News

April 2019

Article about the Band featured in ‘Lifeinwiltshire.co.uk’
Words by Katy Sturgess

Shrewton Silver Band’s history dates back to around 1830. The earliest report of the band was in the Salisbury Journal in June 1833, mentioning the band accompanying a group of farmers round the local hostelries of Shrewton. This would place the band as one of the oldest in the country. The only brief break in the band’s existence was during the “Great War”, and since then the band has continued to play without further breaks, right up to the present day.
The band is totally amateur, and yet manages to be self-supporting, thanks to the generosity of the supporters who attend concerts, and fundraise throughout the year. Without local support, the friends of the band and the hard work that the band committee do, like all bands, we would struggle to keep going.
The band is run by a committee of players and the musical director, all doing their bit in terms of keeping things running smoothly.
The band committee look after everything from publicity to managing the music library and from fund-raising to arranging events and travel for the band. The musical director at the helm is Michael Dunford who has just celebrated an amazing 20 years as conductor of the band – a real milestone in the brass banding world and celebrated by the band and players from other local brass bands at a huge party last November. Our principal cornet, Jason Sellars lives in Warminster and leads the playing – Jason is an ex-army musician, who started playing with Shrewton Silver Band in 1994 whilst serving with the army in Tidworth. He has played on-and-off for the band ever since. And for the last three years has been sitting on the top seat.
Like many modern brass bands, ours is a real family affair – there are four husband and wife teams and various other family relations making music together, including three generations of one family. In addition to this, many family members and previous players support the band with fundraising and give fantastic moral support to keep the band flourishing. Our players travel from Hampshire, North Dorset, Somerset and across Wiltshire to band practice twice a week on Monday and Thursday evenings and also to band events, mostly at weekends.
We practice in Shrewton Methodist Church on the High Street every Monday and Thursday evening and play at a wide range of events across Wiltshire, Hampshire and Dorset and further afield. We compete in the second section nationally and have reached the national finals five times in the last 15 years.

In a contest brass band the structure traditionally includes nine cornets, one soprano, one flugelhorn, three tenor horns, two baritones, two euphoniums, three trombones and two Eb and two Bb basses, plus percussion. Therefore, Shrewton Silver Band’s contest line-up is made up of 25 brass players and usually two or three percussionists, not forgetting the musical director. The wider concert and marching band membership is around 35-40 players. The players come from all walks
of life from doctors to drivers and engineers to anaesthetists. Being based in Shrewton, we have always had strong links with the army
and currently have five ex-army musicians in the band. Almost all the players are working full-time and the band is a leisure activity for them – although leading up to contest time and Christmas might not feel quite so leisurely.

Main band practice lasts just over two hours, twice a week. The content of the practices varies according to the event we are preparing for, but for most of the year they involve a wide range of music from traditional marches and brass band pieces to music from films and show tunes and also pop music. There is also a tea break in the middle for a general catch-up with other players.

For the players it is a very sociable hobby, we are in effect a “band family” and get to know each other really well. We spend time together at rehearsals, at our musical performances and also regular social events locally and when staying away from home for contests. There is a great feeling of pride in the band – especially when things go well.
We also have a training band, this meets once a week on a Monday evening from 6.30pm to 7.15pm, before main band. Players move up in to main band when they are ready for the challenge, some previous training band members have even gone on to make a career in music with the Royal Marines’ Band.
Our training band is always in need of new blood, as players progress on to the main band. We welcome children and returning players of all standards to the training band, across all brass instruments, from new learners to those returning to play after a break of some years. For all players we can provide instruments on loan and being a member of Shrewton Silver Band -training band is totally free.

01380 734376 | April | Lifein | 19

Brass bands have always been a part of Britain’s heritage and traditions, but the number of brass bands
in the UK has been declining for many years, along with the decline in musical activity in schools. Local brass bands do need the support of the communities that they play in, so that their traditions can be preserved for the future. More young players need encouraging and supporting, to play brass (and other) instruments in schools so that bands can continue. The biggest event eachyear for the contesting band is the West of England Regional Contest which determines the band’s overall rankings in the UK and the level that we will compete at for the following year. This happens in March each year. Following an exciting performance in the regionals in 2018, Shrewton Silver Band qualified for the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain in Cheltenham and were delighted to be placed in the top eight bands in the country in the second section. The band is currently practising hard for this year’s competition and hopes for another top result.

