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January 2015 Newsletter
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August Newsletter
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May 2015 Newsletter
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October 2015 Newsletter

 

Being the start of a new academic year, there is not much to report yet, though the Music Marathon at Colerne and Gastard fete have both gone by with our much appreciated attendance.   Our open day was also very useful, with a number of new recruits and much other interest.  Several more instruments have gone out and it was good that not all the new people were total beginners.  Keep spreading the word, there are still plenty more instruments available.

Colerne Music Marathon

“Once again the Youth Concert Band put on a fabulous performance at the Music Marathon in aid of Jemima's Gift.  The whole event raised £2000 and wouldn't have been possible without the Corsham Windband.  Several parents of young children asked me how to get involved in the association so the band obviously did the association proud!  I can't thank you enough for the support you have shown towards Jemima's Gift, my family and I truly appreciate it.  The turn-out was fantastic and the music really captivated the audience.  Thank you for playing, hopefully you will play next year as well!” – Annabel Prees

YCB

“My thanks to Jack Anstee and Julie Bryan for leading YCB during my absence from band at the start of the year, due to a family bereavement.  The sound and level of performance was good to hear when I returned 25th September.

 We do need brass and percussion players – any friends, family that play would be very welcome.” – Sonia

Professor Sonia Blandford leads the award winning charity Achievement for All and is listed as one of Debrett’s 500 most influential for 2015. In her four new books she looks at how this charity’s programme, delivered in thousands of schools across the UK, is making an extraordinary difference to the progress and wellbeing of children and young people, and to the leaders and teachers who work with them.

TAKE THE LEAD is a book for school leaders. It taps into their ambitions to ensure every pupil on their register makes progress above national expectations and shares the framework Achievement for All offers which enables them to do that. Packed with ideas and experience from Sonia’s team and the leaders she’s working with.

LOVE TO TEACH takes a fresh look at the challenges facing teaching staff today and explores how they can meet them in a way that optimises both their sense of wellbeing and job satisfaction and ensures that every pupil in their class makes progress above national expectations.
MAKE SCHOOL BETTER looks at the pivotal role all parents and carers can have in their child’s experience of education, and the practical things they can do right now to make sure school is a better place to be, no matter what individual challenges children face, and ensures that all children make progress above national expectations. 
DON’T LIKE MONDAYS? is a feast of facts, personal stories and practical ideas from children and young people for children and young people. This book aims to enrich the educational experience for those who find school tough, and to empower them to make a change in the classroom that will not only enable them to progress but which will benefit everyone else in their school too.

 

Coming Events 2015

  • Friday 4th December – Corsham Christmas lights and busking
  • Sunday 13th December – Christmas Concert.  This will take place in the afternoon, 3.00pm, not evening, details to be confirmed.
  • Saturday 19th December Busking in Corsham Martingate.
  • Saturday 28th November - Batheaston School Christmas Fair for Spectrum and YCB – to be confirmed.

 

Events 2016

The following events are already planned for next year.  Some events are yet to be confirmed but please put all the dates in your diary.

  • Friday 13th March – Mid Somerset Festival
  • Saturday 23th April  – Corsham 10k run
  • Saturday 7th May (to be confirmed) – Colerne May Fair
  • Saturday 4th June – St Barts, Corsham Fete
  • Saturday 11th June – Corsham Town Summer Fete
  • Saturday 18th June – Yatton Keynell fete
  • 2nd or 3rd July (to be confirmed) – Luckington Fete
  • 14th – 17th July Harmonie Schiltigheim visit
  • 15th July – Summer concert with Harmonie Schiltigheim
  • 17th July – Bath Parade Gardens concert with Harmonie Schiltigheim
  • Saturday 3rd September (to be confirmed) – Gastard fete
  • Saturday 17th September – Corsham Town Summer Street Fair
  • 24th – 27th October – visit to Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany
  • Friday 2nd December – Corsham Christmas Lights

 

Moving up

Please note that if you feel you are ready to move up from Training Band to Spectrum or from Spectrum to YCB, you must consult your Musical Director first.  Ideally, you will spend a term in transition, attending both bands, before finally moving up.  We appreciate that this could lead to logistical problems for parents but request that you discuss this sort of issue with your MD first.

