Waltham St. Lawrence Silver Band

2014 news archive

2014 street carolling

24 Dec 2014

Reduced routes

The band reduced its range of street carolling in 2014, partly because some older players cannot safely tramp the dark streets, partly because of the wider spread of commitments that is part of modern life. So door-to-door carolling and collecting was confined to roads adjacent to the bandroom on three nights, plus one carols evening at the Shurlock Inn, where the new event proved just as popular as in 2103.

As before, funds raised from the local carolling rounds will contribute to a treat for local senior citizens. The 2015 event will be the first with a new look, a summer tea rather than a traditional roast dinner in the spring. It will be combined with a concert by our German partners at the Shurlock Inn at the end of May.

The band also joined Maidenhead Round table singers as usual outside their local Waitrose, playing carols for shoppers on the Saturday before Christmas and on 23rd December and Christmas Eve. A small group also performed at Shottesbrook Social Club on the evening of 24th December.

Bourne End concert

21 Dec 2014

WSL band contributes to URC Christmas concert

On 21st December Waltham St. Lawrence Band joined other local musicians and the congregation for a concert of Christmas Joy at Cores End United Reformed Church in Bourne End, featuring carols, readings and seasonal instrumental music. The band contributed four items, as well as accompaniment for the carols.

Our president, Wendy Craig, who is a member of the church, compered the concert. Solo euphonium Tom Torley is Cores End's deputy organist (and MD Derek Holland is its main organist), and entertained the audience with organ pieces as they arrived and after the close of the main programme.

The church proved to be a good venue, even if a little short of space for the band, and the presence of a full and enthusiastic audience made for a very enjoyable event.

Round the Pound

17 Dec 2014

Carols in the centre of Waltham St. Lawrence

After two years in which foul weather has forced the Carols Round the Pound to be held indoors, it looked touch and go as drizzle persisted on the evening of Wednesday 17th December. However, the band set up outside the back of the hall regardless, and the rain eased off, then cleared, making it an outdoor event as it should be.

Audience numbers, while not massive, included a very good proportion of children, with plenty of hands going up to choose the next carol. Their efforts were rewarded with gifts from Santa, who duly arrived once everyone sang Jingle Bells loud enough.

The outdoor carols were followed by refreshments and a raffle inside the Neville Hall.

Christmas Fair

7 Dec 2014

Old Windsor Christmas Fair, and a new recruit

Part of St Luke's Road in Old Windsor was closed to traffic on the afternoon of 7th December for the parish council's Christmas Fair, a lively and very well attended event with a variety of stalls and events.

WSL Band played a full concert programme of music, interspersed with carols, between 4.00 and 6.00 p.m. Though it was rather chilly, the event was fun, and playing was greatly aided by the provision of a gazebo and good lighting.

You can see a brief video of the band playing at the fair on YouTube

The event also saw the debut of our latest recruit, horn player Sophie Linthorne, who has recently moved into the area. Sophie is getting back into practice after a bit of a gap, having previously played in Hampshire Youth Band. The band are delighted Sophie is filling the vacancy in the horn section, and are sure she will make a valuable contribution to our music-making.

Tree Festival

4 Dec 2014

Twyford Christmas Tree Festival kicks off with concert

Twyford St Mary's Church Christmas Tree Festival's four days of events opened on the evening of 4th December with a concert at the church by WSL Silver Band.

The band's packed programme included numerous seasonal items, and featured both Leroy Anderson's Christmas Festival Overture and Gordon Langford's Christmas Fantasy. There were four solo items, with Ted Cull playing Yuletide Galop on the posthorn from the pulpit, Jane Pullen (tenor horn) playing Over the Rainbow, and Jane Lynn (flugel horn) playing A Winter's Tale in the first half, while Tom Torley (euphonium) performed the Victorian-era Nazareth by Gounod in the second half.

As well as more venerable pieces such as And the Glory of the Lord from Handel's Messiah and Charpentier's Prelude to Te Deum, there were more modern items, including The Snowman, Rocking Round the Christmas Tree and John Lennon and Yoko Ono's Happy Christmas (War is Over).

