Carnival Saturday in Whaley Bridge is always a hard act to follow, but this year’s Well Dressing ceremony on the Sunday was indeed worthy encore. In celebration of 150 years of making music in Whaley Bridge, the Well Dressing features the Brass Band in a glorious tribute of gold, silver and blue.
Designed by local artist Rosemary Wignall, the 2015 Whaley Bridge Well Dressing showcases brass and percussion instruments framing the Band’s famous “Bridge” logo. Chair of Whaley Bridge Well Dressers, Carol James, said “We are delighted to join Whaley Bridge Band in celebrating their landmark 150 years. The small but dedicated team of “dressers” have given their all over the last week to produce this magnificent display, and I would like to convey sincere thanks to everyone involved.”
To mark this very special year Whaley Bridge Training Band played a full concert in the Canal Basin as well as accompanying the hymns during the blessing ceremony. The crowd were entertained with a selection of brass band favourites, including solos by two young players. Twelve year old Javon Carrington played a moving hymn tune “Share My Yoke” on the cornet, and in complete contrast Christian Boon, 15, performed the novelty number “Nellie the Elephant” on BBb bass (tuba.) Musical Director Sheila Walton, who joined the band in 1960 when, for the first time, women players were allowed in, commented “What a great day for Whaley Bridge Band, a real honour to play at the blessing of this fabulous tribute. I am so proud of the whole Training Band, especially Javon, Christian and all the other youngsters leading the next generation of bandsmen in Whaley Bridge.”
Reverends Margaret Jones and Keith Sandow said prayers and gave blessings for both the Well Dressing and the town, and Town Councillor Martin Thomas shared some interesting facts from the band’s history. Whaley School Choir added their own tribute with a hearty rendition of “Come Follow The Band” and the last words were in verse when Anne Oldfield, Second Cornet player, recited her own poem specially written for the occasion, entitled “Whaley Bridge Band –The Best in the Land.”
A truly memorable occasion embracing two great local traditions, Well Dressing and Brass Bands.
Content : Thanks to Jane Walker Cull and Peter Cull on behalf of Whaley Bridge Band