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The build up to a contest is always incredibly busy so, whatever the result on the day, there’s always a sense of relief that some well earned rest will follow!  On this occasion, the band came away from the Areas contest on 9th March happy that, in only our second year in the Second Section, we came 8th in a tight field of 16 bands.  We enjoyed rehearsing Edward Gregson’s ‘The Plantagenets’ and thought it was a great test for all bands in the section.

With the Areas over for another year, it was time to dig out some different music and start preparing for a special St. George’s Day Concert being held with the Budleigh Salterton Male Voice Choir on 23rd April.  As the name suggests, the concert is a celebration of the patron saint of England and, as such, will feature a variety of music all with a patriotic theme.  The band and choir have never performed together before, so we are all very much looking forward to joining forces for what promises to be a great evening of entertainment.  Tickets for the concert cost £7.50 and are available from Sidmouth’s Information Centre and Paragon Books, as well as on the night itself.

Although preparations for the St. George’s Day Concert are in full swing, yesterday our attention turned towards Easter as we gathered bright and early in Sidmouth for the town’s annual hot cross bun giveaway.  Thanks to the unseasonably cold British weather, we almost all came away with a mild case of hypothermia to go with our buns and our oranges.  Luckily, playing just about kept us warm enough until much needed cups of coffee arrived courtesy of the nearby Fort Cafe!

Roll On Summer

January is always the band’s quietist month of the year, however it gives us a chance to pack away the sleigh bells and de-tinsel our instruments before the hard work starts preparing for the Areas contest in March.  This year’s test piece is Edward Gregson’s ‘The Plantagents’, which was written in 1973 especially for the National Brass Band Championships.  The title refers to the House of Plantagenets, a family that provided England with 14 of its kings between 1154 and 1485.  Despite unforeseen circumstances leaving us with a few gaps within the band, the piece is proving to be an enjoyable challenge so far.  With less than four weeks to go until the contest, we will be working hard to try and convey the sense of chivalry that Gregson stated he wanted to portray.

At the same time as rehearsing for the contest, we are also busy preparing for a concert in Sidmouth’s Manor Pavilion being held on 23rd February.  The concert has been organised by the Lions Club of Sidmouth and will also feature the River City Chorus - a ladies barbershop group based in Exeter.  Tickets for this event are available from the Manor Pavilion’s Box Office on 01395 514413.

The new year has seen a couple of changes within the band.  Following the departure of Verity Baker, our Solo Horn player, Karen Alderton has made the step up from First Horn to fill the vacant seat left by Verity and Colette Hill has said goodbye to the cornet section to sit on First Horn.  Karen and Colette are doing a fantastic job in their new seats and are already proving to be part of a great team with Jan Dimond and Karen Chambers on Second Horn.  This does mean however, that we now have a vacancy for a Solo Cornet Player.  If you play the cornet and fancy being part of our friendly, Second Section band, please do get in touch.

Royally Busy

It doesn’t seem five minutes since we were filing The Plantagenents back in the library after the Areas contest, yet we are already two concerts into our summer season.  For a very welcome change those first two Sundays were gloriously sunny and, although getting cool, the sun was still shining as the familiar sound of the Clock Tower bell filled Connaught Gardens at 8pm.  With the forecast for this Sunday also looking promising, 2013 is shaping up to be a good season so far.  We’d better not talk too soon though…

It’s been a busy couple of months for the band as, not only were we preparing for the summer season, but we held a special concert with the Budleigh Salterton Male Voice Choir to mark St. George’s Day on 23rd April.  The Parish Church provided a lovely setting for the joint concert, which saw members of the band and choir also taking to the pulpit to recite some patriotic poetry to tie the music all together.  We thoroughly enjoyed the evening and we don’t think it will be too long before the band and choir join forces once more.

The band is delighted to have welcomed three new players since our last update.  Adrian and Lee Harris join us on bass and back row cornet respectively, whilst Richard Cregan completes our front row line up on 4th man down.  You’ll be able to read more about our newest recruits in their player profiles soon, but all three have settled into life in Sidmouth Town Band very quickly and are proving to be valuable assets both musically and socially!

Don’t forget to keep an eye on our engagements list to find out when and where you can hear the band over the summer months.

