Ray Farr

25 May 2015

New Music Advisor at Woodfalls Band

Woodfalls Band are delighted to announce that Dr Robert Childs has accepted the post of Music Advisor. He will work closely with Musical Director Phil Randall and assist in all matters musical.

Dr Childs has been associated with Woodfalls Band for several years, recently leading them to runners up position at the Grand Shield and thus qualifying the Band to perform at the British Open later this year. Robert will take over the role of Musical Advisor from his Brother Nicholas. Paul Street, Chairman of the Band said, ‘We would like to thank Nick Childs for his help and guidance as Musical Advisor over quite a long period and wish him well with Black Dyke and his new Band, Whitburn. We are all now looking forward to working more closely with Bob who is committed to us on a weekly basis.’

Bob Childs said, ‘I enjoy working with Woodfalls they are a great bunch of people who have good potential. My first job is selecting a conductor to lead them at the British Open this year, we are already in discussions with a top musician and will be making an announcement very soon. Grimethorpe will always take priority where my diary clashes but I’m committing to Woodfalls on a weekly basis and intend conducting them at all the competitions I can.’

Ray Farr

24 September 2014

Woodfalls Band seeks commercial partners

The Woodfalls Band is looking for commercial partners to help it perform at several prestigious events in the coming year. The band, a traditional British brass band, is based on the edge of the New Forest and is celebrating 140 years of music making this year.

Brass bands regularly compete against each other and Woodfalls has been very successful recently, currently ranked as one of the top twenty bands in the UK. With all this accomplishment comes more invites for the band to perform but the ensemble is struggling financially to meet these new opportunities. In particular the band will once again play at the Royal Albert Hall in October representing the West of England region at the National Championships. And the band has also been asked to play at the prestigious Brass in Concert festival at the Sage concert hall in Gateshead in November.

“Getting a 30-piece band to London and Gateshead, paying for accommodation plus the hours of rehearsals needed to prepare for these huge events does not come cheap” said band chairman Paul Street. “We would love to hear from any company or individual who could help us meet these exciting obligations. In return the band can offer national exposure for your brand and provide your company with high quality musical entertainment on tap for any occasion.”

The band is also looking to increase its concert work and would welcome enquiries from companies or individuals who wish to sponsor a concert, a series of concerts or book the band for an engagement however big or small.

“Whether you wish to sponsor a concert or wish to book the band to perform at your event we would also welcome any enquiry” added Paul Street. “We have a number of sponsorship packages available to suit every budget whilst we can also tailor-make our performances to suit your situation, from a small ensemble up to the full band. What you will get though is high-class music making for a surprisingly good value price.”

To enquire about sponsorship packages or performances please contact Paul Street on 07889 213639 or email sponsorship@woodfallsband.com

Ray Farr

11 September 2014

Woodfalls welcome new signings to the bandroom

Woodfalls Band have announced a flourish of new signings ahead of their 2014 National Finals appearance.

Ray Farr has been appointed guest conductor for the New Forest based outfit as they seek to better their sixth place from last year’s Royal Albert Hall outing. The highly experienced conductor, arranger and adjudicator has begun preparations to work his magic on Peter Meechan’s score The Legend of King Arthur.

Ray Farr says "It’s an absolute joy to work with such a fine band on this exciting work. I look forward to the Royal Albert Hall performance immensely”

Woodfalls also welcome to their permanent ranks a quartet of music students. Lauren Chinn makes a welcome return to the band on cornet and Matthew Fletcher has come in on second euphonium whilst Lawrence Wareham has enlisted in the percussion section.

Grant Jameson, a finalist for the BBC Radio 2 Young Brass Award also joins the band on Solo Euphonium.

Band chairman Paul Street said “our long standing principal euphonium John Starkes suffered ill health earlier on in the summer which forced him to temporarily stop playing. The latest news is that John is making a good return to full health and the band wish him well as he gets back to playing. John’s shoes are very difficult to fill but we are delighted to welcome the American euphonium soloist Grant Jameson to the band, he will be a great asset to us.”

Joining the youngsters are two experienced musicians, Jannine Aston returns to the band on cornet and Pat Brady on BBb tuba.

“We have already had several very enjoyable but hardworking rehearsals exploring the Arthurian sound world and we are looking forward to the National Finals, and of course our début appearance at the Brass in Concert Championships at the Sage Gateshead a little later on in the season” added Paul Street. “It is a pleasure to work with Ray for the first time and our new signings have brought a wealth of talent to our bandroom.”

Royal Albert Hall

15 October 2013

Woodfalls best ever result at the National Finals

The band competed in the 2013 National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday 12 October. They were representing the West of England Area along with The Flowers Band, after both gained qualification in the area contests back in March. The National Championships form the most prestigious event in the brass band calendar and to get there is an achievement in itself!

The Woodfalls Band were lucky enough to be conducted by Dr Nicholas Childs, who usually conducts the world famous Black Dyke Band. The test piece chosen for all bands to play, Of Distant Memories, was dedicated by the composer, Edward Gregson, to Dr Childs and his brother and so the players knew his interpretation would be something a little bit special.

After sadly losing well loved, long standing member and supporter of the band David Shelley shortly after qualifying at the area contest, the band members were determned to put on the best performance they could. Hours and hours of extra rehearsals finally paid off when Nick Childs led them to their highest ever finish in the band’s 139 year history, coming 6th and beating some very strong competition from the likes of Leyland, Fodens, GUS and Flowers.

This was also the first time a West of England band has featured in the top six prizes since 1994. A historic result for the band of which Dave would have been very proud!

