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The band rounded off a busy 2015 with a festive December jam-packed full of Christmas carols, sleigh bells and more free mince pies than we could possibly eat.  Our two Christmas concerts in the Manor Pavilion provided an opportunity to not only spread some festive cheer, but to reflect over the previous 12 months and present some well-earned awards.  The first award of three awards - the President’s Cup - was presented jointly to husband and wife Nick and Karen Alderton.  Back row cornet player Sarah Usher was awarded the Michael Parker Memorial Trophy for the Most Improved Player, and the Players’ Player of the Year award which, as the title suggests, was voted for by members of the band, went to bass trombonist Martin Cordy.  All four recipients are very deserving of their awards - well done all!  

Tickets are now on sale for our first concert of 2016 when we will be returning to the Manor Pavilion to take part in a charity concert organised by the Sidmouth Lions Club.  The concert, which will also feature performances by The Exmouth Shanty Men, is raising money for Headway Devon - a charity dedicated to improving life after brain injury.  If you are available on Saturday 20th February and would like to combine raising money for a worthy cause and enjoying an evening of great entertainment, you can get your tickets now from the Manor Pavilion Box Office.  See our Engagements page for more details.

As well as preparing for the concert, we are currently busy working towards our next competition in March, when we will compete in the West of England region at the National Brass Band Championships.  Keep an eye on our website, our Facebook page and our Twitter feed for more news and information.

Concert Tickets On Sale

As you may have seen in the local press, we are looking to buy a new bandroom. Having outgrown our existing premises in Woolcombe Lane, we are looking to purchase something that will keep the band very much rooted in the town, securing the future of the band, ensuring we can continue to provide opportunities for young people to learn, and developing Sidmouth's reputation in the competitive brass band world. We are also interested in creating a facility that can be used by other community groups, as a meeting place or a small concert venue. The band has played a vital role in the local community for over 150 years, and a new band-room is essential if we are to keep it going for another 150.

Although we will continue to explore all possibilities, a rare opportunity has arisen to buy a property in the town centre. The United Reformed Church in Chapel Street is being sold, and we have permission from the Synod to make an application to buy the building. However, we will be needing to raise in the region of £500,000 if we can make our dream a reality and secure the church as our own. This includes the £350,000 asking price and an estimated £150,000 needed for soundproofing, adding a kitchen, improving access and possibly converting the basement into a rehearsal space. The church would enable us to not only have somewhere to practise, but to create a performance space and have additional room for providing tuition to beginners.

On 14th January we held a meeting to brainstorm fundraising ideas and were delighted with the early support and encouragement from local people and representatives from local groups/organisations. We are already making progress with exploring a variety of fundraising, grants and events opportunities, which you will no doubt hear or read about in the coming days, weeks and months. If you have any ideas or know any groups who may be able to help us, please get in touch with us. We hope you are able to support us as we undertake a major project to secure the future, and progress, of Sidmouth Town Band.

New Bandroom Bid

The band's fundraising campaign for a new, bigger bandroom is underway! Thanks to Chris Sweetapple, we now have our very own fundraising page and we are also registered with Easy Fundraising, which allows us to receive donations from nearly 3,000 participating online stores whenever someone shops with them.

To make a donation, please visit our MyDonate page. You can register with Easy Fundraising for free by clicking on Easy Fundraising and following the instructions. You will need to select Sidmouth Town Band as your chosen cause.

It's going to be a long journey, but any donations, however big or small, will be valuable steps towards achieving our end goal.

Fundraising Page Now Live!

With only a week to go until the Areas contest, the band is busy working on Philip Harper’s composition ‘The Mermaid of Zennor’. The piece was commissioned by the Cornwall Youth Brass Band in 2015 to mark its 60th anniversary and was subsequently selected as the Second Section test piece for this year’s Regional Championships. Although not the most technically difficult piece note-wise, it’s proving to be deceptively challenging to try and bring it all together and perfect the dynamics.

In early February we were lucky to spend a day with Paul Holland, MD of the world renowned Flowers Band from Gloucestershire. We learnt a lot from Paul and thoroughly enjoyed working with him on The Mermaid of Zennor.

