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Rothwell Temperance Band
The present Rothwell Temperance Band was formed in 1984 as the junior band to the existing Temperance Band. In 1989, with a full compliment of players and new instruments, they were able to enter competitions as the Rothwell Temperance B Band. In 1991 they qualified for the National Finals in the Fourth Section and gained second place. In the same year, the senior band gained sponsorship, changing their name to match their new sponsor. The B Band then dropped the B and adopted the Rothwell Temperance Band name.
In 1994, after having been promoted to the third section, they won the Yorkshire Championship and went on to compete in the National Finals in London gaining second place. In 1995 they won the Third Section of the Yorkshire Area Championships and again came second at the National Finals. In March 1996, after gaining promotion to the second section, the band yet again gained first place in the Area Championships having drawn number one out of fourteen bands.
In 1997 the band were promoted to the First Section and once again qualified for the National Finals. At the finals, the band gained 5th place having been drawn the dreaded number one. In 1998 the band again won the Yorkshire Area First Section, qualifying for their fifth National Finals in a row.
1999 was an incredible year for the band. In February, after promotion to the Championship Section, the band again qualified for the National Finals and represented Yorkshire at the Royal Albert Hall in October where they were placed an excellent sixth.
In 2000, the band gained sponsorship from Autocruise, a manufacturer of luxury motorhomes, based near Sheffield. In October 2000 the band travelled to Lucerne in Switzerland to compete in the Swiss Open Brass Band Championships. The band walked away with the title of Swiss Open Champions, becoming only the second English band to do so. Two weeks later the band competed in the Pontins Championships and once again carried away first prize, taking 2500 in prize money and winning their second title in a month.
2003 was a very successful year for the band with a fourth place at the Yorkshire Area Championships. In May the band took first prize in the Senior Cup in Blackpool.
2004 saw a fantastic start to the contest season with a sixth prize at the Yorkshire Area Championships followed by a second prize at the Grand Shield Competition in Blackpool in May. This success lead to promotion into the British Open contest, where the band took their deserved place amoungst the elite bands in Great Britain. In 2005 the band were placed fifth at the Open, beating many household names including Brighouse & Rastrick and Grimethorpe Colliery.
This magnificent achievement was eclipsed in May 2006 when the band won the International Masters competition in Cambridge, beating the current European and World champions and winning their first 'Major'.
In 2009 the band had an excellent start to their contesting season winning the Yorkshire Area and being placed first in the Grand Shield, and they followed this up with a fourth at the National Finals at the Royal Albert Hall. 2010 was again a good year with third at the Yorkshire Area, third at the English Nationals, sixth at the British Open and again fourth at the Albert Hall.
1881 : The Overture
The cornerstone of this Chronicle is literally a stone tablet in one corner of the former property of the Rothwell Temperance Society.
Four foundation stones were laid in 1904 and the one concerning us reads:
LAID BY THOMAS BLACKBURN IN THE NAME OF THE ROTHWELL TEMPERANCE BAND ESTABLISHED 1881
Although we have no documentation in the form of minute books etc. the fading inscription on that stone can be illuminated by reference to various sources.
Here are the words of the late Tom Beckwith, who joined the Band shortly after its foundation and played for 41 years. He is recalled by some present day  members as a venerable President, with distinctive moustache which serves to identify him amongst the Bass players on many early photographs.
Speaking in 1932:- “50 years ago there was, and is still, a Band called the Rothwell Old Band. As a result of a quarrel on the question of drink, eight members left to form the Temperance Band. These men were Tom Blackburn, John Blackburn, Andrew Blackburn, John Smith, Walter Dacre, Tom Dacre, Joe Ward and Alfred Cripps.
“When we got a good band together we picked up a set of second-hand Lancer uniforms – black tunics with white fronts, with white stripes down the trousers. We looked smart I assure you but one day an army officer saw us and it was all up with our uniform.”
Nevertheless several excellent photographs exist of the Band in the Lancers uniform, purchased in 1883.
The notebooks of the late Arthur Newton add further information gleaned from the reminiscences of past players.
“The Old Band was noted as being good. But the trouble always came after an engagement when the playing members were paid in cash for their services. Â£2 to Â£4 was considered at that time a good day's pay for 24 men. 1/9 to 3/6 was good pay, as most working could not earn above 3/6 a day in the pits, in the early 70's or 80's.
“When the men got their pay, half of the Band wanted to stay and have a royal time drinking and playing and the other part of the Band had better use for their money at home. The public houses could close when they pleased before midnight, beer being two pence per pint (long pull).
“This had caused friction for years in the Old Band, so in 1881 several of the members got together and tried to form another Band which became The Temperance Band. When the men left the Old Band it was no easy matter to form another Band as money was very hard to find, even in subscriptions, a shilling subscription was considered a very good amount and a Brass Cornet cost Â£4 and Â£100 was needed to get a set second hand.””
Contemporary newspaper reports also shed light on the quarrel referred to by Tom Beckwith and place a little more emphasis on the role of the Temperance Society in originating the Rothwell Temperance Band.
At a Temperance Mission held in 1881 several members of the Rothwell Model Band became abstainers and, as the Rothwell Times dated 6th January 1882 reports, “They had stuck out so bravely since June and during this Christmas, that the Publican at whose house the Band meets has felt the loss of their customer so much, as to decline giving the usual “Kick Up.” The members have accordingly quarrelled and there is some talk of a Temperance Brass Band.”
A band existed in Rothwell for 40 years before 1881, and was apparently called Rothwell Model at the time the tee-totallers broke away to form their new band. Whereupon the name Rothwell Old came into immediate usage for the original group – which still contained at least another three members of the Blackburn family.
1882 : The March
Easter Festivities – Rothwell Times, Friday April 14th 1882
The Rothwell Temperance Band marched out of the town on Good Friday about 10 o'clock to fulfil their first public engagement in connection with the Grand Band of Hope demonstration at Leeds. Their playing on leaving Rothwell was greatly praised and it is evident we have a likely band of teetotallers.
Under the heading 'The Temperance Band' in the Rothwell Times of May 5th, a poem of nine verses was printed, of which the following are the most interesting:
Last Christmas as you all well know,
We had the one Brass Band,
Now you see we have got two,
And one 'tis said won't stand
They say that water cannot
Blow a note so clear
But that is false!
I know a man
That's proved it many a year
Subsequent verses yield the information that this man was called Emmanuel, a shoemaker by trade who played “on his old tenor tram”.
He can be confidently identified as Emmanuel Hampson who kept a boot and shoe shop in Commercial Street and played the trombone in the Temperance Band. His youngest son, Throp, composed a setting of “Abide with Me” which received some acclaim.
By October 1882 a converted Match Factory in Holmes Square was opened as a Temperance Hall which was to be rented for Band practices.
On the opening day the Band headed a procession through the town, and the lord mayor of Leeds entered the building to the strains of the “Hallelujah Chorus.”
1883 : From the Rothwell Times
May 18th On Wednesday last the entire town was on the Qui Vive for it became known that the Temperance Band was about to show its admiration of Mr. Batty (a Temperance speaker) by accompanying him out of the town on his leaving Rothwell. The procession received the best wishes of the crowds who lined the route by which he passed.
June 29th The Temperance Band marched down to Methley last Monday, and after parading the pricipal streets of the town, proceeded to the Primitive Methodist School-room where they held a reformed drunkards' meeting, the room being crowded in every part. Mr A Cripps occupied the chair, and 'experiences' were given by members of the Band, detailing the benefits which the practice of temperance had brought them, as compared with their former style of life. As might be expected the addresses were both original and humorous, while the manifest advantages reaped were very clear to all who listened. The meeting was very successful and closed with the usual votes of thanks.
July 13th The village celebrated the passing by Parliament of a local Railyway Bill with scenes of wild excitement during which the instruments of the Temperance Band and the Model Band were 'collared' and used to produce 'as inharmonious a noise as possible'.
Liverpool Exhibition/Eistedfodd earliest mentioned attendance at any contest – unsuccessful.
On June 6th against all the predictions to the contrary Rothwell Temperance Brass Band carried off the first prize at the Brass Band Contest at Soothill, Batley with “Joan of Arc.”
The Soothill victory is the Band's first recorded prize, and a complimentary paragraph in the Rothwell Times confirms this impression by coining the title Rothwell Temperance Prize Brass Band, but concludes with “all praise to Roddill Temperance” (Roddill Temp. is a long standing local abbreviation and 'Rodillian' has achieved respectability in the name of a local school, choir and rugger team.)
A further reference to the Band's win at Soothill for playing “Joan of Arc” shows the other side of the coin. “I am told by those who live near the Hall, that the number of times they have practiced the selection is legion. The piece is called Noah's Ark and those who are under the necessity of undergoing the infliction of having to listen both on Sunday and Weekday to the Band practices are heartily sick of the same.”
In July at a contest in Rothwell organised by the Old Band 10 bands player and the Temps came ninth, receiving some caustic comments from the adjudicator Mr S Jones.
EXECUTION: Extremely Faulty (5)
TUNE: Trombone in opening very bad indeed no decided pitch all through, cannot give marks (0)
TONE: Not good quality, would doubtless be better if the instruments were tuned (10)
STYLE: Faulty (5)
TIME: Fair (15)
ATTACK: Fair (15)
– Euphonium, Fair (15).
– Bb cornet, recitative taken too fast, many incorrect notes, hurried (5).
– Trombone, solo dragged badly (5).
– Rendering of accompaniments, incorrect, very (0).
Total out of 200: 58
“This Band may contain some good material, but it requires a lot of hard practice before it can compete with the average bands in the North of England”
These comments probably stung the Band into seeking professional coaching for it must have been shortly afterwards that G.F. Birkinshaw, Black Dyke Principal Cornet, began a long association with Rothwell Temperance Band as Professional Conductor and Guest Soloist.
The following is quoted from Mr Arthur Newton's Notes but no record has appeared of the great Alex Owen taking the Temps to a contest.
“One is told that Alex Owen was engaged before G.F. Birkinshaw, and his fee was 3gns. per visit and he would not allow any person in the room during the time he was teaching the Band, the door being locked, and only playing members allowed inside. A. Owen did not remain long. This being in 1886”
Golden Jubilee year, Rothwell Times reported “doubts whether the Rothwell Bands would be able to attend the celebrations on June 20th owing to previous offers of service elsewhere. We are pleased to hear today however that there is every probability that one if not both of these excellent organisations will be present.” But apparently only Rothwell Old Band attended the local events, and the Temps played at Armley on the Saturday of the celebration and at Ripon on the following Wednesday.
At Farnley (Leeds) the Band was conducted by Mr Birkinshaw and took 1st prize out of twenty-one bands playing the Valse 'Fatherland'
After the Band Contests there was an own choice cornet solo competition in which the Temp. Band was represented by Andrew Blackburn (one of the founder members in 1881) who played “Weber's Last Waltz.” The prize was a new cornet (value Â£9 9s.) awarded to the Batley Band Cornetist.
“On reaching Rothwell at night the Band was met by a large concourse of people who accompanied them around the town heralding their good fortune.”
(When Andrew Blackburn went as solo cornet to Farnley Temp. his retained was 12/6 per engagement. If he took his instrument out of its case and did not play a note he was paid 6/-.)