The audience joined in with several carols, and the concert concluded with a rousing rendering of Bizet's Farandole. The well-attended event was clearly enjoyed by everybody.

November Draw

19 Nov 2014

Draw Club's annual big bonus

The band's Draw Club continues to make a significant contribution to funding for music-making. As usual, the November draw, pulled out of the bag at Neville Hall on 19th November, featured higher prizes than the regular monthly lottery.

First prize (£80) went to Mrs Alison Evans
Second prize (£60) was won by Mrs Natalie Harvey
Third prize (£50) went to Mr Philip Evans

Currently there are 84 numbers in play, making the regular monthly prizes £20, £15 and £5. With one more member, the third prize would rise to £10. Membership is annual, with a suscription of £15. See the Fundraising page for full details and latest results.

Remembrance Sunday

9 Nov 2014

Parades in Waltham, Bray and Holyport

In keeping with tradition, WSL band provided accompaniment for Remembrance Day parades and ceremonies in Waltham St. Lawrence, Bray and Holyport on Sunday 9th November.

A significant proportion of band members are no longer fit to march, so the band played the marches (The Middy the British Legion March) at the war memorials while the parades approached. As well as the hymn at each ceremony, the buglers — Steve Bourne in Waltham and Peter Yates in Bray and Holyport — played The Last Post and Reveille either side of the silence.

Presidents' concert

18 Oct 2014

Concert to welcome new president and thank outgoing one

A concert was staged in Waltham St. Lawrence Parish Church on 18th October to formally mark the handover from outgoing band president Margaret Railton to incoming president Wendy Craig.The concert featured the WSL Junior Choir and Waltham Madrigals as well as the band.
Click here for a full report in the Features section.

White Waltham

13 Sep 2014

Aero club day at local aerodrome

The band entertained members of the West London Aero Club at their base at White Waltham aerodrome for part of the afternoon on their annual Club Day. The day's events included fly-pasts by Spitfire, Hurricane and Messerschmidt aircraft, and the band's numbers included topical items such as Those Magnificent Men in the Flying Machines, 633 Squadron and Aces High. Also Fly me to the Moon.

Forbury Bandstand

7 Sep 2014

A good audience in the September sun

Waltham band presented the penultimate concert in the 2014 bandstand series at Forbury Gardens, Reading, on Sunday 7th September. The weather was fine, with a light breeze, and there were plenty of people in the park. Our regular MD was not available for the engagement, and the baton was wielded by deputy conductor Keith Penton.

The concert opened with the march The Red, White and Blue, followed by a selection from Show Boat including Ol' Man River and Can't Help Lovin' That Man of Mine. The first half also included horn solo Over the Rainbow, played by Jane Pullen, and Alan Catherall's arrangement of Born Free. It closed with Gordon Langford's New World Fantasy.

Opening with R B Hall's New Colonial, the second set featured Boieldieu's Caliph of Bagdad and another Alan Catherall arrangement, Tara's Theme from Gone with the Wind. The afternoon's performance ended with Alan Fernie's Glenn Miller Collection.

Littlewick Show

25 Aug 2014

Rain did not stop play

Littlewick Show, usually attended by thousands of people, was badly hit by the poor weather on Bank Holiday Monday. When the band started playing at 2.30 in the afternoon, the ferret-racing was packing up to go, and the field was very sparsely populated. The full band turnout of 24 probably outnumbered the audience in the tent next door (there were probably quite a few people in the craft and produce marquee).

Regardless of the weather and show attendance, the band played very well and presented a full programme, which was greeted with a good measure of applause.

Hurst Horticultural Society

16 Aug 2014

Annual show

The band played two sets on a warm and sunny afternoon for the Hurst Horticultural Society's annual show at the Village Halls. Despite being the height of the holiday season, the turnout was very good and included full instrument sections for all but the supporting cornets.

Woodley Precinct

12 Jul 2014

In the shade of the pagoda

The band again assembled to entertain shoppers in Woodley town centre on 12th July, setting up under the "pagoda" to keep out of the sun. Though a few players short, the band was well balanced, and produced probably its best performance this season of a well rehearsed programme.

