Brighton & Hove City Brass

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It's July already and the band have had a fantastic and busy year so far and are well in to our summer season. Apologies for not keeping this news page up to date but we are in the process of producing a new website which we hope will provide an overall better experience for our army of followers and devout supporters. Watch this space.  

The band again made its annual excursion to darkest Lincolnshire to attend the Mineworkers Brass Band Championships
at the Butlins holiday resort in Skegness. The band were a bit under prepared as we had only four rehearsals on the test piece - The Seafarers - due to the timing of Christmas and New Year. The coach was again booked and the pick ups were made the barrel of ale again took centre stage. After a five hour drive we arrived at the camp and after we had all been allocated our chalets we were quickly on the prowl for a pub and somewhere to eat. After a couple of pints and a meal 'most' made it to bed at a sensible time ready for the following day.

Waking up at 8:30am is never easy after a night at Butlins but we had to watch the the draw on Butlins TV. We were drawn 7 so that gave a lot of breathing space to get our rehearsal in and relax before we had to go on stage. Performing in Centre Stage the band played to a very appreciative audience. It wasn't without mistakes but was so good in many places. Afterwards the band felt relatively pleased with our performance.

With the many things to occupy time at the resort and with almost seven hours to kill until the results later that evening - drinking, eating bowling and sleeping were just some of the activities members of the Band chose to partake in. Once inside Reds, the nightclub, and with chairs reserved and drinks safely on the tables the entertainment begun. First up was the little matter of the results for the contest. Unfortunately the band didn't make it in to the four and on collecting the confirmation our MD announced that seventh place was where we finished. A little disappointing but no disgrace at all.

This band certainly know how to party and that was just about to start. First up were The Amazing Blues Brothers - a tribute band that had the place rocking from the start. Following on from that was the Jager Maestros who were just brilliant once again and got the whole club doing the conga. Once the entertainment had come to an end some of the band decided to get some sleep whilst others went on partying through the small hours of the morning.

The band would like to thank their helpers for the weekend - Graeme, Mike, Michelle, Owen and Rachel. And a particular thank you to Andy who came back all the way from Germany to join us in the biggest band party of the year. Thanks to you all.

Plans are already in place for 2017!

The Band had a very busy Christmas period starting off on 5th December with our annual Christmas Concert. Again we performed at the Woodingdean Methodist Church where we entertained the packed audience to a mixed programme of Christmas fun and carols.

This was followed closely the following Tuesday with the first of three of what has become a tradition of playing at The Westbourne public house in Hove. Being the pub many of the band went to for drinks when we rehearsed just around the corner we have kept up the relationship and now thoroughly enjoy putting together three shows for the pub which is always packed to the rafters.
In the midst off the Westbourne shows the band were again invited to support the Brighton based indie band 
British Sea Power at their annual Krankenhaus show at The Haunt night club on 17th December. Providing a small group for the opening and closing of the show the band certainly got the clubbers in the mood for Christmas.
On the 18th December the Band were invited to play at another pub - this time the The Queen Vic in Rottingdean. Performing Christmas themed ditties and carols the Band again entertained a packed audience - even being able to accept requests!!!
Our last performance of the year was the third and final night at The Westbourne on 22nd December. It really was standing room only and with the Band not being allowed to go until at least three encores were performed it certainly did have everybody leaving in the true Christmas spirit.

Sunday saw us complete our summer season for 2015 as we braved the unpredictable weather to perform to, what turned out in the end to be, a substantial and enthusiastic audience at The Vine Bandstand in Sevenoaks. With the heavens opening in the morning it was touch and go for the band. With many road problems to navigate not least a huge and lengthy hold up on the M23, which would have been the main route for the majority of the band, everybody made it through and the band got under way. The MD put the band through its paces with a mixture of marches, film music, chart hits and original compositions. The weather got better and better and by the end The Vine was bathed in warm sunshine.

The band experienced another standing ovation at Eastbourne Bandstand on Wednesday 12 August when a packed audience showed their appreciation for a "well thought out and brilliantly executed" programme of music. On a windy but, thankfully, mild and dry night our MD kept the listeners entertained and the band (mostly!) under control. From film music to show music and popular songs to original compositions and throw in a couple of solos for good measure the music just kept coming and culminated in a stunning firework display accompanied by Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. The band certainly look forward to playing at Eastbourne and will hopefully be back again in 2016.