New Faces

It’s hard to believe that we’re already two thirds of the way through our summer season, with only another five Sunday evening concerts left.  Although we have had a few grey evenings, overall the weather this season has been nicer than we’ve had for

several years.  The warm weather of late has drawn

locals and holidaymakers to Connaught Gardens

and, with the gardens looking beautiful in the sunshine,

we’ve been thoroughly enjoying playing to large


It will be all systems go between now and the end

of the season as we approach one of the band’s

busiest months.  Next weekend sees the start of

Sidmouth’s Folkweek, and once again we will be

taking part in the Opening Welcome Concert in The Ham Marque on the Saturday morning.  We will also be playing at 6.00pm in the Parish Church on 4th August for the Folkweek Songs of Praise service, before heading up to Connaught Gardens for our usual Sunday evening concert at 8.00pm.  One of our favourite gigs of the year is our Folkweek concert in the garden of our local pub, The Volunteer Inn. Come along at 8.00pm on Friday 9th August to celebrate the last night of Folkweek in a lovely, relaxed atmosphere.

Once Folkweek has finished for another year, full attention will be on our forthcoming Last Night of the Proms concert, which is taking place in Connaught Gardens on Saturday 17th August. We are delighted to be joined this year by guest soloist Steve Sykes.  Steve is renowned for being one of the world’s leading tuba players and we are very much looking forward to him performing with us.  We are also welcoming back soprano singer and friend of the band Val Howels, who will be performing a solo number and then leading the audience in the patriotic classics such as Jerusalem, Rule Britannia and Land Of Hope And Glory.  It promises to be a fantastic evening, but no Last Night of the Proms concert would be complete without an enthused audience waving their flags, singing along and getting into the true spirit of it all. Tickets cost just £5.00 and are available at any of our concerts or from Sidmouth’s Information Centre.

Folking Fun and Proms Preparation

Autumn has been a busy time for the band so far, with two contests, a concert, the annual Remembrance Sunday parade and lots of hard work in the bandroom in between.  Our first engagement after the end of the summer season was the SWBBA’s Exmouth Brass Band Festival, held on 7th September.  Unfortunately it seems that our programme was more to the audience’s taste than the adjudicator’s, however we were awarded a credible 5th place overall. The day also marked a sad occasion though as we said goodbye to Elaine Cordy, our second euphonium player.  Elaine will be greatly missed by us all, however we have a feeling that we haven’t seen the last of her yet - if not to do any carolling, then it can only be a matter of time before she’s on the news for becoming the first woman in a Volvo to break the land speed record.  Watch this space.

The gap on euphonium caused by Elaine’s departure was quickly filled by a very keen Nick Alderton - the band’s former second trombonist.  Nick has done a great job on trombone since joining the band a couple of years ago but, proving that even trombonists can have some sense, he has decided to grab the opportunity to return to playing euphonium - one of his previous instruments.  Nick has settled in to the euph/bari row nicely and is proving to be a great asset wherever he sits!

On 22nd October the band played to a lovely audience in the Manor Pavilion as we put on ‘An Autumn Concert’.  As well as playing a mixture of old and new pieces, the evening allowed us to play out a couple of movements of the test piece for the SWBBA’s Annual Championships (Kenneth Downie’s ‘Three Part Invention’), which was being held just two weeks later on 2nd November.  Over the following fortnight we spent each of our rehearsals working hard to make sure that we could give a performance on stage that we were happy with.  Our performance was not faultless, but we were confident on stage and the comments we received afterwards suggested that it was enjoyable to listen to.  Luckily the adjudicator agreed and, not only did he award us first place, but he awarded the prize for the best instrumentalist to Esther - our deserved flugel horn player.  Well done to everyone for what was a good day out for STB!

Having led the town’s Remembrance Sunday parade last weekend, the band will be helping to commemorate the First and Second World Wars again tomorrow as we take part in a special concert being held at Sidholme Hotel.  The concert, entitled ‘We Will Remember Them’, is being staged by the Sidbury and Sidford branch of the Royal British Legion and will feature a range of music and poetry performed by many local, well known faces.

Scarily, it is already time to dig out the carol books and dust off the sleigh bells as we approach the busy festive season.  It kicks off on Friday 6th December with our Christmas concert in the Manor Pavilion.  There are only a very few tickets remaining, so if you haven’t got yours already, contact the Box Office on 01395 514413 before you miss out!

Changes, Concerts, Contests…and Christmas! Looking for older news?





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