February 2012In Thomas Hardy's novel, Under the Greenwood Tree, the village band and choir of Mellstock set off on Christmas Eve, 140 years ago, to serenade the villagers, but had a rather mixed reception. Likewise, our Band, duly licensed, played carols door-to-door on the 19th and 21st December and in local pubs on Christmas Eve. The weather was kind and it was a great pleasure to meet people, who gave us good wishes, reminiscences of the Band in the past and requests, such as, "Old Mrs ... is in her nineties, can't leave the house and would love you to play for her", or, " Come in and play, we're having a party." We are most grateful for all your generosity, as we collected over six hundred pounds, which will go a long way towards meeting our running costs and keeping us blowing for your pleasure through the year. We were also hosted by the Old Boot Inn at Stanford Dingley on 22nd - not a spare inch of room, real ale and a real fire in the grate. Then on the 24th, a four-hour stint at Sainsburys, Calcot, where the foyer has the best acoustics for miles around.
Our first engagement of the New Year was as the guests of Pangbourne Rotary Club on 4 February at their Party Time for senior citizens in the Rosewood Hall of the Working Mens' Club. This is an annual pleasure for us and, welcomed by Master of Ceremonies, Rotarian Marius Hopley, we took our usual trip down memory lane (in reverse time travel for half the Band). In the first half, we played nostalgic tunes, such as Georgia on my mind, soloed by our Principal Cornet, Ania Koscia, Singin' in the rain and My way. In the second half we led a lusty sing-song to tunes fromThe Sound of Music, Elvis Presley, the Black and White Minstrels and Vera Lynn. As soon as everyone was safely home (having been cautioned not to frighten the teenagers on the way), it started snowing.
Our newly-launched Pangbourne All-Comers' Band, which meets between 6.30 and 7.45 pm on Wednesdays of Term Time in the Village Hall, gave its first concert at the Pangbourne Hall of Sound event on 16 December. It is open to beginners and reborn musicians of all ages on brass and woodwind for a termly subscription of ten pounds. In many cases, we can loan a suitable instrument.
In 2003, like many amateur music groups, we were concerned that provisions in the Licensing Bill before Parliament, would have put undue restraints on the availability of venues for performances of live music and so we petitioned the then Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and local MPs. We are pleased to learn that a private Member's bill, The Live Music Bill, is now ready for Royal Assent. This will remove much of the bureaucracy created by the Licensing Act of 2003 for small performances of live music.
Our next events will be a weekend workshop for brass players, led by the renowned composer, Derek Broadbent, on 14-15 April and our entry for the annual own choice contest of the Southern Counties Amateur Bands' Association at The Hawth, Crawley on 29 April, at which we will play Wilfred Heaton's Celestial Prospect.
Our Golden Jubilee year, 2012, will be celebrated with a grand concert and reunion evening in Bradfield College's concert hall on Saturday, 27 October. We shall be writing to invite all past players and supporters. Meanwhile, watch this space for details and do not hesitate to contact us for more information.
All-Comers' Band (December Newsletter)
The All-Comers' Band has been running for nearly a term now and it is looking promising in that we are already looking forward to and working towards a couple of performances before Christmas, after having been together as a group for only a few months.
Thursday 8 December: Pangbourne Cub Scouts (7pm)
Friday 16 December: Pangbourne Hall of Sound (7.30pm)
The last Wednesday evening rehearsal will take place on Wednesday 14 December
and after we have played for the Hall of Sound we will finish for the Christmas break.
The first rehearsal of the New Year will take place on Wednesday 11 January 2012.
We will most likely be involved in another Hall of Sound evening and I am looking
forward to starting work on new music in January.
Finally, this terms subscription of 10 pounds is due on or before Wednesday 14 December.
Thanks very much for your enthusiasm and for your playing over the past couple of
months and we look forward to much more of the same.
A full band of 29 players, together with Musical Director, Stewart Lewins, and supporters, left Pangbourne at 6.15 am on 26 August to begin its Parisian Concert Tour: the first time the Band had been abroad since the East German tour in August 2005. The next day, we visited Disneyland and played to a large crowd in the Videopolis Concert Hall as part of the Magic Music Days series. Sunday, the 28th, saw a tour of central Paris, with a bateau mouche trip along the Seine, or individual trips, such as to the Cathedral of Notre-Dame to take part in the annual celebration Mass for the Liberation of Paris in 1944. In the afternoon, we gave an outdoor concert in the fin de siecle bandstand of the Jardin du Luxembourg, with its superb acoustics, to several hundred people, as the conkers began falling from the chestnut trees.
