Otterbourne Christmas Carolling 2016

In addition to the Christmas Concerts, the band performed in several locations in order to collect funds. Without these carolling gigs, we would not be able to afford music, instruments and, more importantly, we wouldn’t have Melvin as our conductor.

This year we want to thank the following locations for graciously allowing us to play our Christmas carols and collect:

Sainsbury’s Badger Farm

Sainsbury’s Shirley

Sainsbury’s Hedge End

Marwell Zoo

Tesco Winnall and Brambridge Garden Centre, for whom we were due to play but which unfortunately fell through.

We also played at the Buttercross on Winchester High Street.

We’d also like to thank our annual engagements with Bitterne Conservative Club and Alton Masonic Centre, and a first-time carolling service with South Wonston WI.

Finally, thank you to the hard work and dedication of members of the band, a handful of which can boast having played at almost every session – of which there were a grand total of 19. Some had over 30 hours of carolling under their belt!

Thank you to everyone that donated during this period, and we look forward to carolling again next year.

OVH Christmas Concerts – 10/12/2016

Although somewhat belated, we love to keep our fans up-to-date with our activities, and Christmas is our busiest period. Read on for more!

The now traditional Otterbourne Christmas concert weekend was once again a highlight of the Band’s busy Christmas schedule.

Both the afternoon and evening concerts were very well supported and the audience enjoyed a varied programme of Christmas music, which included many different arrangements to traditional and well known Christmas tunes. One particular highlight was the The Huron Carol, a traditional Canadian Carol probably written in 1642, arranged as a Cornet Solo, and played superbly by Sonja Charters, the Band’s Principal Cornet.

For a little variety the concert programme also included some non-Festive pieces that were associated with “tunes from the Radio”, such as the theme tune from Desert Island Discs (“Sleepy Lagoon”), which proved to be very popular with the audience.

Another highlight was Goldcrest, a march the Band played at the recent Wessex Contest, which included a section requiring the Band to sing – a first….

At the end of the concerts the audience departed with smiles and “thank you’s”, confirmation that performances were much enjoyed and appreciated.

As always, the concerts could not have happened without the hard work of the Band, the Committee and everybody who helped to organise the events.

And not to be forgotten, Paul Chapman and Melvin White the MD’s for the concerts.

And especially not to be forgotten are Melvin’s Christmas Cracker quality jokes…

Article by Martyn Parsons

Otterbourne Village Fete and Jalopies – 26/06/2016

Sunday saw the band making its annual appearance at the Otterbourne Village Fete, an event which is enjoyed by band members young and old. The threatened rain fortuitously held off until we had finished playing and we were able to entertain visitors to the show with a varied selection of music from the Second Waltz of Shostakovich’s Jazz Suite to the sublime delights of Frozen.

The day started in its traditional way with a parade of home made jalopies (including a Dalek made entirely of lego!) driving through the village to the fete ground. Here, they were greeted in front of a large and enthusiastic audience by the band who played a couple of rousing marches by way of welcome.

Solo items included Stardust played by guest trombonist Sue, and An Untold Story performed by Berni on tenor horn. Both solos featured playing of the highest quality and we are fortunate that the band has such talented players.

Particular thanks have to go to euphonium player Will Wilkins, who stepped in at short notice to conduct the band for most of the first half. Melvin White, our musical director, was delayed on the M3 but managed to join us in time for the ice creams and cake during the break!

Thank you to our deps: Meg, Billy, Paddy, Mark, Ben, Sue and our regular guest Ken on bass trombone.

Our thanks are also sent to the organisers for another wonderful fete and we look forward to returning next year.

Article by Ian Austin

 

OVH Summer Concert – 03/07/2016

So after thunderstorms and heavy rain on Saturday, I was worried that we may not have a good turnout for our summer concert today, but the sun was shining for us and the village hall was …(almost?) full. Everyone seemed in good spirits as I arrived, having gone to pick up “Big H”, that’s Henry, who plays for Michelmersh Silver Band and was kindly helping us out in the bass section.

