Waltham St. Lawrence Silver Band

News

2020 Annual General Meeting

22 Jan 2020

Waltham St. Lawrence Silver Band AGM was held at the Neville Hall on 22nd January, followed by a brief rehearsal.

The meeting received reports from the Chairman and Musical Director highlighting the successful events and musical development during 2019, including hosting German exchange partners Musikverein Friesheim for a very enjoyable weekend visit in June. The spring and autumn stage concerts had been very successful. The band had gained two new members, while one had moved away, leaving a vacancy on 2nd cornet. Financially, there had been major outlay on a pair of timpani and uniforms, while income from engagements and carolling had been good.

The band were delighted that Wendy Craig had agreed to continue as honorary President. A new committee was elected, with a continuing vacancy in the post of Secretary (see Contacts page for committee list). 

The final ballot for Bandperson of the Year saw hard-working librarian Ian French named as the winner, and the award was handed over at the conclusion of the meeting. 

2020 is here

08 Jan 2020

New year's rehearsals begin

The first rehearsal of 2020 was held on 8th January, with the band primed to continue the musical development seen over the past few years. As well as pieces that may be included in the Spring Concert on 23rd May, on the stands was Neverland, music by Christopher Bond specially commissioned as the 4th section test piece for the 2020 area qualifiers of the national championships. The band does not engage in contesting, and has no intention of doing so, but this piece, an evocation of J M Barry's book Peter Pan, struck MD Steve Block as something both worthwhile in its own right for inclusion in a future concert, and also suitable as a training exercise. Players agreed it was well worth getting their teeth into, and looked forward to continuing working on Neverland.

Christmas Concert 2019

15 Dec 2019

Another great show

Sharing the programme once again with the Barberettes, Waltham Band's Christmas Concert on 15th December was a great success, with an audience of over 100 at the Loddon Hall in Twyford joining in for several seasonal favourites. The early start at 5.30 p.m. made for a family-friendly event. Both sets of performers were on very good form, as you can see and hear if you look at the YouTube videos (see link below).

The band opened with Leroy Anderson's classic Christmas Festival, featuring the first appearance of Jingle Bells. This was followed by audience participation in the Frank Bernaerts arrangement of It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas, then Infant Holy, as featured in the New Christmas Collection and another Leroy Anderson piece, Sleigh Ride. The first set by the Barberettes included Carol of the Bells and the second appearance of Jingle Bells. The band's second set included the Philip Sparke arrangement of Howard Blake's The Snowman, together with Barberettes leader Emma Lelliot singing Walking in the Air. The first half closed with Jingle Bells again, this time in the guise of Jingle Bell Rock.

The second half opened with Eric Leidzen's march Christmas Joy (including Jingle Bells quote), followed by Sandy Smith's fun piece SantaclaustrophobiaJingle Bells contrived to get an echo in the closing bars of The Christmas Song, followed by Derek Ashmore's arrangement of none other than Jingle Bells, closing the band's first set. The Barberetttes' second-half set included the Boar's Head CarolWinter Wonderland and Feliz Navidad, and had sections of the audience up and down to participate in The Twelve Days of Christmas. The band were awarded the prize for best section for their consistently sonorous rendering of "five gold rings". 

The band's second set opened with Goff Richards's Disney Fantasy, followed by White Christmas with the audience singing along. The concert closed with everyone playing or singing We Wish You a Merry Christmas.

The evening was a great all-round success, and we look forward to our next concert, the Spring Concert on 23rd May 2020.

Click here to view the videos on the band's YouTube channel.

Old Windsor Christmas Fair

08 Dec 2019

A good-sized band put on a full programme of Christmas concert pieces and carols for the Old Windsor Christmas Fair on 8th December. Basd news: strong winds had blown away the tent put up to shelter the band. Good news: it didn't rain, though it was pretty chilly. The band were very grateful for the teas and coffees provided at the excellent Good Day Cafe during the mid-session break.

Tree night

01 Dec 2019

St Nicholas Night in Hurst

The band kicked off its Christmas carolling season in Hurst, playing in the recreation ground for the St Nicholas Night ceremony and ligthing of the village Christmas tree on Sunday 1st December.

Street carolling started along Waltham St. Lawrence Street and Hall's Lane on the Wednesday evening.

 

Remembrance Sunday 2019

10 Nov 2019

Ceremonies in Waltham, Bray and Holyport

The band attended Remembrance Sunday ceremonies in Waltham St. Lawrence, Bray and Holyport, leading the procession to the war memorial both in WSL and Bray to the sound of the British Legion March.

Follow this link to see video of the start of the march in Waltham St. Lawrence.

Harvest festival

06 Oct 2019

The band provided musical accompaniment for the Waltham St. Lawrence parish church's harvest festival service on 6th October. As well as the hymns, it performed Parry's Dear Lord and Father of Mankind as the congregation settled in, and Thomas Bidgood's march Sons of the Brave after the service.

Open Day at Richmond Fire Station

07 Sep 2019

The yard at Richmond fire station was packed with fire engines, stalls and people for the Open Day on Saturday 7th September, and the band provided background music through the afternoon, taking a break while demonstrations of cutting into cars and rescuing pyjama-clad people from the practice tower went on. Firefighter Ben was getting a bit warm playing tuba in his protective gear and helmet, but he was on duty, after all. Fortunately there wasn't any call-out.

Littlewick Show

26 Aug 2019

Another afternoon of searing heat saw the band play its regular spot at the Littlewick Show in Knowl Hill. All spare chairs were taken by an audience sitting in quite close to share the shade of the band tent. Though the event is on a lesser scale since the move to Knowl Hill, it still attracts quite a crowd, who seem to like hearing the band.

