Summer Successes for Whaley Bridge Band

The summer season got off to a flying start with seven players passing music exams: Grade 1 passes were achieved by Holly Slack and Alice Bell on cornet, by Helen Roberts with Merit on tenor horn and by Christian Boon with Distinction on Eb bass.  At Grade 2 with Merit Helen’s son Dillon on cornet and at Grade 3, also with Merit, Alex Camenzuli on Trombone. And the highest accolade goes to Cerian Marsden on euphonium who passed with Distinction at Grade 4.

Music Exam Students: L to R Holly Slack, Alice Bell, Cerian Marsden, Alex Camenzuli, Joan Gibson (sheet music sponsor) and Christian Boon

The students were coached by band members Lorraine Jenkins and Sheila and Laurie Walton, and thanks also go to Joan Gibson who has financed a library of examination sheet music and to pianist/accompanist Marion Todd.

The Whit Friday Band Contests in Tameside/Saddleworth are one of the biggest occasions in the Brass Band calendar with well over a hundred bands completing at a score of different venues. Whaley Bridge Band was absolutely delighted to be awarded the prize for the top Fourth Section band at Denton contest.

The sun shone when the Band played at Whaley Water Weekend, and again when the massed bands of both Learners and seniors lead the parade at the Rose Queen Carnival.  This was followed by a concert on the Sunday afternoon at Whaley Bowling Club when both bands performed to a capacity crowd.

And yet another ray of sunshine fell on the Learner Band when they received a cheque for £200 from Horwich End WI.

Steven Fargher receiving the cheque from Horwich End WI in behalf of the Learner Band

And the final coup – or should that be “cup”- before the summer break was when Whaley Bridge Learner Band took first prize in the Training/Learner Band Section at Whiston Festival of Brass in early July. Throughout the day bands from all over the north of England played their hearts out in brilliant sunshine to entertain record crowds in the Yorkshire village of Whiston.  A real “brass fest” celebrating the great British brass banding tradition, and a completely new experience for Whaley Bridge Learner Band.

Whaley Bridge Band in full concert uniform

This was their first ever contest and a fantastic day whatever the result. But to bring home the trophy for the best Training/Learner Band made it a day they will remember for the rest of their lives. It is only three years since the very first rehearsal of Whaley Bridge Learner Band so their win at Whiston is an incredible achievement.  The band is open to all learners, not just youngsters, and the players on stage at Whiston ranged from 9 to over 60.

Learner Band celebrating their success

And even more remarkable is that not only are the players learners, but the Musical Director is also a novice. Eighteen-year-old Daniel Sargeant is principal cornet with Whaley Bridge Senior Band, and it is only a few months since he first began wielding the conductor’s baton.  He started as assistant to Learner Band founder Sheila Walton, but within a few weeks had stepped up to the mark as principal conductor for the Learner Band’s inaugural contest at Whiston.

Said Daniel “Being a young conductor is so exciting.  Working with such an enthusiastic group of people as Whaley Bridge Learner Band makes the job a real pleasure.  I swore to do my best to build on the excellent work Sheila had already done with the band, and the dedication and hard work of all the players made easy to introduce my way of working . On the day, the months of hard work and practice really came together in a fantastic and sparkling contest winning performance. What a brilliant start to my conducting career!”

Didn’t they do all well!  The trophy will be on display in the Mechanics Institute.
And don’t miss the next opportunity to hear your band, Whaley Bridge Band, in Whaley Memorial Park on Sunday 1st September.

Visit for more information about the band and full details of forthcoming engagements.

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