Aldershot Concert - Dec 2016
Christmas concert a Festive hit!
On the first Sunday of Advent the band make a trip up to Aldershot to kick start the festive season in style for our 'Northern' colleagues. This year we were joined by the Hampshire Police Male Voice Choir, our second collaboration for 2016. The church filled up as people were shown to their seats by the Volunteer Police Cadets and the audience were treated to some Christmas Classics, including a rather energetic '12 Days of Christmas' which seemed to be particularly enjoyed by our Chief Constable and host, Chief Inspector Debbie Brooks. Members of the band, Darryl Saxton and Greg Walker (our own little drummer boy) from the Percussion section, and Jen West from the Clarinet section ably accompanied the choir with a couple of their pieces.
The second half continued in much the same spirit, with the audience rushed back to their seats to the sound of the William Tell Overture, and concluding with some toe tapping Sinatra and a traditional Sleigh Ride to the finish.
The band would like to thank all those from Hampshire Constabulary who organise and make this event possible, and also all those colleagues who come along to enjoy it every year. See you all in 2017!
Ringwood Concert - Oct 2016
On Saturday 29th October the band once again launched the Ringwood Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal. This is always a favourite regular engagement for the band and this year certainly didn't disappoint. The concert opened, welcoming the standard of the Royal British Legion to their own march, and followed with another British march, Barnard Castle.
The Ringwood Public took some gentle 'encouragement' by Director of Music, Major Pete Curtis, to join in with the medley of Songs from World War 1 but they came good and were in fine form for the Last Night of the Proms finale finish. For the first time the band were joined by the Hampshire Constabulary Cadets who shone as they ably assisted guests to their seats, and provided some welcomed winter Crime Prevention advice.
One happy customer had the following to say following the concert: "Just a brief note to thank you & your colleagues for organising another splendid evening's entertainment. The Band appear to get better every year & Pete, the Bandmaster, is an absolute character."
Swanage Concert - Oct 2016
The Band of the Hampshire Constabulary travelled west and joined the Dorset Police Male voice choir to give a concert at the Mowlem Theatre in Swanage, Dorset. The Choir took to the stage for the first half with the Band taking the stage for the second half.
The band on this occasion was conducted by the band's Deputy Bandmaster, Greg Walker and started with a rousing rendition of "William Tell" before settling the audience with a Beatles Medley "Echoes of an Era". This was followed by the Goff Richards concert piece "Doyen" and then the musical selection "Sinatra in Concert". By now, the audience had been suitably warmed up by Greg ready for the finale of John Miles' "Music", Rule Britannia and Land of Hope & Glory, before the band finished with their signature march "The Hampshire Hog" leaving the audience wanting more.
Milton Glee Concert - Oct 2016
The Band joined with the Milton Glee Choir at the Portsmouth Guildhall again yesterday afternoon. We each performed our own pieces but most of the concert was a very enjoyable and well received union of Band and Choir. Pieces included the "Beatles Medley", hits from the show "Cats" and even "The Climb" by Miley Cyrus.
We even managed to mix Band and Choir for a solo with our very own Becky North performing "Anthem" from Chess to much deserved praise. Perhaps we can persuade her to do it again elsewhere (?)
Thanks to the Milton Glee Choir for the invitation once again, our collaborations are always exciting and enjoyable! Thanks to our Deputy Bandmaster Greg for holding the fort and taking numerous rehearsals when our Director of Music, Major Pete Curtis, has been committed to even more important matters elsewhere, and thanks and a very warm welcome back to Major Pete for another good show!
Trip to France, July 2016
Every year the Band travel to The Somme region of France to take part in the poignant World War 1 memorials. During the trip in November 2015 the band were invited to play a concert in Mailly-Maillet in July 2016.
