The Lions Beginner Band is the starting point of the Lions Youth Brass organisation. The band accepts children, aged 6 and up, who are just starting on their journey to learn a musical instrument and grounds them in the basics of music before passing them onto the Junior Band.

Rehearsals are normally completed in a full band format, led by Chris Thompson, with our excellent team of tutors -Matthew Darlington, Derek Gardener and Charlotte Birch – taking out smaller groups to enable children to get more individualised attention.  Rehearsals are hard work, however the ethos of the band is that music is a hobby and is to be enjoyed, meaning that sessions are also fun, with no small amount of laughter involved!

The band plays in a number of concerts each year with the other two bands. The band currently enters the Newcastle-Under-Lyme Festival held in March and the National Youth Brass Band Championships in April. In 2016 the Beginner Band completed a hat trick of ‘Band with Most Potential’ awards at the Nationals, having won it in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Players are also encouraged to enter our slow melody competition.

The Beginner Band’s prize winning performance at the 2015 National Brass Band Championships can be seen via the following link http://youtu.be/-mnTlTsSVCE

From Sandbach to Switzerland

Charlotte Birch : 12 September 2018 9:33 pm : Beginners Band, Concert, Contest, Home, Junior Band, News, Switzerland, Youth Band

Sit back, relax, and enjoy the movies as some of the county’s top musicians take you on a tour of the silver screen.

From John Williams to Hans Zimmer, Fodens Band, the Roberts Bakery Band, and Lions Youth Brass will be performing together for one night only for their From Sandbach to Switzerland concert. 

More than 100 of Cheshire’s top players will be helping to raise money for the Lions Youth Brass band as they prepared to head to Montreux, Switzerland for next year’s European Youth Brass Band Championships. 

 

The band qualified to represent England at the prestigious tournament after finishing second in the National Youth Brass Band Championships earlier this year. 

 

Performing alongside players from Fodens and Roberts will give the band – aged between 14 and 18 – a chance to perform with some of the country’s finest players. 

 

Musical director Nigel Birch said “Lions is about giving young people great opportunities and to play with musicians and bands of the quality of Roberts and Fodens will be an amazing experience for them to cherish.”

 

Players in the Lions organisation range from six to 18 years of age and both the beginner and junior bands will be showcasing their musical prowess before the main event on the night.

 

In order to enjoy their once in a lifetime trip to Switzerland Lions have to raise around £25,000 and have already held a series of fund-raising events this year. 

 

The ‘From Sandbach to Switzerland’ spectacular takes place on September 23 at Northwich Memorial Court. 

 

Tickets cost £10 with under 16s free of charge. Doors open 5.15pm. 

 

The next fund-raising event will be a race night at the Masonic Hall in Sandbach on September 29.

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Photos for sale

Graham Shaw : 14 July 2018 8:23 pm : Beginners Band, Concert, Contest, Junior Band, News, Youth Band

As part of the band’s fundraising efforts for Switzerland, a large number of photos from recent concerts are available for sale. Photos are priced at £1 for a high resolution digital download and the band will get 66p from each photo purchased.

3 July 2018 All 3 bands Remembering Nell / Awards Concert – https://goo.gl/amc6BA

7 July 2018 Junior Band Whiston Contest – https://goo.gl/9xyu9n

8 July 2018 All 3 bands Congleton Park – https://goo.gl/1qsYKc

8 July 2018 All 3 bands Macclesfield Lions – https://goo.gl/2Hww9e

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LBB say thanks!

Chris Thompson : 25 April 2018 4:25 pm : Beginners Band, News

Beginners

Hot on the heels of LBB’s wonderful performance at last Sunday’s Nationals competition I just felt now was the right time to say a few thank yous.

Firstly, a huge thanks to the committee. It’s no mean feat organising three bands, three performances and three MD’s, but somehow you do it, year after year. Thanks for all the support and the hard work you put in to raise the money to get us there.

Secondly, to the wonderful team of tutors I am lucky to work with. Derek, Charlotte, Julian and Chris truly work miracles with the children and the results are clear to see. I enjoy working with you all and thank you for your hard work.

If you, the parents of our children, didn’t put the hard yards in encouraging practice at home (which I’m sure isn’t always easy!) and driving them to rehearsals then myself and the team wouldn’t have a job to do. Thank you for your continued and unwavering support. We hope the performance made you all proud.