If you want to see the band perform their next event is the annual ‘We Will Remember Them’ concert with the Salisbury Plain Military Wives Choir, Salisbury City Hall, 3rd November. Hurry if you want tickets though as they are nearly all gone! Tickets online from http://www.cityhallsalisbury.co.uk/index.php?page=1337

Dave Shelley

11 August 2013

Brian (Sam) Easterbrook
Woodfalls Band Stalwart
Secretary 1983 2013

Brian Easterbrook joined Woodfalls Band in January 1974 and remains an exemplary member. He served with distinction as band secretary, a position he held from 1983 until 2013 - considered by many to be a unique period in the band’s history of fiscal growth, artistic development and contesting success – all this when brass bands were generally in decline! He has been a valued player for forty years and now looks forward to spending more time with his long suffering partner, Christine and practicing his cornet, which in his words, he has sadly neglected for too long.

During his tenure as band secretary he worked tirelessly to advance the band, most notably securing a thirteen year sponsorship from South West Trains, two National Lottery Grants - one for instruments and van and a second for a band hall refurbishment. In 2008, at the termination of the SWT sponsorship, he acquired the necessary planning permissions and completed further alterations to the band hall to accommodate two flats within, thus forevermore securing a financial income for the band.

Brian self promoted many Woodfalls Band concerts including four in Salisbury Cathedral; in 2000 he founded the annual concert “We Will Remember Them” that he runs and which has raised thousands of pounds for the Royal British Legion “Poppy Appeal”.  In 2003 and 2005 he organised band tours of Switzerland along with tour CDs. He estimates that in the last twenty years he has brought getting on for £400k to the band coffers.  Given the above service we are proud to honour Brian as a band stalwart in the Woodfalls Band Hall of Fame.

Dave Shelley

14 May 2013

Woodfalls triumph in the Senior Cup

from 4barsrest.com

Although it would be almost impossible to verify, you suspect news of Woodfalls' victory in the Senior Cup was met with an ironic smile of satisfaction by Dr Nicholas Childs as he sped home on Saturday night.

It hasn’t been a vintage year of success so far for the Black Dyke Director of Music, so a victory, although not entirely eradicating the disappointments of Bradford and Oslo of late, will have made the journey a little more pleasurable.

Speaking to 4BR he later said. "I have such a great time conducting the band on my visits, that the short trip home from Blackpool flew by after they played so well.

The win is a credit to the band and the commitment and effort they gave in preparing the piece. I’m delighted for them."

After securing qualification to the National Finals at Albert Hall later this year, Woodfalls deservedly claimed their second Senior Cup success in four years by producing a finely structured performance of Tchaikovsky's ‘Capriccio Italien’ to beat off the challenge of an impressive East Yorkshire Motor Services conducted by Alan Morrison.

There was no happier man in the entire Winter Gardens than 90 year old Ken Worgan, who marched onto the stage at a tempo as brisk as Woodfalls' ‘Capriccio’ finale, to lift the Senior Cup as a proud President of the West of England band.

"We’re delighted," he told 4BR. "It was wonderful to have Dr Childs back down with us this week. We have a great musical relationship with him and he certainly brings the best out of us—especially today. It was a superb performance."

Meanwhile, Kevin Woods added: "We have enjoyed a fine year so far and have now met two of our top objectives—to get to London and take a step closer to a return to the British Open."

13 May 2013

News from the Parish Magazine

by Brian Easterbrook

The last two weeks will be recorded in the band’s annals as a memorable period in which it covered itself in glory at the Gala Concert in Bristol Cathedral for the Organ Festival and also won first prize in the Senior Cup, Blackpool.

The concert in Bristol Cathedral came by way of an invitation from composer and band friend, Prof. Philip Wilby.  He moved to Bristol a few years ago when his wife accepted the appointment as Cathedral Presenter, together they have championed the band and facilitated their many concert appearances.  Sadly for us, they are now embarking on a life of retirement to their windmill home in the north – we wish them well and thank them for their continued support!  The concert included music from the classical world with such perennial favourites as Saint-Seans Organ Symphony, Walton’s Crown Imperial and Orff’s Carmina Burana, the latter being played for the first time by the band and involving a choral group from local volunteers - what a triumph for all concerned!

Blackpool is well known for its stag and hen nights and as the party capital of the UK.  Woodfalls Band did its best to live up to the party atmosphere when, after being announced as the winner of the Senior Cup, it embarked on an evening of celebration.  The band has been through a difficult period of late with the loss of band stalwart, David Shelley.  The victory on Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio Italien was well deserved and we dedicate it to David.

On a personal note, I enjoyed being picked up from my house by the band bus and dropped off at my door, the last time that happened was 1977 when I had forgotten we had a band engagement and the coach pulled up outside and Ron Bligh knocked the door to ask if I was coming to band; oops – happy days!

Dave Shelley

18 April 2013

David Joseph Shelley

13th April 1947 – 25th March 2013

On Tuesday 16th April at St Mary’s Church, Lover the Woodfalls Band bade a heartfelt farewell to one of its stalwarts, David Joseph Shelley. The small country church was full to capacity with many, many mourners also spilling out of a marquee erected to accommodate those friends and family that wanted to pay their final respects to a village character that had touched their lives. The band squeezed into one corner of the church to play the music especially chosen by David. Their professional Conductor, Dr. Nicholas Childs made the journey from his home in Yorkshire to conduct.

The Green name is synonymous with the Woodfalls Band and David was proud to be a great great-grandson of founder, John Green – see 1904 family picture on the Gallery page.  David’s grandmother, affectionately known as Auntie Nora to the many youngsters that she taught was, for many years, the band secretary. She taught David very well and soon David replaced his father, Basil on solo trombone. Basil sadly died at just 47 and his grandfather also died young.  At 65, and by today’s standards, David died too young but he lived a life full of passion for all that he did and those whom he loved.

