Final preperations for scaba Entertainment Contest in Crawley on 22nd May

The band have been working really hard over the past couple of weeks in preparation for the Crawley Entertainment Contest which is being held this Sunday 22nd May.

Located at The Hawth Theatre, Crawley, West Sussex; Saints will be competing in the B section against seven other bands and unlike previous contests, which tend to have a set test piece, each band has 24 minutes (including applause and addresses) to perform a program of own choice music to ‘entertain’ the audience.

Adjudicated by Michael Fowles, the band will be marked on Musical Performance, Entertainment, Presentation and Deportment.

The whole band is ready to put on a great show this year, especially the Trombones who are defending the ‘Best Trombone Section’ award that they won last year. No Pressure guys!

Saints theme this year is ‘A Welsh Celebration’ and features:

Castell Coch
It’s Not Unusual (trombone feature)
Benedictus (Euphonium Solo – Rosie Saxton)
Ballad & Triumph (from Day of the Dragon)

A Second Place for Saints Means We’re Off to the National Finals!

Saints Celebrate

Saints win 2nd place!

After a win in Oxfordshire, Saints have been working hard to refine, perfect and ultimately tame The Mermaid of Zennor ready for the Area Contest held in Stevenage on 19 March.

Competing in the second section against some very talented bands, the pressure was on, though you wouldn’t think it looking around at the band on the morning of the Contest. Everyone was calm, focused and in good spirits; you’d think it was just another rehearsal before a concert as the band were smiling and joking.

Drawn to play 13th, I know what you are thinking, ‘unlucky for some’, but our Musical Director Lee Woodward was not phased; It doesn’t matter if you are drawn first, last, or 13th; as long as we play as well as we have been in rehearsal and give them a performance that they’ll remember, we will be placed among the top bands. The other main points of wisdom from our MD were to concentrate, enjoy it and make sure you don’t walk away from the stage thinking that you could have done better! It doesn’t matter what the two men in the box think, as long as we do ourselves proud.

The second section commenced at 10am on Saturday 19 March and was adjudicated by Stephen Roberts and Dave Lancaster, both outstanding musicians. For these guys it’s a tough job to sit in a box and listen to 16 brass bands all playing the same piece of music and having to grade and sort them into places.

Philip Harper’s The Mermaid of Zennor is no easy feat; a piece of music that on first glance seams simple and easy to play, but it is as deceptive as the name suggests; luring musicians onto the rocks of dynamic swells, changes in tempo, rhythm and flow as well as passing tunes around the band and making sure that no member of the band is left without some part that needs to shine out at some stage, before dipping below the musical waves to let the next unsuspecting player be chosen by the Mermaid.

After 12 bands had played, it was finally Saints’ turn, waiting patiently backstage to be called for one final performance. Again the band seemed relaxed; smiling and joking as we waited. The smiling continued on stage, every member knowing that all the hard work was done, the music known inside and out and all that was needed to was to play it.

Under the direction of Lee, the Band took charge of this perilous yet highly enjoyable piece of music and gave the adjudicators something to take notice of, leaving the stage smiling. Lee’s initial reaction to our performance was good and he was immensely proud of every player’s performance, no matter what the end result.

Waiting for the results was definitely more nerve-racking than waiting to play and every band in the theatre was eager to know if they had won.

Firstly the announcements of 4th (Grimsdyke Brass) and 3rd (Soham Comrades) places, followed by the special prizes of which we won the Best Bass section!

Best Bass Section!! We cheered so loudly, the entire band and friends so proud of our boys: Eb Basses: Dave Yates and James Kelloway. Bb Basses: Derrick Curtis and Josh Moorhouse.

Then the room hushed as 2nd place was announced… Saint Sebastian Wokingham Band! The room erupted, the band cheered and stamped as our Contest Secretary Derek Hawkins received the trophy.

In 1st place was Cawston, who also won best Trombone section.

Commentating on the discipline and musicality of the band, the adjudicators were impressed with Lee’s interpretation and the fact that he took musical risks with the dynamics and flow, while keeping the band secure and together. Our fabulous soloists Kevin Barker (Principal Cornet), Rosie Saxton (Euphonium), Sue Fowler (Baritone) and Siân Moorhouse (Solo Horn) played beautifully and the rest of the band really rose to the moment and shone through.

We're going to the nationals

Our very happy Musical Director Lee Woodward

Lee Woodward had the following to say, Our performance yesterday was fantastic. You did everything that I asked; the quality of our sound, dynamics, soloists and our prize winning basses was outstanding. Your discipline and musical quality shone through. As we finished, the emotion of the performance got to me and my initial reaction was: that was damn good. The comments from the adjudicators were great and it was wonderful to have our hard work recognised. We have created history, the highest placing that the band has achieved in its 85 years, take pride in that, I certainly do.

Well done Saints, it’s now onwards to the National Finals, which take place at The Centaur, Cheltenham on 17-18 September 2016.

Full results can be found here:

Brian Ireland takes Saints up the Nile to raise money for Longfield Hospice

Saints and friends of the band welcomed Brian Ireland on Monday 29 February, who conducted ‘Army of the Nile’ in order to raise Money for Longfield Hospice in recognition of the support they gave his wife, Lynn in her final months. His mission is to make it around as many Bands as possible, donating £1 for every player he conducts to a cause close to his heart.

