Waltham St. Lawrence Silver Band

News

17 Jun 2017

Double weekend

A hot weekend in Waltham and Henley

*The band's packed June schedule continued with two engagements on the weekend of 17-18 June. On the Saturday, WSL band played as usual at the parish fete at Shurlock Row cricket ground. This day was the beginning of a spell of very hot, sunny weather, and with temperatures in the 30's, uniform was relaxed, to the extent of ties off as well as jackets. But no further. Cornet ranks were severely depleted, but the heroic trio of Lorraine, Marie and Dave kept going throughout.

*At Henley Mill Meadows on Sunday, the bandstand seemed to be the coolest spot in the park. Many of the band turned up early to enjoy a picnic before presenting a full programme to a well populated audience by the river.

*Bass trombonist and Henley resident Pete Williams announced early in the year that he intended to retire, and he chose this as his final performance with the band. At 86, Peter is still going strong, and will be keeping up his playing with the Henley Youthful Orchestra. He was presented with a framed photo of the band as a token of our esteem, and we wish him and Barbara all the best for the future.

13 Jun 2017

Maidenhead

St Luke's Music festival

*WSL band were invited to present a weekday evening concert within the fortnight-long music festival organized by St Luke's church, Maidenhead on Tuesday 13th June. This is the first time the band has taken part in the festival. The 19th century church proved to be a good venue for band, with high ceilings and a useful area of staging provided. The audience made up in enthusiasm for what it lacked in numbers.

A varied programme opened with the Cortège from Rimsky-Korsakov's Mlada (otherwise know as the Procession of the Nobles) and included horn solo Over the Rainbow (Jane Pullen, tenor horn) and Neil Hefti's Cute, featuring guest percussionist and former member Rob Pullen. Other old friends filling gaps on the evening were Andy and Diane Thorne on cornet and baritone, and trombonist Paul MacNeill. We were very grateful also to Gerry Whitlow of Chiltern Hills band, who stepped in on soprano cornet at short notice.
 

11 Jun 2017

Guards Association

Garden party in Hare Hatch

* Last year the band provided background music for the Queen's birthday party event organized by the Guards Association in Hare Hatch; we were delighted to be invited back to play for this year's garden party at the same venue. A somewhat larger ensemble tha before played light music throughout the early afternoon, and were rewarded once again with excellent fare including burgers, cake and ice cream.

05 Jun 2017

Exchange visit

Waltham band's latest trip to Germany

*Waltham band's coach arrived back in Waltham St Lawrence late in the evening of Monday 5th June following a very successful visit to Friesheim, near Cologne, Germany, as part on the ongoing programme of exchanges with the local concert band, Musikverein Friesheim.

The bands have been exchanging visits every couple of years since 1996; MVF's last visit to Waltham was in 2015. WSL band arrived in Germany on the Friday afternoon, and joined MVF for a joint rehearsal that evening. The main event of the visit was an appearance at the local brass music festival in Urfeld, where each band presented a full programme of their own, followed by joint performance of several pieces.

As always, MVF and friends were very hospitable, and arranged a very enjoyable programme of social events and local visits as well as the musical features. A great time was had by all, and we look forward to welcoming our friends on their next visit to Britain in 2019, regardless of what Brexit may bring. 

A full report feature and picture gallery will appear in the site in due course.

20 May 2017

Pensioners' tea

Tea and a concert for local pensioners

* In keeping with long-standing tradition, the band entertained a large group of local pensioners at the Neville Hall on Saturday 20th May, funded by proceeds from Christmas carolling.

The baton was taken by deputy conductor Keith Penton, since our regular conductor Jim Pullen was not available for the Newsday - but he was present in the sense that the band played his arrangement of the smoochy Consuelo Velázquez number Besame Mucho.

The event started with a 45-minute concert of mainly lighter pieces by the band, including Goff Richards's Light as Air, based on the Procol Harum hit A Whiter Shade of Pale, Alan Fernie's arrangment of Yesterday Once More, and the ever-popular Ticket to Ride. Jane Pullen gave an excellent rendering of Over the Rainbow as a tenor horn solo.

The audience were given tea, coffee, wine and juice during the performance, and then sandwiches and cakes were served as the second concert began, featuring the band's regular singing partner Lea Lyle and a three-piece jazz combo.

06 May 2017

Woodley Precinct

First performance on the new "pagoda"

*Waltham band were among the first to make use of the recently opened new "pagoda" covered area in Woodley town centre's shopping precinct on 6th May, playing a full concert of music to entertain shoppers from 11.00 a.m. to 1.00 a.m.

