The lovely ladies of Saint Sebastian Wokingham Band took on Reading’s Race for Life at Prospect Park on Sunday 17th July.
Joan, Siân, Amy, Dawn, Maria and Steph took on quite a difficult course in very challenging temperatures in the late 20s!
The park was a sea of pink and the atmosphere was brilliant, with all the runners and supporters ready to kick cancer’s butt. A Pink Army indeed!
The Saint Sebs ladies rose to the challenge, completing a tough course, after which they enjoyed a well-earned BBQ courtesy of Steph and her husband Nigel.
We thank all our supporters and donators and have raised £1,077 so far.
Saints played really well today for Armed Forces day in Wokingham. With a selection of music ranging from traditional marches to more up-to-date music from tv shows and films, the sun held out for the first half of the performance.
This was followed by Damon Emes playing a Fanfare on the balcony of the town hall; a mark of respect that he has gladly performed for a number of years for the Town Council.
Following Town Mayor Councillor Gwynneth Hewetson’s speech commemorating Armed Forces Day, the band continued with the rest of the programme with grey skies looming. Saints delivered the rest of the performance just in time before the thunder, lightning and rain started.
The Mayor was very pleased with the band’s performance and the wonderful public turn out. She sends her thanks to the Band and is grateful for Saints’ continued support.
Saints are a social Band, who like to get together for fun and to take on challenges other than just music. With many in the band with an interest in running, it made sense that this would spur some of the band to take on park runs in the local area together.
Both Kevin and Joan Barker are already very active in the running community; Joan herself having run over 40 park runs to date.
Having encouraged some of the band to join them, Kevin, Joan, Sian and Leighton took on the Forest Five on Wednesday 16th June. A five-mile run through Swinley Forest, it’s a tough course with a steep hill for 3 miles, but all 4 members of the band enjoyed it and made it home. They haven’t received their official times yet, but Leighton was the first home in around 40 minutes.
It’s a great achievement by the Saints Runners.
Well Done Guys!!!
Female members of the Saints Runners (Joan, Dawn, Sian, Steph, Maria and Amy) will be taking on Race for life on 17th July in Reading. http://raceforlife.cancerresearchuk.org/choose-your-event/reading-prospect-park.html
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:
It’s Not Unusual (trombone feature)
Benedictus (Euphonium Solo – Rosie Saxton)
Ballad & Triumph (from Day of the Dragon)
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.
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: http://www.regional-contest.org.uk/lsc/contest/2016-contest-entry
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
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!
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 http://www.scaba.co.uk
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.