So it was, that early in the morning on the 8th July 2016, the Band set off for their first Summer trip to France. The first significant difference was the positive effect that leaving in daylight has on morale. When compared with our often cold, damp, and dark departures in November this was a real boost! We journeyed down, chauffeured by our most wonderful coach driver Steve Gaiger from Angela's Coaches, stopping at Clackett Lane for breakfast. Having crossed the English Channel we made our way to Arras where the sun shone, we had some time to peruse the Arts Market and sample the 'local' Irish Bar before continuing our journey via the Serre Road Cemetery.
On arrival in Mailly-Maillet the Band identified their hosts within the village and were treated to a film presentation in the church about the role that the village had played in World War 1. We were then taken to our respective houses and got to practise our French before turning in for the night.
On Saturday morning we took a trip to Peronne, via the Lochnagar Mine Crater.
In Peronne we were able to visit the World War 1 museum, the local market, and grab some lunch. Whilst the Band were doing this and generally having a lovely morning, our coach driver, Steve, was busily spending our €5 each at the hypermarket where he said he would get 'some bits for a picnic dinner'.
In the afternoon the Band joined the villagers from Mailly-Maillet in visiting the Mailly-Wood cemetery where Major Egbert Napier of the Gordon Highlanders lies. Major Napier was the Chief Constable of Norfolk Constabulary from 1909-1915 having had a somewhat distinguished and impactive career both in the military and the Metropolitan Police. Very sadly, having volunteered to leave his post in Norfolk in October 1916, Major Napier lost his life in Battle at Beaumont-Hamel on 13th November 1916 along with 70 other servicemen. We held a silence to remember Major Napier and his men. Band member and former Royal Marines Musician, Jon Yates BEM ARCM played the last post.
The Band had, until 72hrs before our trip, anticipated performing a concert on Saturday evening. However, we learnt that this was now on Sunday morning, and so, on return from Mailly-Wood we travelled to the Thiepval Memorial. The Band play at Thiepval each November but were keen to be able to look around under less time pressure. Some lucky members of the Band beat the 1800hrs close of the Memorial and were able to take in its enormity up close. Others spent time in the Thiepval Museum on site, putting further context around the visit each November. By this point in the trip we were a complete band, with the 'Saturday travel' contingent, including our Director of Music Major Pete Curtis MBE BMus(Hons) PGDip LRSM AMusTCL, and our Bass player Jonathon Hodgetts joining us. Having emerged from the Museum we were greeted with the most incredible roof-top picnic spread that any of us have ever seen. Big shout out to the most dedicated coach driver ever, Steve, for doing this for us. We sat in the sunshine, on Poppy styled picnic benches, savouring hot soup, chilled wine, French bread and cheese, and enjoying each other's company. Many comments were passed around the band about this being the most perfect evening. Our trip back into the village included a stop off at The Ulster Tower and the Newfoundland Memorial Park.
We woke early on Sunday morning to prepare for the concert, anxious at what turn out we might expect at a somewhat bizarre start time. We needn't have worried because the village turned out to support us in full force. The concert was a resounding success. The Band played extremely well, and we all felt a real sense of together-ness having been reunited with our DoM, Pete, who had been spending some time in Scotland with family. The Band kick started the programme with Eve of the War, followed by marches Barnard Castle and Amparito Roca. There was bi-lingual audience participation with The Songs of World War One before we finished the first half with a selection from Les Miserables. War on the Big Screen and Band of Brothers were both included in the second half, with the latter providing a real opportunity to reflect on the role the village played in the war and the devastating effect it had on the local community (the church still clearly displays its war wounds). The mood was then lifted with the ever-popular 'Music' and the concert topped off with a British finale of Hornpipe and Britannic Salute. With thanks to Mme le Maire Christelle Lefevre, her husband and their team, we were then treated to a champagne reception and sandwiches to enjoy on our way home.
The Band had a wonderful time over the course of the weekend and extend their sincere thanks and gratitude to all those people who made the trip happen and accommodated us so marvellously.
Remembering 'Old Bill'
William Cox , known as Bill to his friends was a much loved member of the band for over 50 years.
After 89 music filled years Bill bowed out in style in 2013 with a funeral at Romsey Abbey . The band played some of his favourite pieces and a RM Bugler played the last post . It was no less than Bill deserved, a stalwart of the band since being told he would be joining the Force band when he joined City Of Southampton Police by the then Chief Constable.