Concert Organiser

Kristine Adam has been our concert organiser, arranging front of house and catering/sales/raffle over the last few years.  She is continuing in this post for this year but would welcome a new recruit to help her, with a view to taking on the role next year.  If anyone is able to help in this regard, please let me or one of the committee members know.

Membership

We are still trying to boost the membership of each band.  Training band in particular needs new recruits as this is the entrance point for many.  Please encourage friends and relatives to join, beginners to experienced players.  If you know anyone who already plays or is interested in taking up playing a wind instrument, bring him/her along to a rehearsal.  There is a cupboard full of instruments waiting to be played and we need stronger bass sections, especially in Spectrum.

Remember, if you are moving up from Training to Spectrum Band or from Spectrum to YCB, we would expect you to overlap the transition by about a term.  I know this means attending two rehearsals a week for a while but it ensures the move is smoother and it helps the two bands, especially the one you are leaving, to adjust.  If you do move up you could consider taking up a second instrument in Training Band.

Don’t forget that we offer theory lessons at the Pound on Saturday mornings, the times are below.  If members wish to progress beyond ABRSM Grade 5 practical on their instruments, they must have passed the ABRSM Grade 5 Theory Exam. 

Subscriptions

Subscriptions are going up for next year.  As they have been the same for the last 10 years or so, it seems fair enough.  From next term the subscription will be as below.

It is now possible to pay your subs & instrument hire fees online.  The banking information is:

Account Number: 41394088
Sort code: 40 18 13

Please could you give your child's full name as part of the reference, so that we can tally money received and it would useful if you could email David directly when you have made/initiated the payment so he can check it has cleared, giving the reference you have used, what you are paying for (term subs/annual subs/instrument hire, for example “ this term’s subs and hire of a large instrument for Child A and subs for Child B”) and the total you have transferred.

Please also include the approximate date of transfer (to help locate the payment into the association’s bank account) as an extra help.

 If you wish to pay by cheque then you can either post it to:

David Price, 2 Farthingale Cottages, Academy Drive, Corsham, SN13 0SD or hand it to somebody responsible at band (for example, Martin).  Cash is not a preferred method of payment due to the lack of traceability.

 Fees are:

 £25 per term subscription

£5 large instrument hire per term

£25 small instrument hire per term

 Any queries please let David know (for example if you are unsure exactly how much is owed).

 David Price, 0781 841 8964 or windbandcorsham@djp-solutions.co.uk

 

Rehearsal Dates 2015 - 2016

 

Band

First Rehearsal

Last Rehearsal

YCB

Fri 4th Sept 15

Fri 23rd Oct 15

TB/Spectrum

Sat 5th Sept 15

Sat 24th Oct 15

YCB

Fri 6th Nov 15

Fri 18th Dec 15

TB/Spectrum

Sat 7th Nov 15

Sat 19th Dec 15

YCB

Fri 8th Jan 16

Fri 12th Feb 16

TB/Spectrum

Sat 9th Jan 16

Sat 13th Feb 16

YCB

Fri 26th Feb 16

Fri 18th March 16

TB/Spectrum

Sat 27th Feb 16

Sat 19th March 16

YCB

Fri 15th April 16

Fri 27th May 16

TB/Spectrum

Sat 16th April 16

Sat 28th May 16

YCB

Fri 10th June 16

Fri 15th July 16

TB/Spectrum

Sat 11th June 16

Sat 16th July 16

 

These dates are based on the Wiltshire school term dates.  If we decide to make a change, I will try to let you know in good time. 

Rehearsal times:

                                       Friday:        7:00 – 9:00pm – Youth Concert Band practice.

