The band have been working hard over the last few weeks in preparation for two upcoming contests. Last week, guest conductor Alan Fernie braved the stormy weather and flooding to travel to Abingdon from Scotland and take Abbey Brass for a rehearsal on this year’s 4th section Regional Championships test piece, Three Spanish Impressions – a piece he also composed.
The band thoroughly enjoyed meeting Alan and the rehearsal proved valuable in our preparations. This weekend, Abbey Brass be taking part in the local 2014 Oxfordshire & District Brass Band Association Winter Contest and then on March 16th we’ll be heading over to Stevenage to compete in the London & Southern Counties Regional Qualifiers for the National Brass Band Championships.
Good luck to all the local Oxfordshire brass bands taking part!
We currently have several vacancies in the band that we are auditioning for at the end of March. If you’re interested in joining a busy and friendly brass band, then why not get in touch?
Alan Fernie is the composer of the chosen piece for the qualifiers; an original work entitled ‘Three Spanish Impressions’. Alan will be travelling down from Glasgow to rehearse the band and said he was delighted to be asked to come and take the rehearsal.
Abbey Brass Principle Conductor Rob Tompkins said ‘This is great news for the band and we are very grateful to Alan for agreeing to travel so far to come and take the rehearsal. We are stepping into the contest arena as a registered band for the first time in 13 years and the band will get invaluable help and a real lift having the composer of the piece taking them through the music he wrote and giving them guidance. I am really looking forward to meeting Alan and discussing the music with him.’
The Area Contest takes place on March 16th in Stevenage, so keep an eye on the website for news of the bands efforts.
Abbey Brass are excited to announce that on Sunday 13th October they won both Section B (The Abingdon Band Contest Besson Challenge Cup) for playing and Section B (The Oxford Mail and Oxford Times Challenge Cup) for presentation during the 2013 Oxfordshire & District Brass Band Association Entertainment Contest.
The band performed a 20 minute own-choice programme featuring Singin’ In The Rain, If I Were A Rich Man (bass trombone solo), Going Home (theme from Local Hero) and Amparito Roca.
This is the band’s second contest this year, and the second ‘double’ that they’ve won marking a successful return to contesting after eleven years.
Rob Tompkins, Principal Conductor said “What a great result, we are now the proud owners of 4 trophies from the 2 contests we have taken part in this year - we should all be very proud of the performance. Our next contest is likely to be the ODBBA Winter Contest in February 2014 when we hand over the 2 trophies we won earlier in the year and go up against the 4th and 3rd section bands. This is a real challenge, but one I am sure the band are more than capable of rising to.”
The band will now start preparing for what is traditionally one of the busiest times in the brass band calendar on the run-up to Christmas. Find out where you can see them playing in and around Abingdon on our calendar.
A huge thank you to all the band supporters, those in the band for their hard work on planning and organising our trip, and of course to the organisers of the contests that we attended – we look forward to coming back next year!
After a fantastic weekend away at the Whit Friday Brass Band Contests last year, we are again heading north to compete alongside many of the world’s best brass bands in probably the most popular event in the banding calendar.
The contests, know as “the greatest free show on Earth” are taking place next Friday, the 24th May. We have been practising our music, but now the weather is (slightly) better we need to get in some marching practice.
On the evenings of Sunday the 19th and Wednesday the 22nd of May, we’ll be rehearsing our contest march outside, and marching up and down the road in preparation for our trip to Saddleworth – roughly sometime between 7.45pm and 9.00pm.
So if you’d like to come down and get a flavour of what the contest is like, and listen to us rehearsing, then please come along – it’s much more fun for us to play to an audience!
Abbey Brass are excited to announce that on Sunday 24th February they won both the Section C (ODBBA 90th Anniversary Cup) and Section C March (Shaw Club Trophy) during the 2013 Oxfordshire & District Brass Band Association Winter Contest.
The band performed the march Castell Caerffili by T. J. Powell, and their own-choice test piece was Oregon by Jacob de Haan.