Again the Good Friday March, taking the Hunslet Band of Hope to the Temperance Meeting in front of Leeds Town Hall. The Band making their first appearance in a new uniform of Blue flashed with white and yellow braid and their helmets surmounted by nodding white plumes.
They had recently won seven prizes in eight contests and having decided to go in for a new uniform a two day bazaar was held which raised over £50.
A Busy Week In July, 1889
Friday: Ripon Flower Show
Monday: Heading the Carlton Main Miners at the Great Demonstration at Barnsley.
Tuesday: Engagement at Boroughbridge in connection with the Festivities attending the homecoming of Mr & Mrs Lawson who had been spending their honeymoon on the Continent.
Wednesday: 2nd prize at Pickering Flower Show Contest.
June: “The Temperance Band was early astir on Monday morning, playing merrily through the streets en route for Barnsley. Having an engagement to head the Carlton Main Branch of the Miner's Union, the Band left Woodlesford station by the seven train, and during their stay in Barnsley, earned an excellent character for their good playing.”
52 brass bands took part in the procession. Leading the way were the officials of the Association, preceded by several miners carrying well-polished picks and hammers decorated with flowers.
October: New Besson silver plated instruments costing £260, bought as a result of fund raising efforts and a loan by the Rechabites, were shown off to the town by the Band, parading in their 'striking uniforms', on Friday October 17th. The ladies arranged a celebration and familiar names mentioned at Mesdames Beckwith, Sidebottom, Lunn.
1892 : An Old Bandsman's Funeral
The death of John Hampson occurred in February and members of the Rothwell Old and Temperance Bands joined in rendering a token of respect to their formed colleague, by playing at the funeral.
“The band arrangement of Luther's Hymn was effectively rendered in front of the deceased's house, Mr Fowler sounding the trumpet calls. As the procession wended its way to the church, the strains of the peculiarly appropriate Dead March rose and fell in the still air, and never with more touching expression. By kind permission of the Vicar, the band also played Luther's Hymn at the grave side. The old Scotch ballad 'Should auld acquaintance be forgot' was played on the return march.”
Whit Monday: Concert at Garforth conducted by Alfred Newton with his brother James as cornet soloist.
Whit Friday: Rochdale – an engagement at St. Peter's School followed by the quickstep contest in which Rothwell gained third prize playing the march “Albion”. This is the first recorded attendance of the band at the Whit Friday contests.
June 13th at Barnsley contest took first prize out of 18 Bands playing 'Verdi' conducted by G.F. Birkinshaw. Winning £10 cash prize plus a euphonium valued at 14 guineas, a medal for the trombonists, A. Smith, and a medal for the euphonium player William Lunn (who later became Member of Parliament for the district and maintained a long and active connection with Rothwell Temperance Band).
The Rothwell Times reports the Band bringing credit to Rothwell with “a good run of important engagements”, mentioning concerts at Great Horton Cricket Club and also the opening of Leeds Co-operative Society new building in Albion Street when the Band headed the procession.
August 17th after winning the first prize out of three bands at Altofts, yielding a cash prize and a trombone, the Band arrived home at 10.00pm and played a brisk march up to the Temperance Hall.
September 1st Infirmary Demonstration, three days. Gave Sunday Concert with Rothwell Old Band including Birkinshaw's Selection “Pomposo” and also Alec Owen's Selection of Rossini's works, playing the full copy lasting 27 and a half minutes (both items are still in the Band's library).
“At this concert the Temperance Band were showing the Infirmary Committee what kind of Band they were and much comment was said about the Band taking most of the time and left very little time for the speakers to give and address”
The Rothwell Times published a letter of about 400 words from the Band Secretary, Mr William Lunn, which strongly criticised the Infirmary Demonstration Committee for not publishing financial accounts of the three day event in which the band helped to raise £200.
(Nine years later the Infirmary Committee Accounts for 1904 gave rise to correspondence in the newspaper criticising an expenditure of £19 8s 4d on brass bands etc., the comment of the letter writer being “Which evidently love to be philanthropic”)
Geo. Fredrick Birkinshaw the celebrated cornetist and conductor, Rothwell's professional for many years, died on June 7th aged 44 and at his funeral in Holbeck Cemetery Alfred Newton of Rothwell was in charge of Rothwell Temperance Band, and members from Black Dyke Mills and Bradford Bands. The Hymn Luther was played at the grave side and the following Epitaph is quoted in Mr Newton's note book.
They cornet is hushed, thy lips are at rest,
But thou art remembered, they memory is blessed.
Oft when we meet, we shall mourn and lament thee
Thou will be missed for thy seat will be empty.
G.F. Birkinshaw is commemorated by William Rimmer's contest march “Viva Birkinshaw” and generations of bandsmen will be familiar with the extracts from his “Jenny Jones” in Wright and Rounds Cornet Tutor.
May 8th Skelmanthorpe contest 18 bands played “Rossini's Works” between 3.30 and midnight. Rothwell arrived home at 3.30am with 1st prize. Conductor W. Heap.
Contesting regularly with good results under professional conductor Willie Heap. Awards included two second prizes at two contests on the same day, Ilkley and Armley. But at Armley the executive deducted £2 off the award for not playing up to the field.
A report on Yeadon contest (first prize out of 26 bands) states “On Saturday last the members of the Band played out, in the morning, en route to Yeadon to take part in a Band Contest.” The tradition of playing out from the Bandroom and back again in the evening if successful at the contest was customary for the following 50 years.
May 13th Band's third annual contest. Test Piece “Rose Queen Valse”. Twelve bands played.
Morley band drew No 1 but refused to mount the platform and consequently incurred a penalty (Rule 1) of ten shillings. No 2 Band also refused to go on first and so did the rest, each band in turn paying the ten shillings fine. Meanwhile the weather was deteriorating and as the audience was very small the fines turned out to be a blessing in disguise to the promoters.
Eventually, Morley Band was persuaded to make a start, the other Bands following as originally drawn.
The winners turned out to be Morley; and during the two hours of argument the judge, William Wadsworth, was kept waiting in his tent!
Mr Willie Heap had now got the Band into excellent contesting form and the Rothwell times listed 13 contesting appearances with substantial prizes at 12 venues.
(The band's handwritten archives list only 12 contests in 1903 and regularly appear to omit the failures.)
Medals were frequently won by the soloists but Rotherham Contest was notable for awarding a medal to each of the 25 Rothwell Bandsmen upon taking the first prize.
Rothwell Times, March 6th
“The Rothwell Temperance Band who have recently purchased a new uniform paraded the streets on saturday afternoon last and called upon a few of their patrons collecting over Â£7 towards their new uniforms. With the purpose of raising funds for the same object a solo contest was held in the Temperance Hall.”
There were 15 competitors and Mr Heap was the judge. This appears to have been an open contest for air-varies the winner being H Waddington of Selby playing Jenny Jones on the euphonium. He was awarded a gold metal and 10/-.
Programme from the Opening Ceremony of the New Workhouse and Infirmary, Rothwell Haigh. This site later became known as St. George's Hospital. (The hospital was closed and turned into houses just after the year 2000, though the Junior Band did play there in the 1980's)
Rothwell Temperance Band played each day, 1st, 2nd and 3rd October.
March – “Heroique” – Rimmer
Selection – “A Soldier's Life” – Sheriff
Waltz – “Bacchanale” – Rimmer
Selection – “Il Seraglio” – Mozart
Selection – “Memories Of Britain” – Rimmer
Schottische – “Lily of the Valley” – Greenwood
Cornet Solo – “The Star Of Bethlehem” – Adams
Selection – “Welsh Melodies” – J. Ord. Hume
Waltz – “Cascade of Rubies” – Rimmer
Selection – “L'Elisir D'Amore” – Donizetti
Selection – “Oberon” – Weber
Polka – “Pyrethrum” – Rayner
Conductor: Mr T Barthram
Solo Cornet: Mr N Sidebottom
Solo Euphonium: Mr J Newton
Solo Trombone: Mr A Smith
The four Foundation Stones in the front of the old Temperance Hall, all apparently laid on October 15th 1904, record the establishment of the Band of Hope in 1872; the Temperance Hall in 1882; and the Temperance Band under the name of Thomas Blackburn in 1881. Therefore it may be appropriate to quote here an undated testimonial to Mr Blackburn from his colleagues:
An ADDRESS TO MR THOMAS BLACKBURN Bandmaster of the ROTHWELL TEMPERANCE PRIZE BRASS BAND
We the Members and Friends of the above Band, desire to testify our high appreciation of your ability as a Musician and Conductor; and ask your acceptance of this Address along with this splendid cornet, (subscribed by the Members of the Band and their Friends), as a token of our sincere respect and esteem. Your uprightness and courtesy since the formation of the Band, have impressed upon us the true and sterling worth of your character, and your skill and taste as a Musician are so admired by the members that they deem it only due to you, and hope that you may be spared long to labour in such a sphere of usefulness; wishing every good wish to yourself and your family.
We beg to remain, Dear Sir,
Yours sincerely on behalf of the Members and their Friends
W. Dacre, Chairman
J. Bulmer, Treasurer
C.H. Elliott, Secretary
T.Shearman, J.Ward, J.Smith, W.Lunn, C.Tiffany, William Nunns and Thomas Whitehead, Committee.
The Cornet was in use in the nineteen forties by Tom Blackburn's Great Grandson Philip Newton.
1905 : Rothwell Solo Contest
“This contest which was organised by the Rothwell Temperance Prize Band, was decided on Saturday, March 4th. The chair was occupied by Councillor W. Lunn, of Rothwell, and under his direction the contest passed off pleasantly and in good order.”
As in 1903 Mr Heap awarded 1st prize to a performance of Jenny Jones, this time by Carlton Euphonium soloist J. Newton. The Judge's remarks for all thirteen competitors were published in full.
Minute Book, Independent Order of Rechabites, July 31st, 1905 “It was resolved to offer the Band a subscription of 10/6d to play round the village on September 17th.
August 2nd Rechabites “Agreed to try to engage the Band on the same terms as before to head the demonstration.”
August 23rd Rechabites Brother Stead reported: “The Band declined our offer for their services at the demonstration”
Up to 1920 nearly all the bandsmen were members of the Good Hope Tent of the Independent Order of Rechabites.
September 26th was the band's first visit to London and Crystal Palace contest. The band took part in the third section, playing “Gems of Mozart” coached by professional W. Holdsworth. The contest was won by St. Hildas Colliery, Rothwell were unsuccessful.
Rothwell Infirmary Gala
3 days, 22 men, £6 12s fee.
Rothwell Church School Feast
Collection only, £1 4s (this job was always left to the Old Band afterwards).
Engaged for one week, fee £30 at Lofthouse Park which from 1908 to 1913 was an extensive amusement centre developed to encourage the use of the electric trams between Leeds and Wakefield.
Coronation Year. Holbeck Moor celebrations two days £20 plus meals.
The Rothwell Times reports that in the contest at Rothwell Flower Show, the Temperance Band was “not inspiring” and mentions that they were without the services of their “illustrious conductor and cornet player Mr. Angus Holden.”
Mr Holden was the Band's professional at that time and at the Flower Show they were beaten by their neighboring rivals Carlton who were conducted by Mr Alf Newton formerly the Rothwell Bandmaster.
J.C.Dyson paid his first visit as professional conductor, fee 10/6 each visit plus railway fare, but activities were subdued during the Great War 1914/1918.
