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December 2004

Busy Christmas Season
This Christmas the Training Band has played at a record number of engagements! We started off by adding a festive sound to the Alderman Knight School Christmas Fayre that was better than ever this year with lots of lovely stalls - and some fantastic music! We played carols in the Town for the turning on of the Christmas lights in Tewkesbury. Some members of the Training Band helped out the senior band at the Pied Piper Concert in the Abbey in a starring roles playing lots of jingly bells! Next was appearing in the two Christmas Concerts in the Roses Theatre where the Training Band was fantastic - showing off for the first time that they can play Festival March by Nick Mills without the music! On the following weekend the Training Band held their own concert and party where much fun was had by all. Then there was just one more job left for the Training Band and that was to play in Tewkesbury Abbey welcoming the crowds in for the Christingle service on Christmas Eve. This was a really special event and we played to nearly 900 people - including Roy Newsome!! A fantastic time.

Christmas Concert & Party 2004
On Sunday 19th December 2004 the Training Band and their Family and Friends gathered in Alderman Knight School for their second annual Christmas Concert and Party. The concert opened in style with the Intermediate Band playing Nick Mills Festival March off by heart, featuring a solo by trumpet player Megan Taylor. Then, once the Band had sat down and found their music we bounded through my fiendishly difficult arrangement of The Simpsons before slowing things down a little with O Sole Mio, also know to the words 'just one Cornetto!'. This featured our longest serving training band member and cornet player Oliver Moss. Then it was time to get things moving again with Leigh Bakers Riff Raff and a hint of Turkish Delight in Nick Mills Camel Dance. Changing the mood a little we then played Mark Pulman's slow rock ballad Robbie. Next it was time to involve some of the audience as well in Johan Nijs' The Netherlands that has the unmistakeable ring of a bicycle bell in it! The Intermediate Band finished their half with a difficult piece that they played very well called Circus March.

The next part of the concert belonged to the Beginner Band. They opened in style with their 'signature tune', Rat A Tat by Gary Young. Then it was time to march up the hill with The Grand Old Duke of York and then do a little more exercise with my own composition, Otter Olympics. You just couldn't stop the band moving (in their music) as they finished this section of the concert with a fantastic rendition of Gary Young's arrangement, Marching Marines. 

Both bands had saved all their Christmas tunes until the end of the concert so that they could send the audience out on a really festive few notes! The Intermediate Band began with a beautiful rendition of Alan Fernie's arrangement of Walking in the Air, from the Snowman. Not only was the band playing fantastic but it also featured cornet player William Norman who began the tune as a solo. They then continued with one of the hardest pieces that they have played, Terry Cathrine's arrangement of the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, from The Nutcraker. Then it was time for the whole band to join in and play Little Donkey before the intermediate band had a few 'Christmas Capers'. Finally both bands joined together again and finished in style with 'When Santa got Stuck Up the Chimney'!

It was a fantastic concert and we all enjoyed a mass of food and drink afterwards!

Band members make the grade!
Congratulations go to members of our Band on the passing of ABRSM Grade exams.

Firstly, Pete Strawson who as well as being a talented percussionist has shown that he can master the art of playing brass as well. He has been learning to play the trombone with our Training Band during the year and took his Grade 1 exam in late November. He passed this with flying colours earning a Distinction. Congratulations!

Secondly, congratulations to our star Eb Bass player George Cullwick who has just passed his Grade 2 with Distinction on exactly the same number of points as he did his grade 1!

Thirdly, congratulations to Rebbekah Musto passed her Grade 1 with Merit on Eb Horn at the tender age of 7 years old.

Finally, congratulations to Hannah Williams who passed her Grade 2 with Merit on Cornet!

Well done all of you!

Busy schedule for the Training Band
Throughout the year the Training Band has been requested to play at more events than ever before and this Christmas season highlights how popular they are with no less than 7 engagements between now and Christmas and more keep coming! You can catch them at the Alderman Knight Christmas Fayre, the turning on of the Christmas Lights in Tewkesbury, both of our concerts in the Roses Theatre, their own concert at AKSchool, Tewkesbury Abbey on Christmas Eve and some of them will even be making an appearance at the Pied Piper Concert!