In addition to competitions, the band plays every year at:

 The annual Making of the Mayor in Salisbury which
is a big colourful civic parade in May;
 Concerts, Fetes, Mess dinners and private events;
on in to the next century. Who else is going to lead parades, play at summer fetes and continue to play the floral dance?
The band support a number of charities including Cancer Research, Salisbury Hospice, The Royal British Legion and Children in Need. We have good links with the local primary school in Shrewton and a number of children from the school play in the training band.
 Marches and Commemorations with the Royal British Legion across different locations in Wiltshire
 Car Fest at Laverstoke Park near Basingstoke in aid of Children in Need
 Numerous Christmas events including Stonehenge Visitor’s Centre and our very popular annual Christmas Concerts in Shrewton
and Figheldean
 Artillery Fest at Larkhill for the Royal Artillery Museum in October

One of the most exciting events in recent years was in October 2015 when the band were asked to play in St Georges Chapel, Windsor Castle in the presence of the Duke of Edinburgh and Duke of Gloucester, for the Rifles and RGBW Association commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Loos and 70th Anniversary of the end of WW2.

Do you know?
What is the difference between a silver and brass band?
Just the colour of the instruments. A silver band has silver-plated instruments. We do have a mix of silver and brass instruments in SSB as some players own their own instruments – but we are traditionally and predominantly a silver band.
If you are interested in joining Shrewton Silver Band: either the main band or the training band (beginners or returning players) or if you just want to discuss whether this is the right band for you, please get in contact with the band secretary at secretary@ shrewtonband.org
For the main band, adult players’ annual subscriptions are £60 per annum. (paid across the year). Concessions’ subscriptions are £30 per annum and training band is free of charge.
The contest band currently has specific vacancies for a trombone player and an Eb Bass player and the wider band welcomes new brass musicians across all seats in the band. Please contact secretary@ shrewtonband.org if you are interested in having a chat about joining the band.
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© RGBW

 


 

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Band President of 39 years, Peter Sweet has Sadly Passed Away

Aug 2018

Lt Col (Retd) Peter Alfred Sweet passed away on 3rd August 2018 after a brief period of illness when the lurking prostate cancer finally took hold.

Sharp minded, with a memory to put most to shame, he remained in good spirits with activities until the close. He had a distinguished service with The Queens at the end of the war, before transferring to the Gunners in 1947. He continued to serve admirably at Larkhill as a Retired Officer in Gunnery Wing.

Concurrently, he was heavily involved in the RAYC, spending many happy days at sea and many more perhaps less enjoyable days in the administration and financial affairs of the club. He was immersed in the RA Race course, being Clerk of the Course for many years, gaining huge pleasure from the people and events held at Larkhill.

He settled in Shrewton in the mid 70s and became President of the Shrewton Silver Band, President of the Shrewton Cricket Club, a key member of the Youth Club and a SPVA visitor to local service personnel for years. He was a devout member of St Mary’s Church, Shrewton as treasurer, church warden, chorister, bell ringer and constant attender for more than 40 years. He was a founder member of the Shrewton Candlemas Charity which he resurrected from nothing to become a thriving charity supporting those in need in the village. He thoroughly deserved the MBE for Community Service to the village in 2012. He was always able to talk to and be interested in all range of folk, young and old, from any background.

He will be sorely missed, not only by his children, Peter, Debs, Tim and Nicky, his 9 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren but by the villagers of Shrewton and any who were fortunate to know him.


 

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Band Receives Grant!

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June 2018

Shrewton Silver Band has recently received a grant from the Wiltshire Council Area Communities Boards (Amesbury) for new music and new music stands. We are extremely grateful to the Council for this grant as it allows the band to update it’s music repertoire and to update it’s worn out music stands. Shrewton Silver Band will be representing, not only Wiltshire, but the West of England at the National Brass Band Championships Finals of Great Britain in September. The music test piece for the National Finals (Firestorm) was the first to be purchased using the funds from the Council. Thank you Wiltshire Council for your support to a small village band.


 

Mike Dunford receives Community Award!

18-Jan-2018

Amesbury Area Board holds first community awards

More than 100 people packed into Amesbury Area Board’s first community awards last night (18 January) to recognise people who have gone above and beyond to help their communities.IMG_5180 IMG_5181

The special event was held at Antrobus House with awards given out to young people, individuals and teams.

The evening began with light music from Shrewton Silver Band before the awards were presented by Amesbury Area-based athlete and former Major in the Army Cornelia Oosthuizen. Cornelia competed in wheelchair tennis, swimming, cycling and golf in the 2017 Invictus Games.

