Tuesday, 10 December 2013

2013 at MSB

As part of a mini-refresh of the MSB website, we've decided to make the conductor's blog into our official newsfeed for the website, so this should be the place to find out the latest news from the band, although do check out our Facebook group and page for all the latest gossip as well.
Shaun indulges his James Bond fantasies at St Ives Waits in August

Band on a bus, Manea Gala in July
Since February we've had our first movie-concert-quiz night "A Night at the Movies" in Manea, park concerts in St Ives, Ely, Manea and Ramsey, three church services, two German nights, one bingo night and a musical tour of Manea on an open-top bus. That almost fits the words to "The 12 Days of Christmas". 

Speaking of Christmas, we're currently in the middle of our Christmas carolling schedule - see our calendar to find out where you can hear us this festive season!

Ely Jubilee gardens August
We've also performed as part of a massed Fenland area band at Ely Cathedral organised by our friends at Chatteris Town Band in aid of the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

It's been a year of changes. We welcomed our new conductor Shaun Pope in February and some new faces have joined us, as well as some more familiar ones who have returned to the band. Our Chairman Nic Paine has decided to step down from this position at the next AGM, but we would like to thank him for his sterling contribution in shaping the direction of the band over the last few years and hope he will remain a keen friend and supporter. 

Cambridge Daily News July 1951
We were saddened to hear of the passing of Stan Shadbolt in October. Stan, who was the principal cornet for Somersham Town Band deputised for almost every band in Cambridgeshire and was a familiar front row cornet at MSB concerts for as long as anybody can remember. 

Benwick Dickensian Market 2012
This cutting from a local newspaper shows Stan (second player from the left) playing with the junior players of Manea Band in 1951. Fast forward sixty years and this was Stan (far left) still playing with us at the Dickensian Market at Benwick in 2012.

The memorable German evening at Ramsey Mereside in October was the last brass band concert Stan played at. He will be greatly missed. 

We've still got our big end of year carol service at Manea to come and will be out and about in the area carolling right up to the big day; watch out for us at Chatteris Co-op, Ramsey Tesco and March Tesco in the next week.

Manea light switch-on 2013
Looking to the future, we have some exciting plans for concerts and events both in Manea and beyond for 2014, but as one of the Christmas pieces we've been performing says, "look to the future now, it's only just begun". Watch this space!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

What Goes Around Comes Around.....

Well, thank you Robert for the introduction.  As I'm blogging this at work and about to dash off to another dull meeting, I'll make this a quick one (you'll be glad to hear!).

A very short summary of my banding history (it's all in the title of this post really).....was a starter member of the re-formed Manea Silver Band wayyyy back in 1982 (baritone, then euphonium).  Had a couple or three years conducting the band between David Wilson and Peter Cain (around the very early 1990s).  At the same time, I started playing for Littleport Brass Band (whom I still play euphonium for).  And, as of Monday 11 February 2013, am now proud to be the MD of Manea Silver Band.  I'm a Manea lad through and through; and, despite living in various places around Cambridgeshire over the years, have always considered Manea as home.

Anyways, that 9am meeting is looming; so, look forward (?!?) to a slightly more 'bandy' blog post later.  And if you're really lucky, I may even add in some appropriate pics  And remember, practise little and often...makes a world of difference :-)

Monday, 11 February 2013

Christmas, new year, new MD

A belated happy new year to all followers of Manea Silver Band. It's all been a bit quiet on the blog since October, which is the opposite of what the band has been up to!

Oktoberfest, the Harvest Festival and Remembrance Sunday all went very well and we suspect we played our largest programme of Christmas events for some years.

I always enjoy Christmas in brass bands, even if everyone eventually gets sick of Silent Night and Co. and starts asking for all the obscure carols in the book that nobody knows!

We started particularly early this year with the rather fun Dickensian-themed Benwick Christmas Market in November, where some of us went for the full urchin look, playing a selection of Victorian carols and selections from Oliver. Throughout December, we played for two church services, a mini-concert in Chatteris and went carolling in Manea, March and Wisbech.

I had always been meaning to try some of the lesser-played pieces from the red Salvation Army carol book and although rehearsals showed why some of them aren't played very regularly, I was pleased to add the not-bad versions of The Christmas Song and Holst's arrangement of Personent Hodie to our Christmas music repertoire, in addition to a few others that (being a bit of a Christmas carol geek) I rather suspect only I really liked!

Particular highlights to note were Linda and Nigel's rather haunting duet version of "Who is He?", an American carol I must admit I didn't know at all, and was all the better for being a spontaneous interpretation. Joseph, one of our Junior Band stars, also had his solo debut with his performance of Mary's Boy Child. We were also lucky to have a full complement of trombones to play Philip Sparke's lovely arrangement of White Christmas that I've been wanting to try for years. We played this as our final piece at the Manea carol service at St Nicholas's church, which rounded the season off spendidly. We didn't get a white Christmas though.

During the Christmas break, we advertised for a new musical director and I'm very pleased to announce that Shaun Pope has been elected to this position at today's AGM. So, this is my last post as caretaker conductor and watch this space for Shaun's new MD blog...