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As usual, December flew past in a festive flash as we fully immersed ourselves in the spirit of Christmas. In total, the band took part in 27 carolling engagements throughout November and December, in addition to our two Christmas concerts at the Manor Pavilion. The Christmas concerts were a fantastic way to round off the year, and we hope the audiences enjoyed them as much as we did. A big well done must go to the Training Band for their great performance at the Friday night concert and to all the soloists, from both bands, who played brilliantly. Congratulations also to our four prize winners, Harry, Colette, Evan and Greg, who were all very deserving recipients of their trophies.

2016 is not being hailed as one of the best years in world history - but for the band, it was actually rather successful. Qualifying for and competing in the finals of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain was such an honour for us all, and to come away with fifth place was a massive achievement (the best in the band's 154 year history). Our successes at the Areas and the Nationals contests were supported by good performances, results and adjudicator comments at the Exmouth Brass Band Festival and the SWBBA Annual Championships.

Away from the contest stage, the highlights of the year for us were our two recent Christmas concerts and the fantastic Last Night of the Proms concert back in August. The Proms concert, which was brilliantly compered by Jeremy Vine, came towards the end of our busy summer season, during which we performed to thousands of people over the course of fifteen Sunday evenings in the beautiful Connaught Gardens. We never take for granted how lucky we are to perform regularly in such a lovely setting, in such a special town like Sidmouth.

At the start of the year we launched a fundraising campaign with the ultimate goal of securing a new, larger band room. So many people have invested an amazing amount of time and effort into the campaign and we are massively grateful to each and every one of them. A special mention must go to the Friends of Sidmouth Town Band Committee - our 'Fab Four' - who were brilliant all year. Thank you so much Val, Sally, Andrea and Anne - your ongoing support and enthusiasm are greatly appreciated by the entire band.

Along with qualification for the National Finals, being awarded second place at the Areas contest in March brought with it promotion. From today, Sidmouth Town Band is officially a First Section band and will compete at this level for the first time ever. The band has worked hard for this, but our steady progress through the ranks over the past few years is undoubtedly due to the skills, commitment and ambition of our MD, Adrian. We all look forward to the challenges that the First Section brings.

We often refer to the band as being like a family. The dedication, comradeship and support within the band is really rather remarkable, and 2016 was a great example of why being part of the STB family is so special.

So, as we reflect on the past 12 months with fond memories and a large amount of pride, we wish you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous new year. A huge thank you to all of our supporters - we look forward to seeing you all in 2017!

Happy New Year!

On Saturday 11th February the band returns once again to the Manor Pavilion stage for a concert organised by the Lions Club of Sidmouth. The concert will also feature some very special guests, including local soprano soloist Val Howels, members of the Honiton Community Theatre Company, violin soloist Sally Bull and Chinese guzheng soloist Qian Xiaotong. From the band, you can expect a wide variety of music that will show off the true versatility of a brass band.

Tickets for the concert, which starts at 7.45pm, are available from the Manor Pavilion Box Office for £10. You can buy tickets in person or by calling the Pavilion on 01395 514413. The Box Office is open from 10am until 2pm from Monday to Saturday. Proceeds from the concert will be split between the band and the Lions Club.

As well as preparing for the concert, the band is busy in band room rehearsing for the forthcoming West of England Regional Championships, which take place in Torquay in March. This will be the band’s first contest in the First Section, which is a challenge we are all looking forward to. The chosen test piece for the First Section is Philip Sparke’s beautiful ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’. The piece is enjoyable to rehearse, but is also proving to be a real test for all sections of the band.

Don’t forget you can keep up to date with the band by following us on Facebook and Twitter.

Return to the Manor

It’s been a busy few weeks in and out of the band room preparing for this year’s West of England Regional Championships, which take place this weekend in Torquay. Tomorrow will be the band’s first contest in the First Section, having gained promotion from the Second Section last year.

The chosen test piece, Philip Sparke’s ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’, is known for being a tricky test for any First Section band, and we know we won’t be the only band who has struggled to get to grips with the harder sections of the piece.  As always though, the band has worked hard to ensure that we can give a performance on stage that we can (hopefully!) be proud of.