Quite a few pieces were greeted with applause, and at least two people came up to express their appreciation of the music. Tom Torley gave an inspired rendering of the Grandfather's Clock on euphonium, and the two trombones almost made up for the other 74 in Seventy-six Trombones.

Cookham Riverside

6 Jul 2014

Annual tea

Dire predictions of heavy downpours were proved absolutely wrong as the band set up again on the lawn at Cookham Riverside nursing home on 6th July to entertain residents and their guests at their annual tea party.

The sun shone, and the band performed a full and varied programme under the baton of guest conductor John Lawes, who has in the past been its regular musical director.

Wet wedding

28 Jun 2014

Rain comes down but the band plays on

The band gathered at the Bird in Hand, Knowl Hill, to play for guests at the wedding of Solo Horn player Jane Pullen's daughter Stephanie between return from the church and the reception. A heavy and prolonged shower started pretty much on cue, only easing off after an hour or so. Fortunately the event shelter was to hand, and reduced the exposure. And perhaps it was lucky that the hotel was unaware we would need chairs - at least we take up less room standing!

Undeterred by the weather, the band put on a full hour's programme and played very well. As wedding guests, flugel and bass players Jane Lynn and Ben Midgley were looking unusually smart, and it was good to see former members Tony and Alison Evans in the audience along with former conductor Jim Pullen, father of the bride.

WSL parish fete

21 Jun 2014

Perfect pitch for a June afternoon

The band played two sets at the Waltham St. Lawrence Parish fete on Saturday 21st June at the cricket ground on Shurlock Row. The weather was ideal, the band played well and appreciated the burgers available on their tea tickets.

Henley Bandstand (2)

8 Jun 2014

Another appearance on Henley Bandstand

In contrast to WSL band's first appearance this season in May, the afternoon of Sunday 8th June was very warm and sunny, and the Mill Meadows were host to a large number of people. The band also had few people away, with only two guest players filling gaps, and this was reflected in the smoothness of the musical performance.

The traditional-style bandstand programme kicked off with Bandology in the firts half and Aces High in the second, and included Mary Poppins and (Meet) the Flintsones. Though somewhat long in the tooth, this material seems to attract the ear of the younger people in the audience and draws a good reaction. 


31 May 2014

Museum of English Rural Life summer fete

The band played to a large crowd at the MERL summer fete on a warm and bright Saturday afternoon. We were located in a different spot from previous years, in a leafy suburb on the south side of the arena, with less disurbance from people coming and going. Turnout was good, with guest players in the euphonium, horn and cornet sections and on percussion, and standard of playing was high.

The organizers' thank-you message said the event had been very successful, with record attendance.

White Waltham

14 May 2014

Rainbow Project concert

For several years, the band has played a concert at St. Mary's church in White Waltham one Wednesday evening in May, replacing the usual practice at Neville Hall. This year was no exception.The proceeds go towards the church's Project Rainbow, to build a local children's centre. The audience was informed that beginning of construction is now in sight.

The 14th May programme included two challenging works - Rossini's Thieving Magpie and Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade. Both have been the subject of intensive rehearsal and were "all right on the night". Lighter pieces included Gordon Langford's lyrical arrangement of Greensleeves, Mack the Knife and Trevor Sharpe's arrangement of The Music of George Gershwin.

Solos were provided by Steve Bourne on cornet (Cleopatra) and Tom Torley on euphonium (La Belle Americaine), and the trombone section played it cool for Hot Toddy. The evening was rounded off with Julius Fučík's Entry of the Gladiators.

Henley Bandstand

11 May 2014

A blustery afternoon by the river

Saturday's rain did not make an appearance at Henley's Mill Meadows on Sunday, but the strong and blustery winds kept up, and made life difficult for the band, with stands blowing over and many pegs required. A small but appreciative audience was treated to a programme including (Greetings, pop-pickers!) At the Sign of the Swinging Cymbal and Swinging Safari, trombone feature Hot Toddy and La Belle Americaine played as a euphonium solo by Tom Torley. Jo Tarbit put in a solid performance on percussion on his first public solo mission.

