The annual ‘Blessing of the Boats’ service on the Cobb signalled the start of another busy summer season for the band. Over the last four Sundays, their engagements have also included the Mayor’s Civic Service, Lyme’s D-Day commemoration and a historic military vehicleshow at Haselbury Mill, near Crewkerne.
The Blessing of the Boats
As if they weren’t busy enough, the Tuesday evening ‘Music by the Sea’ concerts on Marine Parade got off to their earliest-ever start on 10th June. Despite a cold wind blowing off the sea, there was an enthusiastic and appreciative audience. The concerts continue every Tuesday at 8 o’clock until the end of August, with additional performances on several Sunday afternoons, starting at 2.30.
On May 27th, band chairman Paul Snowball led the Annual General Meeting at the Woodmead Halls. He congratulated the band for its work during 2013, for what he felt was the most successful summer since he joined the band. His remarks were echoed by Musical Director John Powell, who expressed thanks to all who had supported the band throughout the year, particularly its youngest members. Paul was re-elected Chairman with all other officers and committee continuing in office.
Winners of the annual awards were announced at the conclusion of the meeting (pictured below). These will be presented at the band’s Annual Christmas Concert on December 12th at the Woodmead Halls.
During the season, thousands of holidaymakers, as well as regular local supporters, will enjoy the band’s music. Sponsorship is available for local firms to increase their business through advertising at these concerts. Full details of both sponsorship and concerts can be found on the band’s website.
Harry with Gilly, winner of the Gordon Broom shield
Harry – winner of both Bandmaster’s & Chairman’s awards
The audience brave the wind – Music by the Sea
‘And the next item is….’
In keeping with their policy of learning from celebrity musicians, Lyme Town Band recently enjoyed a day’s workshop with Steve Sykes, one of the finest tuba soloists to emerge from the British brass band scene.
Steve is in great demand as a soloist, conductor, composer, adjudicator and teacher. He works as a freelance musician appearing in the USA, Canada, Europe and Scandinavia and has many recordings and broadcasts to his name. He has performed with many of the country’s leading brass bands, including the famous Grimethorpe Colliery Band, with whom he was Principal Tuba and Soloist, performing throughout Europe and Australia.
Band Chairman Paul Snowball, the Sykes family & MD John Powell
Brass banding runs through the Sykes family and Steve brought both his wife Joanne and his son Steve to support him. For all brass band aficionados out there, band member Gilly Warr describes the day’s workshop in detail:
‘The first session began with warming up exercises with the emphasis on breathing, length of notes and different rhythms, playing combinations of semi-quavers, quavers, crotchets, minims, semibreves, etc. Steve also explained how the conductor indicates to the band his wishes in terms of volume, etc. He stressed the importance of the band all breathing together on the up-beat as he pointed out that a band that breathes together stays together throughout the piece.
We moved on to two hymns followed by ‘Star Lake’ and ‘Somewhere Out There’ featuring a tenor horn solo. Throughout the first session the emphasis was on counting and sub-division and Steve also covered dynamics, especially crescendos and the correct position of the tongue when playing staccato.
After coffee, Steve gave a very interesting talk on his lifetime of playing his bass from a very early age to date. He demonstrated the techniques he has developed over time including vibrato, circular breathing and alternative fingering to enable the player to play fast pieces faster. It was fascinating stuff!
Following lunch, we split up into groups. Young Steve took the trombones, Steve took the basses, baritone and euphoniums and Joanne the cornets, horns and flugel. In our groups we re-visited ‘Somewhere Out There’, ironing out some of the tricky bits and we then worked on two new pieces, ‘African Funk’ by Alan Fernie and ‘Daventry Parade’ by Chris North. Both were very nice pieces and we made good progress with them.
After a final break we all joined up again and went through both pieces together, plus another one, ‘Pavane – the Battle’ by Tielman Susato, arranged by Steve himself. We also played ‘Somewhere Out There’ and ‘Star Lake’ one more time.
All in all it was a very good day and I am sure that everyone learned a lot, but there was no pressure. Both Steve and Joanne were very good teachers and were very thorough. One good thing was that after we had worked on a piece we were able to play it through several times, so that we could put into practice what we had learned’.
The band’s first engagement of the summer is on Sunday 25th May at 3 p.m. – the Blessing of the Boats on the Cobb, Lyme Regis.
(Click to enlarge)
A welcome boost to the band’s instrument stock has resulted, with the kind donation of a cornet.
The instrument previously belonged to Harry Sargant, whose father John now lives in Lyme Regis. Harry grew up in Marlborough and played the cornet through his school years, playing with several groups including Swindon Young Musicians.