Joe Elliott joined the Band on trombone before 1914 and druing the war was in the 15th Batallion of the West Yorks. where he was instrumental in forming the Band but was invalided home from France in 1917. after the war and a short period with Rothwell Temperance he took the position of Band Master with Carlton Temperance and around 1936 gave invaluable help in the formation of Yorkshire Copperworks Band (now Yorkshire Imperial) which he conducted for many years.
Mr Elliott married a daughter of John Blackburn, one of the Temperance Band Founders.
The extant account books begin in 1917 and George Beckwith is shown as subscription collector, a task which he undertook again many years later. Hopkinson Lord was Secretary.
The income for the year was only £37 4s of which £10 was a loan from the Temperance Society.
The expenditure was £31 4s 1d including a new euphonium for £18 18s 3d.
Engagements improved and contests were attended. Joe Kirby (an excellent soprano cornet) joined from Stanley and entry fees are shown for the new young blood Albert Lunn and William Bagley, but the biggest single influence in taking the Band to its peak of achievement between the wars was the appointment as Conductor of Mr Nathan Sidebottom. He was a Rothwell man born in the year of the Band's foundation when his father was bass drummer.
Nat, as he was known, was playing in the Band by the age of ten and eventually became Principal Cornetist with experience under G.F. Birkinshaw and W. Heap, the professionals who laid the foundation of the Band's contesting traditions.
In 1903 he was considered one of the finest cornetists in Yorkshire and he was engaged as soloist to travel round with Mr Heap and his contesting bands.
After gaining valuable operatic experience through appointments at Bridlington, Wolverhampton and Sheffield, Mr Sidebottom had military band experience as cornestist and Band Master during the First World War.
His considerable achievements conducting Rothwell Temperance are recorded in the following fifteen years.
Contests appeared to be losing money and even an engagement at Masham showed an expenditure of £21 17s 4d against an income of £20.
Six concerts given for the miner's strike Distress Fund
The Accounts Book looks more presentable and the engagement at Masham Sports shows a profit of 4/-. Income is also shown from fines but the offences are not identified.
For the twentieth year the band attended Longwood near Huddersfield, Church School Feast (Fee £14)
Entrance fee shown for Walter Swift who soon became the Contribution Collector and after playing with and supporting the band for many years he now has a Memorial in the solid oak Conductor's Desk presented to the band in 1976.
1923 was the year of the Band's first achievement at Crystal Palace Contest. Third prize in the Junior Cup (third section) playing “Clemenza Di Tito.”
It is interesting to note that prior to 1922 the bands played standing with the conductor in the centre. That year in the Championship Section “Concert Formation” was introduced – each player seated and using a separate music stand with the conductor standing in front.
At the 1923 contest, Concert Formation was used in all six sections:-
2. Grand Shield
3. Junior Cup (A and B)
4. Junior Shield (A and B)
Crystal Palace, First Prize in the Junior Cup rewarded by £20 cash, a silver cornet and special awards.
The accounts show that this achievement generated:-
November 3rd : A tea for the Palace Cup, Income £5 7s 0d
November 3rd : Concert in cinema, Income £9 6s 3d
November 23rd : Collection with cup, Income £1 1s 4d
November 29th : Street collection with cup, Income £4 14s 0d
The Crystal Palace Contest on September 26th saw the Band achieve Third Prize in the Grand Shield, Second Section, on the formidable test piece “Life Divine.”
But 1925 was most notable for the Band's engagement of one week at the Wembley Exhibition, the administration of which involved the local MP William Lunn. He had won a Gold Medal playing the Euphonium with the Band in 1893 and was a great supporter and eventual President of the Band. The photograph of 1925 includes William Lunn MP and the players are wearing the uniforms which were new that year (the white cap-tops apparently being a novelty which did not prove popular). Taken almost half way through the Band's history, this picture shows many long serving members, the older ones in touch with the Band's very earliest years and some younger members who are today's veterans still attending contests as knowledgeable spectators.
The Band again made their mark at Crystal Palace gaining as in 1925 third prize in the Grand Shield and had five first prizes and four seconds at other contests.
This was the year of the General Strike which lasted about 26 weeks causing hardships in this area which were shared by the Bandsmen many of whom were miners.
The Band gave several concerts for local distress committees and Mr A Newton notes “hundreds of meals were given away at the Old Band Room and the fish and chip shops allotted each week a free meal day to everyone who cared to fetch them”.
The Band treasurer at the beginning of 1926 was a staunch union man who felt compelled to resign from the Band when they continued to run buses to contests.
In October the accounts were signed by Arthur Newton as Treasurer. The sundry entries include an expenditure on “Candles for an outside practice on September 15th”.
Among the Durham miners who migrated to Rothwell and became influential in the Band were Albert Portrey and Martin Roberts (together a solid Bb Bass section and companions in the Billiards Team) and Eddie Race (Band Secretary 1932).
Albert, his three sons, and brother Wilf played in the Temp. Band at various periods up to the 1939 war, whilst nephew Joe Portrey excelled as solo horn in the post-war Band and No. 1 quartet.
The Temperance Society minutes for 1929 record Martin's appointment as Financial Secretary. He also became Band Treasurer and devoted a lifetime to the Society and Band.
A year of significant contest achievement.
9th July Belle Vue, playing “Carmen” in the Kings Hall, the Band excelled itself and gave a first class performance to win First Prize.
A lengthy press report states “The homeward journey was one of merriment” and also mentions the interesting fact that the Temp. was the only band to play seated (copying the Australian band which had adopted this method and won the 1926 contest).
Their seventeen year old soloist, George Bulmer, possessed over 60 medals, which was claimed as a world record for a boy cornetist.
Later in 1927 another record was claimed for the band, when they held the Belle Vue July Championship and the Crystal Palace Grand Shield, both at the same time.
5th September The Band now qualified to appear in the Open Championship playing “The Merry Wives of Windsor” by Dr. T. Keighley, “Here the Band was for the first time amongst the best bands in the world and although unsuccessful, have a most remarkable performance. George Bulmer was away and Albert Coupe, a fine soloist from Luton Band was engaged to play solo cornet.
24th September Crystal Palace, Rothwell Temperance Band consolidated their claim to first class status by winning the “Grand Shield” section on another fine test piece “Epic Symphony” by Percy Fletcher, receiving compliments from St. Hilda's men who won the championship section with this music in 1926.
These compliments must have been gratifying to conductor Nathan Sidebottom who was known to hold St. Hilda's as the model for emulation by Rothwell Temp.
As in 1924 the first prize at Crystal Palace occasioned great rejoicing and the Band returned home on Sunday, September 25th to be mobbed by the village. They played to the Temperance Hall where Mr W Lunn MP spoke a few words of welcome and then 90 people enjoyed a super provided by the wives and supporters of the Band.
A presentation concert was held at the Picture Palace Rothwell, Mr W. Lunn JP MP was Chairman and Colliery Owner Joseph Charlesworth presented the Crystal Palace Grand Shield to the Band. He also made a presentation to the Conductor, Mr. Nathan Sidebottom of a case of cutlery subscribed by members and local tradespeople. No charge was made for the concert but a collection raised £18 10s.
In May 1927 Mr Joseph Charlesworth presented to the Committee a valuable silver shield for annual competition at the Band's own contest. The first winners of the shield were Morley.
Witsuntide marked 25 years of unbroken service at the Longwood (Huddersfield) Church School Feast and a special collection was made which raised £2 in addition to the fee of £14.
Described by Arthur Newton as a glorious year for the Band with a growing reputation due to their 1927 London success on “Epic Symphony”.
They performed at over 20 summer engagements including two days at Roundhay Flower Show.
At Belle Vue on September 3rd “in the finest company this Band had the honour to play against they came 6th in the Open Championship on 'Lorenzo.' Soloist being all the Band's own members.” (This comment is worthy of note in the light of the situation at the time when borrowed players were a problem bedevilling contests throughout the country.)
“But before the Crystal Palace Championship three weeks later something went wrong between the conductor and the bandmaster, both of whom had served the Band for over 30 years and this dispute was felt by many to be responsible for the Band failing to score.”
The players paid subscriptions to the Temperance Society which at this time was active in various fields, and The Society Minute Book for September 1928 shows a resolution that “a welcome tea be provided whether the Band were successful or not, as the committee considered it a very high honour to have attained to the first section.”
The Band had in fact arrived in the Championship section at the start of an important era in Brass Band history when celebrated musicians including men of the status of Gustav Holst, Edward Elgar and John Ireland composed music for the Crystal Palace Contests.
In featuring Rothwell Temperance in a newspaper serial, the Brass Band Historian J.H. Elliott commented on their Belle Vue performance of Beethoven's Pathetique Sonata. “A particular passage of the Rondo gave me a special pleasure, this was a glimpse of sheer loveliness for which I shall always feel grateful to the Rothwell Band.”
In the accounts side the situation was less happy and a substantial loan from the Temperance Society was necessary to cover debts on uniforms, instruments and conductor's salary. The society were also called upon to assist through their solicitors when the Charlesworth Shield was recovered from the 1928 winners of Rothwell Contest in a damaged condition.
However each succeeding year had its landmark and 1929 marked the arrival of Harry Nuttall from Besses o' th' Barn with experience there as Bandmaster as well as a fine reputation as an instrumentalist.
The ambition of the younger members was fired by seeing bands such as Harton Colliery and Fodens Motor Works with outstanding soloists and immaculate uniforms. Harry Nuttall was engages as an occasional soloist and then was persuaded to return to his home county of Yorkshire as principal cornet and Bandmaster for Rothwell Temperance.
An amazingly busy year where the month of July for instance shows:-
12th : Contest at Fairford Gloucestershire
13th : Contest at West Ham Park London
14th : First Broadcast (Savoy Hill London)
19th : Contest at Bridlington
20th : Concert at Barnsley
22nd/23rd : Roundhay Flower Show
27th : Pudsey Park
August and September show similar engagements including two days at Burnopfield Show and two days at Tow Law Show (both in Durham and probably connected with the presence in the Band of several Durham miners who had migrated to Rothwell some years earlier).
The accounts also show income from a supporters club and from ladies efforts.
Prizes were won at the popular Whit Friday Contests playing “Raby” which had been a favourite contest march in previous years.
Although they attended Crystal Palace and Belle Vue without result many prizes were won nearer home including medals for cornet, soprano, flugel and horn soloists.
1930 closed with a broadcast from Leeds on Boxing Day, fee £15 15s.
1931 : Honor and Glory
A 'sixth' prize in Championship company was won at the Internal Brass Band Contest in Glasgow playing as “own choice” Alec Owen's arrangement of Rossini's works.
Black Dyke won the contest with their Wagner selection “Bayreuth” but Rothwell Temperance took first prize in the march section.
Appropriate to the Fiftieth year of the band's foundation, and their peak of achievement in contesting, was the performance at Crystal Palace celebrated in the following abbreviated newspaper report:-
“A 'Victory' concert took place in the Picture Palace at Rothwell on Sunday November 1st in honour of Rothwell Temperance Band winning the third prize in the Championship section at the Crystal Palace contest. Mr Wm Lunn, M.P., acted as chairman, and his address to the audience stated that Rothwell Temperance had won many honours besides those at the Crystal Palace in many parts of the Kingdom, and he hoped that they would gain a step higher next time at the Palace. They would all be pleased if they could win the great trophy, but they would be gratified even with a step higher at a time.”