A year after Bills passing the band planted a Cherry Tree within the memorial garden at Police Training HQ . All Bills relatives and ‘Band Family’ attended, played music and had a lovely afternoon tea in his honour.
Bill was an amazing String Bass, Tuba and Bass Drum player, he played with his heart and soul and only stopped playing following a stroke but bequeathed his beloved String Bass to the band .His charm and sparkle reverberated throughout the band over the years and it was only fitting that when we were upgrading our Percussion Kit that we should have a plaque placed on the Orchestral Bass Drum in memory of Bill.
The Drum was unveiled at this years Families Day where many of his family attended and some of his great grandchildren enjoyed following in his footsteps by giving it a good bash !
Bill will remain forever in our hearts and will never be forgotten.
May the Beat Go On……..
Addlestone 24th April 2016
The Band played an afternoon concert in the Addlestone Community Centre in Sunday 24th April.
Our Director of Music, Major Pete Curtis, was unable to be with us which was a great pity as we had not played in Addlestone before. However, in his absence he appointed his colleague Lisa Keachie. We are really happy to have met with Lisa and now performed under her direction. Thank you to Lisa for her sterling performance. Who knew it was her first full concert as the Director? Thank you also to Major Pete for making such a good choice of understudy.
This lovely concert venue took us through Surrey and MET policing areas, which caused our chairman some difficulty when she had a phone call in the interval to say that a suspect of hers had been detained by the MET police! Thankfully our colleagues came good and covered this allowing us to enjoy the venue and the pleasure of a very appreciative audience. We played some old favourites and a few new ones that we hope to show off to our friends in some more concerts before too long.
There was one very sad feature of the concert yesterday. The concert organiser, Mike West, died suddenly and unexpectedly prior to the concert. We played one of his favourites, Colonel Bogey, in tribute and heard family and friends talk of the huge contribution he made to the local community. We hope we did him, and his widow Emmy, proud.
And, incidentally, the cream tea at the interval went down EXTREMELY well with the band.
Netley Concert - March 2016
CONCERT AT THE EMPIRE ROOM, ROYAL VICTORIA PARK, NETLEY
We fielded an impressive band of 39 for this concert, held in The Empire Room close to one of our regular venues, the former chapel of the Royal Victoria Hospital. This is closed for renovation, which is ongoing.
Our audience were appreciative although a little reserved at the beginning of the concert, but they were soon responding positively to the programme of music, conducted and presented by our Deputy Bandmaster Greg Walker, who injected his own brand of humour to the proceedings.
It was good to see Maureen Queen once again – she had been librarian with the band during the 1990s, and is now a local councillor. Her request was that we played music from “Les Miserables was brought to fruition, being a gesture to recognise her birthday, a few days previously.
The band were well looked after during the interval, with tea and cakes. However I will remember the event for being a winner in the raffle. I came home with a hamper of goodies which included a jar of duck pate and also one of picked walnuts! Len Goodman was nowhere to be seen.
Church on the Heath, Fleet, 6th February 2016
The Band started their concert year with a repeat trip to Fleet on Saturday 6th February. This is always an extremely well attended concert raising funds for the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice, and 2016 was no exception. Directed by Deputy Bandmaster Greg Walker and joined by the fabulous, and local, Amanda Goldthorpe-Hall, the concert was well received.
We kicked off with the rousing music from 'Invincible' followed by a March written by our Director of Music, Major Pete Curtis, entitled 'Haslar's Farewell'. This was written for the decommissioning of the Royal Hospital Haslar in Gosport in 2007. As well as Amanda, the Band welcomed euphonium soloist Steve Boyes to the stage to perform Nessun Dorma and followed that with some toe tapping to a Billy Joel medley.
The concert was concluded with a Last Night of the Proms finale with the audience energetically waving their flags and showing appreciation for yet another great concert, raising money for a truly worthy cause.