We have said 4 goodbyes since the contest. India, Ellie, Paddy and Rhiannon have all moved up to the Juniors. It’s sad to see people leave the band, but great to see youngsters get rewarded for the hard work they put in with promotion to LJB. All four of you have been great servants to LBB and we all wish you the best of luck in the Juniors!

Finally, to the wonderful bunch of youngsters that make up Lions Beginner Band. It is a pleasure to work with you every Tuesday and watch the hard work you put in. All we asked was that you tried your hardest to do what we work on each week. Well, you certainly did – you baked one extremely tasty cake! Well done to you all… let’s see what we can do this term!

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National Youth Brass Band Championships of Great Britain

Charlotte Birch : 23 April 2018 9:01 pm : Beginners Band, Contest, Home, Junior Band, News, Youth Band

 

The annual National Youth Brass Band Championships of Great Britain was a roaring success for the young Lions as the Youth Band secured second place.

The success didn’t stop there as the Beginner Band were awarded a certificate of merit and the Junior Band a silver award – a top result in a category containing 12 bands!

It was all change for the competition this year as the venue moved to Warwick Arts Centre in order to avoid a clash with the East holidays. Brass Bands England chairman Mike Kilroy told audiences the competition could well stay put next year as well.

Junior Section

A section containing 12 bands was always going to lead to an early start, and it was the Juniors who were drawn to take to the stage first.

An excellent performance consisted of a range of pieces stretching from traditional hymns and marches – both mandatory in this section – and ending with the instantly recognisable Star Wars.

Their pieces were:

  • Slam Dunk
  • Scarborough Fair
  • True and Trusty
  • Ellers featuring Lydia, Isobel, Jim, Tom, Lily-Mae, Jonnie, Maddy, Joe and Ollie
  • Star Wars

The band were given a silver award and joint fourth with Fred Longworth High School, from Tydesley. This result matches their success in 2015 and 2017.

The eventual winners were Wardle Junior Band with Beaumaris Band coming second and Chalford Youth Band coming third.

Beginner Band Section

The Lions Beginner Band were again drawn out of the hat to open their section at Warwick Art Centre’s The Goose Nest – a temporary auditorium.

The band were commended by the ajudicators for their smiley faces and managed to perform well, even though delays in previous sections meant a lengthy wait before going on.

A vibrant choice of pieces from the young Beginner Band even included a featured piece from Charlotte Shaw and friends – with some fantastic boomwhacker skills!

Their pieces were:

  • Madrigal
  • Minni March
  • Pop Rock
  • Little Stars ft Charlotte Shaw and friends
  • Ode to Joy

Beginner Band musical director Chris Thompson said: “I couldn’t be prouder of the way our youngest members played. They gave it their all and did everything we could possibly have asked of them.

“To play like that, after the huge turnover in players we’ve experienced, is just reward for the effort and commitment the players have shown. For me, that was worth more than any trophy.”

The Beginner Band were awarded a certificate of merit along with Stockport Schools Junior Brass Band. Band of the day went to Wardle Junior Blast with Birkwood Brass and Marriot Brass picking up band with the most potential and highly commended.

Championship Section

The final section of the day was the Championship, with Gordon Langford’s daughter on hand to witness the young players perform her father’s composition Overture Metropolis as this year’s test piece.

Brass Bands England chose the piece shortly after Gordon’s passing in 2017.

The Youth Band played second, following Youth Brass 2000, and began with Road to Run by Paul Lovatt Cooper. Up next it was the test piece before a world premier of The Fall of Icarus – a composition commissioned by the band from Foden’s solo horn Jonny Bates.

Pieces and features included:

  • Road to Run featuring Natasha Brett, Jamie Reid, Emma Drew and William Brooks
  • Overture Metropolis
  • The Fall of Icarus

The Youth Band came second winning £200 and a glass trophy. Youth Brass 2000 came first, while Birmingham Schools’ Brass Band took third.

Musical director Nigel Birch said: “This was my 22nd Nationals and the performance ranked among the very best, as all three pieces were very good. I was extremely proud of all the players, not just on the day but for their dedication and hard work in the preparation.

“I would also like to congratulate Tom, Chris and all the tutors who develop the players so that we can continue to achieve our fantastic results.