The band then played the Crystal Palace testpiece, “Honour and Glory”, for which they were encored.
The Temp. Band made a series of successful visits to the Cotswolds town of Fairford and in 1931 gained 1st prize with special awards for individuals plus £3 for being the Band travelling the longest distance.
The venue of the Whit Monday Sunday School engagement became Meltham near Huddersfield and continued until 1965.
In December a broadcast from Manchester gave rise to an adverse newspaper review which provoked a strong response from Brass Band adjudicator James Brier. His letter is quoted here in about half its original length:
THE BRITISH BANDSMAN – JANUARY 9th 1932 - Re: Rothwell Temperance Band Broadcast
To the Editor of the British Bandsman.
I have just come across a cutting from a London daily paper in which Rothwell Temperance Band was most cruelly reviled, and Brass Bands as a whole held up to ridicule by Eric Dunstan.
He begins by stating that Brass Bands are an anathema to him. He sees no reason why Brass Bands should not broadcast, but thinks that they should be in tune like stringed instruments are.
But I cannot understand why he should vent his spleen on Rothwell Temperance Band, which is one of our best broadcasters. I listed to every note that the Band played and at no time had I any desire to “switch off.”
I hope this man's violent outrage on Rothwell Temperance Band will have caused them no inconvenience. All the members of the Brass Band fraternity that I have heard speak of their performance have been loud in their praise, and I learn that even strangers to the band have written in complimentary terms.
The Good Friday engagement at Leeds was undertaken at a fee of £8, marking the 50th Anniversary of the Band's very first public performance.
In august the Yorkshire Evening Post published photographs and 'Jubilee Memories' reflecting the confident air of the “Prize Band” of the period.
A passing reference in a newspaper dated October 8th states “The Jubilee Celebrations are taking place today.” but no details have been discovered.
The contest record includes:
* First prize and medals again at Fairford, Glos.
* First prize at Huddersfield and third prize at Oxford
In the Whit Friday contests their march was “Simplicity” and won a first and fourth.
In the championship class they attended Belle Vue playing “The Crusaders” (won by Brighouse and Rastrick in the first of their three-in-a-row victories) and Crystal Palace playing “A Downland Suite” (won by Fodens also the first of a hat-trick).
A broadcast from Manchester on July 24th combined en route a concert at Meltham and during the year the coach covered many now familiar miles between Rothwell and all points of the compass for concert and contests performances.
The regular round of Summer concerts continued with performances everywhere from the local cricket field to Roundhay Two Day Flower Show; from local parks to Manchester, West Ham and three days at Skegness in September.
Harry Nuttall had succeeded Nathan Sidebottom and gained himself a conductor's medal and second prize for the band, plying “Coriolanus” at Skegness contest.
However, for the Crystal Palace Championship (Prometheus Unbound) the most prominent professional conductor of the day, W. Halliwell was engaged for 12 guineas but the Band did not score in the result.
At the Whit Friday March contests “Simplicity” won them a first prize and a second.
In addition to paying the Band conductor and the principal cornet/Bandmaster outside players were often hired and the Bandsmen were running various efforts to maintain funds, but at the end of the year the books had to be balanced by “a loan from the treasurer” of £4 12s 5 1/2d.
A long list of expenditure on advertising and hall hiring indicates a winter season of concerts in local towns in addition to the busy summer season. The incentive was a new set of uniforms, the old ones being sold to Cononley Band despite having seen ten years had wear. New uniforms had been purchased at about ten year intervals but it would not have been foreseen that this set would be made to last over the wartime period and almost into the sixties.
There was a broadcast from Leeds on May 28th conducted by Mr. Sidebottom and featuring Harry Nuttall as cornet soloist playing “Facilita.”
Mr Nuttall conducted the Band's contests performances including John Ireland's “Comedy Overture” written specially for the Crystal Palace championship.
He gained first prizes at Bridlington and Haworth and second at Fairford.
The new uniform was displayed by the magnificent photograph posed on Leeds Town Hall steps – a welcome change from the usual Band group.
To help pay for the uniforms the suppliers arranged the Band's only commercial recording session which resulted in two 8” discs. On Eclipse SC147 The Robbers March from Chu-Chin-Chow and the Turkish Patrol. On the second record Light Cavalry took both sides.
To an extensive range of engagements was added a venture which had not been undertaken since Wembley 1925, a full week at Morecambe from July 7th to 13th.
The “British Bandsman” of July 27th 1935 reported:
“Rothwell Temperance Band had a wonderful week at Morecambe every item was appreciated and encores were numerous for both the soloists and the Band. On the last night they had to give a special request programme. Mr A. Dyson, a splendid Baritone Vocalist, was a great help and Mr Harry Nuttall conducted with his usual ability. In addition he was called on to play several cornet solos.”
The printed programme covering three performances every day lists 180 different items.
Ten years earlier the Crystal Palace Contest programme gave credit to Mr J Henry Iles for having organised concert tours by Champion Bands at home and abroad which resulted in seaside towns and city parks regularly engaging brass bands for public performances.
Among the instrumentalists engaged on various occasions, occurs the name of Harold Jackson – Black Dyke principal cornet who was featured as soloist in Rothwell's broadcast on August 19th (during long late coach trips home he got a reputation for being “able to sleep on a clothes line”).
Chris Devenport, a trombonist of outstanding technique, was also engaged for special concerts at three guineas whilst at the other end of the scale lesser expenses are noted for “Fred” and “Ginger.”
A good second prize of £20 plus a “special” of £2 10s 0d was won at Sheffield and the financial accounts indicated attendance at Belle Vue September Championship (A Northern Rhapsody, won by Black Dyke) but no visit to Crystal Palace.
Prestige was maintained by a BBC broadcast in July and by contesting at London, Leicester, Morecambe, Leeds and Fairford (2nd prize). Concert work was mainly local expect for the big effort of the year, one week at Weymouth in August. (fee £135, and the men boarded at the Salvation Army).
Whit Friday provided a paid engagement for Royton Sunday School and in the evening contests the Band played “Palmer House” and gained a first prize and a fourth prize.
They did not attend Belle Vue and their visit to London was to be the last until after the war and of course Crystal Palace itself was destroyed by fire at the end of 1936.
The Bandsmen were running whist drives and other efforts to raise funds and donations were received from William Lunn MP and from the local colliery owners J&J Charlesworth. The coach to the Crystal Palace contest was not paid for until the following year, and then by a loan from the Temperance Society.
Less contesting and concert work but again a BBC broadcast and two separate weeks at Weymouth, when the fee in May was £135 but increased to £260 in August when more money was spent on lodgings and better payments were given to the Bandsmen.
Big Bagley recollects that the visit to Weymouth in May was for the Coronation celebrations and he remembers the marvellous sight of 212 warships in the bay illuminated at night.
Wives and families accompanied the August visit to Weymouth.
The Belle Vue September contest was attended, and local appearances included the opening of Rothwell Park in September.
Activities generally subdued compared with previous years except for weeks engagements at Southport and Morecambe which also included a broadcast. Otherwise only a few local concerts and a contest at Leeds plus attendance at five Whit Friday March Contests which brought no prizes.
No attendance at London or Belle Vue contests.
Another modest round of activities with prizes at the Holmfirth Contest. No seaside engagements or broadcasts but an intention to assert their position in the Championship class by engaging J A Greenwood, one of the leading professional conductors of the time, to take the Band to Belle Vue Contests playing John Ireland's “A Downland Suite.” However, due to the confusion caused by the outbreak of war less than half the Bands entered for the contest actually attended the event and Rothwell were amongst the withdrawals.
During 1938/1939 tuition fees were paid to local conductors, John Newton and Percy Holgate.
John Newton recalled in later years that Mr Greenwood taught the Bandsmen to thing of “Come Pretty One, Come Pretty One” when playing the familiar groups in the First Movement of “A Downland Suite.”
1940 : Wartime
The Band's fortuned paralleled the country's progress from the confusion in September 1939 down to a low point in 1941 followed by a steady improvement in the succeeding years.
In 1940/41 the pre-war Band had their contesting eliminated and concert work drastically reduced. Members were needed in the armed forces or on essential work in mines and factories and coupled with the fact that friction was arising between drinkers and teetotallers it was decided to call in the uniforms and instruments after the brief season of three local park concerts in 1941.
However, there was no break in continuity, for another of the Temperance Society activities was a billiard hall with a full size table which was attracting numerous school boys, who found that admission could be gained much younger than the Mechanics Institute; so during the winters of black-out the “Temp” was a popular club for youths.
The Committee men quickly realised the potential for forming a Band from youngsters with plenty of time of their hands and no inclination for drinking, and an advert in the press drew a large crowd of boys to the billiard room on Autumn Sunday afternoon.
Everyone wanted a cornet and when they had all been allocated the remaining instruments were distributed (any brothers applying were given one instrument between them).
It seemed that everything had gone when a broad Durham accent shouted “wha'll tak soperana?” and one lad accepted immediately rather than lose the last available instrument. What a surprise when it turned out to be a cornet – albeit mysteriously smaller than the others – instead of the instrument laid of the table which one learned later was a tenor horn.
The accounts book gives a date of November 9th 1941 to a list of 26 applicants of average age 12½ years, together with a note of their existing musical abilities such as piano, recorder, fiddle, drums or simply nothing at all.
Twenty-one applicants were selected to be Bandsmen and began training under Mr J. W. Newton the immediate pre-war conductor, on Sunday afternoons.
Scale practice was the order of the day leading up to easier marches such as “Starlit Dell” and a short arrangement of “Donau Wellen” and it wasn't long before “Lustspiel” and “Punchinello” were played with great attention to the essential details such as smartness in semi-quaver passages.
The sprinkling of adults were well experienced bandsmen with a background of championship contesting, broadcasting and extensive concert seasons. Their knowledge was transmitted to the school boys who were also expected to improve themselves by obtaining private tuition and to engage themselves in solo competition work and later in quartet competitions.
The 1941 re-formation was no mere stop-gap awaiting better times coming. Youth Bands and Junior Bands were not a feature of those days and the aim right from the start was to maintain, without concessions to age, the musical traditions of Rothwell Temperance Band as they had been established through the previous 60 highly creditable years.
The adult instrumentalists at this period were:- Martin Roberts, Bass, also Secretary and Treasurer; Thomas William Lunn, nicknamed “Boy” but a veteran bass player (solo horn on group photographs 40 years earlier); Wil. Portrey – of the broad Durham accent, Baritone Player; Albert Ward, Euphonium.
Also giving constant support were Tom Beckwith the President of the Temperance Society and retired player, and Field Clark, the long serving General Secretary of the Society.
Eventually when wartime contesting was undertaken the “bottom end” was strengthened by local adults who had played with the pre-war Band, Len Wilson, George Tasker and Norman Bulmer.
After the war when men returned from the forces they reinforced but not replaced the youths of the wartime vintage who were now highly competent.
As wartime conditions improved, opportunities for contests and concerts became available and were taken with enthusiasm by this well trained young band conducted by Mr John W Newton.
Concert work, but no contests. The young band's first concert was in Rothwell Park and every player stood to be introduced to the crowd when his name was called by the Proud Chairman of the Temperance Society, Mr Field Clark.
