With Christmas out of the way, the first event of the year was our annual Valley Brass Solo Competition (postponed from November 2018). Many players, old and young, experienced and new, took to the stage to perform a solo of their choice. This is always a great time to hear the individual talent of each player – something which is often hard to do when playing within the band. Well done to everyone involved, and a massive congratulations to the winners and runners-up!
The North West Regional Championships is often the biggest contest for many bands across the region. Having won in the 3rd Section in 2016, Valley Brass were determined to be crowned champions again, to gain a trip to the National Finals. Well, long story short, that’s exactly what happened!
December is always a busy month for the band and this month was no exception. The Christmas festivities actually began on November 30th, where we attended the annual Christmas Tree Lighting at Haydock Libary. Throughout December, the band were present at local supermarkets, entertaining Christmas shoppers with Carols.
Concerts were many – we yet again joined BBC Radio Merseyside at their anal Carol Concert, which was held at the Anglican Cathedral, Liverpool. We played one of our favourite Christmas melodies ‘A Christmas Fantasy’, in addition to a piece titled ‘Auld Lang Syne/Last Post’, to celebrate 100 years of the Armistice. We also performed at the Mesnes Park Carol Service in Newton-le-Willows, in addition to a concert at St James’ Church in Haydock.
Our last job before Christmas, and the light at the long tunnel of December, was the annual Carol Service at St. Marks Church in Haydock on Christmas Eve. The local community of Haydock gathered together singing traditional carols, exchanging Christmas cards and enjoying a turkey barm on the way home.
We finished off the Christmas festivities with the band’s Christmas Concert, held at Garswood Labour Club on the 27th. This is a great time for the band to celebrate Christmas and the efforts throughout the year.
From everyone at Valley Brass, we hope you’ve had a Marry Christmas, and have a prosperous new year!
On Friday 25th may, the band yet again travelled to Tameside for the Whit Friday March Contest. Following tradition, the days leading up to the contest were warm and sunny: ‘Whit Friday will be great if the weather is like this!’.
Luckily, the rain held off whilst we were marching, albeit a bit colder than the days before the contest. We played at seven venues; Dukinfield, The Albion (Dukinfield), Upper Mossley, Carrbrook, Heyrod and both Stalybrdige Celtic and Stalybridge Labour Club, coming first place at the Heyrod contest.
Overall, it was another enjoyable night consisting of some great performances. An edited montage of our performances can be watched below.
On Saturday 4th April the band performed at St. Helens Town Hall to support the Mayor’s Charity of the Year, St. Helens Mind. Supporters of both the band and Mind, in addition to the wonderful people of St. Helens, enjoyed a concert featuring a range of music from classics such as Glenn Miller, to modern Disney arrangements. All topped by tea and cake!
Part of the event was live streamed and published on the St. Helens Mind Facebook page, which can be watched here.
Overall, it was an enjoyable afternoon and thank you to all who turned up to support St. Helens Mind and their wonderful cause! We hope you enjoyed it.
The band travelled down to Blackpool yet again this year to participate in the Regional Brass Band Championships. We were playing ‘Ex Terra Lucem’, a piece originally commissioned for St Helens Youth Brass Band, but was used as this year’s 2nd section test piece. Overall the band played a good performance on the day but unfortunately no high positions or prizes were won. Maybe next time?
The afternoon was spent enjoying a carvery in The Gynn Pub, which has come our favourite post-regionals meal!
December is always a busy year for the band, but often one of the most enjoyable too, especially when all the hard efforts pay off the following year due to the money the band has raised. In addition to the caroling in supermarkets, other festive performances such as light switch-on’s, carol concerts (both in the warmth and in the cold) and even performances for the BBC Radio Merseyside Carol Concert, have allowed us to keep improving the band and our facilities for the year ahead. This was all topped at the band’s Christmas Concert held at Garswood Labour Club, were band members and supporters alike celebrated the hard efforts the band has put in throughout 2017.
Our annual Solo Festival has just been held here at Valley Brass. Many members of the band took part in the festival playing a piece of their choice and it was throughly enjoyed by everyone. Congratulations to Christian Teasdale (Open) Kate Kilbane (15s & Us) and Jeanette Aindow (Senior Learners) for coming first place in their sections, in addition to the runners up. Well played everyone!
The band recently held a meal to celebrate our 25th anniversary. In addition to the buffet and hotpot, guest speaker, Sarah Gorak (known for her appearances on Emmerdale, as well as a well known brass adjudicator) delivered an entertaining and moving speech for the band. This was shortly followed by the ‘Valley Brass Awards’, presented by the wonderful Josh Jones (Principal Cornet), Michael Rollinson (Soprano Cornet) and Chris Whittle (Flugel Horn. Prizes consisted of ‘The Chatterbox Award’ and ‘The least likely to follow the conductor Award’. Overall this was an excellent night for the band to celebrate our many achievements over the past 25 years.
We have just held our fantastic 25th anniversary concert of the band at St. Helens Town Hall. Many families and supports of the band thoroughly enjoyed the concert, in addition to the parents of pupils at both St Cuthbert’s and Lyme Primary.
Help take Valley Brass to the National Finals
Valley Brass claimed the first place prize at the North West Regional Championships back in February – this means we qualify for the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain, which takes place at Cheltenham racecourse in September.
Having been lucky enough to previously attend the National Finals twice in the past 5 years, we are aware the competition can work out expensive. This year we have decided to do several fundraising events, to help support our trip to the finals. An example includes our sponsored bike ride on the 20th April.
If you would like to support one of our fundraising events, or just place a donation to contribute to the funds required to take place in the competition, please do so by our GoFundMe page by clicking the button below.
We appreciate your help and thank you for supporting the band!