                                       Saturday:   9:15 – 10:15am – YCB and Spectrum Band theory lessons.

                                                           10:15 – 10:45am – Training Band theory lessons.

                                                           9:15 – 10:15am – Training Band practice.

                                                           10:15 – 12:15am – Spectrum Band practice.

November 2014 Newsletter

Strasbourg Trip 23rd to 28th October 2014

 

Sonia and Evi provide the definitive Strasbourg Trip reports:

 “We all had an exciting and safe trip to Strasbourg, I am extremely grateful to Evi, Martin, Julie, Jack and Andy for their support and particularly grateful to Peter Feltham and Schilitigheim Band for their fabulous hospitality.

Our eventful 5 days included:

DEPART Thursday 23rd October – MEET 07.30 The Pound

An early start and everyone arrived on time, with their instruments and papers – thank you!

Thursday 23rd October (packed lunches in disposable bags from home – you would not believe the size of the lunches, Joes Stones was almost shared with an unwelcome friend at the Gard du Nord Paris! )

07.30    Coach to St Pancras station from The Pound Arts Centre

An uneventful coach journey ending in the coach park at St Pancras station

11.25    Check in St Pancras

Best behaviour and absolutely 100% teamness from everyone.  Larger instruments had to follow a different route, Sonia was left with 10 instruments and players that had set off the security ‘beeps’.

12. 25   Depart Eurostar to Strasbourg via Paris

A really fast trip through south east England and northern France, good seats and time to eat the packed lunches.

15.47     Arrive Paris Gare du Nord – walk

Larger instrument players set off on the taxi challenge – arriving the same time as the walkers who had experienced he slightly down side of Paris enroute.  Martin led with impeccable pace.

A shortish wait at the station (Joe and his sandwiches), Emma and her ‘too many Body Shops’ experience – mobile phones helped.

17.40     Depart 

Amazing to travel at 200mph through France – a really comfortable train

20.15 Arrive Strasbourg Garde

Met by a really friendly coach driver and Peter – a short journey to the Youth Hostel

20.45    arrive at https://www.hihostels.com/hostels/strasbourg-2-rives 

 

21.00    Unpack / evening meal

Meal was welcome after the long journey, meatballs, rice and bread.  Allocation of rooms was a lengthy process, which we resolved in the end.  Band was brilliant!

 

 

 

A very quiet first night.

Friday 24th October

08.00     Breakfast

09.00     Practice – Youth Hostel

Sonia was unwell, Jack stepped in – the rehearsal was great!  First sight of ‘Dambusters’ and an improved ‘Uprising’.

12.00     Lunch – Youth Hostel

 A welcome salad, hot meal and bread.

13.00    Strasbourg Cathedral and Centre

A brief cultural tour around the cathedral, shops and cafes, band members purchased gifts and food.

14.00   Travel to Schilitigheim

Same friendly coach driver – great behaviour from the band. Singing started, ‘mainly Frozen’

14.30    Band Practice Schilitigheim

A fantastic rehearsal from our players followed led by Sonia and Philippe. ‘Ode to Joy’, ‘Dambusters’ and ‘The Longest Day’ sounded good.

Many shared Italian words – ‘Da Capo, Tutti, forte, piano’ with the occasional French instructions ably supported by our fantastic linguist – Melissa!

Richard and Dan and the clarinet section were amazing as were all the band members.

19.00     Return to Youth Hostel

A louder return, singing continued – ‘Frozen’ being a favourite.

19.30     Dinner

Salad, bread and a heavy stew – welcomed by most.  Desert was good.

20.00    Free time

Our players met the German touring party – slightly noisier night.

Saturday 25th October

08.00     Breakfast

9.00        Coach to Strasbourg City Centre

 A short return to the Cathedral market place

11.15     Boat Trip BATORAMA

A really good tour – we learnt much about the cultural history – how a fat chef was caught on the bridge, killing ?  others and the importance of Strasbourg to European harmony.

