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Last Sunday saw Otterbourne Brass’s first concert appearance of 2016. With the first three months of the year dedicated to the two contests the band have competed in, it was nice to have a change of scene and put on a great concert. In addition, the concert saw a return to one of our favourite venues, Chandlers Ford Methodist Church, the first time we have played there under our new MD, Melvin White.
As well as the concert, the band is busy preparing for the SCABA Entertainment Contest at the end of the month, and as such the programme contained some of the music we will be playing at this competition. We opened with Steve Sykes’s exciting Firedance, before featuring our first soloist as Amelia Young played the gorgeous flugelhorn solo Eyes of a Child. We then continued with an American circus march, Emblem of Unity, before the rest of the programme was loosely held together by Melvin’s “song and dance” theme. This saw us play such popular favourites as Singing in the Rain, Let’s Face the Music and Dance, and selections from both Porgy & Bess and My Fair Lady.
There were also several other soloists throughout the afternoon. Bernie Ralph on tenor horn played an arrangement of Laughter in the Rain by Neil Sedaka, and our principal cornet Sonja Charters played Ennio Morricone’s beautiful music from the film Cinema Paradiso. After the interval we featured some members of the lower band, as Ian Yardley gave an entertaining performance of Teddy Bear’s Picnic on tuba, before Nick West added a touch of sheer class with the trombone solo Stardust. The final soloist was principal euphonium Graham Jones, with a wonderful performance of Michelangelo. All the soloists were on top form and they were certainly the stars of a great concert.
The appreciative audience were as delighted with the concert as the band were, and we look forward to our future engagements. After the competition, our next concert appearance is in Otterbourne Village Hall on Sunday 12th June.
Article by Will Wilkins
This weekend saw all at Otterbourne Brass in high spirits and excited to set off on our annual trip to Torquay, where we were to compete at the West of England Brass Band Regional Contest held at the Riviera Centre.
After many weeks of hard work in the rehearsal room with planned sectional work and many hours practising just one set test piece, Essay by Edward Gregson, we had finally reached the main event.
Some of the band travelled down on the Friday and made a long weekend of it, others travelling on the Saturday and arriving just in time for our penultimate rehearsal which went really well and we were rewarded with an early finish.
We followed the rehearsal with a fantastic band meal at the Aztec Bistro where we could all relax with good food and great company. A good opportunity for us all to bond socially which of course helps our teamwork in the bandroom.
Sunday morning – and back to work. Our final rehearsal and just enough time for us to work on our tuning and mentally prepare before we found out our draw for the afternoons’ proceedings. We were drawn 5th out of 15 bands in our section which meant that we didn’t have to rush to the venue, but also didn’t have too much time to hang around before it was time for our last and most important performance of this great piece.
The band played really well on stage and we were pleased with the massive progress we had made over the last few months. We received lots of positive comments from the audience and now we just had to await the adjudicators decision.
Unfortunately, we were disappointed to come away with a 10th place, especially as the adjudicators reports were both very positive. However, this could not take away from the huge sense of achievement that the band felt and we will now return to the rehearsal room to prepare for our next engagement, our Spring Concert on the 8th May in Chandlers Ford, with renewed determination and refreshed motivation to continue our progress and ready to come back fighting for our next visit to Torquay in 2017.
Article by Sonja Charters
Otterbourne Brass participated in the Oxford & District Brass Band Association Winter Contest on Sunday 28th February. The Band under MD Melvin White took this opportunity to play out Essays by Edward Gregson ahead of their performance at the National Brass Band Championships Regional Contest in Torquay on 13th March. We came 3rd out of 11 Bands and are now looking forward to Torquay following a further 2 weeks of rehearsals.
The Band can next be heard in concert on Sunday 8th May at Chandlers Ford Methodist Church at 2.30pm.
Article by Sarah Arnold
December is notorious for being the busiest season for brass bands. For Otterbourne Brass, this is no exception. Sarah was hard at work in the early months of 2015 booking us into shops, garden centres and Christmas Markets to give us the opportunity to play for donations. This is essential for us, as we are a charity and in order to run the band, stock and maintain instruments and have a fresh supply of music for our concerts, we rely on donations from the public.
We were able to play at 7 different venues for donations, as well as 3 venues we were invited to play at for Christmas functions?. Our thanks go to:
- Alton Masonic Centre
- Bitterne Conservative Club
- Littleton Gardening Club
- Arturi Garden Centre
- Port Solent Christmas Market
- Sainsbury’s Shirley
- Sainsbury’s Broadcut
- Sainsbury’s Badger Farm
- Winchester Council
As usual we also donated a proportion of our collections to our Charity of the Year, NeST.
In addition, Otterbourne Village Hall hosts 2 Christmas Concerts back to back. On the 12th of December, Otterbourne Brass played Christmas music for 4 hours, to regular and new audience members at the hall. We love putting this showcase together for our local fans, and this gave us an opportunity to show Melvin, Paul and Roland off to our audience.
Finally, we could be as bold as to say we finished our year off in style. We were extremely pleased and proud to be playing for George (Soprano) and Sarah (Trombone) Arnold at their 25th anniversary wedding vow renewal service. With guest soloist Kevin Crockford, and soloists Sonja Charters, our principal cornet player, and Becca Charters, our repiano cornet player, there wasn’t an arm hair or goosebump left to raise after their beautiful playing. Congratulations George and Sarah, and here’s to the next 25 years
If you’d like to hear some of the playing from the wedding, please click here
Article by Harriet Orchard