Aldbourne Band have once again been very busy preparing for their jam-packed summer season of concerts and contests.
On Sunday 2nd June we kicked off the summer season of Pond Concerts led by Glyn Williams with an exciting and eclectic programme of music including ‘Nordic Polska’ and a beautiful arrangement of John Ireland’s “Love Unknown”. Unfortunately the weather was not kind to us but once again the beautiful village church of St. Michael’s served us well. The concert also featured some outstanding solo performances by ‘2nd man-down’ Shaun Mundy playing Dan Price’s “Dirty Duck” made famous by Tom Hutchinson; Solo Trombonist, Rob Marsh, playing Derek Ashmore’s arrangement of “Bolivar” and 2nd Euphonium, Ed Latham, playing the classic Air and Variations on “Rule Britannia”.
The Aldbourne Youth Band also joined in the fun wih enthusiastic performances of Bohemian Rhapsody and ‘Grease’ really getting the audience’s toes tapping! It was also a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the progress the Youth and Training Bands have made over the past year, and Glyn William helped to present the annual awards to players in the band rewarding their progress and commitment.
We next turn our focus on the 9th of June to supporting the BBC Concert Orchestra as warm up act at the Grange Park Opera in West Horsley Surrey. This will be a subset of Aldbourne Band (14 piece) known affectionately as the “Paddling Dabchicks” and play an American Song book themed programme.
The pace then does not let up as the Band competes for the first time in its 160-year history in the famous Whit Friday Marches contest up in the villages of Saddleworth Moor on Friday 14th June. This is a very old and famous contest dating back to 1884 where bands play two pieces, one whilst marching and then a contest march which they are judged on. Aldbourne will be competing against some of the world’s finest brass bands “Brighouse and Rastrick” as well as over 100 amateur bands from around the country (and the world!) in what has been branded ‘the greatest free show on Earth!’. The band is especially excited to take part in this contest as this is the first time Glyn Williams will be taking us.
Beyond this over the coming months, the band and its supporters have a lot to look forward to with our regular Pond Concerts through the summer season as well as performances at the Marlborough College Summer School. Check out our website and Facebook pages for further details. This builds up to us playing at the British Open Brass Band Championships in September plus the National Finals at the Royal Albert Hall in October, which is the first time the Band has qualified for both competitions in the same year in its history.
Aldbourne Youth and Junior bands were very lucky to kick off their 2019 rehearsals with an inspiring interactive session led by the band’s resident @Glyn Williams. The young musicians learnt about the importance of breathing properly, of warming up, using the diaphragm and listening critically to themselves as they practice every day! Glyn held a band competition to find the player who could hold the longest note and demonstrated how using the diaphragm improved tone and volume. The band went on to play an arrangement of Colonel Bogey. The youngsters were mesmerised and very much enjoyed the session. Hopefully it has inspired them to improve their own standard this year.
Youth and Junior band Musical Director, Janet Roe, said “The evening has been great fun as well as teaching and reminding the players of some of the basics of playing. Glyn even managed to get the parents who were watching to participate in some of the warm up activities!” #Aldbourneband#Dabchicks
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.
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, 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!
The Band returned from France in fine tune and were joined by the Training Band and Beginners Band. Luckily the notices and announcements about the week postponement due to the French Open had hit the spot and many people came to enjoy the Concert.
The Training Band and Beginners Band all played their part and were warmly received.
David Hayward was on hand to conduct the Band as Josh was taking advantage of the trip to France to take a well earned week break.
Aldbourne Training Band stepped into the shoes of its parent band last Saturday and played to a well-attended fete run by the churches together. It was held on the village green and the rain held off. Several ‘older’ members of the Training Band joined in to help the youngsters along – one of who is the President of Aldbourne Band – Harry Sheppard. He has been connected with the Band since it started up again after WWII when he was about 13 years old.
Conductor Janet Roe led the youngsters through a range of lively and entertaining music including
the theme from James Bond. The next Pond concert is on Sunday 6th No charge is made for these entertaining events, but a donations bucket is passed to help fund the band performances. Sponsorship is currently being sort to help this Band, formed 154 years ago, maintain its Championship Section Status. The Band are also looking for an administrator who would be willing to give some time to help the Band maintain its position as one of the top 40 brass bands in the world. If you are interested please contact Band Trustee Alan Watson on 01672 540580.
The Band are currently looking forward to performing in a new concert at 7.30pm on Saturday September in Swindon at the Steam Museum. Guest performers are the Salisbury Plain 20th Military Wives Choir. The Concert is to help raise funds for Help for Heroes.
Aldbourne Band is a Championship Section Brass Band