WOLVERTON TOWN BAND

The oldest brass band in the Milton Keynes area

THE END OF ANOTHER BUSY YEAR

27 December. As we approach the end of another year, we must say a huge thank-you to everyone in the band and all our supporters for a great 2014.


We've had a very good year for performances and did lots of gigs to entertain the people of Wolverton and raise our profile in the town. In particular, we had two very successful public concerts at St George's Church and a fantastic twinning trip to Belgium in June.


We look forward to going from strength to strength in 2015. The band's first practice of the new year will be on Monday 12th January.

FESTIVE FUN AND CHRISTMAS CHEER

27 December. The band took part in lots of events in the run-up to Christmas, bringing some seasonal cheer to the people of Wolverton and Milton Keynes.


We played:

  • Christmas music at Tesco on the Sunday before Christmas.
  • At our Christmas Concert and Sing-Along in St George's Church (please see below).
  • Carols to local residents door-to-door around the streets of Wolverton on five evenings in December.
  • At the annual Wolverton Lantern Parade (which the band led) and at the Mathiesen Centre in Bradville.
  • At Frost's Garden Centre in Woburn Sands where the band’s festive music helped shoppers enjoy the day.


As is tradition, we finished the year playing carols round the Christmas tree in The Square on Christmas Eve afternoon.

CHRISTMAS CONCERT AND SING-ALONG

14 December. We held a very successful public Christmas Charity Concert and Sing-Along in Wolverton’s St George’s Church last night.


The concert included favourites such as: Jingle Bell Rock, Away in a Manger, White Christmas and Carol of the Bells. We were very festive looking, decorated with Christmas trimmings and tinsel, and Scott on the sousaphone was sporting multi-coloured fairy lights.


There was also ‘audience participation’ with a carol sing-along with the audience using sets of jingle bells, led by the band’s youngest member, 12-year-old Casey Brockwell.

Casey made his concert debut on drums and percussion having moved from cornet and taken up drums just six weeks previously.


All money raised was in aid of The Suki Woodland Memorial Trust and Mind - in memory of Jamie Brockwell who was Casey’s elder brother. Mince pies left over at the end of the evening were donated to the Winter Night Shelter MK and the MK Food Bank.

WOLVERTON LANTERN PARADE

7 December. The band had a blast! Everyone was suitably wrapped up in festive jumpers, tinsel and woolie hats - all sensible precautions against a cold Winter's evening.


We played Christmas tunes under the tree in The Square and then proudly led the procession of hundreds of people and their homemade lanterns, a samba band and Father Christmas on his sleigh (among others).


After the procession, the fire eater did his death-defying stuff and the band played once more under the tree with the samba band.


See the photos in the Photo Gallery.

REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY

9 November. The band was pleased and proud to take part in the Remembrance Day parade earlier today, especially in such a significant year, 100 years after the outbreak of World War 1.


The weather stayed fine and sunny but it was chilly! Special thanks and well done to Heidi who played solo.


Have a look at the photos in the Photo Gallery.

WORLD WAR 1 COMMEMORATIVE PARADE

12 August. We woke up to wild wind and lashing rain on Sunday morning but, by the time the parade started, ex-hurricane Bertha was being kind to us and the weather held off, only to turn for the worst during the speeches and as the outside part of the event was finishing.


The band led the parade organised by Wolverton & Greenleys Town Council to commemorate the beginning of World War 1 and those who lost their lives in the conflict. The parade also included representatives from the armed forces and their youth sections and was fronted by a 1914 Renault car. It made its way through the streets of Wolverton before arriving at Mill Mead Hall (the old Drill Hall) where there were speeches and the unveiling of a commemorative plaque.


The plaque was in remembrance of those men in The Buckinghamshire Battalion (Territorial Force) and The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry who left the hall to serve in the “Great War”.


Everyone then went into Mill Mead Hall where World War 1-style refreshments were available and the band played some more music. There were also various displays by local organisations and demonstrations by local clubs.


Tanya, whose idea the event was and who was also one of the organisers, said afterwards: "Just wanted to say thanks for yesterday - the feedback has been very positive. It was a great day and worth all of the hard work everyone put in. Please can you pass on thanks to the band members? They were fantastic!!"


Have a look at the photos in the Photo Gallery.

BELGIUM TWINNING WEEKEND

16 June. The band took part in Wolverton’s First World War centenary twinning trip to Belgium at the weekend with performances in Ypres, Ploegsteert and at a memorial in remembrance of Albert French and others who died in the war.


This year, we sent a contingent of over 20 brass players to twin town, Ploegsteert.

The band played a mixture of marches, classical pieces, film music and tunes associated with the two World Wars at a number of engagements over the weekend, sometimes playing with its twin band, Ploegsteert Harmonies Band.


Performances included:

  • A public performance in the market place in Ypres.
  • A community concert in Ploegsteert, which was attended by hundreds of people from the town and the local area.
  • A remembrance service at the memorial dedicated to the missing dead, on the outskirts of Ploegseert. This included the laying of wreaths by representatives from both towns at the grave of Albert French, a young soldier from Wolverton who died in the First World War aged just 16.