First Section Debut

Last month’s Areas contest saw the band compete in the First Section for the very first time. Philip Sparke’s Land of the Long White Cloud is renowned for being a tough piece for First Section bands, so it was no wonder that we found getting to grips with the piece quite a challenge. Nonetheless, after lots of hard work by Adrian and the band, we were able to give a decent performance on stage and enjoy our debut amongst the more experienced bands. We were pleased to receive many positive comments about our performance from the audience and from both adjudicators, but unfortunately it wasn’t our day when it came to the results. 10th place was good enough to secure us another year in the section however, which gives us more time to improve and to establish ourselves as a First Section band.

The summer season will be upon us before we know it, but preparations are currently in full swing for the forthcoming production of Brassed Off at the Manor Pavilion. The Sidmouth Amateur Dramatic Society’s production features an ensemble from the band and our multi-talented flugel player Josie Denning as Gloria Mullins. Tickets for the show, which runs from the 8th-13th May, are available now from the Pavilion’s Box Office (open 10am-2pm Monday to Saturday). The 2006 production of Brassed Off was a sell-out and broke Box Office records, so make sure you get your tickets soon!

Brassed Off Returns

With our summer season now in full swing, the band is busy in and out of the band room practising and performing in Sidmouth and further afield.  As well as our regular Sunday evening concerts in the beautiful Connaught Gardens, you can see the band, or an ensemble from the band, at a number of locations throughout the summer.  

The Friends of Sidmouth Town Band Committee has organised a special 'Summer Sounds' concert, which is being held in Sidmouth Parish Church on Wednesday 26th July.  There is a fantastic line up of soloists to look forward to, including Jerome Blackburn on percussion, Esther Beyer on harp, sopranos Rhiannon Llewellyn and Lucinda Williams, Fiona Harvey on cornet and Josie Denning on flugel. A small ensemble from the band will also be performing.  Tickets for the concert are available from Paragon Books (High St, Sidmouth) or at our concert in Connaught Gardens on Sunday 23rd July.

Tickets are also now available for the band’s Last Night of the Proms concert, which is being held on Saturday 19th August.  The concert will feature Brett Baker, principal trombonist of the infamous Black Dyke Band, and singer Catherine Moore, who will perform as a soloist and also lead the audience in the patriotic classics such as Jerusalem, Rule, Brittania! and Land of Hope and Glory.  Tickets cost just £7.50 (under 16’s free) and are available from Pure Indulgence (Fore St, Sidmouth) or at any of our concerts.

Our engagements page includes more details of when and where you can hear us play over the summer.  You can also keep up to date on Facebook or Twitter.

Summer In Full Swing

As we fast approach our final Connaught Gardens concert of 2017, we are trying to work out where the summer has gone.  It only seems five minutes since our first concert at the end of May, but nearly 15 weeks later we are preparing for our final bandstand performance on Sunday 3rd September.  We couldn’t do our summer seasons without the help of many people, including our great team of collectors and all of the players who have stepped in to cover holidays and illnesses - a big, big thank you to you all.

As well as our final Sunday evening concert, next weekend also sees the band make the short trip along the coast to take part in the SWBBA’s Exmouth Brass Band Festival.  The contest, which takes place on Saturday (2nd September), involves two performances - a 25 minute entertainment programme performed to two adjudicators on the Exmouth Pavilion stage, and a half-hour concert in the Pavilion’s gardens.  We have been drawn to play first inside, so will take to the stage when the contest begins at 10:00.  Weather permitting, we will be playing outside at 14:05.  The Exmouth contest is always a good day out, so if you can, please do come along to support all of the bands taking part.

End of Season

This Saturday (14th October) the band returns to the Manor Pavilion for a special concert to celebrate our 155-year history and some personal memories of players.  The programme has been chosen to reflect memorable moments of recent years, with some of the band’s members choosing their favourite pieces and explaining what being part of the band means to them.

Tickets costing just £5 are available from the Manor Pavilion’s Box Office, which is open from 10am to 2pm every day this week.  You can pop in or call the Box Office on 01395 514413.

Tickets for the band’s Christmas concerts, which are on Friday 8th and Saturday 9th December, go on sale at the Box Office on Tuesday 17th October.

Memories and Milestones





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