David went on to give over fifty dedicated years of service to the band. He was a big character, never happier than with a pint and an audience for his many stories and band anecdotes. David’s wife, Sylvia supported him throughout and spent many years behind the scenes working tirelessly as band treasurer to support him with his hobby.
David’s other loves were cricket and football and in particular his beloved Pompey. In his youth, David was a fine footballer with comparisons drawn to the Manchester City and England midfielder, Francis Lee – blond hair, slightly overweight but with fantastic ball control but football always gave way for his band. Latterly, David became a cricket umpire, a role that he took very seriously and enjoyed very much.

Although involved in many activities and hobbies, David’s family always came first, he leaves wife Sylvie, Paul and Ann, Neil and Julia and grandchildren George and Phoebe - they and we will miss him terribly!

Dave Shelley

12 April 2013

Thank You

We would like to thank the many people that donated so generously to the band at the recent passing of John Hand. They include I. Newman, C. Kingshott, R. Batten, A. Dredge, S. Dodson, J. Wilde, M. Goddard, J. Barker and R. England.

12 March 2013

News from the Parish Magazine

by Brian Easterbrook

On Sunday 10th March, the band entered the annual National Brass Band Championships at Torquay - this is the regional round for the West of England where bands in all sections compete for a place in the finals.  The lower section band finals take place in Cheltenham in September and the Championship (top section) bands compete in the Royal Albert Hall, London in October. There are an average of 14 bands in each of the five sections with only two bands in each section going through to the finals. The preparation by all the bands is long and vigorous with most of the winter spent on their individual test piece.

Woodfalls had a busy winter with concerts and a trip to Skegness to cope with so, preparation time was limited and intense with many extra rehearsals over the last few weeks. On the big day, the tension mounts as the draw for order of play is held, then, the news broke that we had drawn to play number one, our hearts sank, nobody wins off number one but we would do our best!  The band, under its musical director, Dr. Robert Childs, played at the very highest level, could this be the year to win off number one?  Sadly, it was not to be and we were beaten into second place by our close rivals, Flowers Band from Gloucester. Second off a number one draw was almost like a win and we are thrilled to be invited to compete in the National Finals at the Royal Albert Hall, London in October.

May is shaping up to be a busy month.  We are taking part in the Bristol Organ Festival Gala Concert in Bristol Cathedral on Sat 4th which will include "Carmina Burana” – this is a fantastic piece which the band has never tackled before, also on the bill is Saint-Saens Organ Symphony and Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio Italien.   Later, on Sat 11th we are in Blackpool for the Spring Festival and on Friday 24th we are embarking on a unique experience to compete in the Whit Friday Marches – this is an annual event held around the villages of Saddleworth near Manchester. Hundreds of bands play a street march through the village and then a contest march to an adjudicator before hopping back onto the bus to another village – this happens as many times as possible from 4pm until midnight.  There is good prize money on offer in each village to offset the costs but first we have to do well – beer will not be touched until after midnight – that’s the plan anyway!

12 February 2013

News from the Parish Magazine

by Brian Easterbrook

Last year, at the Butlins Skegness contest, the band came up short on the Saturday set test piece yet excelled in the Sunday Entertainment contest but as the two disciplines are added together to determine the overall winner we did not win best band but came away with third place and the much coveted Entertainment cup and banner plus £1,000.  This year, however, it was a reversal of fortune as the band excelled on the set test piece but was found wanting in the entertainment section, coming fifth overall. Perhaps next year we shall succeed in both disciplines?

It was not all doom and gloom for, as last year’s most entertaining band, this year we were paid to perform a concert on the Saturday night in the REDS night club. Two thousand people squeezed into the venue to hear the band under its charismatic guest conductor, Paul Lovatt-Cooper and they were not disappointed. The organisers requested something light-hearted so we performed a film-night set with a quiz night twist – the audience could answer six pre-prepared questions about each film tune for a £100 cash prize.  Internet pundits, 4barsrest.com tweeted that Woodfalls Band were giving a high energy concert and should be sponsored by Red Bull.

Band stalwart, Dave Shelley said to me as we stood and watched …if my great-great-great-grandfather could see two thousand people dancing and jumping to Woodfalls Band almost 140 years after he helped form the band to accompany the hymn singing in the Methodist chapel, he would be “blown-away”.

Plans are now underway to celebrate 140 years of making music in Woodfalls in 2014 – watch this space for details.

3 February 2013

Bandsman's Gift

John Hand, 6th March 1930 – 6th December 2012

On Friday 25th January, members of Woodfalls, Downton, Wilton, Hyde and Sandleheath bands joined forces to provide the accompaniment to the hymn singing for the funeral of local band supporter, John Hand, who suddenly passed away after suffering a stroke.

John Hand played percussion in the Downton Band for many years. Latterly, he retired from playing to become a passionate supporter of local bands and band music in general. His retirement was not complete, however, as he would often play for Woodfalls Band on the march on Remembrance Sunday through Redlynch where he lived and was a popular character. John’s final performance was to play the bass drum for Woodfalls Band on Sunday 11th November in St Mary’s Church, Redlynch.

The bands were shocked by John’s sudden passing but proud that he had lived a life blessed with the joy of music.  He rewarded their comradeship by remembering each of the bands in his will with a financial donation to band funds.

Funeral of John Hand
Representatives of the five bands remembered in the will of John Hand.

12 January 2013

News from the Parish Magazine

by Brian Easterbrook

The funeral of band supporter, John Hand will take place in Woodfalls Methodist Church at 2pm on Friday 25th January and at 3pm in the Crematorium.

John bequeathed a small sum of his estate to the Woodfalls Band. It is believed that he also bequeathed similar amounts to Downton Band, Hyde Band, Wilton & District Youth Band and Sandleheath Band. Banding was obviously dear to John and it is heart-warming to know that he was touched by our music and comradeship to the extent that we all were remembered in his will. Representatives from each of the bands will pay their respects to John by combining to accompany the hymn singing at the Woodfalls Chapel.

