We have been quite quiet on our Website recently since our Dorchester Abbey Concert. This is for very good reason. We were heads down with our preparations for the West of England Brass Band Area qualifying competition. As always the Competition is tough with some of the finest Bands in the West of England competing in the Championship Section. The competition piece was Seascapes by Ray Steadman Allen. It was deceptively tricky and required 100% concentration throughout all three movements. Dr David Thornton our Musical Director in Torquay had a fantastic reading of the piece with which he had led Brighouse and Rastrick Band to victory in the Yorkshire Areas the previous week. On the day the Band drew no 13 which was going to be the last Band playing that day in the Championship section. This was going to prove to be a very long day , with the Band taking the stage not until around 6pm on the Sunday evening. This could be considered a very tricky draw, and it was important to think about even the smallest details of eating correctly and keeping hydrated !. It was to prove to be a fine competition with many fine Bands setting out their stall earlier in the day. The stage at Torquay is also notorious for being a very dead acoustic to play upon and again this year proved to be so. It is amazing how you can hear parts you have never heard before or entries that seem very loud in comparison to other venues. However the Band held its nerve and although we all honestly felt that we had not given Seascapes our finest performance with some slips and errors of live competition, we left the stage reading some good reports from the social media pundits. So we held our breath !……… and we were well rewarded. The Band is delighted to announce that we came 2nd off a NO 13 draw. Many congratulations to Flowers Band on retaining the West of England Title. However by coming Second We are very happy to announce, that in 2019, we will perform at both the National Finals at the Royal Albert Hall and the British Open at the Symphony Hall. A massive thank you to Glyn Williams and David Thornton – what a team! Also a big thank you for the messages we have already received.
Congratulations to all our friends at Flowers Band and also Filton on their performance !
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.
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.
The Aldbourne Band is now hard at work preparing for Wychavon Contest<https://www.festivalofbrass.co.uk/home.html> 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!
Aldbourne Band is a Championship Section Brass Band