Carols were played around the village on Christmas Morning as on every Christmas Morning since.
More concerts including appearances in Rothwell Park for the Wartime Holiday-at-Home week in August.
The first contest – in Odsal Stadium, 2nd prize out of two Bands.
Our own member's Slow Melody contest provided a Gold Medal for the winner, Donald Birdsall, cornetist.
October 30th, in an open Slow Melody contest organised by Yorkshire Transport Band, seven Rothwell lads pitted themselves against an entry of 50 “under 16's”.
Again one week in Rothwell Park and Sunday Concerts further afield.
Three contests including First prize at Eastbrook Hall, Bradford, also the first visit to Belle Vue Spring Contest, by train.
The members own solo contest was extended to include an air-varie section, and a pattern for the future was set by attending an Open Solo Contest in Leeds with results:-
Under 14 years – 1st Prize: G. Nicholson, Rothwell Temp.
14–19 years – 1st Prize: Philip Newton, Rothwell Temp.
Quartet – 1st Prize: Rothwell Temp., No 1 Party
D. Ward, H. Ward, Cornets; G. Roberts, Horn; L. Wilson, Euphonium.
Concert work included Victory in Europe celebrations in Rothwell and Leeds.
The soloists and quartet parties continued their activities with success.
Four full Band contests including the newly instituted Daily Herald Championships taking second prize at the Area Contest (Rienzi, Bradford) and fourth prize in the National Finals held at Belle Vue (Messiah Overture).
In “Rienzi” the euphonium solo was taken over half way through by young Bernard Bedford when Len Wilson's instrument developed a sticky valve and so second prize for about 20 bands was considered highly satisfactory.
The Whit Monday engagement at Meltham Sunday-School-Feast was reinstated and continued for 20 years.
A celebration was held on October 13th at the Wesleyan Chapel when conductor Mr Newton was presented with a cut glass vase.
Significant new members in December were Frank Newby, Trombone and Ken Squires who became a versatile cornetist for the Temp. and later for Fairey Aviation Works Band. Frank came to the Temp after his wartime RAF service, as an experienced Instrumentalist with a Salvation Army background. By 1947 he was also Band Secretary and after a short break in the Nineteen-fifties he returned in 1955 as Euphonium soloist, resuming the secretaryship which he fulfilled to the end of 1981.
1984 : New Junior Band
Rothwell Temperance Band has always had a junior group and in the early eighties it was organised by Frank Newby. It consisted of local brass students, many of them taught by senior band members including Mr Newby, Robert Carrington and Martin Roberts. This group tended to be made up of whatever instruments were available, so the band consisted of mostly cornets without many lower pitch instruments such as basses. Most of Frank Newby's pupils were school children, and so naturally tended to favour the smaller instruments. This junior group's main aim was to give children experience playing together and did not tend to play at public events.
At this time, the senior band was competing in the second section, and were conducted by Duncan Beckley. The band had been promoted from the third section in 1979 and after a sixth place in 1980, conducted by Gordon Roberts, had not featured in the prizes since. Gordon had been the conductor of the senior band for 30 years, and played euphonium with the band for ten years before that alongside his father Martin on bass.
Frank Newby decided to retire from the junior group, but still gave up his time to teach pupils individually. The junior group were in need of an improved direction and purpose if they were to begin to feed brass players into the senior band, and so the decision was made to build the juniors up, with the hope of breeding new talent to play in the big band.
The juniors were first taken over for a short time by John Roberts, Gordon's son, but he moved on to conduct a higher standard band at Altofts & Normanton. The group was then taken over by Glyn Kearsley.
Glyn was the principal euphonium player in the senior band, and was also a partner in Band Supplies, a music shop in the centre of Leeds. He had no prior conducting experience, but took up the baton with fresh new ideas and a positive attitude.
Rather than playing easy music from books, as had been done previously, Glyn introduced proper brass band pieces. The band rose to the challenge, attempting pieces including Walkabout, Deep Harmony, We've Only Just Begun, My Old Kentucky Home and European Folk Song Suite.
To ensure the smooth running of the band, Glyn asked for help from parents and friends of the juniors to start a fundraising group, separate from the senior band. A meeting was held in the bandroom and a committee was formed with Glyn as chairman, Eileen Roberts (Gordon's wife) as secretary and John Dawson as Treasurer. It also included Eric Kearsley (Glyn's father) and Norma Sawyer. This group became the nucleus of the new organisation. Meetings were held on a regular basis and this new supporters group were given tremendous support from the parents of all the players in the band.
The new Junior Band included players who would go on to be stalwarts of the band over the next few years. These included Adrian Fox on trombone and Catherine Riley on tenor horn, and a whole plethora of cornet players including Tim Sawyer, Stephen Maguire, Julie Wright, Stephen Parkinson and Austin Laughton.
The children playing in the band were helped by a variety of established brass players, including Andrew Riley and his wife-to-be Jane Roberts (daughter of Gordon and Eileen). Andrew played cornet on the front row of the Senior Band and Jane was their flugel player. Also helping out was Eric Kearsley who had recently retired from the senior band after many years of service on various instruments, including horn and baritone. Eric was a life-long member of the Salvation Army and a founder of South Leeds Music Centre and he worked hard to encourage music in children and adults alike.
On Wednesday 14th March, 1984, the new Junior Band held their first public concert at an open night in the bandroom. This was attended by parents and interested supporters, and was the first time the band had performed in front of an audience. Andrew Riley played cornet to help out the front row, whilst Jane helped the players if they became lost. The following Friday, the band played for the first time out of the bandroom, as part of a concert given by the senior band in the Blackburn Hall.
April 6th saw the band enter their first ever competition, the Rothwell Music Festival. This event had recently been revived, after many years of not being run, and featured several competitive sections for solo instrumentalists, choirs and bands. The band entered the Junior Band section, playing Deep Harmony and European Folk Song Suite, and carried off the first prize. This was an excellent achievement for the band in such a short space of time. The average age of band members at this competition was just thirteen years.
On Saturday 8th September the band organised a sponsored blow in the band room in Rothwell to raise funds for more music and uniforms.
In December, the band celebrated the successes of their first year together with a Christmas party and social evening.
1985 : Garden Parties
An advert was placed in local papers to try to attract more players to the band. This proved to be a useful step, as more than fifteen children turned up at the bandroom to join, many of them not yet able to play. This created problems with the sheer numbers that needed teaching, and so David Roberts was drafted in to help. David was the youngest child of Eileen and Gordon and was only eighteen at the time, but agreed to help teach them for some experience. David had just returned from studying music in Norway, and was playing with the Yorkshire Imperial Metals band. He took the children in small groups, and received 50 pence per player for each lesson. His pupils, many of whom would be members of the band for years to come, included Scott Ambler, Vicky Campbell-McLean and Joanna Ward.
In its early days the band was very cornet-heavy, as can be seen from the photos, and this was beginning to pose a problem. Eric Kearsley was doing his best by helping out on the bigger instruments, but for the band to grow, more players were needed who could fill out the bottom end of the band. By this time, the band had begun investigating moving people onto new instruments, and Tim Sawyer was one of the first to move when he went onto drums.
In the summer of 1985, the local Dr. Barnardo's was having difficulty finding a band to play at their summer fete. After some discussion amongst the committee, the new Junior Band volunteered their services for what would become the band's first solo public engagement.
This was to become a summer of outdoor playing with further fund-raising garden parties taking place on Rothwell Infant School field and at the Methodist Chapel opposite the bandroom.
At the Rothwell Music Festival the Junior Band competed in the Under 17 Brass or Wind Band category, taking first place. Band members also took part in invididual solo sections, including Stephen Parkinson who won the under-15s brass solo prize.
Duncan Beckley decided to leave as conductor of the senior band in 1985, and his place was taken by John Roberts. At the first contest with John in charge, the senior band took two out of three first places, winning the Hymn Tune and Test Piece sections, and being placed runner-up in the March. To commemorate the occasion, a photo was taken for the local paper on the steps of the bandroom, featuring both junior and senior band members, and explaining the results that the two bands had achieved.
In June, David Roberts arranged for the Manger Musikklag band to tour to the UK, staying with members of the senior band. One of the top bands in Norway, they were conducted by Michael Antrobus, a former Black Dyke conductor. David had played with them whilst he was studying in Norway. On 29th June, the two bands held a joint concert in Wakefield, whilst Junior Band members helped out selling programmes.
At the annual band Slow Melody contest, Austin Laughton won the Junior Section and took home the Ethel Roberts Junior Cup, whilst Tracey Harrison won the Intermediate Section. Jane Roberts won the Joan Wood Memorial Trophy and Glyn Kearsley won the Martin Roberts Memorial Shield and the Albert Lunn shield. The Clifford Cooling Memorial Trophy went to Mark Sutcliffe.
To round off the year, the junior band were invited to perform a short programme at the senior band's annual Christmas Concert in the Blackburn Hall, Rothwell.
1986 : New Recruits
The year started off with a Fish and Chip supper, for band members and supporters. This was well attended, with almost 50 people crowding into the bandroom. The food was then followed by a social evening.
Some of the people who had answered the advert for new players, and then started having lessons, were now good enough to join the band. The band now consisted of Rachel Darton, Vicky Hutchinson, Scott Ambler, Matthew Jukes, Joanne Smith, Joanna Ward, Tim Sawyer, Adrian Fox, Sarah Westwood, Catherine Riley, Vicky Campbell-McLean, Stephen Parkinson, Austin Laughton, Julie Wright, Simon Westwood, Darren Lockley, Glyn Kearsley (conductor), Martin Sumner and Stephen Maguire.
It is interesting to note that some of the players who earlier had been on cornet have now moved to larger instruments, including Stephen Maguire who was now on bass, and Darren Lockley on euphonium. This photograph was used on a fund raising calendar.
The band began to get more serious about competitions this year and, on Friday April 18th, held an additional rehearsal for the forthcoming Rothwell Music Festival. The following week they competed in both the Junior and Open Band classes. The band played Melody in F, Celtic Dances, Love Song and Jigue, and were placed first in the Junior category, and third in the Open.
In mid June the Temperance Band held their ninth annual Slow Melody and Air-Varie contest. This year's adjudicator was Colin Hardy, a former Black Dyke Mills player who was conducting the Drighlington band.
Prize winners in the Junior section of the slow melody contest were Catherine Riley (Tenor Horn) first, Vicky Campbell-McLean (Tenor Horn) second and Scott Ambler (Cornet) third. In the Intermediate section Austin Laughton (Cornet) took first prize. The Senior section saw first prize go to Jane Riley (Flugel), second place to Philip Newton (Trombone) and third place to Nicola Hague (Cornet). In the Air-Varie section first prize went to Stephen Parkinson and second place went to Andrew Thomas.
There was a new award introduced at this year's slow melody, the Arthur Sykes Memorial Trophy, which was to be awarded to the Junior Band member who had improved the most over the previous year. This first presentation of the trophy went to Tim Sawyer, the band's percussionist. The trophy was presented by Mrs Irene Sykes in memory of her late husband who had played with the band for many years.
On 20th September, the senior and junior bands combined with the Castleford Gilbert and Sullivan Society to present a joint concert at the Blackburn Hall in Rothwell, in aid of the Rothwell Advertiser Charity Appeal. This raised money for Eastfield School and Rothwell Training Centre.
