Shipping Service at Winchester Cathedral

On a balmy summer’s evening on Thursday 11th June the band played at the Master Mariner’s annual Shipping Service at Winchester Cathedral. The band played some music before the service started and then played the hymns during the service alternating verses with the organ before joining together in the last verse of each hymn.

Once the service was finished the band moved around to the Deanery Garden to play a short concert for the guests who had attended the service. The concert had a distinctly nautical theme to it and the audience were appreciative of the playing.


Southampton Half Marathon

Up until a couple of years ago the band used to play at the London Marathon. This year on Sunday 26th April, we were invited to play at the Southampton Half Marathon just outside the band room at the top of the hill on Burgess Road. It was a bitter day and thanks must go out to the family across the road who provided hot mugs of tea to those who wanted it. Thankfully, the rain stayed off and we were able to play some rousing marches to keep the spirits of the runners up. Especially as they had just had to run all the way up Burgess Road.

Logistically, this was one of the easiest jobs for the band as they only had to move their equipment about 200 yards from the band room. The band enjoyed playing for the runners and are looking forward to playing next time. 


Bournemouth weather defies expectations

On the 21st June the band travelled down to Bournemouth to play on the bandstand in the Lower Gardens. The forecast for the day was for dull and overcast weather and that normally limits the size of the audience that is prepared to stay and watch the concert. However, the weather turned out to be pretty good and it was a perfect day to sit out on the lawn and listen to a brass band concert. Although we were a little light on top cornets we were able to adjust the programme slightly to ensure that their life was made slightly easier.

It is difficult to say how much longer we will be able to continue doing this event as Bournemouth City Council are now refusing to pay bands for performing. This is a great shame as it is a great place to play but the costs of getting up and down to Bournemouth with all our equipment is likely to make the cost of playing prohibitive in the future.


Summer is coming!

The band kicked off their first bandstand job of the season on Sunday 17th May at Romsey. It’s traditionally the first bandstand concert we do each year and can sometimes suffer from inclement weather. However, the rain stayed away and there was even some sunshine to enjoy during the afternoon.

The Romsey Memorial Park is having a face-lift at the moment with new facilities being installed. In the meantime, business continues as normal and refreshments were still available at the temporary van that was on site. There were a good smattering of people listening to the band as they played some of the pieces that they will be taking on tour to Germany in July. Some of the pieces featured at Romsey included Lustspiel, James Bond Collection, All That Jazz, Voice of the Guns and the Ashokan Farewell.

Romsey is not the biggest bandstand in the world but the 23 members of the band present just managed to squeeze everything on with little room to spare. Our next bandstand is in Bournemouth on the 21st June.

 


Band plays at reunions for HMS Ganges and HMS Hermes

The band have played for two separate naval reunions recently. The first took place at Hayling Island for HMS Ganges on the 29th March. The second was held at Rochester for HMS Hermes on 12th April. Both events followed a very similar format. The band played a short set of concert pieces before providing the music for a memorial service. Once this was over they played another short concert for the pleasure of the naval veterans.

Both concerts had a naval theme to them with pieces like Hearts of Oak, Life on the Ocean Wave, Sailing, Britannic Salute and Sunset making up a good portion of the programme. 

These reunions continue the band’s long association with Isle of Wight Tours who organise these reunions on behalf of the various organisations looking to meet up again to see old friends and comrades.

 
Naval Crests

We look forward to performing more reunion concerts for these organisations in the future.


WI notch up 100 years

On the 16th January the band helped the WI celebrate their centenary outside the Guildhall at Winchester. Much like the Olympic torch parade the WI are passing around a special centenary baton to every federation in the country. It was Hampshire’s turn on the 16th January and on a cold and bitter evening the band entertained the women with a few marches as they waited for the baton to arrive. Once it did, the band accompanied the ladies in a rousing rendition of Jerusalem.  


Christmas Concert at Thornden Hall

The band had a change of venue for this year’s Christmas concert. We used the excellent facilities at Thornden School for our performance. The first half of the concert consisted of pieces from our normal repertoire of music featuring music from Mary Poppins, the horn solo Demelza and the overture from Nabucco. The second half was made up entirely of Xmas music including a version of Silent Night incorporating Pipes of Peace arranged especially for the band to commemorate the centenary of the First World War when the soldiers came out of their trenches on Christmas Day to play football. Other favorites included White Christmas, Sleigh Ride, Last Christmas and a Christmas Festival.

 


100th Anniversary of World War I remembered at Southampton Cenotaph

The band headed the Remembrance Parade in Southampton this year, marching from the Guildhall to the Cenotaph in Watts Park. Representatives from all the local military organisations lined up behind the band and marched along the streets with a large crowd watching on from the pavements.

A service was then held, attended by all the local dignitaries led by the mayor Sue Blatchford. The band played whilst wreaths were laid around the cenotaph. Finally the parade marched back to the Guildhall where they were thanked by the mayor. It was a moving tribute to those who lost their lives in various conflicts and was made more special by the number of people that turned out to support the event.


Band tour the Algarve

During the first week of October the band went on tour to Portugal. It is our third trip to the Algarve in 10 years. This time we stayed in Albufeira within walking distance of the old town. We played 4 concerts during the week at venues across the Algarve in Albufeira, Vilamoura and Portimao. The weather for the first two thirds of the week was heavenly with wall to wall sunshine. The last two days were less pleasant with a few rain storms passing through the area. The band were given plenty of time during the day to explore the surrounding area with all our concerts being in the evening.

As usual our thanks must go to Brian Chambers for all his hard work in arranging the tour and coordinating with our hosts in Portugal. A selection of photos of the tour can be found on our photos page.


Back to Bournemouth

The band returned to Bournemouth for their second concert of the summer at Bournemouth Bandstand on Sunday 7th September. The weather was perfect and as a result both the morning and afternoon concerts attracted good crowds. The two concerts both contained a completely different set of music across a wide ranging repertoire. Highlights included a stirring rendition of The Beatles Medley, the overture from Verdi’s Nabucco, Pirates of the Caribbean, Ron Goodwin’s Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines and music from Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance.

The audience were very appreciative and the band really enjoyed playing for the crowd. It’s one of the band’s favourite jobs of the year and this year we have been blessed with fine weather on each occasion. We are already looking forward to appearing again next year.