With the stage set and a few other deps helping out we got up on stage. As usual it’s hot up there, especially with the stage lighting. We did have a little more room today though as unfortunately we were without our percussionists.

It was a nice surprise to see Paul Kennett depping for us on 1st baritone as I played in the Hampshire Youth County Bands with him from age 9-18 & my Bach Stradivarius trumpet I got for my 10th Christmas present was from his Dad’s music shop in Alton (many years ago!) Poor Fred (usually on 1st baritone) has had to duck out as his son has appendicitis and is recovering from surgery. We all wish him a speedy recovery.

The concert began with Intrada on Regent Square and The Magic Flute followed. Melvin seemed pleasantly surprised with our standard of playing and concentration.

The first half of the concert continued and included 2 wonderful solos. The first from our principal cornet player, Sonja who played a beautiful rendition of Morricone’s Cinema Paradiso, and Amelia who played Eyes of a Child, the beautiful solo she played at the SCABA contest recently – winning the prize for Best Soloist! Both solos captivated the audience.  I was thinking if I can do half as good I’ll be pleased (my solo was coming up in the 2nd half)!

We finished the first half with highlights from Frozen … unfortunately for Melvin his young daughter wasn’t there to sing along “Let it Go! Let it Go!”. There are some tricky little bits in this piece but I think we played and listened really well today. I’m pleased to say that chatting to the audience during the interval – between cups of tea and delicious looking cakes (included in the ticket price) – the audience seemed to agree with me. They loved the programme so far and especially enjoyed the solos.

After the tea and cake were consumed and our kind volunteers had helped in the kitchen and with the raffle draw, we were set for the second half. My solo was up after the first piece and I was determined not to let the nerves get the better of me!

We couldn’t really hear what Melvin was saying and I got quite relaxed in my chair, when suddenly it was my turn to stand up. As I took the stand from Mark, our dep soprano player, the music flew off the stand and down onto the village hall floor. A kind member of the audience retrieved my music and the band began. A lovely introduction to my solo, An Untold Story. I stood at the edge of the stage (don’t look down!) and I wanted to play well on my quite new, still very shiny, Yamaha Neo tenor horn (a lovely gift from my husband for our forthcoming silver wedding anniversary).  I was lucky enough to take part in a workshop recently with Arfon Owen, (ex-Black Dyke Solo Horn player and very talented musician) organised by Basingstoke Silver Band. During the break he allowed me to try his Yamaha Neo, and the rest is history, as they say! Up until a few years ago I was always a trumpet/cornet player, but I’m really enjoying the tenor horn and hope I continue to improve (and strengthen those lungs!). I had only been given this solo a few weeks’ prior to the concert and had never seen or heard it, so have been listening to it on YouTube a lot over the past few weeks.

Getting back to the concert, we then played The Wizard of Oz which I love as it’s a family tradition to watch this film every Christmas Day (it’s not Christmas without Dorothy & those munchkins!). This was followed by the entertaining Ian with Eb bass solo Teddy Bears’ Picnic.

Remember the film Beaches? Well, our final solo was destined to be superb. Nick played The Wind Beneath my Wings on trombone. Nick always makes his playing look effortless. He is a great new addition to the band and I look forward to many more of his solos!

Unfortunately due to no percussion we had to make a few adjustments to the programme, but our audience were very understanding and enjoyed the addition of Yesterday.

All in all, despite a few regular players missing (for good reasons: One player on honeymoon – congratulations from us all – and our 1st horn player Dawn was racing a car at speeds of 120mph+ at Thruxton!) the atmosphere was great, and we are very grateful and thankful to all the deps that played today: Mark on soprano cornet, Elizabeth on 1st horn, Paul on 1st baritone and Henry on Bb bass.

Also thanks go to band members who brought along helpers to ensure everything ran smoothly and of course to those helpers and to the Otterbourne community for their support.

If you enjoyed the concert today, please tell your friends and bring them along to the next concert!