There are now only a handful of rehearsals left before the contest and we will be working hard to ensure we can give the best performance we can on stage. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter for updates on the day.

One Week To Go

The band is celebrating after a successful trip to Torquay on Sunday 13th March resulted in both qualification for the National Finals in September and promotion to the First Section in 2017.

After being drawn to play 7th out of the 16 bands in the Second Section, we took to the stage at about 11:30am to play Philip Harper’s The Mermaid of Zennor to adjudicators Richard Marshall and Phillip Littlemore. Twelve and a half minutes later we left the stage after a performance that, although not error free, we were happy with overall. The standard on the day appeared to be high, with many positive comments heard about lots of the bands from people listening in the hall. After finishing 9th in both 2014 and 2015, come results time we kept our fingers crossed that we could improve on this and achieve a position in the top six. We were thrilled to be placed second, behind worthy winners the City of Bristol Brass Band. Richard and Phillip praised the band for "excellent sounds and an exceptional bit of work from the Musical Director" and for putting on such a "fine performance".

With the top two bands securing a place at the National Finals, this means that on 17th September we will compete against the best Second Section bands in Great Britain in Cheltenham. Having qualified for the Nationals in 2006 in the Fourth Section, and again in 2010 and 2011 in the Third Section, achieving qualification in the Second Section is a real testament to the hard work and commitment shown by Adrian and the band over the past 10 years.

Although the West of England Brass Band Association has yet to formally publish its new grading tables, calculations show that we are ranked second in the section based on three years’ worth of results, just behind the South West Comms Band, based in Lympstone. This means that from January 2017 both bands will be promoted to the First Section, which is a great result for East Devon banding.

Now that we can place The Mermaid of Zennor in the band’s library and look at other music, we’re busy in the bandroom preparing for a busy Spring. On Good Friday morning we return once again to the Bedford Lawn Car Park in Sidmouth for the town’s annual Hot Cross Buns giveaway. On Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd April a quintet from the band will be performing at two special evenings being put on by Sid Vale Community Productions (SVCP) at the United Reformed Church in Chapel Street. The ensemble will be playing in between two one act plays - ‘Forking The Crows’ and ‘Flavio’s Disgrace’. Admission is free, but SVCP are very generously donating any money from the collections on both evenings to our new bandroom fundraising appeal. Talking of our appeal, on Friday 22nd April we will be holding an official launch concert at the United Reformed Church. More details to follow shortly!

Double Success!

April is turning out to be a busy but exciting month for the band as our fundraising campaign for a new bandroom starts to gain momentum. On 1st and 2nd April a quintet from the band played during two thoroughly enjoyable evenings put on by Sid Vale Community Productions (SVCP) at the United Reformed Church in Chapel Street. SVCP, together with the SADS Youth Group, performed two comedy plays each night and the brass ensemble provided the audience with something a little bit different in between. Proceeds from the retiring collections, which together amounted to over £500, were very kindly donated to our fundraising appeal. Tonight Sidmouth Ukulele Strummers are holding an Open Evening, also in aid of our bandroom fundraising campaign. We really are very grateful for all of the support being shown by so many local people and organisations.

You can hear another, larger ensemble from the band playing on Tuesday 12th April at Sidholme Hotel from 7.45pm. It is also an opportunity to see the Youth and Training Band in their first performance of 2016, so it would be great if you could come along to support them too.

We’re very excited to be holding our official fundraising appeal launch concert on Friday 22nd April, also at the United Reformed Church. The concert formally marks the start of our campaign and will be a great opportunity to find out a little more about our plans. Admission is free, although there will be a collection in aid of our new bandroom fund.

Fundraising Launch!

Friday night’s fundraising launch concert was a great success, with a large and enthusiastic audience contributing to a wonderfully supportive atmosphere. The band was on good form and all soloists shone brilliantly. The Friends of the Band committee had invited many influential people in the community to a pre-concert drinks reception, during which chairman, Martin Cordy, gave a speech outlining the vision of the new bandroom.

