Chocolate Bingo Fundraiser
Butlin's Mineworkers Contest 2018
'Muted' Support from Local Businesses
A group of businesses within the borough have come to the aid of Besses Boys' Band by sponsoring a set of mutes for an upcoming contest.
Community champions Sillets Funeral Service. Radcliffe Rotary Club, Lords of Middleton butchers, and Helen's Angels Performing Arts Academy have enabled the Simister-based band to purchase a set of specialist mutes, required for their performance at the North West Regional Brass Band Championships later this month. The event, held at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool, is the qualifying contest for the prestigious National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain. Besses Boys' Band Vice Chairman, Bradley Hirst commented "The support we receive from local businesses in our community is fantastic. As a self-funded organisation, the generous donations and sponsorship we receive really does make a difference. Manchester-based Signage Systems also offered their services and have done a fantastic job branding the mutes with company logos. We are proud to be representing our local community at the upcoming North West Area Championships".
Mutes are used to dampen the sound of an instrument, reducing the volume and creating a different sound. Musical Director, James Holt added: "The chose test piece for this year (Ex Terra Lucem by Jonathan Bates) requires a great variety of sound colours and dynamics, Without securing this funding, it would be prohibitively expensive for the band to purchase the number and type of mutes required to perform the test piece as the composer intended.
After Eight days of back-to-back rehearsals and less than two weeks into 2018. the band travelled to Skegness to participate in the annual Butlin's Mineworkers Contest.
Performing the compulsory test piece, 'Variations for Brass Band' by Ralph Vaughan Williams, fifteen bands took to the stage in the hope of winning over second section adjudicators, Alan Morris and Paul Andrews. The piece consists of eleven variations which link seamlessly together, each with its own character and complexities, showcasing the different sections of the band. Praise was given to the bass section, singled out by the adjudicators for their sonority and ensemble playing. After a committed performance, band MD James Hold, Commented: "I am absolutely delighted with our performance. Today the band has produced exactly what I asked of them and more. They are a credit to the Besses Boys' Band name and I am very proud to stand in front of them"
The band were placed 6th overall; the Second Section Champions Banner and winners trophy was awarded to Haydock
Lady Wilton Hall in Simister looked something akin to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory on Saturday 8th April. The day marked the band’s ‘Chocolate Bingo’ fundraiser, and thanks to the generous sponsorship from Slattery Patissier and Chocolatiers, the prizes did not disappoint the eager families who came to support the event.
Over 60 attendees joined in for games of bingo, ‘heads or tails’ and the children’s colouring in competition. There were also cakes, pizza and hotdogs on offer for those who had their fill of chocolate. A record number of thirty prizes were won over the course of the afternoon.
Musical Director, James Holt relinquished the baton for the day with a new starring role as the Bingo Caller – a role he filled with panache and enthusiasm. When asked to comment of the event, he said
“It was great to see so many local families, as well as familiar Besses Boy’s Supporters at the event. There was an excellent atmosphere and we raised almost £700 for the band. We would like to thank Slattery’s for their generous support – the donations were spectacular”
NWABBA Rochdale Contest 2017
Blackpool 2018: Best Percussion Section awarded to Besses Boys'
Keep checking our page for more updates on Besses Boys' Band
Five years ago, the band made their debut entrance into the Second Section at the North West Areas. Since their Third Section win in 2012, the band have always had mixed success at Blackpool, with placings as widely spaced as 15th and 3rd. 2018 was no different, with a lower than expected overall placing (15th) juxtaposing a prize-winning performance from the percussion section.
This year’s test piece was ‘Ex Terra Lucem’ by Jonathan Bates. Drawn 16th, the band gave what 4barsrest described as a marker piece. The online brass band media site, who often comment that the band exhibit too much exuberance on the contest stage, reported that it was a “mature performance”, noting a “warm tonality” that was “controlled from the start.” Following their performance, MD James Holt congratulated the band for doing exactly what he had asked of them, calling it a “superb performance”, in particular referring to the muted section, which he described as “outstanding.”
Whilst the adjudicators’ scoring did not always correlate, there was agreement in the awarding of ‘Best Percussion Section’ to Besses Boys Band, following their excellent delivery during the performance.
Principal percussionist, Luke Taylor, commented: “The percussion section has seen a number of transitions over the past two years with players coming and going, so it’s really satisfying to be recognised as the best section out of the numerous bands in the second Section performing today. I’m really proud of our team; this prize reflects the close-working relationships, camaraderie and respect that we have for each other, which obviously came across in our performance.”
Over the past 3 years, the band line-up has changed dramatically, introducing many younger players; a number of whom are newcomers to the banding world. With every performance, they are gaining both confidence and experience. The comments made by the adjudicators are always helpful in developing skills and techniques unique to the contest stage, as well as shaping the overall band sound.
On Sunday October 29th, the band took part in the annual NWABBA Rochdale Brass Contest, performing Jan de Haan's 'Flashback'. Written in 2009, de Haan's test piece for second section contains many contrasts and complexities; the time invested in mastering these certainly paid off, resulting in a well-executed performance full of light and shade which secured fourth place within the second section. From its opening dance-like passages to the achingly lyrical slower sections, fragmented syncopated phrases to melismatic counter-melodies, there was much to please adjudicator Andrew Warriner, who commented on the effectiveness of dynamics, the balance of the ensemble and success in creating shape at certain key points within the piece. Despite the challenging acoustic of the Town Hall, rhythmic passages were crisp and percussive, punctuated effectively by the silences in between.