“Thanks to our great team lead by Jane Stubbs for everything you provided for the performance and their fabulous work on the day in testing circumstances. I am proud to be the Lions Youth Brass Musical Director.”

 

 

 

 

For anyone wanting to hear more of the Lions, the Youth Band will be performing at The Civic, in Alsager, on Friday (April 27), at 7.30pm. Or the previews of the new CD – Carnival! – can be found online.

 

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Younger Lions roar at Newcastle!

Chris Thompson : 28 March 2018 2:14 pm : Beginners Band, Contest, Junior Band

Our Junior and Beginner bands were in action at the weekend, taking part in the annual Newcastle-under-Lyme Festival of Music, Speech and Drama.

It was an early start for the Beginners, who took to the stage in the Under 14 stage before 10 am. Performing last in their section they played a short programme that included Madrigal, Mini March and concluded with Ode to Joy. A performance that MD Chris later described as ‘close to perfect’ was rewarded with a hugely well deserved second place, placing the band (who had an average age of around 8/9) ahead of older and more advanced bands.

Full of euphoria they then joined in the Junior Band in the hunt for the Under 19 section trophy. Tom and the Juniors took to the stage to perform a slick and polished rendition of Slam Dunk (a corker of a piece by Paul Lovatt-Cooper), full of choreography and even, at one point, conductor-less! They were followed on stage by the Beginners, who featured the multi-talented Charlotte (horn and glock expert!) and friends (all armed with boomwhackers!) in Little Stars, before finishing with a Beginner Band ‘banger,’ Pop Rock. Again, both bands were up against much older and experienced and ensembles, but both bands were richly rewarded with third and fourth place finishes respectively.

Quite a morning in Staffordshire, then!

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Half Term Concert

Graham Shaw : 13 February 2018 8:56 pm : Beginners Band, Concert, Junior Band, News, Youth Band

Parents and friends enjoyed a concert this evening featuring all three bands.

Starting with our beginner Band, the audience was treated to a selection of pieces that the band isworking on ahead of the upcoming Nestle Festival of Music.

The junior band then featured the band minus their conductor, Tom, showing just how well the band can play before continuing to play a varied set.

Finally, the youth band brought a preview of their upcoming CD “Carnival” featuring a couple of “mature” additions to the percussion selection.

Well done to all our bands. You are sounding in fine form and are sure to do really well at your upcoming competitions.

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LBB 2017: a year in review

Chris Thompson : 29 December 2017 9:20 am : Beginners Band, News

LBB Home

2017 has been a year of progress for the Beginner Band, and what progress it has been!

Everyone connected to the organisation has been delighted to see the huge increase in numbers we’ve had join the band since September. We now total a very healthy mid-thirty in terms of membership and it has been a real privilege to see these new, eager, young musicians settle in and develop their musical skills. I can’t wait to get working with them on our chosen programmes for our forthcoming competitions.

I was very pleased with the performances the band gave at both the Newcastle and National contests. Newcastle was particularly pleasing due to the fact we played twice in a short space of time, having chosen to compete in both the Under 14 and Under 19s. Joint second and third (in the U14’s and U19’s respectively) were just rewards for the band. I was delighted with the performance the band gave at the Nationals in April. Although we didn’t manage to add to the prizes we have won there over the past three years I was very proud of the assured, calm and confident way in which the band played, and particularly with the comments we received from the judges. There’s always 2018!

Concerts are the lifeblood of the band though. The band has given many super performances across Cheshire in 2017. We’ve had a turbulent year in terms of player movement but performances have always been good, particularly recently as I feel the band has belied its young age and inexperience.

The annual awards night was a great success. It’s a cliché but I could have made an argument for every child in the band to win something. As it was myself and my team settled on the following very deserving winners:

  • Bandsperson of the Year: Paddy Bloor
  • Player of the Year: Oliver Livsey
  • Pride Award: Verity Morris
  • Players’ Player of the Year: Poppy McLaren
  • Most Improved Player: Charlotte Shaw

Looking ahead I’m excited for 2018. As always the Spring term will see us busy rehearsing for our two contests whilst the Summer will see plenty of concert performances.