These results mark a return to contesting from an eleven year absence, and the band put a lot of hard work into rehearsals following a busy Christmas period. The contest was adjudicated by David Hirst, the well-known brass band conductor, adjudicator and arranger and held at The Marlborough School in Woodstock.
In his contest remarks, David wrote about a “Tidy opening and a well measured march”. For the test piece, he commented on “Well controlled, neat playing and good technique, nicely played…”.
Principal Conductor of Abbey Brass, Rob Tompkins, said “This result is a real boost for the band, a lot of hard work went into getting these pieces ready for the contest. The sad loss of our Soprano Cornet player Tony Bush in November made the performance even more difficult for the band, and the win has been dedicated to his memory. I am so proud of all the players, they have put up with me pushing to get the best out of the pieces and this proved to be well worth it. We were also privileged to have Philip Harper, conductor of the world famous Cory Band rehearse the band in January which helped to get the pieces to such a good standard.”.
The band will play both of the winning pieces at their next concert on May 18th at Yolande Patterson Hall (St. Helen & St. Katharine School) in Abingdon. This is a joint concert with Wantage Concert Brass, so why not come along and listen to the band perform these award-winning pieces.
As well as conducting The Cory Band, Philip is a freelance educator and adjudicator with brass bands at all levels. He is also a prolific composer, with his work Olympus being selected for last year’s National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain.
We look forward to welcoming Philip, and to what will be a very enjoyable and educational evening for the band.
The contests started around 1884, and often over 100 bands from up and down the UK (and sometimes overseas) come to compete. There are around 20 separate contests in town and village venues around Saddleworth Moor, each one with it’s own prizes and rules. Spectators can expect to see 50+ bands contesting late into the night at some of the busier venues. The contests even featured in the 1996 film Brassed Off. Each band needs to play two marches, one to march to, and then one to perform for each contest.
Needless to say, with that many brass players in a small area, a lot of beer is drunk, and a lot of fun is had. Bands have even been known to turn up in fancy dress – below is a video from the 2010 contest of a ‘chav band’ – do you recognise their not-so-traditional march?!
We’ll be wearing our usual uniform we think…
Abbey Brass have been working hard on rehearsing our two marches. For marching, we’ll be playing a march written by a local composer, J A Alder – March: The Thames Valley. For the contest march, we’ll be playing Cornish Cavalier by W E Moyle. You may have heard us playing around the Abbey Gardens on recent evenings as we’ve used the car park outside of our bandroom in Abingdon for marching practice!
Not all of the regular Abbey Brass players were able to make it to the event, so we’d like to thank several players from other local bands including Jubilee Brass (Oxford) Band, Witney Town Band, Marsh Gibbon Silver Band, and from (much) further afield we have a trombonist from Swiss brass band Ambitus who’s fulfilling an ambition to play at the contest while studying for a short time in Oxford. We’d like to thank them for their hard work in preparation for our trip to Saddleworth!
This Saturday, 31st March, Abbey Brass is putting on a concert at St Helen & St Katherine School in Abingdon as part of the Abingdon Arts Festival 2012.
This will be an evening of music that will entertain everyone, with pieces from the musicals, from the big screen and from the music charts of the last 40 years. A great evening of entertainment for all ages. See below the poster for the full concert programme!
Tickets are available on the door – £7 adult, £5 concessions.
Thames Valley – J.A Alder
Try to Remember – Harvey Schmidt – arr. Allan Street
English Folksong Suite – 1st Movement – R Vaughan Williams arr. Frank Wright
We’ve only just begun – Williams/Nichols arr. Derek Ashmore
My Fair Lady – Frederick Loewe – arr. Alan Fernie
Only Love – Vladimir Cosma arr. PH Greenwood
Cornish Cavalier – William Moyle
Entry of the Gladiators – Julius Fucik
Myfanwy – Parry arr. Denzil Stephens
Troublemaker – Mike Davis
Mr Jums – Chris Hazel arr. Alan Catherall
The Entertainer – Scott Joplin arr. Ronald Hanmer
Deep Harmony – Handel Parker arr. Roy Newsome
Clog Dance – John Marcangelo arr. Bill Charleson