Training Band Concert and Picnic
After the downpours the day before, my hopes were not too high for the weather being fine for our outdoor concert and picnic on the lawns of the vicarage to Tewkesbury Abbey on Sunday 27th June 2004. Perhaps it was something to do with the venue, but someone was looking after us as it was a fine day and the rain held off until the last few were packing their picnic things away at the end! It was a beautiful setting for the concert and a very enjoyable afternoon. The Beginner Band took the first half, playing nearly all the pieces in their repertoire starting of course, with 'Rat-A-Tat' by Gary Young. In fact it was a bit of a Gary Young collection as they continued with his 'First Tune' and Peppermint Tango' and later played their new piece, 'Shaker Song'. Also in their programme was my arrangement of 'If You're Happy and You Know It' and David Beal's 'Wild West Yonder'. I received many comments after the concert about how impressed people were by the Beginner Band. Well done!

The second was then given over to the Intermediate Band who opened in style with my arrangement of 'Tragedy'. They then took the audience on a Little tour of Europe, this time visiting Italy, Greece and Norway, before playing 'Inspector Gadget'. Following this we went to the zoo with Allan Bullard's Zoological Band meeting the 'Sad Sea-Lion' and the 'Prickly Porcupine', before dancing to a 'Calypso'  by Nick Mills and finally marching home with 'Festival March'.

Following the concert we all sat down to our picnics before games of football and badminton took over and all the children disappeared behind the hedge playing until they were called to go home!

Thanks must go to the Williams' for letting us invade their garden - it really was a great afternoon. Thank you.


Second Fete Performance - and it's still wet!
Yep, unfortunately Saturday 26th June 2004 was a rainy day too as the Intermediate Band performed at the Lakeside School fete in Hatherley, Cheltenham. It started off well though as we were privileged to play inside on a nice stage in the school hall. Crowds gathered as we played favourites such as Harry Potter, Inspector Gadget, Tragedy, Star Wars and more. The interesting part came when we were due to play our second slot outside. The organisers had kindly put up two patio gazebo's which we just about fitted under but unfortunately they didn't meet in the middle and the rain was blowing in from the sides! We eventually got it all pegged together so that the only rain coming through the gap was on to me, and with the support of some parents and their golf umbrellas those on the edge were better protected (except for Hadrian who looked like he'd been for a swim fully clothed afterwards!). We were ready to start and wanted to play as we were there anyway and couldn't go anywhere else as we would have got soaked stepping out from under the gazebo, but unfortunately the horses who were giving rides on the other side of the field were supposedly very sensitive and so we had to wait for them to stop before we could start being noisy! Finally, as the pegs were getting loose and the rain was getting harder we played a few pieces but eventually gave in. Hopefully next year it will be a really sunny day to make up for it!


First Fete Performance
On Saturday 19th June 2004, our Training Bands played at a school fete for the first time. It was the Alderman Knight School fete and the Training Band played to help the senior band out! We played at 1pm and then the senior band played at 2pm. Unfortunately, it wasn't the best of the British weather and during our second piece we had to abandon ship and run inside as the rain was getting quite heavy!! We eventually set up inside again and managed to entertain the crowds with a few more pieces before the next act took over. It was an early lesson in the guide to performing in a brass band!

AGM Concert Astounds the Audience!
On Wednesday 7th April 2004  Tewkesbury Town Band held its AGM in Tewkesbury Town Hall. As in recent years, the meeting was preceded by a concert from the Training Band. First up was the Beginner Band who opened with David Beal's 'Wild West Yonder' - a great tune that creates many images of cowboys riding over the mountains. Following this they got the audience clapping their hands, stamping their feet, nodding their heads and shouting 'hooray' in an arrangement by Helen C. Morgan of  'If You're Happy and You Know It'. Their final piece was their favourite - Gary Young's 'Rat-A-Tat'.

Before the beginner band left the stage, we had a presentation to make to Grace Windsor. Grace has passed her Grade 1 Cornet exam with distinction and received her certificate and results. [I was in trouble with her Mum though for keeping them in suspense a few days longer than necessary so that I could make this presentation a surprise!].

Following this it was time for the Intermediate Band to impress the audience and that they did. They opened with Nick Mills' 'Festival March' and as they immediately dropped to the p marking half way through, there was a gasp of amazement from members of the senior band in the audience! The next piece was music from a film and tv series, 'Inspector Gadget', arranged by Helen C. Morgan. They then continued with another Nick Mills piece, 'Calypso', and then an arrangement by Gary Young of the traditional tune 'Soldier, Soldier'. The Bands big finale piece was from Johan Nijs' 'Little Europe', this time number 5. Greece. It starts nice and gently and then doubles in speed for the last section before the end - I think the players even impressed themselves!

Congratulations on another great concert!

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