The band recently competed in the First Section of the London & Southern Counties Championships at the Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage. Playing alongside fifteen other bands each one had prepared the same piece, Essay for Brass Band by Edward Gregson.
Written in 1970, Gregson’s piece was quite a challenge not least because it’s lyrical and technical demands are as relevant today as they were forty-five years ago. Over 150 bands across the UK had competed on this piece (there are seven other regional championships that take place during February and March from as far north as Perth in Scotland and as far south as Torquay in Devon) and only a handful of bands in each region managed to overcome the demands of the music.
Ware Brass was one such band and impressed adjudicators Mark Wilkinson and Paul Norley enough to secure a fifth place. Musical Director, Phillip Littlemore said: “The band had worked hard throughout February and March on a very difficult piece of music. With our adrenalin pumping, our performance was not without drama, as the contest arena is not for the feint-hearted, and we did not come away unscathed, However, our overall performance was very good indeed and but for a few momentarily lapses in concentration could have seen a higher placing. Special mention should go to all our soloists and especially to Assistant Principal Cornet, Jo Todd, who gave an exquisite rendition of a very difficult, and fairly long solo.”
The band is now firmly established as one of the leading First Section bands in the London & Southern Counties Area but with the contest over it now returns to its core activity of concert performances. Please take a look at the Concert Diary here.
Why not come and join Ware Brass for a rousing afternoon of festive cheer with Christmas carols, Christmas songs and much more on Sunday 13th December in Fletcher’s Lea, The Priory, Ware for our annual festive Singalong.
The fun starts at 3.00pm and it is FREE ADMISSION. We hope to break our record and play/sing up to 40 carols (and all the verses) in our two hours together! Mince pies and other festive favourites will be served at the interval.
Ware Brass would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!
Ware Brass will be playing their annual Christmas Concert in Fletcher’s Lea, Ware Priory, in just 12 days time, that’s Saturday 5th December at 7.30pm! All the music will be full of festive flavour, including several new pieces never played out by the band before.
Tickets are priced at £14/£12 concessions and include either (festive) Fish & Chips or Chicken & Chips Supper. You can order your tickets either in person or by phone from Ware Town Council on 01920 460316 or Cannon Travel on 01920 466531.
Keep your eyes peeled (or follow this website by clicking the ‘follow’ tag at the foot of this page) for news on our forthcoming “Ware Brass Christmas Singalong” later in December.
This Saturday, 14th November, the band will be presenting ‘A Star-Spangled Spectacular!” which will include music from Broadway, Hollywood, the Wild West and other related genres with music by Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, John Philip Sousa…. and even Michael Jackson and Guns N’ Roses! We will also be featuring our resident vocalist, and band president, John Sharples.
This year marks the 10th Anniversary of the Ware Brass November spectacular. We have a special treat up our sleeves (which we cannot tell you about or it will spoil the surprise). It’s not too late to get a ticket which you can do by purchasing online by clicking here, by dropping in to Cannon Travel on Ware High Street or by coming along on the night (it’s a big venue, we will be able to squeeze you in!). The ticket price includes American-themed table snacks and we also have a licensed bar.
The band is delighted to welcome two new players to the band. Joining us on Soprano Cornet is Leanne Rewcastle, who makes a move from St. Albans City Band where she has occupied the same seat since the beginning of 2011. Before that she was soprano cornet with the Durham Miners Welfare Band. Our other new member is Chris Lowe, on kit/percussion, who has been playing with us for a few weeks now. Chris first heard the band whilst we were visiting Paris in June, and he was there on holiday. Fortuitously we had a vacancy and he was available!
Musical Director, Phillip Littlemore, commented: “I am delighted that both Leanne and Chris have joined Ware Brass. Both bring exceptional musicianship to a strong and developing band. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Mark Wrightson who has been playing Soprano Cornet for the past 18 months. Mark stepped up to the challenge of that seat when we needed someone who would remain cool under pressure and he has done a remarkable job in that. He will now move to B flat cornet and continue with us as a very important part of the cornet section.”
We are really looking forward to our next concert ‘A Right Royal Celebration’ which will be hosted by the Stort Valley Rotary Club with proceeds going to Isabel Hospice. Her Majesty The Queen will shortly become the longest serving British Monarch and this concert at the United Reformed Church, Bishops Stortford on Saturday 5th September at 8.00pm will see us be playing a fabulous programme of British music to celebrate the event including some rousing audience-participation singing facilitated by our very own International vocalist John Sharples.
Get your tickets now! Just £15 available from the Tourist Information Centre in Bishops Stortford, or by contacting the organiser Gwenda Deal or calling her on 01279 863194. The ticket price also includes a glass of wine to toast Her Majesty. Come and support this great cause and listen to the band on top form!
News has come to us that our dear friend and colleague, Charlie Quantrill, has died in Uganda where he was on a short teaching assignment. Charlie joined the band last Autumn having moved back to the area from Wiltshire. He had been working as a supply teacher and was between schools when the offer of a short-term post in Uganda came his way. He only moved out there at the beginning of May and everyone in the band was looking forward to his return towards the end of next month. Charlie was also helping out one of our fellow Hertfordshire bands, St. Albans, by attending rehearsals and concerts. They will also be feeling his loss as hard as Ware Brass.