Following the Horsham Park Concert June got under way with the band entertaining the crowds in Burgess Hill at their Beach Themed event. A crowded shopping centre listened to the band throughout the afternoon whilst the sun shone overhead.
On the 14 June the band again visited the popular Pavilion Gardens in Brighton where customers of the cafe and visitors to the area were entertained for the afternoon. The band enjoyed good weather but there was competition from the naked bike ride that passed the site half way through the concert. Luckily there were hedges shielding the bikers from the gardens so no unnecessary embarrassment was endured.
On Saturday 8th August saw the band playing at the Carfax Bandstand in Horsham providing music to the hordes of shoppers that were perusing the multitude of great smelling food stalls in the town centre square and on Sunday 9 August we played at the magnificent setting of Borde Hill Garden in Haywards Heath which proved to be the hottest day of our summer so far.

The first concert for the band of the 2015 season was on the bandstand in Horsham Park on Sunday 3 May. The beautiful setting just outside the Park Cafeteria was threatened to be spoiled by the early morning rain and mist that covered most of Sussex. By the time we started, however, all that had disappeared and the sun was straining to show it's face which it managed to do on more than one occasion making it so much more pleasant for the band and the audience. Passers-by and cafe customers alike showed their appreciation of the varied and most entertaining programme our MD had put together that by the end they left wanting more. This was the band's first appearance at this venue and we certainly hope it won't be our last. We can be seen in Horsham again on Saturday 8 August where we will be appearing at the Carfax Bandstand in the town centre so please pop along when our concert will start at 11:00am.

Big congratulations go to our 2nd Cornet player and Contest Secretary Amy Richardson who married her fiancé Joe Richardson on 24 April at the beautiful setting of the Buxted Park Hotel in Uckfield. Thankfully the weather stayed fine and the day went without a hitch - well, except the obvious one! The guests enjoyed a good meal and the usual speeches before an octet from the band provided entertainment in the form of some specially requested tunes arranged for the occasion by our MD to those waiting for the evening knees-up to start . A little later than scheduled the evening kicked off with Jon Ireland (the band's percussionist) fronting his own band - Sound Investment - starting proceedings with Nobody Does It Better as the first dance for the newly married couple. The band wish Amy and Joe, and of course their little girl Emily, all the very best for their married life together. At least Amy can sleep easy at night in the thought she isn't going to have to go through the tedious rigmarole of changing her name!!!

The Band again attended the Arts and Leisure Centre in Stevenage for the annual national final qualifying contest. Our mission was to get to the finals again and come high enough to get promotion to the 3rd Section in our area. The piece testing the band this year was An English Pastorale by Dean Jones. After being given the kiss of death by the brass band press in predicting us to win the pressure was certainly on.

An early start for all of us to get to the rehearsal hall by 10 o'clock Sunday morning. The MD took the band through the piece and by the end we made our way to the Leisure Centre with high hopes and great expectations. After our Contest Secretary drew 12th for the band the wait was on for our turn. When it arrived we came together on stage and put in a creditable performance although not without slips. Many made their way home pretty soon after our performance but for the die-hard amongst us put our feet up in the bar in anticipation of the results.

The hall filled up for the announcements of the placings where the band discovered we had not come in the top three so there was no return visit to Cheltenham for the Finals this year. A disappointed MD collected the remarks from the two adjudicators and announced to the remaining members our 9th placing. Out of 21 that isn't so bad but then on doing the maths of the results and the bands around us in the table discovered we had missed out on promotion by half a point!! It was then a matter of 'what ifs'; what if we had had that third percussionist, what if we had had better attendance at rehearsals, what if we had had an extra rehearsal, what if it wasn't so hot on stage - but the fact remained we would have to go back to Stevenage in 2016 to try and do it all over again.

After the shenanigans of Christmas and New Year the band made its annual trek to the depths of Lincolnshire to attend the Mineworkers Brass Band Championships
at the Butlins holiday resort in Skegness. Following an intensive week of rehearsals, including four on consecutive nights, we were as prepared as we were ever going to be. Once all the calls had been made for pick up there was no hesitation in breaking out the Darkstar APA barrel of ale provided again by Jonno. Everybody was in good spirit and most didn't even notice the mayhem that was the Dartford Crossing! Once safely through the other side Jen Ireland again provided us with what turned out to be a very challenging quiz. We eventually arrived a little earlier than previous years so we could partake in civilised socialising rather than having to rush around the resort looking for a pizza or burger joint that was still open! We disembarked and stood in the cold waiting for our wonderfully organised secretary Jen Scholes to get all the checking in done and chalets allocated. Then came the most challenging project of the weekend - called 'find your chalet before morning breaks'! After a couple of pints and a meal most made it to bed at a sensible time ready for the following day.