As always, a huge thanks goes to my team; to Derek, to Charlotte and to Matthew, a huge thank you for everything you have done this year. You are a pleasure to work with. In addition, this year the band has greatly benefitted from the wisdom and expertise of Chris Taylor, Julian Brooks and Emma Dean, all of whom have given up their time on Tuesday evenings to help us give our new starters the individualised time they deserve. Thank you to you all for always going the extra mile and giving your all.

Sadly, we are losing Matthew from our team in January. Matthew is hugely popular with all the members of the band and he is a gem to work with. It is not an exaggeration to suggest that 75% of the organisation have benefitted from his knowledge and expertise. He will be hugely missed. Thank you for everything you’ve done over the many (many!) years you have been part of Lions Youth Brass. Don’t be a stranger!

So, roll on 2018!

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Macclesfield & Chester Lions

Charlotte Birch : 16 July 2017 8:11 pm : Beginners Band, Concert, Junior Band, News, Youth Band

Lions Beginner Band at The King’s School in Macclesfield

 

The audience was blown away on Saturday (15th July) as all three bands played at the 27th annual Macclesfield and District Lions Club musical concert.

As well as some fine performances for the bands a number of the young players picked up awards, including an eight-year award for a 13-year-old!

The evening started with a dance as Chris and the Beginner Band started with the toe-tapping Tango Time before featuring the young trombone section in Slippin’ ‘N’ Slidin’.

The next to feature was the horn section in Country Rock before the Beginners completed their set with Highland Cathedral. The audience wanted more and were duly rewarded with The Mickey Mouse Club March, which was debuted at the Awards Concert the week before.

Chris gave out one award, to Dominic McLaren, who won “Cool Crotchet” meaning he took Jeff, the Beginners’ mascot home for the summer.

Up next were the Juniors who started with a True and Trusty performance before playing Coldplay’s Viva La Vida and the Latin Fiesta. Then followed a more traditional Cornish Pastyche and the fab four’s Hey Jude.

Tom gave out two five-year awards, to Thomas Bishop and Nancy Fletcher, as well as a Most Improved Player accolade to Adam Dinnis.  

Rounding off the evening it was time for Nigel and the Youth Band, who started with Music Man before Til There Was You, a solo from principal cornet Tash.

The evening then took a pop twist with Singin’ in the RainMake You Feel my Love, and Sway – one for the Michael Buble fans!

The Youth Band finished with I Will Follow Him, which featured the trombone section, followed by The Conquest of Paradise.

Nigel gave out a number of awards, including a five-year to cornet player Bethany Harby, and eight-years to Melissa Goodchild, Leanne Smith, Rosie Daracott-Grey, Cerys Smedley (who joined the band aged five!).  Trombonist Emma Drew picked up a Most Improved Player award. 

The next day a depleted Youth Band, which had 14 players missing, performed at the incredibly sunny Chester bandstand.

Lions Youth Brass at Chester

Included in the pieces was Make You Feel My Love, which traditionally features eight back-row cornets. Due to a number of absences there were only three able to make the Chester trip but nonetheless they did a fantastic job.

Other pieces included Til There Was You, a solo by principal cornet Tash, I Wanna Be Like You,  by bass trombonist Callum Seddon, and I Will Follow Him, featuring the trombone section. In true tour spirit – which is less than a week away – the band ended with the Can Can, a Lions favourite!

And, of course, a sunny trip to Chester would have never been complete without stopping for an ice-cream!

Kings School, Macclesfield – 15 July 2017

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Awards Night 2017!

Charlotte Birch : 12 July 2017 8:33 pm : Beginners Band, Concert, Junior Band, News, Youth Band

Five Year Award Winners

 

Forget about the Brits, or the Grammy’s, it was time for the most important awards night of the year on Tuesday night – the prestigious Lions Youth Brass Awards.

The judges had scratched their heads, deliberated, and managed to whittle down their shortlists before announcing the final winners at Ruskin Community High School, in Crewe.

Each band gave out awards to players they thought were showing potential, or going above and beyond what was expected of them.

Chris and the Beginners flew straight into things with the Batman theme tune before debuting two pieces; Slipping N’ Sliding featuring the magnificent Trombone section followed by a trip to Disney’s magical kingdom with The Mickey Mouse Club March.

But the main event is the awards presentation, and Chris gave out five accolades (and didn’t leave empty handed himself!), three of which are chosen with the help of Matt, Charlotte and Derek,  one selected by secret ballot from the players, and one he chooses on his own.