John presented the instrument to the band before a recent rehearsal. It was warmly welcomed by Musical Director John Powell
MD John Powell (left) accepts the cornet from John Sargant
who commented, ‘we are very grateful to Mr Sargant for thinking of us. We have a thriving Training Band with several players coming through to the main band. I can assure him that the instrument will be put to very good use!’
Our engagement list for the coming season has now been published, beginning with the ‘Blessing of the Boats’ on 25th May. We will also be contributing to Lyme’s D-Day celebrations on Sunday 8th June and their ever-popular ‘Music by the Sea’ Tuesday evening concerts on Marine Parade will run from 10th June until the end of August.
All our engagements for the year are listed on the website.
Christmas has again proved to be the busiest time of the year for the band. Since early December, the band has been entertaining, not only in Lyme but further afield. Residents sang along with their carols at three residential homes and concerts were given at All Saints and Musbury village halls. The band also supported Axminster’s Festive Friday.
Our Annual Christmas Concert was free this year and was very well attended. It featured awards to band members Catherine Lancaster, Kathy Smith and Grace. Stuart Broom presented the Gordon Broom Memorial Shield to John Case, the band’s librarian. This was the
fifth time John has won the award, a measure of the great support he has given over many years to the members. Gordon Broom, Stuart’s father, was a contemporary of John’s in the original Lyme Band.
Confident performances were given by the Training Band, including the theme from ‘Skyfall’. Just how much progress the Training Band has made under the direction of Nikki Herbert was clear by the appreciative applause of the audience. The band is grateful to all who supported the concert in any way, particularly to its sponsor, A J Wakely.
Christmas shoppers were entertained with carols both at Seaton Tesco’s and in Broad Street, Lyme Regis. Unfortunately, Lyme Regis Rotary’s carols around the tree was cancelled because of poor weather. Band Secretary Adrian Pearson commented, ‘this time of year is always full of engagements. We were particularly delighted by the strong support of the local community at our Annual Christmas Concert, in response to our free ticket offer’.
Following a short break, the band will welcome new members from the Training Band. They will be getting to grips with new music which will carry them through to the next summer season.
It only remains for the band to wish all its supporters a very Happy Christmas and prosperous New Year in 2014!
All Saints headgear
Mince Pie break: Shire House
More mince pies: Tesco’s
Woody takes part!
Foyer, Tesco’s Seaton
Christmas Concert: Chairman’s solo
Christmas Concert: Finale
Christmas Eve: Broad Street, Lyme
With the sad and unexpected passing of Jim Sweetland, the band has lost a true stalwart and another founder member.
When the band was founded in 1981 using a donation from the filming of ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’, Jim was there from the beginning, alongside Ian North, Malcolm Street and Musical Director Joe O’Donnell, all of whom are sadly no longer with us.
Jim held a variety of positions within the band, demonstrating his whole-hearted commitment over many years. He taught many youngsters to play, ensuring that there were always new recruits coming through.
Band member Roger Grose commented, ‘it was Jim who taught my son Daniel to play. When Dan was up to standard,
A Proud Life Member
he joined the main band and I would chauffeur him around to all the engagements. In the end, I decided to join the band as well and found myself sat next to Jim. He was always a great encourager to young and old alike’.
When Jim decided to retire from playing in 2007, the band awarded him a much deserved Life Membership. Yet despite this, Jim did not lose contact with the band. In 2008, he proved a very able compere for the band’s Annual Christmas Concert at the Woodmead Halls. In emergencies or because of holidays, he was more than willing to come along and conduct.
More than once on Christmas Eve, when the band was playing carols in Broad Street, Jim stepped out of the crowd at Musical Director John Powell’s invitation to take the baton again.
Jim’s contribution to the band was immense and his enthusiasm, interest and support will be greatly missed. We extend our deepest sympathy to Daphne, his wife, to his daughter Jan and to the whole family.
1982 – Founder Members
Jim: back row 2nd from left
Jim & Ian North 1982
Life Membership presented by Chairman Val Mahoney
With Award Winners: Christmas 2008
Jim, Gilly Warr & Stuart Broome: Christmas 2008
There was a pleasant surprise for the band’s Musical Director John Powell at the rehearsal on 24th September. During the break, the band suddenly struck up ‘Happy Birthday’ and the Secretary, Val Mahoney appeared with an appropriate cake. Showing a picture of John addressing the crowds during a ‘Music by the Sea’ concert in Lyme Regis, the cake was duly shared out to band members. John did not disclose his significant age in public but there was a clue on the cake!