12.15     Return to Youth Hostel

An even louder return, singing continued – ‘Frozen’ being a favourite.

12.45     Lunch at Youth Hostel

A lunch of salad, hot dish and bread.

13.45     Travel to Schilitigheim

Getting louder, singing continued – ‘Frozen’ being a favourite.

14.00    Band Practice Schilitigheim

We had a really good run through our pieces.

16.30    Joint Rehearsal

A highlight of the trip – joint practice – almost 90 musicians – our players were superb. 

Many shared Italian words – ‘Da Capo, Tutti, forte, piano’ with the occasional French instructions ably supported by our fantastic linguist – Melissa!

19.00    Evening meal with Schilitigheim Band

Fantastic hospitality, the band room was transformed into a hospitality spce – all food had been prepared by band members and supporters.  Our band were great – joined in, behaved well and helped.

21.00     Return to Youth Hostel

Getting louder, singing continued – ‘Frozen’ being a favourite.

German friendships curtailed.

Sunday 26th October

08.00     Breakfast followed by a morning walk

We watched the Strasbourg half-marathon from the banks of the Rhine – quite an experience!

09.00     Travel to Schilitigheim

Quiet – it was Sunday after all.

09.30     Joint Practice

The size of the hall and band were larger than those experienced by our players to date – another highlight.  The level of musicianship improved and improved.

12.00     Packed Lunch

Youth Hostel lunch, bread, crisps, fruit drinks and cheese – filling.

Drinks provided by our hosts.

15.00     Concert – Schilitigheim Salle des Fetes

 

Watched by 500, the band played from our repertoire – soloists and each section were great.

Our hosts welcomed the Mayor and other senior representatives from the local community, they introduced us to more of the local culture. 

The concert theme focused on ‘War and Peace’, Schilitigheim sounded very professional, our players sounded equally professional.  Our audience was very sympathetic and the performance was extremely rewarding.

The joint pieces were HUGE!!  We enjoyed the massive musical sound and the massive audience response was very enthusiastic.

We had a brief reception with the bands, dignitaries and some of the audience, which was full of warmth and praise for our players.

19.00     Depart

Getting louder, singing continued – ‘Frozen’ being a favourite.

20.00     Evening Meal – Youth Hostel

Bread, hot stew, salad and a great desert

22.00     Retire – this was a quiet night.

 

Monday 27th (breakfast and dinner at Youth Hostel, packed lunch)

08.00     Breakfast

Prepared instruments, music and documents

09.00     Depart

Getting louder, singing continued – ‘Frozen’ being a favourite.

09.30     Council of Europe

A truly memorable morning, with a fantastic bespoke tour and warm welcome from the Council officials.

http://www.coe.int/aboutcoe/index.asp?l=en&page=nepasconfondre

 

12.00     Concert

We performed in the foyer under the cathedral-like architecture to a transitory audience who stayed for most of the performance, we reached around 200 visitors and officers during this time.  Musically a great performance by the band, the sound was exceptional.

Followed by some dazzling photography – you will see more at the Christmas Concert

13.00     Depart for the Castle

14.30     Packed Lunch on the roadside

Youth Hostel lunch, bread, crisps, fruit drinks and cheese – filling.

 

 

 

15.30     Koenigsburg Castle

 

Foggy, cloudy, worth a visit – very high

http://www.haut-koenigsbourg.fr/en/10

17.00      Depart

Getting louder, singing continued – ‘Frozen’ being a favourite.

18.00     Youth Hostel

18.30     Evening Meal

19.00     Awards evening / Star attractions

‘Strictly Come Windband’ – band members presented sketches based on their experiences on the trip – we ran awards and our judges played their part (Jack ‘Craig Revel Horwood’ Anstee, Julie ‘Darcy Bussell’ Bryan, Martin ‘Len Goodman’ Edmundson and Andy ‘ Anton Tonoli’ Tichcomb!