Charlie was the kind of guy you would instantly take a liking too. He was relatively shy but once he got to know you, and you him, then you were going to remain friends forever. There is no one that could ever utter a bad word against him. Our principal euphonium, Chris Theobald, who was responsible for asking Charlie along to Ware, had been long time friends having met back in 1970, when they were both in the Coldstream Guards. As Chris recounted, “We played together hundreds of times over the years and during the course of our friendship we had more laughs than I could ever keep count. Charlie and I met up at one of our Guards reunions a couple of years ago, and I encouraged him to join Ware Brass. During our many ‘after band’ pints we would chat and laugh at the escapades of our former life with the Guards – and a few other things that we got up to in the good old days! Charlie thought that joining Ware Brass, and playing with St Albans, had opened a new chapter in his life and given him a new social group to mix with at a time when he was a bit low. He just loved banding again and the huge boost it gave to his social life. He was one of my closest friends and always the very best of company”.
Ware Brass Musical Director, Phillip Littlemore, first met Charlie in the mid-1980s when they played alongside each other in the Hanwell Band. “Charlie and I got to know each other really well very quickly. When I joined Hanwell in 1986 I was a student living in East London. I used to get my lift with him to band but as that was in a time before we had mobiles, he would usually call the Students Union to let me know which tube station to meet before driving ‘out west’. Sometimes the message didn’t get through and he would tear across London to find me at one of our usual meeting points! We always used to have a post rehearsal beer, and so more often than not he would drive over to East Ham to make sure I got home – many miles out of his way. For most of my time at College he was working for the Post Office just around the corner. We met at least a couple of lunchtimes a week for an ‘essential catch-up’! We lost touch for a while when he moved away, but having him back in my band these past few months has been truly wonderful. I will miss him terribly.”
Everyone in Ware Brass would like to offer their heartfelt condolences to his two children, Matthew and Elizabeth, and to his sister Jane and this most difficult time.
On Sunday, 22nd March, Ware Brass competed in the First Section of the London & Southern Counties Regional Championships in Stevenage. There were 15 bands in the section all playing the same piece, A London Overture by Philip Sparke. The contest began with the early morning draw and the band’s representative, Richard Banks, pulled out the number 2 and so six weeks of intense preparation boiled down to fifteen minutes of concentration in the Gordon Craig Theatre at 10.20am! The band gave an exceptionally good performance which found favour with the two adjudicators, Jim Davies and Michael Fowles, and the band was awarded fourth place. This was only the second year that the band had entered the competition at this level and they improved on last year’s outing by ten places!
This result reaffirms Ware Brass’ position as the highest ranked Hertfordshire band and secures its position in the 1st section for another two years. A lot of hard work and dedication by all band members led to this strong showing, admirably led by their Musical Director, Phillip Littlemore who commented: “We didn’t have a smooth run leading up to this contest. Work commitments and health issues meant some of our key players were unable to be with us but, thankfully, we were able to secure the service of some great new players before the registration deadline. The band deserved this result for their tireless energy and commitment.”
The band now moves on to their next project which is a CD recording, to be available for purchase later in the year, before beginning preparations for a four-day trip to Paris in June where they will be guests of the Swing Parisis Orchestra as part of the town twinning events between Ware and Cormeilles.
Ware Brass will be next performing in Ware itself in a “Spring Concert” on Sunday 31st May in Fletcher’s Lea at Ware Priory beginning at 7.30pm. Tickets can be purchased from Ware Town Council by calling them on on 01920 460316.
The band has just added four new signings to complete its line-up for the coming few months. Trombone player James Richardson will be joining us to take over from Chris Hoepelman, who is currently unwell and unable to play with the band at the Area Contest in Stevenage later this month.
We have also signed a battery of percussion, well just a trio to be more accurate, and welcome back Alison Banks, who used to play Flugel Horn and before that on cornet, Will Hill and Daniel Huttlestone. Daniel makes it a trio of Huttlestones in the band as his Father, Mark, is the band’s Principal Cornet and older brother Tom is on Second Cornet.
Ware Brass Musical Director Phillip Littlemore commented: “I am delighted to welcome these four new players to the band. I am, of course, extremely grateful to James for agreeing to take over from Chris while he undergoes his treatment, but equally delighted to see our new percussion signings.”
The band is currently working on A London Overture by Philip Sparke, which is the selected piece for the First Section Regional Championships being held in Stevenage on Sunday 22nd March. Our next concert in Ware will be on Sunday 31st May at Fletcher’s Lea, The Priory, Ware SG12 9AL starting at 7.30pm. Tickets will be available shortly from Ware Town Council.
Ware Brass is delighted to welcome three new signings for the beginning of 2015.
On cornet we welcome Jo Todd who joins our solo cornet bench, and Charlie Quantrill who strengthens our back row cornets. Jo is a former member of the Jackfield (Elcock Reisen) Band and before that she played Soprano Cornet with Phoenix West Midlands Band. Charlie was, at one time, part of the powerhouse cornet bench of the world-famous Hanwell Band, and sat alongside Ware Brass’ musical director Phillip Littlemore.
John Gafney is no stranger to Ware Brass friends and followers as he was formerly the solo euphonium with the band from 2007 until 2011, whereupon he moved to take up the solo euphonium chair with Regent Brass. John will sit alongside Chris Theobald to make a formidable section – not unlike the Hamilton/Rosberg combo of Mercedes Formula 1.
Musical Director, Phillip Littlemore, commented: “I am delighted that we have been able to secure the services of Jo, Charlie and John. They are players of the highest calibre and will make a significant contribution to the band over the coming months.”
In other news, band President and second trombone player, John Sharples, is taking a sabbatical and his place will be covered for the foreseeable future by Ian Wells, who moves to this position from the second euphonium.