Cllr Darren Henry said: “This was a great opportunity to recognise and celebrate the warmth and generosity of our Amesbury area communities. It is always the people who bring communities together and I was delighted to be a part of this special evening.”

Cornelia said: “This was a fantastic event to recognise a wide variety of voluntary work across the Amesbury Area. It was a privilege to meet volunteers that are so passionate and generous with their time and effort.”

The winner of the individual award Maureen Atkinson said: “A big thank you to the area board and yourself for laying on the presentation ceremony tonight. It was a lovely way of thanking the huge number of volunteers that work in our communities. I was delighted to receive my certificate but stunned and very proud to receive the trophy. A massive thank you to all those organisations who nominated me. Please pass on my thanks to all the councillors, who each deserve an award themselves!”

Winner of the Under 18s Charlie Henry said: “Tonight was truly amazing and I really appreciate the recognition from all of you.”

The winner in the team category was The Durrington Charity Fundraisers. Other highly commended individuals on the night were: Peter Dennis, Carolyn Tayltor, Claire Hutton, Dawn Watson, Gillian Clarke, Jean George, Katie Thomas, Laura Brisbane, Michael Dunford, Roger Stokes, Stacey Hartness, Terry Kemp and Tom Cox,

Highly commended in the team category were: St Giles’ Church Café, Durrington Post Point, Amesbury Youth Café, Get Wiltshire Walking and Mighty Ducks Explorers. Highly commended in the under 18s category was Collett Gullwell.

 


 

Shrewton Grab the Silverware in Torquay!

04-Nov-2017

Torquay, the English Riviera…the place the rich and famous like to be seen at the Riviera International Conference Centre for the South West Brass Band Association’s 71st Annual Championships.Torquay Nov 17

Shrewton Silver Band gained a very creditable 2nd place in the Second Section with their rendition of Purcell Variations.  This is a great  result for the band who performed to the high standard the award deserved.

Click on the link for more Pictures of our Wonderful Weekend! Torquay November Contest 2017

 

 

 

 


Shrewton Visit Windsor Castle!

23-Oct-2015
Shrewton Silver Band has been leading the way in the presence of a couple of high ranking Dukes…

MARCH PAST

Shrewton Silver Band based in a small village based near the world famous World Heritage site of Stonehenge in Wiltshire, certainly enjoyed the recent opportunity to perform for royalty.

The band regularly performs in support of the Regimental Association of the Rifles & Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment based in Salisbury.

March past

With the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Loos and 70th anniversary of the ending of the Second World War being commemorated at Windsor Castle in the presence of Patrons, the Dukes of Edinburgh and Gloucester, the band was invited to lead the march past.

Following a short parade through Windsor (above), there was a service of Commemoration in St George’s Chapel.

‘It was very much a military occasion, so it was a great honour for a civilian band to undertake this high-profile commitment’

~ Band spokesperson.

Great honour

A spokesperson told 4BR: “It was very much a military occasion, so it was a great honour for a civilian band to undertake this high-profile commitment.

It also gave our recently retired army Drum Major the chance to put the band through their paces and sharpen up our deportment and parade work!”

Thanks

Later, the Duke of Edinburgh expressed his appreciation, making this one of the proudest moments in the band’s long 150 year history.

4barsrest Article


Band Awards Night

25-July-2015

What a fantastic night! Great fun get together as always, with a terrific bring and share BBQ. Followed by the Awards ceremony. Congratulations go to these Winners!

Junior Cup – Leo
Most Improved Player  – Brad Sturgess
Best Section – The Basses
Alan Dunford Cup – Mike Reader
Bandsperson of the year  – Jenny Chambers

 

For more pictures click here


Bugle Contest

20-June-2015

What a brilliant experience for the band, marching down the main street though Bugle, playing our hearts out to an enthusiastic crowd lining the pavements. Such a well attended contest, very well supported! Shrewton Silver Bands 1st appearance at this amazing historic March Contest and we came away with Silverware! Winning a very impressive shield for Deportment. Well done all! Of course as expected plenty of fun and frolics were had over the weekend, I think the band should combine camp-site rehearsals and BBQs more often!1467209_10155785794015397_2399969912416160518_n

 

For the full report of the day results etc from 4barsrest, follow this link – Bugle2015. See all the photos from the weekend on our Gallery page.