This year, 2013 will be a year for making plans as next year the band celebrates its 140th Anniversary and it is also 100 years since the outbreak of WW1. We will remember and celebrate the time when three families, the Mitchells, Warners and Greens had the idea to form a band to accompany the hymn singing in the new Methodist Chapel on the Ridge.  We will also remember those village families that made the ultimate sacrifice in WW1 that we might enjoy life in a free and democratic society – without the latter we would not have the former – food for thought in 2013.

11 December 2012

News from the Parish Magazine

by Brian Easterbrook

It is with a heavy heart that this month I bring sad news of the passing of John Hand.  Brass bands were John’s passion; he was a regular visitor to local band rooms including Wilton, Hyde, Sandleheath and Woodfalls. John had a love of traditional band music and marches in particular. It was as a drummer on the remembrance parade that John’s talent came to the fore. Only a couple of years ago he was the regular side drummer before age got the better of him and he limited his participation to playing the bass drum in the church, indeed, on 11th November he played bass drum for the band in St Mary’s church – little did we know that this would be his last farewell. It was known that John had not enjoyed the best of health recently but his sudden passing was unexpected and came as a huge shock to his many friends. He will be sadly missed by Woodfalls Band and the greater local banding community. Redlynch will mourn the loss of a colourful character.

The band’s new conductor, Phil Randell made his contest debut at Weymouth on Sat. 1st Dec. when we gave a run-out of the test piece “A Tale As Yet Untold” which is the set work for Butlins in January – the band gave a remarkable performance of the difficult work which was rewarded with first place along with awards for best basses and best euphonium, John Starkes.  If you are a band-fan you should treat yourself to a weekend in Skegness where you will spend the weekend immersed in all things brass – there will be trade stands, lectures, contests, chat-show and even a concert by the Woodfalls Band on the Saturday night – what’s not to like?

We open the New Year with a joint concert in Andover on Saturday 12th January with the Andover Town Band in Andover Baptist Church, Charlton Rd, Andover, SP10 3JH.   Tickets are just £6. Tel: 01264 324056. One week later and we defend our title “Butlins Entertainment Champions 2012” in Skegness with Paul Lovatt-Cooper conducting.  Follow the live action from Butlins on the internet at 4barsrest.com on 19th & 20th January 2013.

May I close by thanking you for your continued support and wish you and yours a peaceful 2013.

3 December 2012

Woodfalls round off their year on a high as they immediately set their sights on 2013

from 4barsrest.com

Woodfalls rounded off their 2012 contesting year by reclaiming the Wessex Open title on a bright, but bitterly cold mid winter day in Weymouth on the weekend.

A classy performance at the Pavilion Theatre of Philip Sparke’s ‘A Tale as yet Untold’ under the command of Phil Randell saw the Butlins Entertainment champion claim victory for the third time in four years, with the added bonus of also picking up the ‘Best March’ honours with a rousing rendition of ‘Ravenswood’.

Adjudicator Major Paul Norley described the winning performance as ‘excellent’, aided by an outstanding personal contribution from John Starks who took the ‘Best Instrumentalist’ and ‘Best Euphonium’ awards, whilst the foundation of a clear victory was built upon the efforts of their prize winning ‘Best Bass’ section.

Spokesperson Brian Easterbrook told 4BR: "It’s a great way to round off a busy year for the band. We enjoy supporting a well run event and take great pride in regaining the Open title. Phil Randell has done a wonderful job since joining us a couple of months ago, and the performance showed real professionalism with some outstanding individual contributions."

He added: "Even though it ends the 2012 on a high we are already preparing for 2013 with Paul Lovatt-Cooper coming down to start work on our Butlins preparation this week as we look to defend our entertainment title and hopefully improve on last year’s third place finish at Skegness."

11 November 2012

News from the Parish Magazine

by Brian Easterbrook

As I write on Sunday 11th November, each of us in our own way remember those that ‘gave their today that we might enjoy our tomorrow’.  The band is very proud to lead the Royal British Legion village parade and to provide the Last Post and Reveille in the church and at the two memorials along the way where we remember those village folk that paid the ultimate sacrifice.

The Royal British Legion also reminds us through its Poppy Appeal that we should remember the living to support their work for ex-servicemen and women; it is a pleasure, therefore, to do our bit for the cause on Remembrance Sunday. Equally, we are justly proud to have initiated the remembrance concert “We Will Remember Them” which this year raised almost four thousand pounds for the Poppy Appeal.

It is acknowledged that feverish public support for military wives choirs and in particular our special guests, Salisbury Plain Military Wives Choir was the key to achieving our goal of the last twelve years - to fill the City Hall. The challenge now is to do it every year so, if you attended for the first time to hear the choir perhaps you enjoyed the band also and you will continue to give us your support and tell your friends. I have invited the audience to give us feedback of what elements they enjoyed and what we might do to enhance the experience for you next year - if you have a suggestion email it to me at brian@woodfalls.plus.com.  To view some pictures from the show follow this link.

Christmas is just around the corner, you can see the band at St Aldhelm’s Church, Branksome on 15th Dec. at 7:30pm and at the Redlynch Sports Club on Sunday 16th at 8pm.

13 July 2012

News from the Parish Magazine

by Brian Easterbrook

Having successfully performed Prof Philip Wilby’s “Passion for Our Time” in Bristol Cathedral in 2010 and 2011 the Woodfalls Band is delighted that Prof Wilby has now engaged the band to perform the opening concert of the Bristol Cathedral Organ Appeal on 5th May 2013.  The proposed concert programme includes Walton's Coronation Te Deum, Carmina Burana, 'I Was Glad' and Walton's Orb and Sceptre.  We can’t wait to get our hands on the music which will add some “spice” to our traditional brass band repertoire.  If you are “old” enough and know your music you will easily understand the significance of the two words in inverted commas above.