Val, John & MD John
Happy ……th Birthday!
Two church services recently saw the end of the band’s summer season. The first marked the end of Colyton Carnival and due to inclement weather, had to be held inside the church, instead of on the green. Playing for Axminster Methodist Church’s harvest festival has also become a regular engagement and once again the band provided accompaniment for the much-loved harvest hymns. Following the service, band members enjoyed an excellent cooked lunch.
Practices have now begun for the band’s Christmas Concert on FRIDAY 13TH DECEMBER at the Woodmead Halls. Keep this date free and watch out for ticket details!
‘Auld Lang Syne’ echoed across Marine Parade last week, marking the end of another very successful season of summer concerts for the band, which this year had begun on 18th June.
With the weather greatly improved on last year, they regularly entertained large and appreciative crowds. Just one Tuesday concert was cancelled because of rain, leaving a total of seventeen performances. As a result of the good weather, collections have been very encouraging and will help provide the band with financial security through the winter months.
Once again, a popular feature was the regular children’s spot, when youngsters were invited to come forward and join the band to play a range of percussion instruments. Several players on holiday in Lyme Regis joined the band for their regular concerts. They included brothers David and Richard Thomas, and young German trombonist Conrad Groezinger. Another holidaymaker was Mark Peacock, Associate Conductor of the famous Fairey Band, who conducted the band in a cameo appearance.
Lyme Regis resident Nigel Ball, a regular concert attender, stepped forward to express the thanks of not only those present, but of the people of Lyme Regis, who appreciated the important role the band played in the local community. The audience then linked arms for the singing of ‘Auld Lang Syne’, an appropriate close to another successful season.
Musical Director John Powell expressed thanks to all who had supported the band throughout the summer and presented thank-you gifts to the regular collectors. In thanking the audience for their support, he commented, ‘this has been a memorable summer season for us. We now return to the practice room and begin preparation for our Christmas Concert on Friday 13th December at the Woodmead Halls’.
SNAPSHOTS OF SUMMER 2013
Our regular Collectors
Guest player Conrad
Mark Peacock conducts
Armed Forces Day
Band members were recently saddened to learn of the death of cornet player George Ward
George had been associated with the band since the early 1990′s, under former conductor, the late Pat Perry. He played front row cornet and latterly, 3rd cornet.
George performing jazz
But his musical abilities were not just confined to brass banding. He was very well known in the local area as an accomplished jazz trumpet player, performing with such groups as the Coly River Jazz Band and the Three Counties Swing Band.
George suffered failing health over the last few months, although he continued to support the band for as long as he could. He was a friendly and kindly man who clearly enjoyed his music-making and communicated it to others.
The band were represented at his funeral service on August 18th. He will be greatly missed and we extend our sympathy to his family.
Following Mark Peacock’s concert visit last week, he writes:
“Dear Lyme Regis Town Band,
Many thanks for giving me the opportunity to meet, conduct and play
percussion with you during our recent visit to Lyme Regis. It was a
lovely evening and so good to hear a brass band playing in such a
fantastic venue to such an appreciative audience.
I hope to see you again in September/December when Fairey’s come down
Thanks again and best wishes to everyone at the band.
The band really enjoyed meeting and working with Mark. Our thanks and best wishes to him and his family.
For further information on the Fairey’s September 22nd concert in Beaminster, please contact A. Greenham on 01308 862493, or email tonyandmarg@ aol.com.
After the Band’s latest ‘Music by the Sea’ concert on Tuesday 13th August, (see below), we received the following email:
“I would just like to say how much we enjoyed the Band’s performance on the prom on Tuesday night. We missed the first part but heard a wonderful piece featuring the Euphonium as we walked through the gardens (about 8.10pm). We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Lyme and we always make sure we get to listen to the band. I will say that I thought this
John Warr in action
year’s programme was the best we’ve ever heard with a range of pieces that seemed to have a very broad appeal with a great sound that filled the bay (we listened to quite a lot from the end of the Cobb).
Please pass our appreciation to the rest of your hard working colleagues,
Anne is a brass band player from Colchester who plays for the Boxted Methodist Silver Band. She asked the name of the euphonium solo so that she could recommend it to her band and we duly obliged. The piece in question was ‘Romance and Rondo’ by Darrol Barry and it was played by our solo euphonium player, John Warr (pictured).
It is always a pleasure to receive comments like this and we will certainly pass them on to band members. If you’ve not yet heard the band this summer, there are only three opportunities left – Tuesdays 20th and 27th August at 8 p.m. and Sunday 25th at 2.30 p.m.