Category Archives: Friends of Aldbourne Band

Change of Musical Leadership

The Aldbourne Band have decided to embark on a change of musical direction and leadership for 2018 and are currently reviewing and assessing  professional conductor options.

The band would like to thank David Johnson for his tremendous contribution as Musical Director over the last 8 years. During this time he has been instrumental in improving the overall playing standard of the band, including countless hours spent on arrangements as well. David’s professional approach to our concert performances has helped secure a loyal following in the community. In his first spell conducting with Aldbourne, the band became the First Section National Champions and gained a top three placing at the Grand Shield at Blackpool, narrowly missing a qualification to the British Open. Since taking over the baton again in January 2016, David’s musical direction gave renewed impetus that led to qualification to the Royal Albert Hall National Finals, where the band gained a thoroughly deserved top ten finish in the Championship section.

Friends of Aldbourne Band secretary Gavin Dixon added ” We would like to acknowledge the immense contribution David Johnson has made to the progress and standing of the band in recent years. David has always emphasised the significance of the band’s roots in the village and has lead them at so many community events where the band provides the musical accompaniment to village life.  He has undoubtedly become one of the most recognisable “characters” in the community.  In recognition of David’s contribution, the Friends of Aldbourne Band have appointed him an Honorary Member, which is reserved for those who have made an outstanding contribution to our band”

Band Chairman Ian Keene added “We all wish David continued success and hope to see him conducting the Band again in the future”

The band are looking forward to their first concert of 2018 at the Immanuel Reformed Church in Swindon, where they will be celebrating a reunion with members of the Band from 1963. Former players have been invited to join the present day band and supporters to rekindle memories from 55 years ago. Chris King, the conductor of the Friary Guildford Band, the current London and Southern Counties champions, will be our guest conductor for the concert and we are looking forward to an engaging musical evening. The Band will be joined by the Aldbourne Youth Band who will again appear at Upham Road led by Janet Roe.

As Aldbourne Band start the preparations for the 2018 West of England Contest at Torquay in March, the band are pleased to announce the appointment of the experienced conductor, adjudicator and arranger David Hirst MA, B.Ed (Hons), P.G.C.E., LTCL to conduct the test piece Odyssey. They are looking forward to an intensive February and March working with David, who has an impressive record as a soprano player and conductor at some of the country’s leading bands such as the Black Dyke Mills Band, Brighouse and Rastrick, Fodens and Faireys.

A quintessentially English afternoon!

With thatched cottages, a pub and the village church surrounding it, the village green provided a perfect setting for a quintessentially English afternoon when a large audience enjoyed this year’s traditional Proms on the Green concert. With a programme that showcased 3 of the band’s soloists and the complete cornet section, MD David Johnson delighted the audience with music ranging from Verdi’s Force of Destiny, a Mozart Horn Concerto, Benedictus from Karl Jenkins’ War Requiem, to music from the Western Silverado, Putting on the Ritz and a Glen Miller selection.

A wonderful addition to this year’s prom was the superb young soprano Tilly Wale who gave a masterful performance of “I dreamed a dream” from Les Miserables accompanied by the band, and later in the concert led the crowds in the traditional singing of Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory.

The hardworking Friends of Aldbourne Band had again organised a raffle and also provided mouth-watering cakes and cups of tea for the crowds to enjoy, raising funds for the financially self-supporting band who are in the world’s top 50 brass bands. New Friends are always welcome and the membership secretary can be contacted on 01672 540419.

The band’s final pond concert of the season will be at 6.45pm on Sunday September 3rd in the village square. It follows another traditional village event that the band is very much part of, the closing service to mark the end of carnival week. Bring a chair, buy yourself a drink from the nearby pub and settle down to enjoy the evening’s concert.

Rain didn’t stop play!

The band’s June Pond concert was held in a packed St Michael’s Church because of inclement weather, and MD David Johnson, presented a programme of music by the late composer and arranger Gordon Langford. Ranging from traditional songs to complex original works there were also solos from principal horn Simon Jones, and principal euphonium Ed Latham. There were many melodies the audience recognised during the evening which showcased Langford’s ability to take a simple tune and give it a wide variety of guises, and also interweave some very famous symphonic themes together as in the thrilling final piece of the concert the Russian Fantasy.

The Aldbourne Youth and Junior Bands also performed with the trombone section of the Youth Band joined by the senior band trombonists to play a wonderful feature item “Blue Moon”. The June concert is traditionally when awards are given to the young musicians and David Johnson presented plaques for the Junior Band’s most promising player, the Youth Band commitment award and the Kerton Cup to the Youth Band player who has made the most progress over the year.

During the evening the Friends of Aldbourne Band received a cheque for £2,511. It was handed over by Co-op store manager, George Lovelock, as part of the Co-op’s Local Community Fund which had nominated the Friends as their charity. It was accumulated by members spending on Co-op products during the 6 months from October to March 2017.

Gavin Dixon accepting the cheque from Co-Op representatives

Gavin Dixon, secretary of the Friends, was delighted to receive the cheque which will go towards the purchase of a new instrument for Ed Latham, the band’s principal euphonium player. “We are really grateful to the Co-op for their generosity. The band is totally self-funding and any help towards purchasing instruments means we can then pass on the old ones to members of the Youth Band.”

The next Aldbourne Pond Concert, which is free to attend, will take place on Sunday 2nd July starting at 6pm and hopefully outside in the summer sunshine!

Celebrating the rich heritage of banding

2013 has seen Aldbourne Band commemorate its 153-year history with a lottery sponsored ‘Heritage Project’, collating stories, photographs, programmes and other memories of the band to document its illustrious history. As a finale, the band is holding a ‘Heritage Concert’ on Saturday 28th September in Holy Cross Church, Ramsbury starting at 7.30pm.

Pond Concert Old

The concert will celebrate the longevity and heritage of the brass band movement, and the fantastic music that has been produced and performed over the years. Highlights will include ‘Labour and Love’, the first ever test piece specifically composed for brass band; Eric Ball’s ‘Resurgam’ and Philip Sparke’s ‘Year of the Dragon’. It will also feature movements from ‘A Moorside Suite’, Peter Parkes’ ‘Pageantry’ and ‘An Epic Symphony’, plus solos from our principle cornet player Richard Hughes and our conductor David Johnson!

Tickets are £10 and include a complementary glass of wine in the interval. They can be purchased from Aldbourne Post Office and Stores, Ramsbury Post Office, Alan Watson (01672 540680) and on the door.