Away from the concert platform, the band’s next contesting challenge will be at the Wychavon Entertainment Contest on Sunday 16th September when we will be conducted by Dr. Robert Childs – exciting times ahead!

By the way, if you are struggling to understand the inverted commas brain-teaser think Henry Cooper and TV adverts or ask a grown up.

14 May 2012

News from the Parish Magazine

by Brian Easterbrook

You have probably seen and read the many reports of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee visit to Salisbury.  Coverage has been extensive with all the media outlets vying for the exclusive news story or picture.  The Woodfalls Band was delighted to be a part of the entertainment laid on for the historical royal visit and we have our own unique account of the joy and privilege felt by us all as participants.

The build up to the big day was cloaked in secrecy and intrigue; the initial contact from the Council would only use the language of a ‘royal’ visit with no reference to the Queen.  As royalists, we were fully aware of the significance of 2012 and the planned Diamond Jubilee Tour so it was pretty obvious to us all that we were being engaged to play for Her Majesty the Queen – what an honour!

The obvious difficulty for us was that we were talking about a work day and ….would we be able to put out a band?  Concerns were unfounded as responses from the band were positive, days off work were booked and travel arrangements made.  The couple of players that could not get time off were replaced by former old boys, Eric Spreadbury, David Shelley and David Mallett.  Fred Barter was hoping to play but sadly, his brother and former bandsman, Cyril passed away and the funeral timing could not have been worse – our thoughts are with Fred and Cyril’s family.

So, what of the big day; it started badly with torrential rain but the forecast was good although it didn’t feel that way when, at 9 o’clock, I arrived at the Cathedral Close to unload our equipment.  As they say, the sun always shines on the righteous and as predicted, the clouds cleared and blue skies emerged triumphantly to create the perfect afternoon.

If there was a down side to the event it was that the Queen did not quite reach the band on her walkabout but we were honoured nonetheless to receive a personal visit from the Duke of Edinburgh – he is renowned for his unique wit and turn of phrase but protocol prohibits me from divulging the exchange in this column, however, it has given me a few column inches for my banding memoirs.  To see pictures of our big day click here.

29 April 2012

News Update

by Brian Easterbrook

Unless you have been on a desert island for the whole of April you probably think you will have seen or read every detail of the Titanic disaster.  You’ve watched interviews with descendants of the victims, seen artifacts from the ship and heard of the disaster fund set up to provide for the victims which made its last payment to a Southampton resident as recently as 1998.

Back in 1912, The Woodfalls Band, which was founded in 1874, felt compelled to do its bit for the fund and put on a local concert which was reported locally in the Salisbury press as follows:-

Friday May 10th 1912
THE TITANIC DISASTER:  The public hall was crowded on Sunday afternoon when the Woodfalls Band gave a sacred concert on behalf of the sufferers by the disaster to the Titanic.  They played skillfully an excellent programme of music, and were assisted by Mr. Hadley Moody and Mrs. Green as vocalists.  A collection at the close realised about £4.

The public hall was, we believe, in the High Street above Waterstones?  The band’s contribution to the overall fund of £41,000 was a measure of how much we had all been moved by the disaster.

Sacred music will again be the theme when The Redlynch Village Hall celebrates its centenary over the weekend of 19/20 May.  The hall was originally part of St Mary’s Church so the band is delighted to assist with a “Songs of Praise” in the hall on Sunday 20th May at 2:30pm.  For details, call Paul Bromage on 01725-510753.  There are many other events taking place at the hall over the weekend, so, if sacred music is not for you, ask about other celebrations.

The annual “Firework” concert at Trafalgar School, Downton, will take place on Saturday 14th July.  The band will perform a concert of music with a Last Night of the Proms ending.

27 March 2012

News Update

by Brian Easterbrook

The band is delighted to announce that it has been engaged to perform for the QE2, given that last year we played out 24 cruise ships you would be forgiven for thinking in terms of ocean going liners, but no, this is for the Queen’s Royal visit to Salisbury Cathedral Close on Tuesday 1st May as part of her Diamond Jubilee tour. All the wards in Wiltshire are invited to provide a tented display of their community heritage and Woodfalls Band will be part of South Wiltshire’s exhibition.  It promises to be a special day in our lives and a historical moment for the band!

Last month, the effects of the financial crisis hit the band in a big way as P&O Cruises informed us of the immediate cessation of bands playing on the quayside.  It remains to be seen whether P&O will reinstate its unique historical tradition of providing a brass band to play out the cruise ships but in the interim, it will leave the band thinking very carefully about how we can raise additional funds to bridge the shortfall – if you have any ideas please contact us, this could be in the form of concerts or sponsorship etc.

On Sunday 11th March, the band was hoping to create its own piece of history by winning back-to-back victories in Torquay but alas, it was not to be.  The form book was turned on its head as many of the fancied bands languished in the lower placings whilst other newly promoted bands, and some trying to avoid relegation, defied the odds by finishing above expectation.  Playing off a No. 5 draw, the band was placed seventh, much to the dismay of the assembled experts and the self appointed internet pundits who predicted a second place, but as they say ….”that’s contesting”.  Onwards and upwards now as we prepare for the Royal visit on 1st May and a trip to Blackpool on 12th May where there will be more queens than you can shake a stick at.

13 February 2012

February News

by Brian Easterbrook

We commenced the year thinking there is little chance of us improving on last year’s 2nd place at The Butlins Entertainment Contest but wonder of wonders, we won!  Conductor, Paul Lovatt-Cooper composed & constructed a programme of music with just the right blend of contrast and excitement which had the audience on its feet at the conclusion of our 25 minute set.  The weekend was, however, not just about the Sunday entertainment contest and the band’s performance of the set work Un Vie De Matelot on the Saturday was rewarded with a 6th place so the combined placing of 6th and 1st put us in 3rd place overall.  Nonetheless, we came away from Skegness with £2k for 3rd overall and £1k for winning the entertainment section so all-in-all, a very fruitful & rewarding weekend!

