Due to departures to university in September, the Senior Band is looking for new players to join its very experienced ranks; in particular: solo cornet and principal euphonium. If you’re an experienced brass player and interested in joining the band please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Tickets had sold out earlier than ever this year for the annual Christmas concert and a packed Sub Rooms enjoyed a very Christmassy programme from Chalford Band.
Unusually, the show started with a march: The Wonder of Christmas by Peter Graham. The Christmas Song by Torme & Wells followed, with some super playing from Emily Godwin. The sprightly Star Carol by John Rutter came next, before the audience were encouraged to their feet to sing along with A Carol Fantasy – which they did rather well!
The Youth Band took to the stage with Alan Fernie’s arrangement of Let It Snow. The next piece, Gøta by Peder Karlsson, was performed by the senior band the previous year – which goes to show how capable the Youth Band are. They finished their section with Ding Dong Christmas, by Derek Broadbent.
The Senior Band started their set with a rousing fanfare: Christians Awake by Paul Lovatt-Cooper. He also arranged the next piece, a traditional Ukranian Carol, The Carol of the Bells. Philip Sparke’s big band style arrangement of Winter Wonderland came next, before a Nordic Polska. Although this also featured in last year‘s concert, there have been several new players introduced, largely from the Academy Band, and it’s a testament to them that this year’s performance was just as good. The band’s president, John Hemming, hasn’t been well this year, so the next piece, A Glenn Miller Christmas, was dedicated by Steve Tubb to John. Anyone who knows John wouldn’t have been surprised at the banter from him in the audience that followed – we wish him well for 2020. The set closed with Stephen Bulla’s Symphonic Highlights from Frozen.
After the break came the act – OMG! (Enough said!)
The combined band took to the stage again, for a couple of Christmas favourites, Fairytale of New York & Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree. Steve announced the end of year award winners – this year he has encouraged some players from the Academy Band to step up to the Senior Band, and he highlighted the success of this, calling out all of those younger players. Jaz Williams was named Young Player of the Year, and Dave Gandy Senior Band Person of the Year.
The “Showstopper Finale” was Gavin Somerset’s arrangement of excerpts from Les Misérables. The audience demanded more, so Chris Jones and Will Hurn led the band with Do You Hear The People Sing, also from Les Misérables.
After missing out in November 2018, the senior band were back in a breezy Torquay for the 73rd Annual SWBBA contest. Build up to the contest had been unusually disjointed, but despite that the band had pulled together a solid performance of Etienne Crausaz’s Sinfonietta Number 3. Most importantly it had provided an opportunity for some former academy & new players to perform in a contest on the difficult Riviera Centre stage. To their and the whole band’s credit everyone performed really well on the day, and were rewarded with a third placed finish.
1st Cambourne Town Band
2nd Roche Brass
4th Helston Town
5th SW Comms
6th Soundhouse Brass
[Top]- Too aggressive and intonation in troms isn’t great. Good cornets. Detail 18 & 19?
- Good effort Solo Horn. Perhaps more space into 
- We miss some of the runs in Euphs & Baris. Bell effects work
- Builds well. Balance in horns is good, just a bit frantic
- Good effort
- Missing detail in the middle of the band. Cornets good.
- Lower dynamics need more care
- Good effort troms!! Drives well in kit!
- Bravo Baris!!
-[Cadenza] Balance is good
[Euph Cadenza] Confident Euph! Well done. Accomp works well
- Check intonation. More 1st & 2nd horn needed
[Cornet Cadenza] Well done!
- Could be smoother & more time space. Just seems hurried.
- Builds well
- Good effort cornets (more back row needed). Good attempt at the detail too.
- This grooves well – rhythms are good! Careful not too much perc.
- Troms good at 
- Time changes work well!
- More horns needed. A touch messy in cornets & euph
-[End] Intonation suffers a tad as we get nearer the end
Good effort on a great piece! There is so much detail in this piece it is difficult to get it all in. The slow movement could have done with more space. Try not to overblow the FFs.
Untidy to open and gets a little hard.
Nice horn at 
Good playing before 
 I don’t hear everything.
Well handled at  It just lacks clarity in semiquavers and 6/8 quavers.
Confident Euph Solo super sound.
Not balanced 
Good cornet cadenza.
Could be smoother around 
Sounding tired around 
Good allegro at 
 not balanced.
Now very tired towards end.
Some impressive playing, but some very loose sections. Solos were excellent.
And to the sound of players blowing air through their instruments the Chalford Bands’ summer concert was off to an upbeat start, with “A Ticket to Ride” performed by the combined bands. MD Steve Tubb then took the microphone and explained the theme for the evening – a whistle stop tour around the globe and beyond, with 15 stops en route, all to be measured on a huge map. The tickets on the table said that the next destination was “Real Slime”, an anagram of where one might hear “Chanson d’Amour”. Then off to the Satsuma province in Japan, with imposing “The Last Samurai”. The first set closed by bringing everyone back to Switzerland, as the “Berne Patrol” entered and then left the hall.
The sombrero construction started as the band rearranged the stage, and then the combined band whisked us off to Russia – “Glasnost” by Dizzy Stratford. The next destination was Madagascar, the clever clue being “Out of Africa”. The next stop was New Zealand (“Lady Stewart’s Air”) before the band took us out of this world with “Fly Me To The Moon”.
More sombrero building as the stage was moved again for the senior band. Derrick Witts on Solo Eb bass was once again being disruptive (he’s got previous!): eating cheese and biscuits instead of being on stage. After a quick putting down by MD Steve, Derrick playing a haunting solo sitting in the audience to start “Scarborough Fair”, an intricate and elegant arrangement by Eric Crease. Another soloist followed: Stephen Parker took centre stage for “A Night in Havanna” by Goff Richards. Then “a bit of culture for a sophisticated audience” as described by Steve: a rip roaring Philip Harper arrangement of “The Four Seasons”. Staying in Europe the band then played Steve’s favourite piece of the evening (despite the band’s singing!) – “Balkan Dance” by Etienne Crausaz. And finally we went “Somewhere” from “West Side Story”, another Philip Harper arrangement.
On the home straight now: the sombreros were nearly done as the combined band took the stage for the final set. Off to the Americas for “Manhattan Skyline” from Saturday Night Fever.
Steve then introduced a mariachi band he’d hired, complete with a “ringer from USA Chicken”. The sombreros were judged: the winning table sent their representative to the front and he was handed some pink maracas. Cue “La Danza del Sombrero Mexicano” complete with Mexican encouragement (Cerveza, per favor!) from the sombrero champion.
After all the silliness, the final destination was Australia, with excerpts from “The Greatest Showman”.
The competition for the total distance measured was very close – the winning table were within 0.7cm of the correct answer – amazing!!!!.
“Back to Blighty” for the encore – “Land of Hope and Glory” from Elgar’s march.
A great concert, and once again the band thank the audience for their support.
The Trustees report for year ended March 2019 has been published here
For the second year running the Youth band come 3rd in the NYBB championships Continue reading →
Both bands come 11th in the annual trip to Torquay Continue reading →
Another sellout audience at the Sub Rooms for the annual Christmas Concert Continue reading →
Senior band come Seventh at the 2018 National Finals Continue reading →
A great night in the Sub Rooms, with some Proms inspired music Continue reading →