Have a look at the great photos from the weekend in our Photo Gallery.

THE BIG LUNCH, STONY STRATFORD

2 June. The band played at The Big Lunch family fun day in Stony Stratford yesterday. The sun shone on what was one of the hottest days of the year so far and the band was part of a packed line-up of afternoon entertainment as families enjoyed their ice creams and took full advantage of the good weather.


Once again, Scott dusted off his bagpipes and delighted the crowd with some traditional Scottish tunes performed in full Highland regalia.


Photos from the afternoon are in the Photo Gallery.

BRASS, BAGPIPES AND PINK PANTHER

11 May. The band's first public performance for a long time was a great success last night. The performance was excellent and sounded fantastic. It was marvellous to see everyone kitted out and playing so well in such a lovely venue.


The concert was introduced by Brian White, Mayor of Milton Keynes, and the audience thoroughly enjoyed the evening. Jane, our Musical Director even gave Councillor White the opportunity to conduct! We were also treated to a special appearance from the Pink Panther playing the trombone and our very own Scott showed off his previously hidden talent for playing the bagpipes.


A healthy amount was raised for the Belgian twinning trip so the costs for those going next month will be kept as low as possible.


Well done to Jane, all the players, helpers and supporters. Everyone should be very proud. The Belgians are bound to be impressed!


Have a look at the photos in the Photo Gallery.

JOHN LEWIS

7 May. The band performed at John Lewis department store in Milton Keynes between 11am and 3pm on Sunday, bringing some musical cheer to Bank Holiday shoppers.


Well done to all our players who very much enjoyed the event. Many thanks to everyone involved at John Lewis for their help and hospitality. See the two folders of photos in the Photo Gallery. The photos in one of the folders are especially good and are courtesy of David Prince of John Lewis Technical Services.

CONCERT AT ST GEORGE'S CHURCH

11 April. The band will be performing at a public concert at St George’s Church in Wolverton on Saturday 10th May at 7pm.


Tickets are £5.00 and are available either from Wolverton Town Hall (01908 326800) or through band members. They can also be bought on the door. Tea, coffee, soft drinks, cakes and raffle tickets will be available for sale in the interval.


Proceeds will go to support the Wolverton twinning trip to Ploegsteert in Belgium in June.

PLAYING AT FROSTS

22 March. At its first public outing of the year, the band entertained shoppers at Frosts Garden Centre in Woburn Sands this afternoon. Many thanks to everyone who played and collected, especially as we were outside and it was chilly!


See the photos in the Photo Gallery.

WOLVERTON TWINNING TRIP TO PLOEGSTEERT

6 March. The details of the trip to Belgium are now available. It will take place on the weekend of 13-15 June. The coach will leave Wolverton Town Hall at 7:00 am on Friday 13 June in time to catch the 11:00am ferry to Calais. The ferry back to the UK on 15 June will leave Calais at 7:55pm French time.


If anyone wants to go on the trip, please contact either Bob or the Town Council.

FIRST LADY MUSICAL DIRECTOR IN BAND'S HISTORY

29 January. We've recently appointed Jane Lloyd as our new Musical Director. Jane makes history by being the first woman to take up the post in the band’s long history stretching back well over a century.


Jane was born and brought up in London. She started playing the trumpet at an early age and quickly won scholarships to study at both the county music service and the Junior Royal College of Music, eventually studying at the Royal Academy of Music.


While in London, she played in operatic societies, symphony orchestras and did solo work in the capital and the Home Counties. She also participated in large symphonic works at the Royal Festival Hall and the Albert Hall.


Jane started playing the cornet whilst in the Ernest Reed London Orchestras and began conducting and playing in brass bands after moving to Kent in her mid-twenties.


When her army officer husband was posted to Germany, Jane took her instruments and baton with her and was soon head-hunted to conduct the RAF Command Voluntary Band, the duties of which included both civilian and military functions throughout Europe.


After returning to England, Jane took up several playing and conducting posts including being the first woman conductor at both the Border Regiment TA Band and the RAF Voluntary Band.


For eight years, Jane worked in preforming arts in Kentucky, which involved directing marching bands. She continued her playing career in wind bands, orchestras and with the brass band which gave the first American performance of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.


Jane now lives in Northampton. Teaching the piano and having worked as a brass instructor in Milton Keynes has given her the opportunity to play with the Northampton Symphony Orchestra, Northampton Orchestral Winds and Moulton Band, with which she was also deputy conductor.


Jane was fortunate enough to be one of the 70,000 Games Makers posted at the Olympic Village during the 2012 London Paralympics. She has one married daughter and fits her musical activities round running her Kleeneze cleaning business.


Commenting on her appointment, Jane said: “I'm delighted to have been appointed as Wolverton Town Band’s new Musical Director. I’m looking forward to having fun, making great music for its members and the local community and helping build the band for the future.”

HAPPY NEW YEAR

27 December. Happy New Year to everyone. The band's first practice of 2014 will be on Monday 6th January. Here's to an excellent year.