The winners were:

  • Bandsperson of the Year: Paddy Bloor
  • Player of the Year: Oliver Livsey
  • Pride Award: Verity Morris
  • Players’ Player of the Year: Poppy McLaren
  • Most Improved Player: Charlotte Shaw

After he had announced the award winners Chris was surprised by Nigel and members of the band, who had prepared a special gift for him as he is due to get married during the summer break. Congratulations Chris and Amy!

It was then time for Tom and the Junior Band to take to the stage. Their pieces included Cornish Pastiche, Fascinating Drums, and one of their favourites – La Bamba.

And onto the awards! Tom gave out five awards, of which three were chosen with the help of Steve, one was the band’s choice, and one he chose on his own.

The winners were:

  • Bandsperson of the Year: Joe Marmont
  • Player of the Year: Eliza Dakin
  • Players’ Player of the Year: Leon Gill
  • Most Improved Player: Lilly-Mae McLaren
  • Most Improved Player: Ryan Snelson

And last but not least it was time for Nigel and the Youth band, as they prepare for their upcoming tour of North Wales. Pieces performed included Til There was You, Singing in the Rain, and Conquest of Paradise.

Nigel had six awards to give out while the Bandsperson of the Year will be announced at the End of Tour Concert, on Thursday, 28th July, at Sandbach High School.

The Youth band winners were:

  • Player of the Year: Natasha Brett
  • Most Improved Player: Rhys Woollam
  • Most Improved Player: Abbie Webb
  • Most Improved Player: Hannah Taylor
  • Showing Promise: Emily Savage
  • Showing Promise: Alana Scott

Two dedicated Lions, Andrew Beattie and Emily Gibson, received eight-year awards having committed more than half of their lives to the organisation.

While Will Brooks, Natasha Brett, Hannah Mills (Y), Craig Shaw, Ryan Snelson, Oliver Shervington, Eleanor Simpson, Adele Jones, Hannah Mills (J), and Maddie Dean were recognised for having committed five years to the band.

The next Lions concert is at The King’s School, Macclesfield, on Saturday (15th July), 7.30pm. The concert is a ticketed event but entry is free.

Awards Concert – 11 July 2017

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Lions Hit High Notes at Congleton Park

Charlotte Birch : 9 July 2017 7:25 pm : Beginners Band, Junior Band, News, Youth Band

Lions Youth Brass in full swing at Congleton Park on Sunday.

Lions Youth Band struck a chord with the audience as the sun shone over the Costa del Congleton (as Chris elegantly put it).

The afternoon, courtesy of Congleton Lions Club, started with a strong performance from the Youth Band, with highlights including Crazy Little Thing Called Love, popularised by QueenThe Music Man from Sandy Smith, Aerosmith’s Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing, and Velocity by Jonny Bates.

With the audience tapping their feet and clapping their hands enjoying the warm afternoon in the park, it was time for Chris and the Beginner Band to take over.

For three of Chris’s players, Harry, Max, and Dominic, Congleton was their first Lions concert and it definitely started with a ZAP! BANG! and POW! as the band belted out the Batman theme tune.

After a touch of the caped crusader, it was onto pieces including Monday BluesMadrigal, Highland Cathedral, Tango Time, and Sand Between Your Toes. A big shout-out had to go to the young horn section, who were featured on a performance of Country Rock.

After the Beginners it was on to Tom and the Junior Band, who were playing their first performance since coming second at the Whiston Festival of Brass the week before.

The band’s performance  included Coldplay’s Viva la Vida,  the fab four’s Hey Jude,  Scarborough Fair, and Daydream Believer.

With the Junior Band ending on a high note it was time for the Youth Band to return to the stage – this time with a number of solo pieces.

Soloists included the principal cornet, Tash, who played Til There Was You and bass trombonist Callum, who took a trip to the jungle with I Wanna Be Like You.

The band ended with the Can Can, a real Lions favourite, but more of that will be revealed at the End of Tour Concert, on 27th July, 7pm, at Sandbach High School!

All three bands will next be in action at the Awards Concert, on Tuesday (11th July), at Ruskin High School, Crewe. The concert starts at 7pm

 

Congleton Park 2017

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