At the concert, exciting information about this year's Last Night of the Proms concert (which will be held on 20th August) was revealed. Firstly, the band are delighted that radio and TV presenter, Jeremy Vine, has accepted an invitation to compere the event. Jeremy hosts his own daily programme on Radio 2, and hosts the popular quiz show, "Eggheads". Last year, he was also a contestant on "Strictly Come Dancing". It is a real honour to have such a renowned celebrity supporting the band at this now annual event.

In addition, bandmaster Richard Cregan revealed that we are offering you an exciting opportunity to ‘Play Your Part’  and have a piece of music especially written for you, which will be premiered at the Proms concert. This opportunity is being offered as part of a VIP package that will make it a very special evening for the lucky winner. To find out all about the special Proms auction, click here. Further news about the Proms concert, including when and where tickets will be available, will be released soon.

Exciting Proms News!

The band has been busy over the past few weeks preparing for the forthcoming summer season. The first Sunday evening concert will take place on 29th May and, weather permitting, will be followed by a further 14 concerts each Sunday night until 4th September. In a one-off break from tradition, our concert on Sunday 5th June will be held in the Manor Pavilion. Admission will still be free.

In addition to the Sunday night concerts, we will be busy throughout the summer performing in a number of locations in and around the town. One of the busiest weeks of the summer is always Folk Week, which this year is taking place between 29th July and 5th August. Just a couple of weeks later on 20th August, the band has its biggest concert of the year - our annual Last Night of the Proms concert. Ticket information for the Proms concert will be released soon.

Have a look at our engagements page to find details of when and where you can hear us perform during the summer.

Summer Preparations

In April we announced the launch of an exciting VIP Proms package auction, compiled by our bandmaster Richard Cregan. We can now reveal that the lucky winner of the auction was Liz Colborne, from Sidmouth, with a bid of £750. Richard, whose previous compositions have been performed at many high profile concerts, will now write or arrange a piece of music just for Liz which the band will play at the Proms. Liz will also receive a framed copy and recording of the music and will receive full VIP treatment at our Last Night of the Proms concert on 20th August.

The Proms concert, which this year is sponsored by Fields of Sidmouth, promises to be a special evening for all, with guest soloists, vocalists and our celebrity compere Jeremy Vine. Tickets costing £7.50 will be available soon, so keep an eye on our website, Facebook or Twitter pages to be first to know when and where you can buy yours.

Auction Winner Revealed!

We’re only half way through the month, but June has already been a fruitful one for our Play Your Part fundraising campaign thanks to the generosity of local people and organisations. On 7th June our MD Adrian Harvey and a few members of the band attended a Sidmouth Freemasons donations evening, at which the Lodge of Perseverance No 164 presented us with a cheque for £1,000 towards our campaign. Last Sunday at the East Devon District Council Chairman’s garden party, Councillor Stuart Hughes presented us with a cheque for £100, together with a plaque to acknowledge the band’s commitment and achievements over recent years. We are looking forward to the plaque having pride of place on the wall of our new bandroom in the not too distant future (hopefully!).

After playing at the EDDC garden party, the band headed down to the Market Square for the Chamber of Commerce’s street party to mark the Queen’s 90th Birthday. The Chamber of Commerce has kindly decided to donate the proceeds from the event to our campaign. On Tuesday 14th June a coffee concert organised by the Friends of Sidmouth Town Band committee was held in Sidholme Hotel’s Music Room. Band members Harold Curtis and Jasper Dommett attended the concert and each gave a talk about their involvement with the band. The generous audience donated over £200 towards our campaign.

We are enormously grateful to all organisations and members of the public for their kind donations, ongoing support and for playing their part in our fundraising campaign.

June Fundraising Boost

Tickets are now available for this year’s Last Night of the Proms concert, which is being held on Saturday 20th August. The evening, which is being sponsored by Fields of Sidmouth, will feature a varied and jam-packed programme of music, with some guest soloists and vocalists for you to enjoy. It will also feature the world premiere of a brand new piece of music that is currently being composed by our bandmaster Richard Cregan. Richard is composing the piece for Sidmouth resident Liz Colborne, who was the lucky winning bidder in our VIP Proms Package auction.

We are delighted that our compere for the night will be BBC radio and ‘Eggheads’ presenter Jeremy Vine.