22.00     Retire – this was a quiet night.

Tuesday 28th (breakfast and packed lunch)

08.00     Breakfast

08.30     Morning - Pack / clear rooms,

A final walk to the river and across to the German town for last minute shopping

10.30     Depart for station

Getting louder, singing continued – ‘Frozen’ being a favourite.

11.42     Train to Paris     

Very comfortable – 200 miles per hour!

14.00     Arrive and the return taxi and walk – the Terminal was heaving!!!!

15.34 Train to St Pancras

A good journey – band were really well behaved.

18.30     Arrive St Pancras

The journey back was not as straightforward as we would have liked – we will be reviewing our coach company.

21.45 arrived at The Pound

Thank you for your patience!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q.  What was the weather like?

 

It didn’t rain!!!!!

 

 

Q.  What music did we play?

 

Answer:  Theme: War and Peace

 

Music programme

 

 

 

 

 

 

Give Us Peace                         Dona Nobis Pacem Arr. Ted Huggins

Irish Tunes                              Percy Grainger

The Longest Day                    Paul Anka Arr. John Geneska Mortimer

Shepherds Song                      Traditional Arr. Kevin Thompson

The Great Escape                    Elmer Bernstein Arr. M J Pegram

Skyfall                         Adele Adkins, Paul Epworth Arr Jay Bocook

Lord of the Dance                  Ronan Hardiman Arr. Johnnie Vinson

Miss Saigon                 Claude-Michel Schonberg Arr. Warren Barker

Songs from World War 1        Arr. David Sampson

Les Miserables                        Claude-Michel Schonberg Arr. Warren Barker

Coldplay                                 Coldplay Arr. Michael Brown.

Venus                                      Gustav Holst Arr.Jay Bocook

Uprising                                  Matthew Bellamy Arr.Steve Hodges

Mambo No. 5              Damaso Perez Prado Arr. Jay Bocook

 

 

Q.  Who went on the trip?

 

Full Name

Instrument

 

 

 

1

Sylvan M E Biscoe

Baritone Saxophone

2

Isabel Ledbury

Alto Saxophone

3

Anya Sabrina Alice Whybrow

Alto Saxophone

4

Katie Bunney

Alto Saxophone

5

Martha Benedict

Alto Saxophone

6

Thomas Holden

Alto Saxophone

7

Mark Edmundson

Tenor Saxophone

8

Emma Annie Mares Coulston

Tenor Saxophone

9

Alice Griffiths

French Horn

10

Rosalie Luff

French Horn

11

Martin Edmundson

 

 

 

12

Joseph Christopher Stone

Percussion

13

George McGrory

Percussion

14

Harry Truelove

Tuba

15

Richard Meiklereid

Euphonium

16

Daniel Stephen Jack

Euphonium

17

Jack Anstee

Tuba

18

Andy Titcomb

 

 

 

 

 

 

19

Amy Elizabeth Kitchener

Bass Clarinet

20

Phoebe White

Clarinet

21

David Timothy Gubbins

Clarinet

22

Tiffany Mares Coulston

Clarinet

23

Nicola Dove

Clarinet

24

Kathryn Titcomb

Clarinet

25

Lucy Adams

Clarinet

26

William Hughes

Clarinet

27

Martha Stringer

Clarinet

28

Jack Basley

Clarinet

29

Timothy Horton

Clarinet

20

Charlotte Louise Beard

Flute

31

Melissa May

Flute

32

Lydia Colomb

Flute

33

Katie Manns

Flute

34

Katelina Imogen Adams

Flute

35

Becky Schofield

Flute

36

Charlotte Cross

Flute

37

Annabel Prees

Oboe

38

Julie Bryan

Flute

 

 

39

Miles Griffiths

Cornet

40

 

Shula Scotford

Trumpet

41

Finlay Dove

Trumpet

42

Tom Price

Cornet

43

Elliot Wilson

Cornet

44

Bethany Eldridge

Trumpet

45

Evelyne Coulston

 

46

Sonia Blandford

 

       

 

 

End Note

 

This was a brilliant trip, run by volunteers from the Corsham Windband Association and Schilitigheim Band who devoted their time and expertise to the planning and leadership of the tour – THANK YOU.