Up and early at 8:30am to watch the draw on Butlins TV only to discover there were pictures but no sound; not very useful! A quick dash to the contest organiser's office to discover we had drawn number 8. Time for rehearsal then. An hour of picking and choosing those dodgy bits in the piece to put right and a comprehensive tune up there was time for a coffee before we made our way to the waiting area for registration. Once through and in to the big arena of Centre Stage the band performed the test piece, this year called 'Five French Masters'. It wasn't faultless but in many places it was very very good. Our percussionist, Jon Ireland, even had time to perform a celebratory stick twirling routine right on cue at the last note. Coming off stage feeling relatively pleased with our performance the band prepared themselves for the long wait until the results ceremony later that evening.

There were many things to occupy our time at the resort. Some went bowling and some - mostly the ladies - availed themselves of the spa with a glass of wine. Others opted to use the down time to grab forty winks, a bite to eat or to just relax in the comfort of the Sun & Moon pub. Everybody ensured they were well fed and then it was time to join the queue to enter Reds Nightclub for the results and evening entertainment. Luckily the band had a few members at the front of the queue which meant we were able to grab a row of tables to seat us all in one place. Once drinks were safely on the tables the entertainment begun. First up were 100 trombones playing specially written/arranged pieces for the night to raise money for breast cancer. The Band of The Kings Division and the Yamaha Neo Brass Ensemble also performed and both gave us programmes of the highest quality. In amongst all this the little matter of the results for the contest were announced. Sitting eagerly waiting to hear whether we had made the top four unfortunately it was not to be. However, the band now had to wait for our MD to collect the adjudicator remarks from the organisers which would confirm our final position. On returning to Reds the MD proudly announced that we had come just outside the prizes and finished a very creditable and satisfying 5th. That was most certainly the cue for the partying to begin; and boy, do we know how to party! With the help of the utterly outstanding Jager Maestros the whole club was rocking. By the time their set had come to a close some members had decided to call it a day whilst others went on to a night club for more punishment and the inevitable thumping Sunday morning hangover!

The band would like to thank their helpers for the weekend - Rachel & Andy Taylor, Graeme, Mike and Ben and welcomed along Rachel Colcombe, Primrose  and Peter to add their support. Thanks guys.

Plans are already being made for our return visit in 2016!

The band entertained a packed Westbourne Pub on the two Tuesdays before Christmas and what barn-storming events they were too. Enthusiastic singing accompanied every tune with Jon Ireland, the band's percussionist, compering the evenings and doing his best to keep the raucous crowd in check. The band even had to encore The 12 Days of Christmas and Fairytale of New York when the singing got even louder. The band have been entertaining the pub customers for many years now and, by popular demand, hope to be back for three nights in December 2015.

On the
19 December the band performed at the British Sea Power Krankenhaus gig at The Haunt in Brighton. We welcomed the guests with some Christmas melodies at 7:30pm then appeared on the main stage at 11:00pm to play some audience participation carols which had the crowd screaming for more.

For two weekends in December (13/14 and 20/21) the band performed festive music for customers at the Old Barn Garden Centre
in Horsham between 11:30am and 1:30pm. Although it was very cold a good crowd gathered to stop and listen to the entertaining numbers.

After his final exams next summer, our Eb Bass player, Dom Horsley with colleagues from the University of Sussex Students Union, will be trekking up Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for the charity Hope For Children, a very worthy cause that provides education and opportunities for children in East Africa. For more information about this fund raising activity and to donate please see Dom's fund raising page HERE. Apparently he's not taking the bass to practice.....

Our Christmas Concert this year took place at Woodingdean Methodist Church on Saturday 6th December. The band played in front of a full house at the church where we rehearse and presented a varied programme of music that kept the audience entertained from start to finish and raised the standard once again which prompted the following feedback from the church:

"It was a great success and the reaction from everybody on leaving the church last night was that they had been well entertained by some great music.So much so that I am already getting requests to ask the Band to come back during next year".

From the very start when, after just one number, three of the band members had to leave the church to move their cars to allow a bus safe passage to the 'nearly' fight over a box of chocolates in the audience participation number at the end the band excelled in having such an appreciative audience.

Our MD kept the audience on their toes throughout with his witty and informative repartee whilst the band performed out of their skins to provide a performance to be proud of.

The audience went home happy and fulfilled and are already looking forward to next year.