Tickets for the concert cost just £7.50 and are available from Fields of Sidmouth (in the Market Place) or at any of our Sunday evening summer season concerts in Connaught Gardens.

Proms Tickets On Sale!

There are now less than two weeks to go until the band’s Last Night of the Proms concert, which is sponsored by Fields of Sidmouth. It really is a concert not to be missed, with celebrity compere Jeremy Vine, guest singers from Honiton Community Theatre Company and the very talented percussion soloist Jerome Blackburn. The concert, on 20th August, will also feature all of the patriotic classics you would expect to hear at the Last Night of the Proms.

Tickets costing £7.50 (under 16’s free) are available from Fields of Sidmouth (in the Market Place) or at next Sunday’s summer season concert in Connaught Gardens (14th August from 8pm). Get yours in advance to avoid disappointment and to guarantee your spot at what promises to be a real highlight of the summer.

12 Days To Go!

The last few weeks have been a bit of a blur for the band. Our Last Night of the Proms concert on the 20th August, despite the slightly dubious weather, was a fantastic evening. We were delighted to welcome four talented members of Honiton Community Theatre Company on stage with us. Sally Cregan and Alex Jackson entertained the audience in the first half with their renditions of the James Bond themes Skyfall and Writing’s On the Wall, whilst Charlie Craig transformed into Monsieur Thénardier to perform Master of the House from Les Misérables early in the second half. The trio were then joined by Amelia Hibbert, and all four singers shone as they performed a selection of other music from Les Misérables.

Also shining very brightly on the grey and slightly damp August evening were the talents of xylophone soloist Jerome Blackburn. Jerome joined the band several years ago, but left us in 2014 to attend Wells Cathedral School to undertake a music scholarship. Since then Jerome has also been part of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, and has performed in many of the country’s finest concert halls, including the Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms 2016. Our Last Night of the Proms audience was left in no doubt as to why Jerome has recently been awarded a place to study orchestral percussion at the Birmingham Conservatoire. His performances of Helter Skelter and Flying Mallets left everybody speechless, including the band, and showed why his is a name to watch out for in the future. Jerome is a star in the making.

The band performed a variety of music throughout the evening, but finished the second half in true Last Night of the Proms fashion with the patriotic classics of Fantasia on British Sea Songs, Jerusalem and Pomp and Circumstance. For these, we were joined once again by the great quartet from the Honiton Community Theatre Company, who truly embraced the spirit of the evening in fine fashion.

Overseeing proceedings for the night was our superb compere Jeremy Vine. Jeremy, the well-known BBC television and radio presenter, engaged with the audience brilliantly and helped to make the evening a huge success. We would like to extend our sincere thanks to Jeremy for being part of our special concert, and to Sally, Alex, Charlie, Amelia and Jerome for contributing so brilliantly to a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Special thanks must also go to Fields of Sidmouth for sponsoring the event.

On Saturday 3rd September we made the short trip along the coast to Exmouth to take part in the SWBBA’s Brass Band Festival. With the forthcoming National Finals to concentrate on, we selected a 25 minute programme for Exmouth the night before from music we have played during our summer season. The adjudicator, Sarah Groarke-Booth, enjoyed our performance and placed us second overall, out of the 14 bands that took part. Many congratulations to overall winners SW Comms Band and the other prize winners on the day.

Some well-earned rest will have to wait, as the band is now fully focused on the National Finals which are taking place in Cheltenham in just 8 days’ time on Saturday 17th September. The test piece, which is Images for Brass by Stephen Bulla, was originally written to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima, which took place between 19th February and 26th March 1945. On Sunday 11th September we are holding an open rehearsal at St. Francis Church Hall in Woolbrook, Sidmouth. You are very welcome to come along to the rehearsal to hear us practising Images for Brass and to experience what it’s like for the band ‘behind the scenes’ in the run up to a major contest. Not only will you get to see and hear the band being put through our paces by MD Adrian, but there is also the unique opportunity to hear our good friends Val and Colin Howels telling the story of Iwo Jima. The rehearsal starts at 8pm, but do come along beforehand for a cup of tea and to browse Val and Colin’s display.