 

Most of all – THANK YOU TO ALL OF THE PLAYERS, YOU WERE GREAT!” – Sonia Blandford

 

The incomplete diary of an accompanying adult.  By Evi Coulston

A whirl of preparations, shampoo, toothpaste and soap times three; clothes clean; YCB blazer borrowed; black trousers and boots bought; two reeds each, just in case. Nagging the girls to pack only what they were going to actually wear, rather than upending the entire contents of their chest of drawers into their suitcases… end result, they remembered everything and I spent the week sourcing items for me which I had somehow forgotten.  Boarded the bus, a parent checking the passports of each youngster boarding, all in order.  All too excited to be car-sick.  Onwards to the Eurostar, where the bigger instruments – some bigger than we thought - went separately, to join us safely on the other side. The tunnel came and went; we played card games, invented stories, read, chatted and steadily munched through our bulging bag of supplies.

Our walk between the Gare du Nord and the Gare de l´Est in Paris was interesting; we trundled past shops selling refurbished mobile phones, jostling with cafés and small restaurants from which tantalising smells wafted out to us.  The pavements and roads were a rush of people of every nationality.  Our little column progressed smartly without mishap, apart from the minor hiccup of my eldest walking out into traffic after confusing the little red with the little green man.  Happily both she and the CWA tenor wobbling along on its makeshift trolley - affixed with my dressing-gown cord - survived the ordeal.

After exploring the station and shops we boarded a rather nippy train from Paris to Strasbourg, Sonia poring over a hot computer, me chatting with the retired gentleman at our table. He was impressed with the impeccable behaviour of our group, and enjoyed listening to what we had planned.  He loved his music also, his hobby was singing, and he often travelled with choir groups through Europe. 

Peter,  the charming President of the Harmonie Schiltigheim and old (sorry) Corsham Band Member awaited us at Strasbourg station, which was amazing, a mixture of modern and old architecture, spotlessly clean, no chewing gum (not many pigeons, now that I think of it) imposing buildings, lights, trams. All very big city.  Safely ensconced on our bus our long journey drew to a close with a twenty minute drive to the Youth Hostel, situated at the end of a road lined with weeping willows, situated in a park, right next to an equestrian centre.  Hmmm.  (I did manage to get in and pat a few equine noses, but that’s another story). 

After some initial excitement sorting out the rooms, we had been allocated one fewer than expected, everything was ironed out by the “A team” and we unpacked. Supper was waiting.  We had been warned, there really was lots of bread, lovely mini French sticks, with everything.  The seating was at long trestle tables in the light and airy dining hall, the employees smiling and helpful although they seemed to work extremely long hours.  Food was plentiful, hot meals twice a day, always with salad or something reasonably healthy on the side, the mains consisting of roast chicken, meatballs, moussaka, and for me, the highlight, a rather tipsy boeuf bourguignon. 

The rooms were clean - if bijou - the facilities good and everyone soon settled in.  In the evenings a final remnant of energy (or bread) would be burnt off and the scampering of little derby runners negotiating curves and straights, accompanied by stifled laughter, and the occasional bump could be heard, until the self-appointed guardians of the corridor, one in fetching leopard spotted pyjamas, and the other, the voice of authority, gently persuaded each and every one, down to the last morph-suited alien, to retire to their beds.  All was peaceful at last, with only the occasional cough, untamed by the never-ending bottle of Calpol, breaking the silence.