An audience of 200 heard a selection of traditional and popular music from both bands, and a variety of songs from the Gilbert and Sullivan Society. The Junior Band programme included Walkabout, Galloping Home and My Old Kentucky Home (a cornet solo performed by Stephen Parkinson).
At the end of the year, the big news was that the senior band had been given the opportunity to perform the SDP-Liberal Alliance theme tune for the next general election. The choice of Purcell's Trumpet Tune was made through an Alliance committee, but the choice of band came from a suggestion made by Richard Newby, SDP secretary. Richard was the son of Frank Newby, who by this time was President of the Rothwell Temperance Band. Richard said, “We were looking for a British tune by a British composter, and Purcell was an ideal choice. It is a very lively, inspiring tune.” The music was to be played at the end of each party political broadcast and the band were also invited down to the Party Conference at the Barbican in London, where they played the music live.
The senior band received sponsorship from Ian Hartley, a local businessman, and used this money to produce 700 tapes, entitled “Barbican Brass”. These tapes consisted of the Trumpet Tune, Concerto De Aranjuez, Prelude for an Occasion and Born Free. These were recorded at a studio in York at the same time as the SDP-Liberal Alliance theme.
1987 : Moving Up
Junior Band rehearsals were held on a Wednesday evening from 7.00pm until 8.30pm. When the senior band had a competition, they needed to rehearse every night leading up to the contest and so the juniors would either have no rehearsal at all, or would just have an hour from 7.00pm to 8.00pm, with the senior band following on at 8pm. Often, this change in rehearsal time would not be communicated the week before, or players would just forget, and lots of band members would find they had half an hour to spare before their parents picked them up.
Junior Band members would often stay in the band room, and listen to the rehearsal of the senior band and marvel at long pieces of music that had so many rehearsal mark letters in they had to start again with AA and BB!
On fine nights members would wait outside, and one evening some people came to the door and wanted to speak to the conductor of the band. It turned out they had composed a piece for the Eurovision Song Contest, but needed someone to write down proper music for them so they could enter it in the competition. They ended up being recommended to speak to David Roberts.
There was an occasion where two girls came into the bandroom during a Junior Band rehearsal, very sheepishly, and suggested that we might want to leave as there was a fire in the skip in Morrison's loading bay, just at the back of the bandroom. Eric Kearsley characteristically took control of the situation and went out to have a look whilst we carried on rehearsing. He soon came back, agreed with the girls, and we all trooped out and waited for the fire engine to arrive. When it did we watched it put the fire out before we went back in to finish the practice, though we didn't get much done afterwards!
Around the beginning of the year the Junior Band began to feed players into the senior band, with Stephen Parkinson, Catherine Riley and Tim Sawyer being recruited to help out. This was good experience for the players, but it was quite a leap in standard and intensity. The players that moved up still helped out the Junior Band until suitable replacements could be found.
Some of the newly promoted players took part in the Yorkshire Area contest in March, where the senior band were competing in the second section. The test piece was Margam Stones, and the band were placed sixth after drawing to play first.
The Junior Band again entered two sections in the Rothwell Music Festival on 11th April, competing in both the Junior and Open band categories. In the Junior section, they played Do You Know The Way to San Jose, Scarborough Fair and Short Study for Brass and were awarded first place. For the Open section, where the competition included many local wind bands, they played Hijack, Spread a Little Happiness and Rollercoaster and were awarded second place.
At the band Slow Melody contest, prizes were won by Stephen Maguire, Andrew Stocks, Ian Wood, Jane Riley, Stella Greatorex and Andrew Riley. The Junior Band member of the year trophy was presented to Julie Wright.
On 20th June, the band played at a concert for Lofthouse Pensioners in the Blackburn Hall, which was closely followed by Rothwell Methodist Church Garden Party on 27th June.
On July 11th, the band were invited to take part in the Rothwell Carnival procession. This involved the band playing on the back of a float, whilst the procession wound its way though the town into the park. The float was decorated to celebrate over 100 years of the band with various details including adverts for more players to come and join.
In September, the band held their own fund-raising garden party at Rothwell Methodist Church.
This year, the senior band's Christmas Concert took place on 6th December, and the Junior Band played a short programme including The A Team, The Little Road To Bethlehem (a tenor horn solo from Catherine Riley) and Christmas Crackers.
1988 : Fancy Dress
In 1988 the senior band had a stunning result in the Second Section competition at the Yorkshire Area Championships where they were placed first. This meant they would be promoted to the Championship Section from 1989, but first they had to raise enough funds to compete at the final which would be held at Imperial College, London, later in the year.
The band needed to raise £3,000, and to make this target more visible, they had a sign made out of wood by Alec Sawyer, Tim's Dad, and then professionally sign painted. This board was affixed to the top of the bandroom above the door (see photo above) and used to show the band's progress towards their target, with a trombone slide being filled in as more money was collected.
The Junior Band agreed to help with the fund raising and Tim's parents organised a fancy dress walk around Rothwell and the surrounding area. The many pictures in this chapter show that the band really got into the spirit of things, with some excellent costumes. The walk raised £252.
1988 also saw an influx of new players, including the first member of the Argyle family, Paul, who joined on cornet. Paul's father Peter Argyle was playing trombone with the Yorkshire Imperial Metals band, just up the road in Stourton.
At the Rothwell Music Festival on 6th May, the band again took part playing St Elsewhere, Winter's Tale and Maryland.
The Slow Melody contest saw the presentation once more of the Junior Band member of the year trophy. This was presented to Scott Ambler, who also won the junior section of the contest, taking home the Ethel Roberts Junior Shield. Other prize-winners included Stephen Maguire, Stella Greatorex, Jane Riley and Rob Murray.
The senior band took part in the national finals in London, playing Sunrise by Eric Ball. They played quite well on stage, and were pleased with the performance. Come results time, the top six places are read out in reverse order. This has the unfortunate effect that if the compere has read out all of the winners up to second place, and your band has not been mentioned, then you have either won the contest or “come nowhere.” On this occasion it was the latter, and the band were placed a disappointing eleventh.
On 19th November, the Junior Band played a concert at St Mary's In The Wood United Reformed Church in Morley. This featured a programme including Calypso, Winter's Tale, Do You Know The Way To San Jose and Aces High.
At Christmas, Catherine Riley designed a card which was then sent out to all supporters and parents on behalf of the band.
1989 : First Contest
Laporte Band had a set of twenty brass instruments for sale early in 1989. Glyn knew about this through his contacts at work and, after discussing with the band committee, agreed to purchase them. The total cost of the instruments was £7,000 and after the band had paid an initial deposit of £3,000, they had to find the remaining £4,000 from fundraising. Band Supplies of Leeds, where Glyn worked, graciously agreed to give the band twelve months to come up with the rest of the money, and so the band set out to find it.
To go with the new instruments, the band decided to change their name from Rothwell Temperance Junior Band to Rothwell Temperance B Band. This gave greater scope for including older players in the band and many parents of children in the band, and ex-senior band players, began to join.
John Dawson, step-father of Stephen Maguire (bass) joined on Euphonium, whilst Robin Newton joined on bass trombone. Robin's brother Philip still played trombone with the senior band, but Robin had retired a few years earlier.
To help with the fundraising, a grant of £500 was given by local councillors Rose Lund, Alec Hudson and Brian Walker, whilst Bartfields and Co of Rothwell agreed to sponsor a concert at the Blackburn Hall. This concert, which took place on the 4th March, was to be the first with the new instruments and was the offical launch of the new name.
The concert featured guest soloist Steve Clayton from the Yorkshire Imperial Metals band. The programme for the band included I Know Him So Well, Hill Street Blues, The Hustle and For Your Eyes Only.
In March the senior band played their strangest concert to date, when they played in the Roof Top Gardens night club in Wakefield. Graham Warner, manager of Roof Top Gardens, approached a member of the band when he heard that it was looking for funds. The concert lasted for just under an hour, sandwiched between sessions from a (very loud) DJ. The band finished up with Final Countdown, and the DJ decided to play the real thing after we had finished.
Towards the end of April the Junior Band took part in the Rothwell Music Festival once more, playing Aces High, Calypso, Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again and Skimbleshanks.
The summer was taken up by many fundraising concerts, including Morley Parish Church in May, Methley Methodist Church in June (with Methley Male Voice Choir) and Rothwell Park in July.
At the band's Slow Melody contest, Gary Hallas won the Junior Shield, whilst Vicky Campbell-McLean won the Intermediate Trophy. The Junior Band member of the year trophy was awarded to Paul Argyle.
On 10th September, the band took part in their first real brass band contest at Hardraw Scar. The contest was attended by the following bands (conductor in brackets):
Freckleton (G. Clough)
Harrogate (P. Wells)
Home Charm Paints Thornhill (G. Walker)
Jayess Brass (F. Feltell)
Kippax (K. Anderson)
Kirby Lonsdale Brass (A. Greenwood)
Knaresborough Silver (M. Dibb)
Marske Silver (A. Prest)
Meltham & Meltham Mills (D. Taylor)
Reeth Brass (C. Middleton)
Ripon City (J. Large)
Rothwell Temperance 'B' (G. Kearsley)
Slaidburn Silver (J. Cowkins)
Storey's Decorative Products (A. Greenwood)
Wetherby & District (B. Micklethwaite)
York Railway Institute (B. Thompson)
York Railway Institute Golden Rail (J. Warley)
Eric Kearsley played trombone at this contest, whilst Peter Argyle played bass. On the front row Claire Andrassy, wife of one of the cornet players in the senior band, helped out. By this time, Scott Ambler was holding down the principal cornet seat, and Paul Argyle had moved onto soprano cornet. His brother Kenny was playing in the percussion section.
The B Band drew number eleven, and played the march Great Little Army, then the hymn tune Hyfrodol, followed by the test piece Short Study for Brass, and were placed thirteenth out of the twenty bands attending. This was not a bad result given that the band had never competed before and many of the bands at the contest had been contesting for a long time. After the contest, the bands all got together to perform a short massed bands concert.
The band then returned to their usual concert performances, with concerts at St Oswald's Church in Methley (again with Methley Male Voice Choir), Crossgates in September and Woodside Methodist Church, Horsforth, in November.
The B band played their usual part at the senior band Christmas Concert in the Blackburn Hall on 2nd December, before playing a Christmas Concert of their own in Rothwell Parish Centre for the Women's Fellowship on 20th December. This final concert included Xmas Swingalong and White Christmas.
1990 : First Win
In 1990, the band decided to enter the Yorkshire Area Contest for the first time. This was the first step towards becoming a fully-fledged contesting band, and the competition was to be held in the St George's Hall, Bradford, on Sunday 25th February. Bands that want to participate in the contest for the first time are entered into the fourth section, at the bottom of the ladder. Preparation was, however, blighted by the sad and untimely death of Eric Kearsley at the age of 59 on Tuesday 13th February, just two weeks before the contest.
Eric had been helping out at the band since his son Glyn took over conducting, and had been a stalwart supporter, serving on the band committee. The sad news was given to the band by John Dawson, the band treasurer, and a one minute silence was observed in his memory.
Despite the tragic events, the band decided that Eric would have wanted them to take part in the contest and so the decision was made to compete. At his funeral, donations were taken in lieu of flowers, and were split equally between the B Band and the South Leeds Music Centre, where Eric taught for nearly two decades. The band used their share of the £385 donated to buy a set of ties, emblazened with an emblem of the band. They were designed by Stephen Maguire and were worn for the first time later in the year at a concert in aid of the British Heart Foundation.
