Waltham St. Lawrence Silver Band

2017 news archive

2017 and all that

31 Dec 2017

Christmas wrap, comings and goings

The year ended with another successful run of carolling events. The weather was mild for Carols Round the Pound on 20th December, and a good crowd gathered for the community carols and refreshments and raffle that followed. Player numbers had sufficed to put out two groups for carolling along the village's central roads on each of the two preceding Wednesdays, and residents gave generously.

The band joined up again with Maidenhead Rotary to present carols at the entrance of Sainsbury’s on three mornings. A small band also accompanied carol singing at the Rotary’s Christmas dinner event, and was rewarded with a generous collection by those attending. As reported earlier, the events at Hurst and Old Windsor went well.

The band closed the year with a new conductor, Jim Pullen having resigned in September in view of travel problems. We have been fortunate in engaging Steve Block as MD from the start of 2018 (view profile), and look forward to a long and fruitful association.

On the personnel front, 2017 saw the sad loss of stalwart solo cornet player Howard Lunn, bass trombonist Peter Williams retired, and Bb bass player Ken Morris moved out of the area. Meanwhile Lorraine Rogers joined on solo cornet, Michelle Barraclough on 3rd cornet, Jo Smith on tenor horn and John Turner on bass trombone, while Richard McKay rejoined the band on 2nd euphonium.

Old Windsor

10 Dec 2017

Christmas Fair

The band once again provided a background of festive tunes for the Old Windsor Christmas Fair on Sunday 10th December. Attendance of both stallholders and public was down on previous occasions due to bad weather conditions in many surrounding areas, but band turnout was good, and the audience was very appreciative.


3 Dec 2017

Christmas tree lighting time

A well balanced ensemble and an enthusiastic crowd made for an enjoyable carol session at the Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Hurst on Sunday 3rd December. Attendees were also very generous with their donations to the band. We were very pelased to have former Hurstian Ken Morris, now happily relocated to the New Forest area, with us on Bb Bass for the event.

British Legion Christmas Concert

2 Dec 2017

Fish & Chips in Holyport

The band opened its Christmas season with a mixed concert for the local British Legion branch at Holyport War Memorial Hall on Saturday 2nd December. The programme included a set of popular pieces in the first half, and Christmas music in the second, with a tasty fish and chip supper in between. A good time was had by all.

Opening with the British Legion march, the main piece in the first half was Denis Wright’s selection from West Side Story. This half included a number of pop standards from the 1960’s, including Goff Richards’s Lighter than Air (A Whiter Shade of Pale) and Alan Fernie’s rhythmic take on Michelle. Supper was piped in to the strains of Amparito Roca.

The Christmas half opened with Leroy Anderson’s Christmas Festival, and also featured It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, The Snowman, The Christmas Song and Let it Snow. The band swayed in perfect unison (not!) for Schneewalzer, and left the audience reeling with Rockin’ Round the Christmas Tree.


12 Nov 2017

Ceremonies in Waltham, Bray and Holyport

The band made its traditional contribution to Remembrance Sunday ceremonies in Waltham St. Lawrence, Bray and Holyport on 12th November, playing marches for the parades at the first two locations, hymns for the service of commemoration, and the national anthem in Bray and Holyport. The Last Post and Reveille were played by Gerry Townsend in Waltham, and by Peter Yates in Bray and Holyport.

Littlewick Show

28 Aug 2017

Bank Holiday fun

August Bank Holiday turned out very warm and sunny this year, and the band played its usual slot at the Littlewick Show in Hare Hatch to an appreciative audience seated next to its tent or generally wandering around.

This engagement was the swan song for Bb Bass player Ken Morris, who is moving to Wiltshire. He was presented with a band photo and warm words of farewell in the course of the afternoon.


19 Aug 2017

Horticultural Society annual show

With numbers down due to holidays and illness, a compact band nevertheless produced a good sound and a full programme for Hurst Horticultural Society's show, under the direction of Coleen Pullen.

The show itself displayed, as usual, a wealth of talent, including crafts, vegetable produce and flowers.

Cookham Riverside

2 Jul 2017

Annual tea party

The band once again entertained residents of Cookham Riverside nursing home and their guests at their annual tea party on 2nd July. Players squeezed in to benefit from the shade of the event shelter, on yet another sunny and warm day. 

Double weekend

17 Jun 2017

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

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.

Guards Association

11 Jun 2017

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.

Exchange visit

5 Jun 2017

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.

Pensioners' tea

20 May 2017

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 day - 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.

Woodley Precinct

6 May 2017

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

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.

Alexandra Gardens

23 Apr 2017

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.

Maidenhead Lions concert

11 Mar 2017

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".


2017 gets under way

25 Jan 2017

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.