The band would like to thank their helpers on the night - Sharon, Lewis, Rachel and Lizzy.

Well done to everybody involved.

The band is in full preparation for the busy Christmas Period playing out on no fewer than 9 occasions in the space of 18 days from the beginning of December with a few more still in negotiation. This includes our Christmas Concert at Woodingdean Methodist Church, the Christmas Krankenhaus show with British Sea Power at The Haunt and many other venues in and around the Brighton and Hove area. For full details of where you can hear us please see HERE

The band are really pleased to announce that Craig Chapman has been appointed as our new Principal Cornet. You can read about Craig HERE and the band very much look forward to welcoming him in to the fold.

Many congratulations to our star 1st Horn player Jen Alderton and her husband Mark who, on Thursday 13 November 2014, welcomed in to the world their lovely bouncing boy Thomas Elliott. Weighing in at 8lb 3oz the new boy is doing well and will hopefully have an instrument in his hand before too long.

Our MD and his wife Elspeth (who plays Repiano Cornet) are so dedicated to the band they decided to up sticks and move down to the sunnier climes of Lancing to be nearer the band. In a much discussed joint decision that spanned many months Matthew and Elspeth finally decided in May 2014 the 1½ hour journey from Croydon to Brighton once, twice sometimes three times a week was worth exchanging for a beautiful house in North Lancing and a much shorter 25 minute jaunt to the band-room. This does mean, however, they can no longer blame the weather for not getting to band.


After a break from the areas last year due to lack of players, we returned to Stevenage this year in the 4th section. It's probably fair to say that the piece 'Three Spanish Impressions' hadn't exactly filled us with excitement, yet we were determined to work towards promotion back up to the 3rd section as soon as possible now that we have a full band again. Being in the second half of a split draw in a field of 20 bands meant we had time for a mid morning rehearsal in Stevenage before heading over to the Arts and Leisure Centre for our number 16 draw.

Our turn arrived and we went on to play. Although not a blemish free performance the MD was pretty happy with how it went, although we (I) weren't optimistic about being in the prizes. We only had a short wait for the results. The adjudicators made their remarks which were refreshingly different - "hello Mr Blasty" was the term used for 'over enthusiastic solo cornet players'.  Then came the results, and we had been placed 3rd and had secured an invitation to the national finals in Cheltenham in September! A quick band photo with the huge trophy and it was into the bar for a celebratory diet coke (it's a long drive home!) and to read the remarks. In summary - basses were "epic", great percussion, generally good all round stuff with a few tuning issues picked out that need working on.

Time for a couple of special thank you's. Firstly to Lucy who stepped in on Solo Horn with only 3 weeks to go before the contest when Jen had to pull out for health reasons. Considering she was also the lead role in a University play on the night of the last rehearsal before the contest, she did a fantastic job! Secondly to Andy Wooler and Mike Gray who returned to us temporarily on solo cornet and timps, we hope both will be able to join us at Cheltenham in the Autumn.

Finally a mention for one of our newest, and youngest member, Harvey (11) who filled the tuned percussion slot and got mentioned for his skills by 4barsrest in their write up. Many of us remember Harvey sat at the back of the band, at summer outdoor concerts, between Dad on Eb bass and Jonnie on kit playing along on his plastic lunch box. So to have him on stage with us this year was fantastic, he was so pleased to be included and then to come third made his day. We hope we'll be seeing him a lot more at rehearsals and contests in the future.




Despite a busy Christmas filled with carol jobs the band managed to squeeze in some rehearsals for the Butlins mineworkers contest that took place on Saturday 18th January in Skegness. The contest has become a popular weekend away for the band, breaking up the long wet January blues. The weather was kinder to us this year - no snowstorms to contend with, and we set off on the Friday afternoon in the safe hands of Worthing Coaches. Jonno had ensured that nobody was going to go thirsty on the bus and provided a keg or two of Ale - the M25 can be so slow.....After a challenging quiz set by Jen Ireland's dad, we arrived in Skeggy and unloaded the bus and went off in the search of the yellow chalets - they all look the same in the dark! An early night was had by all and we were up and ready for a 9am rehearsal after watching the draw on Butlins TV.