At the Area Contest, the set test piece was Summer Fantasy. The band drew fifth out of 27 bands and were eventually placed eleventh with 168 points out of 200.
The adjudicator was Ian Craddock, and his remarks were:
First movement – Very committed if a little overblown. Allegro: The forte is quite hard in sound but the music holds well together. 42 troms good. Generally quite a good band sound, sometimes quite raucous.
Second movement – Baritones not quite in tune but effective, euph/flugel/cornet good. General ensemble quite good perhaps more vitality needed. Secure ending.
Third movement – Not always rhythmically secure, just rushes a little. Cornet / euph good, horn struggles a little. Generally quite committed.
The annual band Slow Melody contest prizes this year were awarded to Christopher Newton and Paul Argyle. The Arthur Sykes Memorial Cup, awarded to the Junior Band member of the year, was awarded to Kenny Argyle.
After the usual round of concerts over the summer, on 9th September the band entered the Hardraw Scar Contest once more, this time playing in the ties awarded in memory of Eric. The band played Pennine Way, a Hymn and for the test piece Voices of Youth. This contest featured Andrew Riley helping out on the front row on cornet, plus his wife Jane on flugel. There was also a rare appearance from John Roberts on baritone.
On 14th October the band entered the B section of the Cleethorpes Entertainment Contest, whilst the senior band entered the A section. At an entertainments contest, the bands are required to play an entertaining programme of a set length, there is no set test piece. The band chose to play Fanfare & Ceremonial Prelude, Love Changes Everything, Calypso, Barnard Castle, I Don't Know How To Love Him (a flugel solo featuring Jane Riley) and Gaiety.
The B band drew fourth out of ten bands, two of which were third section. The band were ecstatic to be given first prize with 182 points out of 200. Jane Riley also took the soloist prize. The senior band was just arriving as the results were announced for the B section, and were surprised by the number of smiling faces that greeted them.
The other bands in their section were:
Barrow Concert (D. French, 3rd Section)
Barton Town (A. Drakes, 4th)
City of Leicester (F. Evans, 3rd)
Frickley South Emsall (P. Chapman, 4th)
Grantham Concert (P. Footitt, 4th)
Honley Silver (T. Jagger, 4th)
Maltby Miners Welfare (T. Clifford, 4th)
Tingley (G. Hooper, 4th)
Royal British Legion Spalding (S. Ingham, 4th)
The senior band came second in their contest, beaten by British Stainless Steel Dodworth.
The band at this contest consisted of Scott Ambler, Nuala Lowe, Paul Argyle, Joanna Ward, Jonathan Dickson, Gillian Raylor, Garry Hallas, Lisa Marsh, Claire Andrassy, Vicky Campbell-McLean, Damian Lowe, Martin Sumner, Kevin Hallas, Robin Newton, Robin Mawson, John Dawson, Stephen Maguire, David Adamson, Kenny Argyle, Roger Sheard, Peter Argyle and Glyn Kearsley.
Late in the year, the band formed a new Junior Band, featuring local learners. This group was conducted by Peter Argyle.
The band held a Christmas Party to celebrate their success and awards were given to Glyn Kearsley for five years as conductor and to commemorate their first win. A presentation was also given to Catherine Riley on leaving to join the senior band.
1991 : First Finals
The B Band took part in the Yorkshire Area Fourth Section contest on 17th February, this year adjudicated by Derek Broadbent and held at Barnsley Civic Theatre. The test piece was Four Fors for Brass by William Relton. The band were placed an excellent second, just behind Jayess '87, and qualified to play in the finals to be held in Wembley Conference Centre in October. The top six results were:
1. Jayess '97 (D. Beckley)
2. Rothwell Temperance 'B' (G. Kearsley)
3. Hammonds Hawley (B. Broadbent)
4. Marsden Silver (S. Platten)
5. Sharlston Colliery (B. Dyson)
6. Honley Silver (T. Jagger)
The band played the same test piece at the Pogson Bray Contest at Dewsbury Town Hall at the end of March, drew third and were placed third with 181 points.
During the summer, the band played a surprise concert outside church for local man David Banham's wedding. The band hid outside and when he came out of the church with his new bride the band struck up playing “Congratulations”. They then continued playing background music whilst the photos were being taken. His mum had said she would get a brass band out if he ever married, and carried through with her promise!
The senior band gained sponsorship from Wallace Arnold Ltd., a coach holiday company based in Leeds. Their managing director at the time was a big fan of brass bands, and decided to put some money back into the movement. The band changed their name to the Wallace Arnold (Rothwell) Band.
As part of the drive to raise money so that the band could pay for the trip down to London for the finals, a fashion show was held in the Methodist Chapel near the bandroom. This was compered by Norma Sawyer, and featured several band members modelling clothes, including Steven Maguire, Scott Ambler and Joanna Ward.
The senior band went on a ten day tour of Europe during August, taking in Germany, Austria, Luxembourg and Holland. In Austria, the band were staying in the homes of local bandsman, and highlight of this part of the tour was a big concert that was recorded and subsequently broadcast on Austrian national radio. During the Germany section of the tour, the band stayed with a local wind band and played at a beer festival.
The B band played a warm-up concert for the finals contest in the Blackburn Hall on 28th September. This gave them the opportunity to try playing the test piece in front of an audience before they had to perform it for real.
On 5th October the band took to the stage at Wembley Conference Centre in London in their first finals contest. The test piece was Landscapes and the band drew 29th out of 32 bands, being placed an excellent second with 186 points, beaten only by Beaumaris & District. Jayess '87 came home in 13th place.
The top six placings were:
1. Beaumaris & District (G. Evans)
2. Rothwell Temperance 'B' (G. Kearsley)
3. Hammonds Hawley (B. Broadbent)
4. Eccleston Brass (H. Bentham)
5. Marsden Silver (C. Houlding)
6. Coleford Town (F. Fiddler)
The band dedicated their success at the finals to Eric Kearsley. Many players from the senior band supported the band, travelling down with them and attending the contest. So much support accompanied the band that two coaches were taken, with one for the parents and older band members, and the other for the under eighteens.
What is also interesting about this contest, and the photo at the top of this chapter, is that a couple of senior band players had transferred down to the B band from the senior band, Jane Riley on flugel being one, and Tracey Harrison being another. Tracey had taken over the principal cornet chair from Scott Ambler.
The finals contest was the last event for Martin Sumner, who had been in the band since 1985. Martin was leaving to take up a place at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, with term starting the day after the contest.
Late in November, the band played at the Malton Contest, playing Fanfare, Valderes March, Rodrigo Flugel Solo (Jane Riley), Any Dream Will Do and Men of Harlech.
1992 : Third Section
Given the good results the B band had recently in the Yorkshire Area contest, they were promoted to the third section from 1992.
Which bands are promoted and demoted between sections is worked out depending on the results at the Area contest over the last three years. The two bands with the lowest number when their placings are added together are promoted to the section above, and those with the highest two numbers are demoted to the one below. In this way, bands that are consistently doing well in the contest move up to compete against better bands, and those struggling drop down to play easier pieces.
At the Area contest on 23rd February, the band were therefore given a significant challenge and confronted with a much harder piece than they were used to. The test piece was Suite for Brass, the band drew fourth, and they were placed eleventh out of eighteen bands with 174 points. The band were disappointed, but the result was to be expected given that competition now took place against better bands.
On 3rd April, the band competed at the Yorkshire & Humberside Contest. They played Punchinello, the hymn Misercordia and Music for a Festival.
The senior band were now competing against the best bands in the world, having been promoted to the championship section in 1989. They were placed a respectable seventh in the 1991 Yorkshire Area contest out of fifteen bands. The organisers of the Area decided that the top section was too big, and so proposed to split it, leaving the very top ten bands in the section, and creating a new first section between the championship and second sections. Having done so well the previous year, the senior band were in a good position and were allowed to stay in the top section. They achieved an excellent fourth place in 1992, beating Black Dyke in the process.
This result also led to invitations to compete in further contests, including the prestigious All England Masters contest, held in Cambridge Corn Exchange at the end of May each year. The set test for this contest was a new composition, Cambridge Variations by Philip Sparke. The band also chose to compete with the same test piece in Scotland later in the summer, and took part in an open air contest in Princes Street Gardens. Unusually for contest of this type, the band were required to march into the amphitheater playing their chosen march, and then had to stand and play it again for the judges. The band also played at a gala concert in the evening after the contest, shared with the Kirkintilloch band.
The Slow Melody contest saw new names winning, including Victoria Ward and Rhoda Barker. Richard Marshall, the senior band's new principal cornet, took home the Albert Lunn Shield. Alexandra Newton was awarded the Junior Band Member of the Year trophy.
More players trickled down to the B Band from the senior band this year, including brother and sister Andrew and Catherine Riley. Their presence further strengthened the B band ready for the challenges of the third section.
1993 : New Conductor
For the Area contest in 1993, the band were required to play the test piece Shipbuilders. The contest took place on 14th March and the band drew fourth, being placed 14th with 173 points. This contest also marked the last appearance of the Rothwell Temperance B Band, as the decision was made to drop the B in favour of simply becoming the Rothwell Temperance Band, now that the senior band had gained sponsorship and changed their name.
During the summer of 1993, the Wallace Arnold (Rothwell) Band decided that they wanted a change of conductor. John had taken the band all the way from the second section to the Championship section, winning many contests along the way. A meeting took place in the bandroom, where the whole band voted on the issue, deciding to replace him. This caused some players to defect to the Temperance Band, including Kath Kearsley, wife of B band conductor Glyn Kearsley and sister of John Roberts.
In the summer John Dawson retired, after serving for many years as treasurer and principal euphonium, and a presentation was made to thank him for his service. Michael Barker, father of Rhoda Barker who played horn with the band, took over as treasurer.
On Sunday 10th October the band returned to the scene of their earlier win at the Cleethorpes Entertainment Contest. The band had a dilemma for this contest, as they had no euphonium following the departure of John Dawson. After not being able to find a replacement, Glyn himself stepped in to play the part, and David Roberts was drafted in to take over conducting duties. David was a front row cornet with the Black Dyke Mills band, and brother of Kath Kearsley, John Roberts and Jane Riley.
The band once again took first prize, with Glyn Kearsley winning the soloist's prize. The top four results were:
1. Rothwell Temperance (D. Roberts) 248 points
2. Skelmanthorpe (S. Fawcett) 245
3. Frickley South Elmsall Colliery (B. Till) 243
4. Barrow Concert (D. Neal)
The programme involved the cornet section standing at the front, wearing sombreros, playing Barbie.
At the Slow Melody contest, Jamie Normington won the Junior section, and Victoria Ward was given the Junior Band member of the year trophy. Richard Marshall improved on his results the previous year, taking home two prizes. This was the last year that the Slow Melody contest was run. John Roberts had played a key part in organising the contest, along with close family and friends, and with his leaving the band, no-one else stepped in to run it.
1994 : Area Win
At the beginning of the year, the band held a brass masterclass which featured Ian Bousfield, who was at the time the principal trombone at the London Symphony Orchestra. Classes were held in the afternoon with Ian giving advice and tips on playing, and then he performed as guest soloist with the band at a concert in the evening in the Blackburn Hall, Rothwell. John Dawson returned to play at this concert, which turned out to be his last appearance with the band.
