our place as part of the village’s Remembrance Service. Also our Youth Band is taking an active part in the celebrations, On the evening of November 11th, at Christ Church Swindon, the Aldbourne Youth Band will be participating in “A Testament of Youth” a service of commemoration of those killed during WW1. It means an awful lot to the Band to be part of these commemoration celebrations. There are serving and ex-serving members of the Armed Forces in the Band, and we wish to respect the Aldbourne Villagers and surrounding area of Swindon who served in the WW1 and WW2 conflicts, many never to return.
After these concerts we will be focusing on our run up to Christmas, which we will soon update you about!
#Aldbourneband #Dabchicks

Aldbourne Impress at British Open

The Aldbourne Band made their debut appearance at the 166th Annual British Open Brass Band Championships held at The Birmingham Symphony Hall on Saturday 8th September. It was the first time the band had qualified for the world’s oldest brass band competition in the band’s 158 year history. We were competing against some of the world’s most famous brass band names such as The Brighouse and Rastrick Band (famed for the Floral Dance with Terry Wogan) the Grimethorpe Colliery Band (Brassed Off) and The Black Dyke Mills Band, along with 2017 winners Valaisia Brass Band (Switzerland) and European Champions Eikanger-Bjørsvik from Norway. Drawn to play number 6 out of 19 competing bands we were placed a credible 13th place with champion band of Wales, the Cory Band, winning back the trophy from Valaisia and Brighouse and Rastrick taking 3rd place.

The band delivered a stunning performance on stage after an exciting final week of rehearsals just one week after playing at the Aldbourne carnival events. The audience, including many of our travelling supporters, gave the band an enthusiastic response and the assembled brass band press provided some encouraging comments;


“Not everyone who questioned after the Grand Shield whether Aldbourne were an Open standard band would have heard that today. Their loss.”

Commenting after their performance of “A Brussels Requiem” by Belgian composer Bert Appermont Aldbourne’s conductor Dr David Thornton said “All the hard work over the previous weeks came to fruition. The band put on a stonking  performance without a shred of nerves. It felt really controlled and players took the risks I asked them to take”.


This will have surprised a few people without a doubt. A very creditable Open debut from Aldbourne.

Committed playing and clear headed direction from the middle.”

Appermont wrote his composition following the attacks in Brussels on March 22, 2016 which created a shockwave throughout Belgium and the rest of the world. Equally, the attacks in Paris and Nice led to great public indignation, fear and disbelief. Bert Appermont’s intention was to voice certain emotions that these acts of terror have caused: particularly fear, grief, anger, and helplessness. He uses the French children’s song Au Clair de la Lune as a connecting thread throughout the work.

Chairman Ian Keene added ”Our performance and placing today has given the band the confidence to go back to Birmingham next year and give ourselves the chance to qualify for a third year and continue to compete against the elite of British and European brass bands. I am very proud for the players, our band and for all of our followers who support us throughout the year. I would like to say congratulations to the Cory Band and to Glyn Williams their Principle Euphonium Player on their terrific winning performance. And of course the committee and players would like to send our sincere thanks to both David Thornton and Glyn Williams for their continued hard work with the band and for the leadership they provide.”

The band would also like to thank the many people who have messaged us and reached out to us across social media to wish the band good luck and congratulate us on our creditable performance and contest placing.

The Band will be performing next on Sunday 28th October at St Michael’s Church, Aldbourne @ 6pm with A Night at the Movies themed concert featuring music from ET, The Godfather and a number of block buster film themes from composer John Williams. The band will be joined by local pianist Joanne Taylor.