Forbury Gardens

25 Aug 2019

There was a large audience on the benches and the grass at Reading's Forbury Gardens on the Bank Holiday Sunday, despite the very hot weather (30 degrees). For the band, most had a reasonable portion of shade as the afternoon progressed, but it was sticky enough for all to dispense not only with jackets, but also with ties.

Under the baton of deputy conductor Coleen Pullen, the band presented a wide-ranging and substantial programme. receiving its premiere in the repetoire was Alan Fernies's arrangement of Cy Oliver's big band standard Opus One. Other longer numbers included Pirates of the Caribbean and Jacob de Haan's Oregon. Solists were Gerry Townsend (soprano), with Summertime, and Jane Pullen (tenor horn) with Over the Rainbow.

Maidenhead amphitheatre

03 Aug 2019

A new and novel venue

The band played its first open-air concert at the Maidenhead amphitheatre, a relatively new feature of the town, on Saturday 3rd August. An interesting venue, tucked away next to the library and a canal, with a grass floor and broad steps for the audience to sit on, and a small degree of reverberation. The programme included Jacob de Haan's Oregon, and featured solos played by Gerry Townsend (soprano cornet, Misty) and Jane Pullen (tenor horn, Over the Rainbow).

Cookham Riverside

13 Jul 2019

The band played for the annual garden party at Riverside nursing home in Cookham on a rather warm and sticky Saturday afternoon. An appreciative audience rewarded the performance with generous applause from the marquees on the lawn and from the terrace.

Guards Association garden party

23 Jun 2019

Sunday afternoon under the willow tree

The band once again provided background music for the Grenadier Guards Association's annual garden party, held this year near Yattendon. Under the baton of deputy conductor Coleen Pullen, a full programme of music was presented, including a purpose-written arrangement of The British Grenadiers, and solo performances of Over the Rainbow (Jane Pullen, tenor horn), Can't Take my Eyes Off You (Ben Bingham, trombone), Misty (Gerry Townsend, soprano cornet) and Georgia on my Mind (Peter Yates, cornet).

WSL Parish Fete

15 Jun 2019

Singin' in the rain

The showers forecast for 3.00 unfortunately arrived early on the day of Waltham St. Lawrence parish fete at the Shurlock Row cricket grounds: the band played from the opening of the event at 1.00. Fortunately the event shelter almost provided full cover, with some players at the edges donning rain jackets as the wind and rain came and went.

The band played a packed programme for a reasonably well attended fete, despite the weather, including Over the Rainbow (Jane Pullen playing the horn solo) and Singin in the Rain.

German exchange visit

08 Jun 2019

A very enjoyable weekend with our partner band MVF

It was standing room only on the bandstand at Windsor Alexandra Gardens on Sunday 9th June, as Waltham St. Lawrence Silver Band and German exchange partners Musikverein Friesheim (MVF) came together for the final set of their joint concert. This was the musical high point of the visit by MVF, who arrived in Waltham late afternoon on Saturday 8th June and left on the morning of Tuesday 11th.

Read the full report

Seniors Party

01 Jun 2019

Afternoon tea and concert at the Neville Hall

The band laid on its traditional meal and concert for local pensioners at the Neville Hall on 1st June, treating guests to a selection of sandwiches, pastries and cakes along with drinks.

A full concert programme was presented by the band, in two 45-minutes sessions with a break during which players also enjoyed refreshments. This change from the routine whereby the band would play a brief concert, with other entertainers following on, met with approval from the audience. Pieces played included several solos: Misty, with Gerry Townsend on soprano cornet; Georgia on my Mind, with Peter Yates on cornet; and Can't Take My Eyes Off You, played on trombone by Ben Bingham.

Spring Concert

04 May 2019

A great evening's entertainment

Together with the popular local ladies' a capella vocal group The Barbarettes, Waltham St Lawrence Silver Band put on a great show pegged to May the Fourth - Star Wars Day - at Twyford's Loddon Hall on 4th May. The hall was full, and the audience joined in with a number of pieces. The first half was devoted to items with some connection to "space", opening with Star Wars and closing with Star Trek Into Darkness. The second half programme was a varied mix, including the tone-poem Oregon, an engaging band arrangement of songs from Mamma Mia, the Musical, and It's Raining Men, performed together by band a choir.

Follow this link for a full report.

Henley Mill Meadows

28 Apr 2019

Sunday bandstand concert

A fairly chilly afternoon kept the crowds away from Henley Mill Meadows on this Sunday afternoon in April, nevertheless, there was a small audience for a full concert programme. Several of the more substantial pieces, such as Star Trek Into Darkness, Mamma Mia (the musical) and Oregon, would feature in the upcoming spring concert in Twyford, and there were also regular bandstand numbers such as Light as Air, Singin' in the Rain and Tomado de la Mano. The band is grateful to Graham Yates, who passed on his set of close-ups of band members playing that afternoon (click here or on the inset picture to view them).

Woodley precinct

06 Apr 2019

A packed programme for the shoppers

Waltham band's  2019 engagement season kicked off on Saturday 6th April with a two-hour middle-of-the-day and far from middle-of-the-road concert on the stage in Woodley town centre's shopping precinct. A full band previewed some of the pieces on the programme for the May 4th concert at Loddon Hall, including the challenging Star Trek - Into Darkness and  the long Abba medley Mamma Mia. Other music included a rousing rendition of It's Raining Men, Philip Sparke's arrangement of Music by John Miles, and Jacob de Haan's tone poem Oregon. You can see and hear part of the latter on the band's Facebook page.

The programme consisted of 16 items altogether. The band sounded good, and drew an enthusiastic audience.