Brian and Kevin, his brother, are old friends of the band with Kevin having been a member for a number of years and then later they both joined the band on Whit Friday trips.

Brian thanked the band, giving a special thank you to Dawn for arranging the evening and inviting old friends along for a lovely social as well as musical evening.

More information of Brian’s mission can be found on his Facebook page

Second Section Win & Best Instrumentalist at ODBBA Contest

Sunday 28 February saw Brass Bands from all over the UK gathering at Marlborough School, Woodstock, Oxfordshire to compete in the Winter Contest. With Area Competitions on the Horizon and this being an ‘Own Choice Test Piece’ contest, many bands chose to take their Area test piece out for a road test and Saints were no exception.

With Lee Woodward at the helm, Saints played ‘The Mermaid of Zennor’ by Philip Harper in the 2nd section, to the ears of a very appreciative audience and Adjudicator Brett Baker.

Brett, himself a Trombonist (previously Principal Trombone with Black Dyke Band), had a tough job in adjudicating and commented on intonation as defining criteria for distinguishing between the bands. Something that every band can improve upon.

Saints took the win, receiving some very encouraging comments from Brett in preparation for the up-and-coming areas on 19 March.

Our very own Soprano Cornet player Llewellyn Wells took the Best Instrumentalist prize, with Brett commenting on his beautiful and consistent playing.

The whole band played brilliantly; playing together and making a beautiful sound which meant that the soloists had a rock-solid foundation upon which they could shine.

Lee was chuffed with the result and the whole band still has some work to do for the Area Contest on 19 March in Stevenage.

Well done Band!

Kevin and Joan Barker make Saints proud at the scaba solo and duet contest

Joan and Kevin Barker

Our fabulous Principal and front row cornet players

On 13th February 2016, both Kevin and Joan Barker joined many at the scaba solo and duet contest at St Paul’s Catholic College, Burgess Hill.
Entering the Senior Slow Melody Section (for 2nd and 3rd section bands), there were 12 entrants adjudicated by Josh Cirtina.

Playing ‘Rusalka’s Song to the Moon’, Josh said Kevin had ‘a lovely sound and gave an enjoyable, confident and solid performance’, placing him 5th

Joan played ‘The Shepherd’s Song’; Josh commenting that he liked her ‘lovely musical interpretation, which was very expressive; great dynamic contrasts and confident ending’, placing her 6th.

Kevin and Joan said that they were very pleased with their performances and placings and were proud to represent St Sebastian Wokingham Band at this contest.

Well done to all participants and special congratulations to the prize winners.

Full results on

Christmas Concert

Bringing sparkle to the festive season, Saint Sebastian Wokingham Band will be taking part in Wokingham District Cancer Care Trust’s 11th Christmas Concert on Thursday 17th December at Wokingham Theatre.

Tickets are £12.50, so put those bells on, bring the family and come along for a festive performance to support this great cause.

Xmas Concert poster 2015

Wokingham Winter Carnival

Wokingham Winter Carnival is a fun day for all the family, starting at 11am on Sunday 29 November with street markets, performances and events throughout the day.

Saint Sebastian Wokingham Band will lead the Carnival Procession which starts at 4pm at Shute End and parades around the town.

Wokingham Fireworks

Saint Sebastian Wokingham Band will lead the torchlight procession from the town centre at 6:30pm on Saturday 7 November.

The procession of 500 flaming torches walking down Broad Street is truly memorable and well worth coming down to watch and listen to the band.

The fireworks start at 7:30pm – the display will wow the audience and will be followed by a big bonfire.

More information about the event can be found at

Putting Brass in Macmillan’s Pocket

Saint Sebastian Wokingham Band recently performed in a concert which raised £765.50 for the Town Mayor’s Charity – Macmillan Cancer Support
The evening also saw the presentation of the band’s annual awards.

Following the rousing march General Mitchell, the band played the beautiful tone poem Finlandia. Principal Cornet Kevin Barker continued in style with Georgia on my Mind and our Trombone section delivered a colourful and enjoyable arrangement of It’s Not Unusual. Flugel Horn Damon Emes lyrically provided contrasting solace and resolve with A Time for Peace before the excitement of Gaelforce, The Dam Busters and band awards.


Long service awards were presented to Bb Bass Derrick Curtis (5 years) and 3rd Cornet Keith Spiers, who has retired from the band after 35 years of distinguished service.

We the band nominated our Concert Secretary Dawn Thompson to receive the award Bandsman of the Year for her tireless service, administrative and logistical contribution to the running of the band, and this in the face of the most challenging personal circumstances.

Musician of the Year was awarded to Solo Horn Siân Moorhouse (pictured) for her musical contribution to the band and consistent instrumental progress.

The Wokingham Paper published an article about our concert.

Article in The Wokingham Paper

Town Mayor’s Concert

Wokingham Town Mayor, Councillor Philip Mirfin, invites you to a concert performed by Saint Sebastian Wokingham Band!

Saturday 26 September 2015, 7:30pm (doors 7pm)
Wokingham Theatre, Twyford Road, Wokingham RG40 5TU

Tickets cost £10 each and are available at Wokingham Theatre 0118 978 5363

Proceeds support the Mayor’s Charity – Macmillan Cancer Support