Three weeks later on 11th February and the band took to the stage at the Yeovil Entertainment contest to defend its title, won there last year for only the first time!  For reasons of time restraint and prohibitive rules, we had to leave out our percussion feature and could not use a bass guitar as we had at Butlins.  This detracted from the programme but the capacity audience was thrilled with the band’s performance, however, as the crowd was showing its collective appreciation for what many thought was a winning performance, the adjudicator, Alan Fernie was placing us 3rd with the words … Much to admire, the presentation & overall image, thought & concept are revolutionary & give us all something to think about.  The big music is very exciting if a little over the top for me – I’m clearly in the minority but I’m looking for something else musically though?

Never more was the phrase, “you can please some of the people all of the time & all of the people some of the time but …if you don’t impress the adjudicator???

It is onwards and upwards now as we head to Torquay to see if we can pull off back-to-back West of England titles.

12 January 2012

News from the Parish Magazine

by Brian Easterbrook

With the commencement of another new year hope springs eternal and we enter a new contest season full of optimism for the future success of the band.  Last year will be a hard act to follow as we came 2nd in the Butlins Entertainment section, won the West of England title for only the fourth time in our history and won the Yeovil Entertainment contest after 25 years of trying!

Perhaps like top-flight football teams, success is a fluid entity and the pursuance of excellence can be a moving target.  This sometimes leads to replacement of managers and transfer of players, so it is with bands and the last few months have not been without their controversy.  On a positive note, the band has put in place a team of excellent conductors with Paul Lovatt-Cooper (composer of the Albert Hall test piece) taking us to Butlins and Yeovil whilst Bob Childs (brother of Nick Childs) will direct at Torquay in our attempt to be the first band to retain the West of England title since the demise of the famous Sun Life band in 1996.  Nick Childs returns to direct the band at the Spring Festival in May held at the Blackpool Winter Gardens.  Wouldn’t it be a great story if the Childs brothers could pull off the double bubble by winning back-to-back victories in Torquay?

13 December 2011

News from the Parish Magazine

by Brian Easterbrook

After the success of the concert, “We Will Remember Them” a donation of £1704.00 was made to the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.  Sadly, it was quite a bit down on last year’s donation but the financial crunch is impacting on all aspects of life so it should come as no surprise that the audience was not as large as last year.  Nonetheless, every little helps and I am sure your money will be used wisely to support our brave men and women formerly engaged in the defence of our country.

There have been a couple of false dawns in trying to restart the Woodfalls junior band but signs are encouraging.  Former Hyde bandsman, but now a Woodfalls bandsman, Lloyd Rayner, has for many years been running the Hyde Junior Band.  Lloyd has now transferred his skills to setting up a junior band at Burgate School where Lloyd works as a brass teacher.  They already have a strong group of youngsters attending rehearsals after school every Monday from 6pm until 7:30pm but Lloyd would like to invite any learners or former Woodfalls juniors to call him on 07886 767479 or 01425 652947 with a view to attending.   Lloyd is working hard with his youngsters preparing for their performance at the Youth Festival at Trafalgar School on 28th January 2012.  Eventually, Lloyd is hoping to harness the support of Woodfalls bandsmen to teach the developing junior band so the connections to Woodfalls Band will hopefully grow organically.

When we reflect on 2011, apart from financial depression, the band will forever remember a year in which we became West of England Champions and Yeovil Entertainment Champions.  We have the pictures on the wall to prove it and in years to come we will say …. “That was a good year”!

It only remains for me to thank you one and all for your loyal support, especially the Redlynch Players for their contribution to the remembrance concert and to wish you season’s greetings and all the best for 2012.

For further information contact:
Brian Easterbrook Tel: 01722-710074     
e-mail:  brian@woodfalls.plus.com

15 November 2011

News from the Parish Magazine

by Brian Easterbrook

After some fear and trepidation, the annual remembrance concert “We Will Remember Them” which this year told the story of a fictional family set to music and which featured at its core, The Redlynch Players succeeded to popular acclaim.

I am reminded by Alvin Weeks that it was the spring of 2000 when we first discussed the possibility of putting on a remembrance concert.  The rational was to raise the profile of the band locally with a good quality concert whilst at the same time raising funds for the Poppy Appeal.  Eleven years on and after several reinventions from Acker Bilk to “Arf a Mo” and I made the leap of faith to write the fictional story using all the experiences gained from the previous shows.  The Redlynch Players embraced my idea with gusto and were enthusiastic in their interpretation of the story.  I am particularly grateful to Lloyd Perry for producing the show and Ron Perry and Sarah Newman for their narration of the story but the entire cast was marvelous and totally deserving of the cheers and applause which was spontaneously delivered at the curtain call.

Ideas for next year’s show are already spinning around my brain but I would welcome any input from you the public, after all, it is your show.

You can see the band locally at the Redlynch Club on Sunday 18th December at 8pm but if you can travel, how about a spectacular Christmas Concert at St. Aldhelm’s Church, Bransksome Tel: 01202:571485.   The concert will feature the cultured singing voice of Darren Bartlett and the south coast singing group, Salvacosta made up of some of the very best singers from the Salvation Army.

For further information contact:
Brian Easterbrook Tel: 01722 710074    
e-mail: brian@woodfalls.plus.com

23 August 2011

News from the Parish Magazine

by Brian Easterbrook

The concert in Romsey Abbey is fast approaching. The programme will be eclectic and will include some of the band’s prize winning programme from earlier in the year when we won the Yeovil entertainment contest and came 2nd in the Butlins entertainment section. The award winning Risca Male Choir will share the platform and sing some of their wonderful Welsh folk songs. The band and choir will combine to produce some soulful sounds in a celebration of brass and voices. The concert takes place on Saturday 17th September. Tel: 01794 512987 for tickets.

