What a summer it’s been for us at Stourport on Severn Brass Band. Since our last update, we have a new home in the shape of Stourport Sports Club. It was very emotional leaving the Old School at Areley Kings, as it has been a lovely home for the band over the years. But luckily we managed to find a very fit replacement! The Sports Club have been extremely accommodating to us since we moved in May and we look forward to many happy years here. There is even talk of hosting a few concerts in the rehearsal room so watch this space!
The gigs we have taken part in this summer have been a lot of fun, and for the most part we have actually enjoyed very good weather! Our appearance at Pershore Midsummer Brass has to stand out as a highlight for the band. After our popular performance at last year’s event, we were rewarded with the ’headline slot’ at the Baptist Church. It is a lovely venue to play in, and although we were all quite nervous, we ended up giving a great show to the audience. We even made it into the Bandsman, with event organiser, Val Trim stating “Stourport on Severn gave a fantastic performance in the Baptist Church, particularly the horn solo The Depths of His Love, played so beautifully by young Jo Foskett”. It was a very proud moment for everyone and as Val said, a special moment for our Solo Horn player Jo. She really is a joy to listen to and it was great to see her talent celebrated in such a prestigious publication in the Brass Band world.
The event that has been occupying most of our time this summer is preparations for Saturday’s National Brass Band Championships in Cheltenham. For many of us, this will be our first appearance at the Nationals with the band (our last appearance was back in 2004). Like with the Regionals, all bands will play the same piece, and in this case, it is Geoffrey Burgon’s Narnia Suite. It is a wonderful piece to play, taking you on an exciting musical journey that depicts C.S. Lewis’ beloved Chronicles of Narnia. Always exciting, at times dark and other times exhilarating, it has been a challenging, yet very rewarding experience rehearsing this piece.
In between our summer engagements, we have been rehearsing non-stop for Nationals. This may sound like quite a tedious affair but I can honestly say the band has enjoyed (mostly!) every minute of the Narnia journey. This is largely down to our brilliant M.D, Mr Oli Wilson. His meticulous preparation for every rehearsal and attention to detail has been incredible. I really don’t know how he fits it all in, with his other musical, family and work commitments. He is Stourport’s answer to Superman!
During the build-up to Nationals, we have enjoyed the company of a number of guest conductors. Their input has allowed us to gain a fresh perspective on the music and help fine tune any rough edges we may have had. On Sunday 7th September, we had a workshop with David Hirst. David is a legend of the brass band world, playing for and conducting some of the top bands in the country during his prestigious career. We were extremely honoured to have him with us and the 3 hours spent rehearsing under his baton went much too quickly. We’d like to thank all the people that helped us during rehearsals this summer: David, Craig Stevens, Saphran Ali and even our own flugel player, Kim – we are so grateful for all your hard work and time.
Regardless of the result on Saturday, we can hold our heads up high and be enormously proud of our achievements. Looking back at where we were just 2 years ago, to be ranked in the top 24 bands in the country for our section is incredible. I don’t think there are many bands that will be present on Saturday that have had as much fun as we have had these past few months. And we’re going to carry that fun-loving attitude through with us when we take to the stage and (attempt to) enjoy every minute of Narnia Suite.
We will be sure to let you know how we get on and stay tuned for some more exciting news from us at Stourport Brass Band.
We have been very busy since our last update, preparing for the 2014 Regional Contest. Last Sunday saw us take to the stage in Bedworth in the Fourth Section. For those of you who don’t know much about the world of contesting, the areas involve all bands playing the same test piece and being anonymously judged by two adjudicators (who have to sit all day in a small tent-like construction!). With a draw taking place for order of play, it is a brass bander’s version of the F.A. cup, only much more competitive. The top three bands, as decided by the adjudicators, qualify to play at the National Finals in Cheltenham.
The test piece we had to get our teeth into this year was Alan Fernie’s Three Spanish Impressions. It is a lovely work with a lot of mood and atmosphere. We had a lot of fun rehearsing this piece, thanks to our amazing M.D. Oli. He did so much hard work preparing for each rehearsal and organised for other conductors to take us for a few sessions. This really helped us gain a fresh perspective on the piece and massive thanks goes to Saphran Ali, Craig Stevens, David Hirst and our principal trombonist, Dave Deakin, who all helped out with rehearsals and performance feedback. A huge thank you also goes out to all the helpers who played with us in the contest (deps in banding terms!). In our eyes, they’re not really deps, they’re proper members of the band.