On the road between venues, there was nothing our wonderful bus driver, Philippe, didn’t seem to know –expertly manoeuvring his immaculate bus, he spoke of historical places of interest, explained the history of the breweries, the way of life.   Pointing out the different places of worship Mosques, Synagogues, he discussed how there was little trouble there, with people of different cultures and beliefs existing side by side.  His own positive attitude and forward thinking made him a real asset and undoubtedly helped make what was already an extremely well organised trip run even more smoothly. 

So much happened during such a short space of time, that if I were to write about it all, this would end up as a book, so I will try and keep it brief and just focus on some of my favourite bits. 

The enchanting houses, with wooden beams, and balconies with flowers, not unlike some of the buildings in Lacock, but bigger.  The conductor Philippe from L´Harmonie Schiltigheim …. Speaking Italian, “tutti, tutti”, and swirling his arms around, ears and eyes everywhere, nothing escaping him, a smiling and extroverted perfectionist, alongside him Gustave and Sonia forming and melding the two groups into one, bringing out the best in them, working together, everyone learning from each other. The lovely trombone player, who gave me an impromptu trombone lesson in one of the break-out rooms encouraged by a group of band members at the door.  The scrumptious supper, especially the delightful little cakes (a recipe from Bordeaux?) that looked unassuming but were fiendishly crunchy on the outside and melted in your mouth like honey on the inside.  Heaven.  All prepared by the band members of the L´Harmonie Schiltigheim and their families – the trombonist seated opposite me at the dining table was the proud author of the vanilla and chocolate cake.  The fantastic concert in the Schiltigheim Salle des Fêtes, in front of an audience of hundreds.  The appreciative ladies sitting behind me, speaking Alsatian, as I found out when I asked them in halting French confused as to why I could only understand one word in three even though it sounded German.  Our magnificent players.  The professionalism of each and every one of them, driving the audience to their feet, clamouring for encores.  No, I am not exaggerating, they were brilliant. Hats off also to the imaginative individual, who, on turning the page and finding himself confronted with a blank sheet, mid-Les Miserables, was able to improvise and hats off also to the teamwork of the other players following on, making it seem as if nothing untoward had happened.  

The outings were a well-deserved reward and a little light relief from rehearsals and performances.  The Batorama, where the commentary (could it have been on Channel 13?) in English, but not as we know it, caused much hilarity, but this did not detract from the charm of gliding through the water past truly beautiful edifices of all shapes and sizes.  Ducks and swans paddled alongside, soon left behind, and a cormorant rested on some rocks, enjoying the sun.  There were even locks, which were expertly navigated by our captain. 

In the centre of Strasbourg, the Cathedral was breath-taking; every stone elaborately worked into beautiful carvings, reaching skyward, light glowing through the incredible stained glass windows reaching into the cavernous interior, a bit too overwhelming for me, but the youngsters explored it happily.  I contented myself with skirting the spacious square, admiring the local souvenirs displayed in the small shops – a definite theme of storks running through (the local emblem, as Felipe later informed us) - and cafés, resisting the many cakes but succumbing to the little stall selling hot chestnuts, hurriedly picking up my chestnut peelings I had inadvertently dropped on the impeccable cobbles.  The shops in the little roads leading off from the square selling high-end fashion and handmade shoes were not for the faint hearted or those suffering from a slim wallet… but nice nonetheless.  A saxophonist released crystalline notes from his intricately engraved silver saxophone into the sunny atmosphere. The delicious perfume of bread and cakes enticed us into the market; pretzels became a firm favourite with some of our youngsters.  A little flea-market down another side road sold goods as varied as mandolins to old medical flasks and comic books for extravagant prices.  I eyed a picture book of the Smurfs, a nickname for my girls, but resisted, a relief to them I should think.

The final concert at the Council of Europe, better not get that one the wrong way round.  Organised by Peter, who deserves a very special mention.  Nothing was too trouble much for him, an instrument broken, he provided another; drum-kit needed, he placed it at our disposal.  His way with people:  brilliant.  Thank you so much. 