This year, I have successfully introduced two extra promotional methods for the concert “We Will Remember Them” on 6th November. The first is a window display in Salisbury Library which, in addition to the concert detail, will also include a strong link to the launch of the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal. If you have experience in dressing shop windows your input would be very much appreciated. My second publicity coup is that Wiltshire Council has agreed to advertise the concert in its Citizen magazine which is distributed to every home in the county. The combination of the window display and the advert leads me to be hopeful that we may be able to put up the sold-out sign – wouldn’t that be great? Call the box office on 01722 434434 now for your tickets.

Later, in October, the band will be competing at the National Brass Band finals in the Royal Albert Hall, London. It would be good to have some local support so if you are a band supporter and you would like to be there to listen how about organizing a supporter’s outing.  Admission tickets can be purchased for under £10 and we have a contact for mini-buses so we can assist with ease of travel.

For further information contact:
Brian Easterbrook Tel: 01722 710074    
e-mail: brian@woodfalls.plus.com

30 July 2011

News from the Parish Magazine

by Brian Easterbrook

Redlynch Players headline at the City Hall, more later! Perhaps midsummer is a good time to remind you of some of the exciting upcoming band events so that you can put dates in your social diary and hopefully purchase tickets. On Saturday 17th September at 7:30pm the band will be performing for the first time in its history at the splendid Norman Romsey Abbey - one of the finest in Southern England! The concert will also feature Risca Male Choir and tickets are available from Romsey Tourist Information Centre Tel: 01794 512987. We are promoting the concert so please give us your support or we shall be losing money and playing to ourselves!
On Saturday 1st October another first for the band as we play a concert in Shirley Salvation Army where their Songsters will also feature in two slots. The concert starts at 7:00pm and tickets can be purchased from 023 8077 1655.

Saturday 15th October and the band will be at the Royal Albert Hall for the National Brass Band Finals of Great Britain. The band has a lot of fundraising to do for this weekend so if you would like to make a donation just give me a call. We are actively seeking sponsorship for the trip to London, however, we are indebted to our former sponsors, South West Trains, who have very kindly agreed to provide free rail travel for the band’s journey. Incidentally, we’ve been engaged to perform at a number of weddings and anniversaries locally which has helped with fund raising. We are grateful to you for thinking of us for your special event – if you have a special celebration and would like the band to play, again, give me a call.

On Sunday November 6th, we have the annual “We Will Remember Them” concert in Salisbury City Hall at 3pm. This year there is a special reason for you to attend as the Redlynch Players will join the band to help tell the story of “The Days of our Lives”. This promises to be an interesting and memorable concert so if you enjoy nostalgia this is the concert for you. Call the box office on 01722 434434

For further information contact:
Brian Easterbrook Tel: 01722 710074    
e-mail: brian@woodfalls.plus.com

14 June 2011

News from the Parish Magazine

by Brian Easterbrook

You remember when I wrote about the band’s forthcoming contest in sunny Blackpool? Well, it was not sunny, actually or metaphorically. Conversely, when we won in Torquay I wrote about the way in which the preparation was faultless and everything went according to plan. Regrettably, every yin has a yang and Blackpool was ours.

It all started a couple of weeks before the contest when one of the percussion players called to say that he had broken his foot whilst walking the dog, that in itself would not have been the end of the world had it not have been for the fact that we were already one percussionist short of a full set which on that occasion should have been four! I must have called every player in the south and some further beyond before we eventually found one in Norway and another in a local army band. Two days before we left for Blackpool another player called to say his wife had to have an emergency operation and so he could not travel, after some hurried rescoring of parts we left for Blackpool.

On arrival we were called to say the operation had gone well and said payer would be traveling overnight, this could have been positive news were it not for the fact that it was too late to change things back –we were very glad that the operation was successful! On arrival in Blackpool we discovered that the entire seafront road was closed to traffic and guess what, our rehearsal room was at the opposite end of the seafront (7 miles long) to the venue. A rehearsal was planned for Saturday morning at 9am but when we got there we were told that a car full of bandsmen was stuck at the hotel because the driver had snapped the ignition key so the rehearsal was delayed pending arrival of car full of bandsmen. The car was eventually started and arrived at the rehearsal at the same time as the news of our order of draw which was the dreaded number one. Corporal Jones impersonations rang out with cries of “don’t panic”. There was no time to pack away so we just grabbed what we needed and set off to the venue without the use of the seafront road – nightmare! We were due on stage at 10am and players were seen running down the street with tubas on shoulders at 9:50. As band number one we eventually played the National Anthem at 10:10 followed by the hardest test piece know to man and retired to the bar to await our fate. At about 5pm and several beers later we were informed that we had come 17th out of 20 and were to be relegated.

After four wins in six it is humbling to be brought down to earth – perhaps we can use this as a wake-up call before we head for London in October and the National Finals at the Royal Albert Hall.

26 May 2011

News from the Parish Magazine

by Brian Easterbrook

After the warmest April since records began and summer just around the corner it may seem a little premature to be thinking about the autumn but forward planning is essential when promoting a concert. I am, of course, talking about the annual “We Will Remember Them” which is promoted jointly by the Royal British Legion and the Woodfalls Band.

I was hoping to put on the Karl Jenkins “Armed Man”; some said it was a little highbrow but I believed it to be very accessible and I am sure you would have enjoyed it but it was not to be. Despite my best efforts, I could not find a choir with the time to prepare the 40 minute work – maybe next year?