In other news, tickets are now on sale for our Autumn Concert which is being held in the Manor Pavilion on Saturday 8th October. The tickets, costing £5, are available from the Manor Pavilion Box Office in person or by phoning 01395 514413.

Proms Success and Season Finale

Having come second in the West of England Regional Championships in March, the band travelled to Cheltenham Racecourse on Saturday 17th September to take part in the National Finals. The 16 top-performing Second Section bands in Great Britain each took to the stage to perform Stephen Bulla’s composition ‘Images for Brass’. We were happy with our performance and were very pleased that adjudicators Steve Sykes and Alan Fernie awarded us 5th place. This is the band’s highest ever placing and it really emphasises the band’s progress over the past few years. A top 6 finish in the National Finals is also a great result ahead of venturing into the First Section from January 2017. Huge thanks to all of our supporters and well-wishers before, during and after the contest. Special thanks to all of our supporters who came along to Cheltenham to cheer us on - it really helped to make it a wonderful experience for us all.

Despite being a great weekend for the band, it was tinged with sadness as on Sunday 18th we waved goodbye to our solo baritone player Jasper Dommett. As the rest of the band climbed back onto the coach to return to Sidmouth, Jasper boarded a train to Cardiff to start studying at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. For anyone who has met Jasper, you will know that he will leave a big hole in the band. You ALWAYS know when Jasper's in the room, and whilst some peace and quiet will make for a nice change, we're going to miss him immensely. His talent and enthusiasm has always shone through. Securing an unconditional place at the RWCMD is a fantastic achievement and we know Jasper will work his socks off when he is there. We look forward to having him back when he visits in his breaks.

With the busy summer season becoming a distant memory and the National Finals now over, the band is looking ahead to what the autumn has in store. Our next engagement is our appropriately named Autumn Concert, which is being held in the Manor Pavilion on Saturday 8th October. Tickets are available from the Box Office for just £5. You can buy yours by visiting the Box Office during its opening hours (Mon-Sat 10am-2pm) or by phoning 01395 514413.

Highest Ever Placing!

On Saturday the band made the short and familiar trip down the coast to the Riviera Centre in Torquay to take part in the South West Brass Band Association's (SWBBA’s) Annual Championships. Having competed in the National Finals in Cheltenham in mid-September and with our annual Autumn Concert taking place in mid-October, we had just a short few weeks to work on the set Second Section test piece ‘Oceans’ by Goff Richards. We were really pleased to give a decent performance on stage and receive many positive comments from adjudicator Stan Lippeatt, who awarded us second place.

The real highlight of the day for us was seeing the band's Harold Curtis being presented with his Long Service Award by SWBBA President Sue Richards. Amazingly, Harold has now reached his 70th year with the band - an achievement and a demonstration of commitment that we all admire so much. Harold is a true bandsman and has been a stalwart of Sidmouth Town Band throughout the seven decades. Harold is not only a valued member of the band, but he's a real gentleman and a kind and special friend to us all. Congratulations to Harold on his remarkable achievement and his well deserved award!

With the last contest of 2016 over, the band will now look towards the rapidly approaching festive season. This year our two Christmas concerts are being held on Friday 9th December at 7.30pm and Saturday 10th December at 3.00pm. Tickets always go quickly for these concerts, so we would recommend getting yours early to avoid disappointment. They cost just £5 and can be purchased in person at the Manor Pavilion Box Office or by calling 01395 514413. The Box Office is open from 10am-2pm Monday to Saturday.

Award for Harold

There’s now just a week to go until our two Christmas concerts, which are being held at the Manor Pavilion next Friday and Saturday. If you haven’t got your tickets yet, you can buy them from the theatre’s Box Office between 10am and 2pm from Monday to Saturday, either in person or by phone (01395 514413). Any remaining tickets will be available to buy on the door.

We’ve got a range of festive music for you to enjoy, including some new arrangements and some firm favourites that it wouldn’t be Christmas without. The Friday night will include music from our Training Band under the leadership of Fiona Harvey and, over the course of the two concerts, some well deserved awards will be presented to members of both the senior band and the Training Band.

The band will be very busy throughout December playing carols and spreading some festive cheer in and around the town. If you see us, come and say hello and request your favourite carol!

Christmas Is Coming! 2016 News

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