I digress, back to the Council of Europe.  A very knowledgeable lady talked us through a film presentation on what they actually do there, let us ask questions and then took us on into the big meeting chamber.  Pretty impressive.  I certainly learnt a lot and the band members seemed to be taking it all in also.  Then it was our turn, and it is fair to say, in slightly street slang, from one who can only play stumbling notes, that the band rocked the joint and wowed the audience.  Ode to Joy soared to the rafters followed by several other expertly executed numbers and the concert was aptly concluded by Mambo Number 5 which had several executives and tour groups tapping their feet and clapping their approval. 

Our final outing, Koenigsburg Castle.  A misty day, climbing up curving roads through woodland.  A sliver of sunshine over the castle, mist swirling around its base.  No camera.  Aaaagh.  Mist or pretty much fog by now, pouring in through the windows, like smoke.  Beautiful tiled ovens, wrought iron cannons.  Everyone in their element happily exploring.  Slightly grumpy staff, but it didn’t matter, they didn’t mar our enjoyment.  The inquisitive minds of our group found that running the little speaking information gadgets over the plan of the castle made them all function at once  - and were much amused - as forty or so little gadgets all started babbling gibberish whilst slung over Jack´s arm at collection time. 

Listening to Philipp explain the braking system of the bus whilst negotiating the downward climb, just using the gears, pretty cool.  Apparently if you run the brakes hot, and then halt the bus they can catch fire.  Wouldn’t want to put that to the test. 

Strictly Windband, the entertainment for the final night was hilariously judged by Len (Martin), Bruno-darliiiings (Andy), Craig (Jack) and Darcey (Julie) in one of her many incarnations, amongst which figured those of musician, first aider and brilliant helper.  Sonia acted as compere and held the evening together. It proved a great success and the chocolate prizes went down very well.  The last sleep at the hostel followed by a morning walk through the park, and as my youngest put it “I chewed the same piece of chewing gum all the way on the walk from France to Germany and back”.  One way of measuring distance I guess.  A quick sortie over the bridge spanning the Rhine to the pretty town of Kehl for a final spot of shopping, and then we had to be off.

Finally the time came to bid adieu.  The lovely Peter wrote ‘come back´ on our train windows and I sincerely hope we will, one day.  It has been a real privilege.  Thank you so much for such a wonderful experience, Sonia, Andy, Martin, Peter and Corsham Wind Band.  I, for one, will never forget it.

 

Remembrance Sunday

Many thanks to all those who attended the service at the Box War memorial.  As ever, it was a moving ceremony and it was encouraging to see so many young people there on this, the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War.  The CWA members were enhanced by other players, young and adult, to provide the hymn and National Anthem music and a good range of instruments was represented.  The quality of playing was good, especially considering it was from sight, with only a few minutes rehearsal beforehand.  As so often, we are indebted to Jack Anstee, who came along without an instrument, just to give support, as he was pressed into conducting the combined band.  Thanks also to George McGrory and his ever-helpful parents for bringing a reduced drum-kit, never the easiest instruments to transport and set up.  The good weather was a major blessing.

Morgan Brace Bumper

I may be preaching to the converted here but this was new to me.  If you are having orthodontic treatment, with braces on your teeth, you may find forming an embouchure to play a brass instrument is uncomfortable.  A possible solution is a Morgan Brace Bumper.  This is a strip of moulded soft plastic that fits over the brace wire and fixings, forming a soft, even surface.  It should protect the inside of the lips from the rough surfaces of the brace when playing.  They are available from Packer’s of Taunton (www.johnpacker.co.uk) and come in long pieces that are cut to size.  I’ll try and get some feed-back from a user for a future newsletter but so far we have had problems keeping it from falling off during play.  Denture adhesive, perhaps?

For Sale

For Sale: Boosey & Hawkes 400 Cornet

Complete with hard case

Good Condition

Ideal for beginner/intermediate player

£95

Contact: David Price, 01249 715553 / 0781 841 8964 / dave@djp-solutions.co.uk

 

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