Then we had a communal dinner in a nearby restaurant and a trip up the Eiffel Tower as dusk fell. For a few minutes, we saw the whole of Paris bathed in the rays of the setting sun. On our last full day, we were the guests of the Twinning Association of Houdan. We were met by their Chairman, Jaques Pflieger and his Committee, who treated us to a guided tour of the castle keep, the ancient houses (including a coaching inn, which boasted probably the world's first "drive-in takeaway window") and the Church of Ss John and Christopher, with its beautiful stained glass windows and Cliquot organ of 1739 - the oldest in France. We played to the residents of the Hospital in the afternoon and were then treated to a joint concert in the Salle des Fetes with the wind band of Houdan's Ecole de Musique and a party with delicious local food and drink. Then, regretfully, a bientot, because we had to leave the next morning to return to Pangbourne.
Our engagements for the rest of the summer included playing and manning a stall at Pangbourne Village Fete (11 June) - thank you all for supporting us. Then "Music for a Summer Sunday" in the garden of the Old Boot, Stanford Dingley (26 June), our summer showcase concert in the Forbury Gardens, Reading (10 July), the delightful setting of Sulham Fete(6 August) and playing in Victoria Park, Newbury (7 August). Our Autumn and winter programme is still tentative as I write, but we can confirm playing carols in Reading town centre on 14 December, at the Old Boot, Stanford Dingley on 22 December and in the foyer of Sainsbury's, Calcot from noon until 4 pm on Christmas Eve. We hope to see you in the Square and streets of Pangbourne just before Christmas. On 18 October, we have been invited to play at the annual event organised by the Greenham Common Trust, who have supported us generously with grants over the years.
The Band will hold its annual workshop for brass players at Englefield School on the weekend, 29-30 October, under the guidance of the renowned brass tutor and composer, Derek Broadbent.
Our Golden Jubilee year, 2012, will be celebrated with a grand concert and reunion evening in a local school, most probably on Saturday, 27 October. We shall be writing to invite all past players and supporters. Meanwhile, watch this space for details and do not hesitate to contact us for more information.
We have relaunched the Pangbourne Youth Band to cater for all who would like to make music - any age, ability or instrument and restyled it as The Pangbourne All-Comers' Band. It is meeting in the Village Hall on Wednesdays at 6.30 pm. Just turn up with your instrument or ask us to loan you a brass instrument.
The Band had an enjoyable summer with no days spoilt by rain (unlike last year). Our first engagement, 17 June, was providing hymns and incidental music for Woodcote village's celebration of the 90th Anniversary of the unveiling and dedication of their War Memorial. The hymns we played were the same as those used in 1920. Three days later we presented our annual 'Music for a Summer's Sunday' in the garden of the Old Boot Inn at Stanford Dingley. Pangbourne Fete, 26 June, saw us with a stall of plants, books and household items and playing to the passers by. We thank you all for stopping to have a chat and purchasing things, which will be a great help to our funds. Our major outdoor concert in the summer was at the bandstand in Forbury Gardens (Sunday 11 July), where we played to a large gathering of visitors relaxing in the sunshine. This event is a favourite for discerning local bandsmen and a chance for us to renew past acquaintances and talk to friends of the band. Our last concert before our August recess was playing with five other bands in the Oxford and District Brass Band Association in the quadrangle at Blenheim Palace. At the conclusion we united in a massed performance of favourite pieces.
We do enjoy playing at weddings and other private functions and on 4 September we were delighted to be able to play at the wedding of our front-row cornet player, James Ford and his bride Lynn at Sindlesham Court. James couldn't resist breaking off and 'having a blow' during the feast.
The Pangbourne Youth Band celebrated the end of its second year by holding a 'Strawberries and Cream Concert' for parents and well-wishers in the Village Hall, 21 July. Each of the nine children played a party piece and then a programme of eight pieces, with strawberries and cream served in the interval. The children wore their new polo-shirt uniform, which was donated by James Ford of JF Kitchens. Neil Easter, our oldest player and a founder member, presented a new cup, the Neil Easter Cup, to the most improved player, Ethan Coffey (euphonium).
The band's autumn concert was once again held at St Peter's Church in Earley on 27 November. It was well received by an enthusiastic audience on the evening before Advent began, signalling the start of a very busy few weeks. The band's Christmas programme was once again a full one with the band engaged to provide the music at the Carol Service at Tyndale Baptist Church in Cressingham Road, Reading as well as appearing at the Henley Christmas Market, Reading and Pangbourne for the Christmas shoppers and also a number of appearances providing incidental music in the foyer of Sainsbury's. The band rounded off its Christmas activity with a house-to-house collection, playing carols under the street lamps and the next day, Christmas Eve, collecting in the local public houses. We are most grateful for the generosity of the public, whose donations are vital for the running of the band.
Finally, we have decided to make a tour of Paris and its environs over the summer holiday, 26-30 August 2011 and give four concerts. Look out for details and news here.
All-new Band Website !
We are delighted to unveil our revamped website, designed by Alex Dunn, a.k.a. Alks Webdesign. The new website is much smarter and easier to navigate and it will continue to be updated with news and information so do please keep looking.