The mighty ensemble of four Eb basses gave the final number, Kalinka, a solid launch. Altogether an enjoyable afternoon's playing and listening, despite the unhelpful weather.

Bandperson of the Year

8 May 2014

Vote goes to Steve Saunders

A little later than usual, a secret ballot of members to name the person who has done the most for the band in the previous year was held over several weeks in April. The winner, by a large margin, was engagement secretary Steve Saunders. The silver plate was awarded to Steve at rehearsal on 8th May.

Woodley Precinct

12 Apr 2014

Outdoor playing season begins

The 2014 season opened when the band assembled under the pagoda in the Woodley Shopping Precinct, including a welcome party of deps visiting from neighbouring bands, for whom more than the usual number of chairs had to be brought in.

The day was dry but, with a seasonal nip in the air, the packed audience failed to materialise so we simply gave the 2014 fete pad its outdoor debut, in a two-hour programme enjoyed by all.

New numbers included Beauty and the Beast, Matchstalk Men, Westminster Waltz and Shield of Liberty, which kept us all warm throughout the proceedings, aided by our cosy fleece jackets and even a few gloved fingers.

Pensioners' meal

29 Mar 2014

Last supper?

The band once again provided entertainment and a meal for local pensioners at the Neville Hall on 29th March, a tradition of over 50 years' standing.

Prior to serving the meal, band members played a 50-minute concert, starting with Strike up the Band (arr Ray Woodfield) and ending with Fucik's Entry of the Gladiators and Kalinka as an encore. Several solos were included: playing Cleopatra (Steve Bourne, cornet), I Know Why (Jane Lynn, flugel) and Czardas (Tom Torley, euphonium).

Following the roast beef meal dinner, produced in the hall's kitchen by hard-working volunteers under the direction of Margaret Saunders, further entertainment was provided by a vocalist, performing a number of Sinatra-style songs.

In the course of the afternoon, band manager Steve Saunders announced a plan to change the date and format of the event in future. It is becoming more difficult to keep up the scope of the carolling that funds the meal, and the intention is to move on to an outdoor concert and high tea in the summer.

Among the guests were former band members Tony and Alison Evans. Their thank-you email is published in the Guestbook.

New recruits

26 Mar 2014

Average age of band plummets

The average age of WSL band has been significantly reduced over the past nine months. Luke (10) is now a regular attender on Eb Bass tuba, and has now been joined by his classmate Joe on percussion. 

Also making an appearance at rehearsal in early March was ten-day-old Jacob Harvey, who sat with mum Natalie (having a hard-earned break from playing 2nd Euphonium) and dad Ben (playing repiano) and seemed to like it. Or didn't cry much, at any rate. Jacob is due to fill the 1st Horn slot in due course.

West Wycombe's gain

12 Feb 2014

leaves WSL with a hole in the middle

Our congratulations go to John Shaw on his appointment as MD of West Wycombe band. In his time with WSL band, John has shown himself to be a very capable all-rounder, including appearances on trombone and percussion as well as euphonium and baritone (plus ophicleide, of course). We wish him and his new band all the best.

Unfortunately, West Wycombe also rehearse on a Wednesday. Combined with gaps made by players who have moved on or moved away, job commitments and maternity leave, this leaves us somewhat short on horn and baritone positions - a band with a hole in the middle, so to speak. So if you are interested in joining us on 1st Horn, 1st Baritone or 2nd Euphonium, do get in touch. We have a busy and interesting season coming up.

AGM 2014

15 Jan 2014

Annual General Meeting 2014

The Waltham St. Lwarence Silver Band 2014 AGM was held at the Neville Hall on 15th January. This was the first AGM to be held in January, rather than November, as agreed at the preceding AGM in November 2012.

The meeting heard reports from the main officers and appointed the coming year's committee and officers. There was also a serious debate about rehearsals. Click here for a full report, including details of the new committee and officers.