Waltham St. Lawrence Silver Band

2021 news archive

Steve Saunders presentation

19 Dec 2021

Carols and a retirement gift

On the morning of 19th December a small group gathered on the balcony of the apartments where Steve and Margaret Saunders now live to play some carols for Steve, prior to handing him a retirement gift. Other residents were also present, and sang the carols they chose using the songsheets that were given out. Steve himself picked up a baritone and played as well.

The decanter, with an inscribed tag, marks the band's gratitude to Steve for his service of over 45 years to the band until his retirement due to ill health. In that time he mainly played cornet, but also filled gaps on bass and beritone as needed, and was for many years a very hard-working band Secretary. Margaret was also thanked for her active support for the band, especially in organizing catering for the annual seniors' meal and other events. We wish them all the very best for the future.

Christmas round-up

16 Dec 2021

What we did this Christmas

Wednesday 15th December was the band's last public engagement of 2021, playing behind the bandroom for the traditional Carols Round the Pound. It was a very mild evening, and a good crowd gathered and sang heartily, accompanied by a good turnout of the band. As well as carols the band played a few programme pieces, opening with the bouncy march Christmas Joy and the recently acquired Let it Go from Frozen. Owing to the ongoing pandemic, the event was held entirely outdoors, so no mince pies or other refreshments were served. Nevertheless, a jolly good time was had by all.

The previous Sunday, Waltham band made its regular appearance at the Old Windsor Christmas Fayre, with a mixture of carols and festive programme pieces. The event was very well attended, and plenty of people stopped to listen. The guest conductor was Tom Torley, currently studying at the Royal College of Music, who cut his performing teeth on baritone and euphonium with the band and went on to be a star performer.

The band was out on Milley Road on 1st December and Waltham Street and Halls Lane on the 8th, playing carols door to door, and got a warm reception from householders.

A new engagement on Saturday 4th December was Caversham Court Gardens Christmas tree sale by the Thames in Reading, where a nonet played carols for an hour for an appreciative audience. On 5th December, a 15-strong ensemble played for the Hurst tree-lighting ceremony, including a community carol session.

Remembrance Sunday

14 Nov 2021

Ceremonies in Waltham, Bray & Holyport

Playing the British Legion march, Waltham band led the procession in Waltham St. Lawrence and parade in Bray to the local war memorials, and played hymns, the Last Post and Reveille, and national anthem for the services. The band also played for the service in Holyport.

With last year's events having been cancelled due to the pandemic, it was something of a relief to be able to go ahead with this year's ceremonies, and that the weather did nothing to hamper them.

You can view video of the band marching in WSL on YouTube.

Harvest festival

3 Oct 2021

The band was this year able to make its traditional contribution to the Harvest Festival service at WSL Parish Church on 3rd October, accompanying the hymns in the service itself and playing Dear Lord and Father of Mankind beforehand. The congregation was seen out to The Floral Dance.

Ploughing contest

26 Sep 2021

Our first public engagement since 2019!

A full band turned out in a field in Waltham St. Lawrence on Sunday 26th September to perform the first public engagement since Christmas 2019, the Royal East Berks Agricultural Association's annual ploughing contest and show. Spread across two gazebos and an event shelter to maintain the required distancing between players, the band presented a packed one-hour programme which went down very well with the sizeable audience. Everyone enjoyed playing for the public once more, just doing what we do. Feedback from the organisers was very positive, and we already have a provisional booking for next year!

Rehearsals resume

19 May 2021

Rehearsals resume after a very long break

Taking heed of the special provisions for ensembles to meet indoors, including 2-metre spacing between players and other anti-Covid measures, on 19th May WSL band was at last able to join together for rehearsal for the first time since early March 2020. An unusual arrangement saw us forming a grid right up to the edges and corners of the hall, with the conductor standing in the doorway, wearing a visor.

While the setting brought with it difficulties hearing each other properly and keeping in time, everyone was very pleased to have the opportunity to make music together after such a long break. We played a few hymns to warm up, several other pieces including Cruella de Vil and I'll Walk with God, and rounded off the evening with Sousa's Liberty Bell.

Virtual band performances

1 May 2021

While we are currently not in a position to get together to rehearse, let alone perform in public as a band, we have used the technology to come together to make music, as you can see on our YouTube video channel. Using a backing track to synchronize their parts, members have recorded themselves at home playing a couple of pieces, and our MD Steve Block has taken the videos and compiled them into the videos. It's hard work, and we'd so much rather be back in the bandroom, but things have come together well, as you can see and hear.

Available now: Barnard Castle (march by Goff Richards)
Amparito Roca (Jaime Texidor's paso doble)
The British Legion March (Thomas Bidgood)
2020 Christmas Carols
Stääne  (Cologne Carnival song with MVF)
The Wellerman (sea shanty)