We had a couple of setbacks leading up to contest day, the most notable being a last minute illness to our 1st Horn player, Rob. Unfortunately for him and us, he had to have his appendix removed 2 weeks ago which meant he was unable to play with us at Bedworth. Most bands’ M.D.s would have had a near-breakdown with such an issue, but Oli took it in his stride and had rewritten parts dished out the next day!
So, we made it to the contest on Sunday and we are delighted to tell you we came third and are set to play at the National Finals!! It was a fantastic result for everyone involved and capped off what was an extremely enjoyable day. As nerve-wracking as playing in a contest was, the band still had lots of fun and a smiles were permanently on our faces as we took to the stage.
After the hysteria has died down of our great result, it will be time to begin preparations for all our jobs in the summer. We’re all looking forward to putting together a really varied, enjoyable programme for our audiences around the Midlands. We hope to see you all at some of our gigs across the summer and you can find out where we’re playing on our website.
Keep checking our Facebook and Twitter pages for the latest goings on at Stourport Brass Band. If you play a brass instrument and fancy joining in, please come along on a Tuesday night for a blow. The more the merrier!
Stourport on Severn Band is pleased to announce that thanks to the generosity of local people we raised £1495.86 towards Band funds for 2014. We look forward to playing Christmas music to you all again next year.
|Severn Valley Railway||Sunday 1st December 2013||£227.04|
|Tesco – Kidderminster||Wednesday 11th December 2013||£132.25|
|Tesco – Kidderminster||Tuesday 17th December 2013||£114.76|
|Sainsburys – Kidderminster||Sunday 18th December 2013||£161.77|
|Morrisons – Kidderminster||Thursday 19th December 2013||£75.10|
|Severn Valley Railway||Sunday 22nd December 2013||£761.79|
First of all, Stourport Brass Band would like to wish you all a very happy new year! It has been a while since we’ve updated, but that is thankfully down to us being very, very busy!
Before I tell you all about our festive adventures, we have some good news to share. In our last blog post, we told you about our upcoming appearance at the Gloucestershire Brass Band Association contest in Ross-on-Wye. Well, we are pleased to announce that we came home with a trophy! We were awarded the trophy for the highest placed 3rd section band in the contest. It was a very proud moment for all of us and capped off what had been a really fun day. Here are a few pictures of us from that memorable day.
The Christmas period is usually a brass band’s busiest time of year and this year was no exception! We got to play in a variety of different settings to a number of different audiences, all of which we loved.
The Avoncroft Christmas Fayre was one of our first engagements and was a really nice job for us to do. Playing carols in an intimately-lit barn was a lovely way to kick off Christmas for the band.
One of the highlights of the Christmas calendar came on the 13th December, when we got to play at Stourport Civic Centre in a joint concert with Stourport Choral Society and Lickhill Primary School. It was a brilliant evening and it was a pleasure to share the stage with such talented performers. We would love to work with these two groups again this year and show off the talent Stourport has to offer.
The next night saw us in Tettenhall, near Wolverhampton for a concert that has become a tradition for the band. Christ Church is a beautiful building with a great acoustic and as always, we really enjoyed playing there.
Christmas saw our usual appearances at Kidderminster supermarkets and we hope that we managed to entertain the shoppers of Morrisons, Sainsburys and Tescos on those cold, hectic evenings!
Stourport Brass Band’s festive season was opened and brought to a close at Severn Valley Railway, entertaining the families as they waited to see Santa. We love playing at SVR every year and seeing all the children singing along with us makes all the hard work seem worthwhile.
2013 was a very hectic year for Stourport Brass Band. We went through a lot of changes and at times, things looked a little bit bleak for the band. But as usual, we rallied together and came back stronger than ever and that is down to the wonderful spirit within the group. We would like to thank everyone for supporting us and coming to see us – we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!
We have lots of exciting things coming up for the band and all the hard work begins at our first rehearsal this Tuesday (7th January). Hopefully we shall see some of you for some more musical adventures.
We are delighted to announce the appointment of Oliver Wilson as Musical Director. Oli is a very talented and enthusiastic conductor. He conducts the National Methodist Youth Brass Band as well as playing solo baritone with The Langley Band. The band is looking forward to working with him.
Oli’s first appearance with the band will be on 22nd June at Brinton Park for the Kidderminster Carnival.
Many thanks to all the local shoppers who kindly donated money in response to our carol playing performances in December. We raised the following amounts;