Christmas Carol Concert December 2013
We have enjoyed a full and rewarding outdoor summer programme, with every engagement in sunshine and no cancellations through rain - just one abrupt closure.
Bandstand concerts at the Victoria Gardens, Newbury (9 June) and the Forbury, Reading (28 July) were well attended and a chance to meet old friends in the audience. It was also a pleasure to play again for customers in the gardens of the Old Boot Inn, Stanford Dingley (30 June) and of the Elephant Hotel at the annual Beer Stampede (25 August). At Sulham Fete (3 August) in the grounds of the big House, children danced to the music and then rain suddenly fell as we finished our last tune, with no hope of an encore. Our last outside engagement was for Ufton Nervet's fete (31 August), held to raise money for their Charitable Trust to establish a cultural centre in St Peter's Church. We have been asked to return next year.
One of the Band's showcase events is its Autumn Concert. This year, it was as the Michaelmas Festival Concert at St Michael's RC Church in Sonning Common on 28 September. All proceeds (555 pounds) went to the Church's building fund. The Band greatly enjoyed the intimate atmosphere and rapport with the audience and will return for a carol concert on 8 December.
Last Christmastime, we played carols to patrons of the Volunteer Inn in Theale and, in return, we were asked to provide a small ensemble for their "Proms at the Pub" event for local groups on the evening of the Last Night of the Proms (7 September), to raise money for the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance and for Berkshire Lowland Search and Rescue. We wrote special arrangements of Last Night favourites (ballads and martial music) for the eight players. None of them featured in the broadcast, so we were pleased to keep traditions alive.
The All-Comers' Band for learners and born-again musicians of all ages (currently 10-82), on any portable instrument, meets on Wednesdays in term time in the Village Hall, from 1830 -1945, before main Band practice. This is thriving, with 11 regular players, including flute, oboe, tenor sax and drums, besides a full complement of brass, under our Musical Director, Stewart Lewins. We play four-part arrangements of popular tunes. This summer, the All-Comers' played at the "Picnic in the Paddock" event, as part of Sonning Common Primary School's Centenary celebrations and then at Pangbourne's Hall of Sound evening on 26 July and will appear again early in the New Year.
As I write, we are getting ready for our Christmastide activities and look forward to meeting you. Your support for our licensed collections is greatly appreciated, as it is a very significant contribution to keeping us playing for your enjoyment. Our programme into the New Year is, so far:
Call Edmund Pike, our secretary, 0118 972 4249 for more information.
St Michael's Concert
Our band secretary, Dr Edmund Pike, proudly wears his band uniform as he plays at St Michael's Church in Sonning Common.
The Band already has its Autumn Concert planned, which is to be held on Saturday 28 September at the church.
There are also plans to hold an Ecumenical Christmas Carol Concert at the church. The date will be announced in due course.
Snce our report the Band has marched on to glory and perhaps we should think of ourselves as the Pangbourne Prize Silver Band. At the brass workshop at Englefield School on 13-14 April, our Trainer, Derek Broadbent emphasised the particular care that should be given to playing correct note values and rhythms in marches and we took this to heart. Then, at the Annual March and Test Piece Contest of the Southern Counties Amateur Bands Association at The Hawth Theatre, Crawley on 28 April, we were awarded first prize for our march, Balmashanna and third prize overall for our test piece, Divertimento for Brass (Darrol Barry), being beaten only by Brighton and Hove City and Sussex Brass of Hastings. When announcing the results, the Adjudicator made the point that marches weren't easy to play well and needed great attention to note values and rhythms! Then the Band journeyed to the Saddleworth and Thameside region of Lancashire to take part with over 80 bands from Britain and Europe in the traditional Whit Friday marching contests. On 25 May they played in eight villages - marching to Kenneth Alford's The Middy and then playing Balmashanna in front of the adjudicators. In the village of Upper Mossley, where 36 bands played, including Foden's and Rothwell Temperance, our Principal Cornet, Richard Powell, was judged the Best Cornet. We are grateful to the Greenham Common Trust and West Berkshire Council for a grant to promote musical excellence in part-support of the workshop - which obviously succeeded!
It was a great pleasure for us to play for the visitors from Houdan at the Twinning Association's Reception in the Village Hall on 3 May. With La Marseillaise and La Vie en Rose, we returned the welcome they gave us during our Parisian Tour in 2011.
All brass players are welcome at our main Band practices at 8 pm on Wednesdays in the Village Hall, or phone me, Edmund Pike, General Secretary, on 0118 9724 249. We would particularly like to hear from tuba players and have both E-flat and B-flat instruments for loan. Tubas do not require vast lung power and suit men and women with a cheerful, extrovert personality. Enquiries about engagements are handled by our Musical Director, Stewart Lewins, 0778 6694491.