Article by Berni Ralph

OVH Summer Concert – 12/06/2016

With a win for Wales and a draw for England in the Euros the day before, the referendum a mere blip on the horizon and the sun holding out, all was set for Otterbourne Brass’s first summer concert.

Led by Paul Chapman, the band got off to a rousing start with Fame and Glory before settling into the Overture from The Magic Flute. The band then played the modern classics of My Fair Lady and Yesterday before Graham Jones’s mellow tones in the euphonium solo Michelangelo.

Cornet players Sonja, Steve and Becca then took to the stage to delight with the fast paced Bugler’s Holiday before the final piece of the first half, Let there be Praise.

During the interval, the full hall was served with home-made cakes and tea by the members of the band before being called back to action by Firedance, one of the pieces Otterbourne Brass played at the SCABA Entertainment Contest on 22nd May.

Given the wet month of June, the next two pieces weren’t out of place –  Laughter in the Rain (beautifully played by Berni on tenor horn) and Singing in the Rain. Our solo trombone player Nick gave us a wonderful rendition of Stardust, and extracts from Porgy and Bess were played before finishing off with Joyful Joyful and The Lord Bless you and Keep You.

Everyone stood for the National Anthem to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday, before collecting their raffle prizes and stepping back out into the mildly sunny Sunday afternoon.

Article by Hari Cooney

 

Spring Concert – 08/05/2016

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

The Christmas Season 2015

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

Brain Tumour Research Fundraising Concert – 06/06/2015

On Saturday the 6th of June, we had the privilege of giving a concert at St Mary’s Church, Bishopstoke in aid of Brain Tumour Research. The concert was organised by Wendy Dale, in memory of her husband Malcolm, who sadly passed away last year due to this condition.

We started off in the traditional way by playing the march The Contestor, followed by the overture Nabucodonosor, which includes the wonderful Chorus of Hebrew slaves. Our soloists for the evening were George Arnold who played Queen of the Night’s Aria from the Magic Flute and Graham Jones, who played Phillip Sparke’s Song for Ina. Our musical songs included a selection from Cats and Somewhere, from West side story.

Two pieces of film music, Soul Bossa Nova from Austin Powers and dancing with Wolves were interspersed with traditional Brass band music.

We rounded of the concert, the band on this occasion conducted by Paul Chapman, with a tribute to those who have given their lives in the service of their country. In Flanders Fields, Hymn to the Fallen and The Greatest War themes provided a rousing end to the concert.

We are pleased to be able to announce that £1040.00 was raised for Brain Tumour Research.

The band look forward to playing at St Mary’s again in the future and we thank Wendy and her team for their kind hospitality.

Goodbye Gareth! Spring Concert – 10/05/2015

On Sunday 10th May, Otterbourne Brass gave a concert at Chandlers Ford Methodist Church. The Programme contained the usual mix of brass band favourites and music from other genres including Blue Rondo a la Turk, Mephistopheles, Soul Bossa Nova and David of the White Rock.

The Band also included items from the programme they will be performing at the SCABA Entertainments Contest on the 17th May in Crawley. The soloists on this occasion were Becca Charters, who played the cornet solo Willow Echoes and Graham Jones who played the Euphonium solo Song for Ina.

The Band’s principal cornet, Sonja Charters, also presented our MD, Gareth Pritchard, with a present on behalf of the band as this was Gareth’s last concert with us before he moves overseas. The band would like to wish Gareth, Sue, Gavin, Rachel and Stephanie all the best for their new life in the US.

 

Baby Proms – 02/04/2015

Next Thursday 2nd April at St Luke’s Church, Hedge End will be our Brilliant Brass concert – just the ticket to get us in the mood for Spring. With a programme including Floral Dance, Pie Jesu, Galliard Battaglia and Old MacDonald Had Some Brass.

For anyone with older children on inset days, they are welcome. There will even be some instruments for them to have a go on at the end.

Plus a quick CONGRATULATIONS to our star repiano Cornet Player, who just found out she was awarded a distinction in her Grade 8 Cornet exam… and before GCSEs, too! Well done, Becca Charters