Rehearsal done with, we had a short wait in the coffee shop until it was time to get ourselves into the warm up marquee and ready for registration. This was the first time we'd played in 'Reds' which for those not familiar with Butlins is one of the large nightclub / cabaret venues and on to stage we went with TV screens around the room relaying the action - very odd to sit on stage and see yourself on the TV across the room! The test piece for the 4th section this year was 'Three Saints' and after we left the stage we felt pleased with our performance and left our fate to the men in the box. After a quick post-contest beer while analysing our performance and catching up on the 'press' commentary - I believe 4Barsrest thought our saints were 'having fun'(!) we settled into the long afternoon wait. The ladies took a trip to the spa to relax in the hot tub and have a glass of wine or two, while others went to the splash world pool or stayed in the bar. After an early dinner we joined the queue to get into the nightclub where the results were to be announced (yes you read correctly a queue for results!). Some tactical table hogging and a long queue at the bar later and we were all ready and waiting for the moment of truth. Unfortunately on this occasion we came 9th which was disappointing for the band as we felt we had done better, but that's contesting! We didn't let it ruin the weekend though and continued to enjoy the entertainment provided into the early hours.

Although the result may not have been what we were hoping for, the band is proud that we did achieve a milestone in that this was the first contest in several years where we had every part covered and no day transfers to help us out. We have been extremely fortunate over the last three or four years to have some fantastic friends, without whom we would have struggled to get a band onto a contest, or concert, stage. A flurry of new members towards the end of last year meant that we can now enter contests without the worry of filling all the seats.



After a busy summer of concert engagements, the band made it's way up to Crawley and the Hawth theatre once again for the last contest of the year. This time we chose to play Dimensions by Peter Graham. The band were drawn 2nd in the first section of the day so no time for nerves and came off stage pleased with our performance. The nervous wait for the results then began - as there were only three bands in the section, we knew there would be at least one trophy to take home! After some improvised jokes from Norman the MC for the morning, the results were finally announced and we won! Not only did we take the 1st prize, but also the prizes for best back row cornets, basses, soloist (Graeme on principal cornet), percussion and MD.

While Matt was busy finding a box for all the silverware, the results for the second section were announced and our good friends at Hangleton just down the road had won their section too!  With nine trophies between the two bands, a local engraver is going to be kept busy! 

A huge thank you to Andy Wooler, Christine Nonoo, Andy Taylor and Mike Gray for helping us out - couldn't have done it without you all.

Adjudicator's Remarks:


"Not quite together at opening troms – the measure of this opening is in the detail/accuracy – not always displayed.
B – settles well – good style
Horns do very well at E
Intonation Sop at G
H is together
I – good stylistic playing.
The transition at J is well handled
K – solo cornet is good – just occasional tuning problems
The duet is good into M
Cornets do well with the details at M
N – balance issues
Euph & Eb bass do well from P. Euph just needs to [be] warmer during the rall.
The Allegro starts well – I can hear the detail 2 before S
Good balance at U – just secure the intonation (inner parts)
V is difficult – intonation cornets.
Grandioso – needs broader playing – and again intonation issues distract.
Troms very nice to close.

A good performance of a challenging piece – much to commend and some fine ensemble especially troms, horn and basses.

It just could have done with more time spent on intonation issues which did begin to distract. Well done to band and MD, thank you."



 On the 28th April, the band made the short trip up the A23 to Crawley for the SCABA spring contest at the Hawth Theatre. The band had chosen to play Ravenswood for the march and Divertimento For Brass for the own choice test piece. We came off stage pleased with our performance, and having been drawn last in the section, after a short refreshment break in the bar our hard work was shown to have paid off as the results were read out. The band were placed 1st for the test piece,  2nd for the march and also won the Best Solo Cornet section and best Conductors prizes! Many thanks to Andy Wooler who helped out on Solo Cornet, Andy Taylor on 2nd trombone and Mike Gray on timps!

The adjudicator's comments had the following summaries:

March - "There is ability here, no doubt, but please take care for real precision and balance"

Test Piece - "This was a performance with much commend. The next priority for you is attention to real quality of intonation and trying to mellow the sound more."

Favourite Quote from the comments: "I appreciate the tasteful percussion dynamics - thank you!"

A look through the archives shows that the last time we played Divertimento for Brass was in 1990 also at the Spring Contest in the 3rd section and we won on that occasion too!




Well done to Charles and James Slaney (2nd horn and bass trombone) who completed the Brighton Marathon on the 14th April. Charles decided last year to enter the marathon to raise money for the Martlets Hospice who had given wonderful care to his wife Elizabeth who sadly passed away in February 2012. Charles had very limited running experience prior to entering, and brother James provided training and support in the lead up to the marathon and the half marathon which they both completed in February. Between them they have raised over £3000 in sponsorship in aid of the hospice. Well done to both!