The new structure proved to be an excellent platform for band, with ample space, a raised wooden floor and useful roof to help project the sound.The latticework rear wall went some way to warding off the somewhat chill breeze, as well.

The band played very well, under the baton of Coleen Pullen, who recently joined the percussion section, deputising as conductor for the day. Though the new pagoda is further towards the end of the precinct, and hence sees fewer passers-by, the sound carried well and quite a few people sat or stood to listen to the band at length.

 

29 Apr 2017

Serenade

A special concert for a special friend

* Our dear friend and long-time solo cornet player Howard Lunn, who had leukemia, moved to the Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent hospice, west of Reading, in mid-April.

On Saturday 29th, members of WSL band were joined at the hospice by several players from Saint Sebastian's and Pangbourne bands, where Howard has been a regular deputy over the years, to play an hour-long concert in the garden for Howard, his family and other patients. The programme included requests from Howard, and he joined us oustide for the rousing run through Hootenanny. It was a moving but uplifting occasion for all of us, and clearly appreciated not only by Howard but by all the patients and staff.

Sadly, Howard passed away the following Wednesday. We will miss him.

23 Apr 2017

Alexandra Gardens

Memorial concert on Windsor's new bandstand

* The band were delighted to have the opportunity to try out the new bandstand in Windsor's Alexandra Gardens on St George's Day for a concert in memory of cornet player Paul Singleton. The bandstand, which was unveiled in 2016, proved to be a very good platform. There was a sizeable audience, including friends and relatives who had earlier attended a lunch at the Guildhall, raising funds for the Thames Hospice.

The band played a full programme, including several pieces with a nautical flavour tied to the occasion, in honour of Paul's career in the Royal Marines: a special arrangement by MD Jim Pullen of All Things Bright and Beautiful, his favourite hymn, with some nautical echoes worked in; Denis Wright's selection from the Fantasia on British Sea Songs; and the opening march for the second half, Alford's On the Quarter Deck.

11 Mar 2017

Maidenhead Lions concert

Band joins local choirs for charity concert at town hall

*Waltham band were delighted to join with the singers from Royal Windsor Harmonics and Maidenhead Rock Choir on stage in the Desborough Suite at Maidenhead Town Hall on 11th March for the Lions Club's spring charity concert.

The band opened the second half with Eric Osterling's lively march Bandology. Percussionist Frank Tyler then got his chance to shine in Philip Sparke's arrangement of Neil Hefti's Cute. A bit of magic cha-cha technique in Sway, then it was all aboard for Alan Fernie's version of Ticket to Ride. Another Fernie arrangement followed, this time of the Carpenters' Yesterday Once More, then the set was rounded off with a theme from the Star Wars films. 

This was the band's first public performance of 2017, and went very well. The stage's acoustics were good, and stage managers' help with lighting and shifting the choir's risers was appreciated. Feedback from the organizers and members of the audience was very positive, especially for "the train piece".

 

25 Jan 2017

2017 gets under way

Rehearsals begin, and AGM held

The band has started 2017 as it means to go on, with serious rehearsals aimed at the first concert of the year on 11th March.

*The AGM was held on 25th January - you can read more details in the Features section of the site.

It was announced at the AGM that the band now has sponsorship from Guildford removals firm Bishop's Move - expect to see some signs of that in these pages soon.

Also at the AGM, a ballot was held to choose the Bandsman of the Year for 2016. And that person is: Ian French, our hard-working librarian. 

31 Dec 2016

2016 Christmas wrap

Christmas carols

The year 2016 ended with another successful run of carolling engagements. Street carolling again focused on the areas near the bandroom (Milley Road, the Street and Halls Lane). The evening event at Shurlock Inn had been advertised with the wrong time, which reduced attendance, but nevertheless it was a successful session. Carols Round the Pound on 21st December was very well attended. The band are grateful to local residents for their generous donations, which will fund the pensioners' high tea to be staged on 20th May. 

A good turn-out was achieved  on 11th December for the Old Windsor Christmas Fair, which attracted a large crowd.

*The band once again joined with Maidenhead Round Table singers to perform carols at Sainsbury's in Maidenhead on two days (a third event fell victim to a scheduling mix-up); shop staff were friendly and helpful and the shoppers were clearly appreciative.

It has been a difficult year in some ways, especially in view of illness and death, and at times it has been a struggle to put a band together for engagements. On the other hand, we have seen the return of several former players, as well as increased engagement in the process of music-making following the change of MD. Let's hope recruitment in 2017 will fill remaining gaps in the line-up.

