We’re waiting for some words from our MD, but here’s where you’ll find junior Band news.
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.
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
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.
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:
- 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.
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.
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!
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.
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 Rain, Make 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.
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
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
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 Queen, The Music Man from Sandy Smith, Aerosmith’s Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing, and Velocity by Jonny Bates.
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 Blues, Madrigal, 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.
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
At 12pm on Saturday 1st July, our Junior band set off for Whiston!
Having arrived at approximately 2pm, the band made their way to the village hall for a quick rehearsal ready to blow the judges away, at the 6th Annual Whiston Festival of Brass.
After a strong performance from Shirland Training Band it was time for Lions to take to the stage – a stage that looked quite compact thanks to how many players turned up.
Their first piece struck a chord with the the audience as, in brass band tradition, they played the famous march True and Trusty.
The Juniors then managed to get the audience singing along with Viva La Vida, featuring the Lions Junior Brass choir, this got great comments from our judge! Scarborough Fair came next, arranged by our one and only Steve Barwick. This was performed with clarity and maturity, which was very hard with such an open stage.
Next it was time for our percussion section to step into the limelight with the very exciting, yet incredibly noisy, Fascinating Drums – you just couldn’t beat that performance!
The Juniors finished on a high note, featuring our very talented Horn section! This left the audience with a smile on their face and a spring in their step.
After all of the performances were finished we were delighted to hear that the Juniors had been awarded…
As we were all in such high spirits it was time for ice cream – thanks to Matt and Charlotte’s brilliant bartering the band scooped a great deal.
With full tummies and some very hyper youngsters, it was time to get the coach home.
I’d love to tell you that’s where our story ends…
Unfortunately, having not been on the road for 1 minute our trusty coach broke down.
All of the children stayed very calm, which made the adults job a lot easier. Our favourite quote of the day came from the back of the bus “Isn’t our driver nice, letting all of these cars past!”
After Jose had spent a good while trying to fix the coach, we quickly learnt that we were going to be here for some time.
The entire organisation would like the thank Rob, from the festival committee, for providing us with a fantastic room, food and drink, free of charge!
Seeing as we had a few hours to spare it was time for a spontaneous rehearsal! This involved using tables as music stands as well as a drum kit.
After a long four and a half hours had passed we received the call from Jose that our saviour had arrived!
Thankfully, despite the delays, the band were in good voice on the way home and we arrived in time to get up bright and early to play at The Weaver Stadium the following day.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who supported us on Saturday, parents and committee members, we couldn’t have done it without you.