Perhaps it is just as well for I have now come up with a theme that is not too removed from the tried and tested which I hope will be very popular with our supportive audience.  It will be called “The Days of our Lives” and will be a nostalgic look back at the events and music that punctuated our lives.   Dick Barton rides again and workers will come out to play, Glenn Miller is sure to make a touch down and nightingales will sing once more in Berkeley Square when we’ll meet again at the City Hall on Sunday 6th November at 3:00p.m.

Tickets are held at £12 each with concessions of £2. Children enter for just £5. Tel: Box office on 01722434434.

For further information contact:
Brian Easterbrook Tel: 01722-710074     e-mail: brian@woodfalls.plus.com

12 April 2011

News from the Parish Magazine

by Brian Easterbrook

In the autumn of 1973, I was a Downton Band player until I was head-hunted to join the Woodfalls Band cornet section and after completing my Christmas duties with Downton I signed to play for Woodfalls.  My fist contest was the area qualifier in Bristol where the band came 5th but my next contest was the Grand Shield held at the Belle Vue funfair in Manchester.  It was to everyone’s amazement that we came first on the test piece Prince Igor. The win was very underwhelming for one so young as me but several older members of the band were in tears of joy and the celebrations went on for weeks with pictures in the local paper and more beer drinking than a liver could cope with.

The purpose of the preamble is to tell you about the band’s next contest in Blackpool on 14 May which will once again be the Grand Shield or the “Shield” as it is affectionately known. Belle Vue has long since been demolished and replaced with a housing estate so the contest has moved to that other funfair town, Blackpool, and get this, it is in the famous Opera House.  The shield has also undergone a bit of a make-over as bands now have to progress through 2 qualification divisions before they are accepted to compete for the shield. After just 3 years in which we sailed through the lower divisions we are through to the Shield so it will be interesting to see how we measure up against the current bands. The test piece is Titan’s Progress, a piece generally considered to be the hardest piece ever written for brass band, and based on Mahler’s 1st Symphony - we shall be burning the midnight oil rehearsing for this one!

This year, if we win, it might be me crying the tears of joy because I now know just how much work goes in to building a good band and bringing it to the boil at exactly the right moment but I have to say, if we come 1st or 2nd in the Shield, we receive an invitation to compete in the British Open in September which is for the top 16 bands in the country and that is when the real work starts!


Monday 14 March 2011

West of England Champions!

from 4barsrest.com

The curse of the defending champion may well continue in the West of England – but that is something to worry about for next year for Woodfalls, as they claimed the top section title in Torquay under the baton of Dr Nicholas Childs.

"Never mind about the curse. We’ll worry about that again," celebrating Woodfalls players told 4BR after the announcement of a result that saw the band maintain its excellent 2011 form and hold aloft the Area trophy for the first time since 2002.

On a day when adjudicator’s Derek Broadbent and Kevin Wadsworth told the packed forum auditorium that they had enjoyed some performances that ‘were quite top drawer’ and an others that ‘acquitted themselves to quite a good standard’, it was the recent Yeovil winner’s ‘Paganini’ of impressive variance of dynamics, tempos and textures that gave them victory over defending champion Flowers.

It also gave the MD his first Area title with the band, and his 21st in total, as he put behind him the disappointment of his Yorkshire Area assault with Black Dyke, by leading a carbon copy interpretation to success.

And whilst he was making the long trip back to Queensbury, he was able to tell the band by phone of his delight at being able to lead Woodfalls back to London for the first time since 2008.


Monday 7 February 2011

Windfall for Woodfalls as they claim first Yeovil Entertainment title

from 4barsrest.com

Woodfalls continued their bright start to the 2011 season by winning the Yeovil Entertainment Contest for the first time in their history on the weekend.

Following on from their second place in the entertainment leg of the recent Butlins Mineworkers Contest, they went one better under the baton of Gareth Pritchard to claim the Chris Palmer Shield and the £2,000 top prize.

Speaking to 4BR, adjudicator Colin Hardy was impressed by Woodfall’s innovative approach and quality playing. “They stood out for me. It was a very good programme and I was particularly impressed by the innovation shown as well as the playing. The overall standard on the day was very good, and the prize winners certainly made an impression.”

Woodfalls topped the 12-band field by a two point margin ahead of Welsh contenders BTM, with a reprise of their innovative Scandinavian themed Skegness programme.

Speaking to 4BR before he flew to Norway to prepare Radoy Band for the Norwegian National Championships in Bergen, the winning MD was understandably still bubbling with delight. “It’s a great win and gives everyone a huge boost of confidence ahead of the Areas and the Grand Shield in May,” Gareth Pritchard said.

The Butlins reprise saw the choreographed ‘Arctic Funk’, complete with snow topped mountains and campfire to open, followed by Kevin Darby thrilling the packed Octagon Theatre with the cornet solo ‘Scandinavian Folks Songs’.

Frode Alnaes’s ‘Vitae Lux’ proved to be a showcase for ‘Best Soprano’ winner Mark Pye, before a neat touch of humour in the ‘Alla Marcia’ from the Karelia Suite’ led into the storming climax of ‘Circius’ by Tortsein Aagard-Nilsen

Blackpool Win

Sunday 29 November

Woodfalls retain Wessex title

After a hard fought competition, the Woodfalls Band has retained the Wessex Champions title at the Weymouth Pavilion yesterday. The band performed Montage by Peter Graham, and although the performance was not perfect, in the adjudicators eyes, it was good enough to see off its rival competitors.

Along with the main prize, Graham Lawrence won the best Euphonium of the day, and Scott Stewart won the best soloist of the day. The award winning bass section also retained their title.

The band is now looking forward to returning to the Mineworkers Competition at Butlins Skegness in January under the direction of the talented conductor, Gareth Pritchard. Preparation for this contest has already begun, and is to continue with a concert at the Boscombe Salvation Army on the 12th December conducted by Gareth.

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