04 Dec 2016

Hurst

Christmas tree lighting ceremony

The band were out in strength on Sunday 4th December to accompany the choir and assembled throng for carols preceding the village's Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

View photos

03 Dec 2016

Holyport

British Legion Christmas Concert

*The band again presented a concert of two halves at Holyport War Memorial Hall on behalf of the local branch of the Royal British Legion on Saturday 6th December. The first half contained regular concert pieces, while the second was Christmas-oriented. In between came a fish & chip supper, included in the price of the ticket.

Opening with the British Legion march, the first half programme focused on dance rhythms, *including I could have danced all night as part of My Fair Lady, Besame Mucho and Soul Bossa Nova. Percussion "toys" were handed out to the audience to perform as the opening rhythm section for Sway. The band once again welcomed resident vocalist Lea Lyle, who sang You'll be in my Heart and Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps in the first half.

Part two opened with James Curnow's Christmas Triptych, followed by Christmas Piece by Goff Richards. This part of the programme included the bass trombone solo Frosty the Snowman, featuring Colin Reeves, and Lea led the audience in a rendering of White Christmas.

Apart from the music, leaders of the RBL branch announced the results of a successful 2016 poppy-selling campaign, and held a raffle and an auction for further fund-raising.

16 Nov 2016

Big Draw

November bumper lottery winners

*The band's Draw Club continues to be an important source of funds. The lottery runs on the lines of a "100 Club", with annual membership of £15 and half the takings paid out in a monthly draw.

The November draw's prizes are considerably bigger than other months'; this year's winners of a total prize pool of £160 were all members of the band: Ian French, David Oakes and maestro Jim Pullen.

13 Nov 2016

Remembrance Sunday

Remembrance Sunday parades

*The band provided accompaniment as usual at Remembrance Sunday parades and ceremonies on 13th November in Waltham St. Lawrence, Bray and Holyport.

08 Oct 2016

Barberettes concert

Guest appearance at singing group's anniversary show

*WSL band were delighted to join the Barberettes a capella signing group for their 40th anniversary concert at Garth Hill college, Bracknell, on 8th October. The singers performed a wide range of numbers in sets reflecting the style of different decades. [Visit their website]

The band appeared in the second half, opening their  programme with a selection from My Fair Lady. Soloists were Jane Lynn (flugel), with The Lonely Shepherd, and Gerry Townsend (soprano cornet), playing Summertime. Frank Tyler displayed his mastery of the drumsticks in Philip Sparke's arrangement of Cute, and anyone missing "Strictly" was compensated with cha-cha numbers Sway and Tomado del Mano.

03 Sep 2016

White Waltham

West London Aero Club members' day

*The band once again entertained members of the West London Aero Club at their annual air show at White Waltham aerodrome on 3rd September. The mid-afternoon programme of music included several "thematic" pieces, ending with the Eric Coates classic Dambusters March.

29 Aug 2016

Littlewick Show

A buoyant atmosphere in the new venue

After two years of very poor weather on the August bank holiday, Littlewick Show struck lucky this time, with a warm and pleasant day at the new venue in Knowl Hill. The show as a whole was well attended and was evidently being enjoyed by all. The band, numbers swelled by half a dozen very welcome guest players, played well, and quite a number of families settled on the grass outside the band tent to hear all or part of the two sets played in the course of the afternoon.

20 Aug 2016

Hurst Horticultural Society

In with the scarecrows at the 2016 annual show

Man and scarecrowThe band were once again grateful for the very good tent supplied at Hurst Horticultural Society's annual show on Saturday 20th August. Though bright and warm, there were a couple of heavy showers in the course of the afternoon. The event was, as always, well attended, and there was a good variety of both gardening and cookery exhibits. The audience for the band's three sets of music included two scarecrows, which were surprisingly easy to distinguish from the band players.

29 Jul 2016

Ted Cull

A player and a gentleman

Cornet playerMembers of WSL Band attended the funeral of Ted Cull, who played principal cornet for the past ten years, in Bracknell on 29th July. Ted passed away at the end of June, having continued playing whenever possible despite suffering from liver cancer for several years.

We have lost a superb cornet player with a rare combination of precision and tone, a staunch bandsman and a good friend. Ted's loss will also be felt by Bisley band, where he was a regular member, and by other local bands whom he was always happy to help out when needed.

20 Jul 2016

Diamond Wedding

Pete & Barbara celebrate with cake for the band

*The break at rehearsal on 20th July was even more refreshing than usual, as Barbara Williams did the honours to lay on tea and cakes to celebrate her and bass trombone player Pete's diamond wedding anniversary.