There was still no sign of a full time replacement euphonium player, so Glyn Kearsley again took that seat with the band at the Yorkshire Area contest. The band were competing in the third section, having done well enough over the past two years to stay up. David Roberts was heavily involved in preparing the band for the contest, but at the last minute had to hand over to Duncan Beckley for the actual conducting duties on stage. David was playing with the Black Dyke Band and was required at a rehearsal when the Temperance Band was due on stage.
The test piece was Chorale and Toccata by Stephen Bulla, and the band had the best result possible when they drew last and won the contest, taking home a £200 prize.
The top four results were:
1. Rothwell Temperance (D. Beckley)
2. Yorkshire Building Society Hawley (B. Broadbent)
3. Linthwaite (D. Pogson)
4. Stannington Brass (P. Bingham)
This was an excellent result, and meant that both of the contests the band had entered since David Roberts took over conducting had resulted in wins. Black Dyke came second in the championship section, so also qualified for the finals, even though their rehearsals were disrupted by Temperance Band members desparate to pass the good news onto David!
Glyn Kearsley was still playing euphonium with the band at this point. He did not want to play full time, but was just filling in until a replacement could be found, so that he could return to conducting. This was proving difficult, and Glyn didn't really know what to do. David was a committed player with Black Dyke, but he was getting good results conducting. Glyn wasn't sure whether David wanted to conduct full time or just to try it for a while to see what it was like. The two even considered sharing the conductors duties and Glyn remembers this as a difficult, awkward time.
During the summer, the situation as it was could not continue, and band needed to make a decision on which conductor they wanted to go forward with. A vote was organised, and the players decided on David. Reluctantly, Glyn left to conduct elsewhere. He was awarded a carriage clock for his nine years service to the band, and stayed on as a trustee.
Much fund raising was again required for the trip down the M1 to the finals. Chris Rhodes, a cornet player with the band for the past two years, worked at a local butcher on Saturdays during his Chemistry degree at Leeds University. His manager sponsored him to the tune of £100 to help pay for the trip to London.
As part of the final preparations for the contest, the band played a concert in Rothwell Parish Church a week before the Finals, giving them chance to run out the test piece.
On 30th September, the band again left Rothwell for London and the National Finals, this time in the third section. In London, Joanna Ward was given a presentation on leaving to go to university. Joanna had been in the band since almost the very beginning, progressing to play on the front row, and left to do an accountancy degree at Manchester University.
The finals test piece was Partita – Postcards from Home by Philip Wilby, and 52 supporters accompanied the band down to London. The contest was again held at Wembley Conference Centre, and due to the fact that the piece required lots of percussion, Tim Sawyer joined the list of players transferring back to the Temperance Band from the Wallace Arnold band. The Temperance Band got an excellent result, being placed second behind Glossop Old, out of 21 bands and winning a £750 prize.
Two weeks after the Temperance Band's success, David was once again back in London, playing his part with the Black Dyke Mills band.
Later in the year, the band entered the Malton Entertainment Contest B section where Andrew Rigby won the B section soloist prize with The Way We Were. The band also defended their title at the Cleethorpes Entertainment Contest, winning once more.
1995 : Promotion
This year, there were no problems with Black Dyke rehearsals, and so David was available to conduct the band at the Area contest, once more in the third section. This year's test piece was Snowdon Fantasy by T.J.Powell, and the contest took place on 25th February. The band played well, winning the contest for the second year in a row, this time by two clear points.
The top four results were:
1. Rothwell Temperance (D. Roberts) 186 points
2. Stannington Brass (D. Renshaw) 184
3. Frickley South Elmsall Brass (B. Till) 183
4. Marsden Silver (A. Widdop) 181
The band took part in the Pogson Bray contest in Dewsbury during April, and were placed first in March, Hymn Tune and Test Piece contests, winning £400.
A summer of fundraising was required to find the £3000 needed to take the band to London. This year, Black Dyke band helped out, donating the proceeds of a concert they did at York University. Chris Rhodes was again sponsored by his manager at the butcher.
On 8th October, the band took part in the Cleethorpes Entertainment Contest, judged by Roy Newsome, taking first prize out of nine bands. Michael Howley won the soloist prize.
The following week the band put on a final concert at Rothwell Parish Church before travelling down to London for the finals. This gave the opportunity to perform the test piece out in front of an audience.
Unfortunately, this year's lower section finals took place on the same day as the top section final. This meant that David Roberts was again unavailable to take the band, as he would be involved with Black Dyke at the Royal Albert Hall. John Roberts stepped in to take over conducting duties. The third section final took place at Wembley Arena, on 21st October. The band were awarded 2nd Place, with 188 points, beaten only by Fairlop Brass from London.
Two players left at the end of the year. Rhoda Barker had been with the band for six years, and her father was band treasurer. She left to attend Birmingam University for a degree in Modern History. Alexandra Newton was another leaver. Alex had been with the band for eight years including a stint in the Junior Band, and left to do a Music degree at Lancaster. Her father was the band's bass trombone player.
1996 : Norway
This year's Area contest performance was nothing short of amazing. The band were competing for the first time in the second section, and the test piece was Goff Richards' Hollywood. The test piece had lots of percussion, and seemed to suit the band. On the day of the contest, the band drew the dreaded number one in the order of play, a position that is notoriously hard to do well from. The band played a stunning performance of the piece, and were placed first by a two point margin, winning a £200 prize.
The final results were:
1. Rothwell Temperance (D. Roberts) 192 points
2. Tingley Thornhill (D. Horsfield) 190
3. Holme Silver (K. Wadsworth) 189
4. West Yorkshire Motors (Sharlston) (R. Walker) 188
Adjudicator Alan Fernie said he was delighted with the “absolutely brilliant” standards, and declared the band a clear winner. This made a total of nine wins in the last ten contests.
During the summer the band went on their first trip abroad, to Norway. They flew from Newcastle to Bergen, and stayed in rented cottages on the island of Hundin hosted by local band Oster Brass. They played three concerts, the first of which took place at the music college in Manger where David Roberts had studied some years earlier. For the final concert, the band joined forces with Eikanger, who were European Champions in 1988 and 1989. Around the same time as the tour, David Roberts relinquished his seat at Black Dyke in order to concentrate on his conducting career.
At the band Annual General Meeting, Eileen Roberts retired after eleven years' service as band secretary. She was thanked for her support, and a presentation of a china tea service was made at the next band concert.
There was also a concern raised at the AGM that David Roberts was not being paid for conducting, despite the high level of success the band had achieved under his direction. According to the minutes, David replied that “he did not require payment, but he found his phone bill had doubled since his appointment and he would accept help with this.” There was also a suggestion that we were paying too much rent for the bandroom as the facilities were poor with inadequate heating, not enough storage space, and it was in need of decoration.
The National Finals took place this year in Cardiff, on 22nd September. This was the first time the band had been to a second section final, and although they were on a roll it was always going to be hard work. The test piece was Aeronauts by Goff Richard, and the band was placed eighth out of seventeen bands. The band were disappointed, as this was the first time in the last four years that they had not been placed in the first two at the finals. Berisfords Cardway Band won the contest, conducted by Hugh Megarell, who had, coincidentally, taken over from John Roberts at the Wallace Arnold (Rothwell) Band.
In November the band took part in the Pilkington's Contest in St Helens. The test piece was “Resurgam (I Shall Rise Again)” by Eric Ball, and the band were placed second. During the middle of the piece, the band and audience could clearly hear a toilet being flushed somewhere in the hall, but did not let it distract them from their performance!
The year ended with a Christmas Concert in the Blackburn Hall on 6th December, and the Carol Service in Rothwell Parish Church on Sunday 22nd December.
1997 : First Section
On 13th January 1997, Ethel Roberts died at the age of 88. Ethel devoted the whole of her life to the Rothwell Band and to the Temperance Society. Her father was the band's president for many years and her late husband Martin, son Gordon and four grandchildren were all encouraged to became players at Rothwell. Gordon, John and David all progressed to become conductors of the band.
Ethel was a pianist and often accompanied her son and others during performances at solo contests. She was secretary of the ladies section of the supporters for over twenty years and became honorary president of the supporters group. There was a Rothwell band tradition of playing around the village on Christmas Morning, which the new Temperance Band had taken over from the Wallace Arnold band, and the band always made a point of playing for her.
The band were promoted to the first section from this year, and at the Area contest on 2nd March played Ballet for Band by Joseph Horovitz. The band again qualified for the finals, having been placed second.
The top results were:
1. Jayess '87 (A. Eastwood) 190 points
2. Rothwell Temperance (D. Roberts) 189
3. Hepworth (N.Law) 188
4. Priest Lindley (N.Jowett) 187
The Wallace Arnold (Rothwell) Band also did well at the Area Contest, being placed second in the Championship section, conducted by Douglas Blackledge.
In April the band entered the Chesterfield Borough Council Brass Band Entertainment Contest, with Geoff Whittam adjudicating. The band played a programme consisting of Birdland, Vitae Lux, Post Horn Gallop, Procession to the Minster and Lucerne Song, and took home first prize. Paul Argyle was awarded the soloist prize for Post Horn Gallop.
Wallace Arnold withdrew their sponsorship from the senior band during the summer. They could not revert back to their old name now that the B band had dropped the B and simply become Rothwell Temperance Band, and so they became the Rothwell Band (Leeds).
This year's finals were held in Birmingham on the 28th September. The set test was Sinfonietta for Brass by James Curnow. Nigel Boddice and Nicholas Childs were the two adjudicators for the first section. For this contest, David Hale (known as Dai) joined on principal cornet, leaving Black Dyke. Kath Kearsley and Tim Sawyer went to watch the beginning of the section before ours, in order to look at the provided percussion equipment. They were a bit perturbed when the clash cymbals fell to bits, and the tubular bells collapsed, all within the first two bands!
When it was time for their own section the band, with an average age of just 20, drew the dreaded number one and came home in fifth place with 189 points. Jayess, who had beaten us at the area, were placed sixteenth out of seventeen bands. Not a good year for Yorkshire in the first section! The “other” Rothwell band also didn't fare very well at their final, being placed fifteenth.
The last contest of the year was the Cleethorpes Entertainments Contest on Sunday 2nd November. This year Garry Cutt was adjudicating, and in a fourteen band field Rothwell once again came home in first place.
The annual Christmas Concert in the Blackburn Hall took place on 5th December, and this year's guest soloist was Alan Wycherley on soprano cornet.
1998 : Five Finals
The band had thankfully not gone straight up from the First Section to the Championship Section, but had another year in the first section. This year's test piece was Purcell Variations by Kenneth Downie, and Roy Roe was adjudicating. The band once again performed exceptionally well on stage, and won the contest by two clear points.
The top places were:
1. Rothwell Temperance (D. Roberts) 192 points
2. Todmorden Old (D. Hatfield) 190
3. Polypipe (Rossington) (S. Shimwell) 189
4. Skelmanthorpe (S. Fawcett) 188
This meant that the band had qualified for the finals five years in a row, a feat that does not appear to have been achieved before.
Late in 1997, the band had been awarded an “Arts 4 Everyone Express Grant” to put on a Big Band Spectacular at the Blackburn Hall in Rothwell. The “Big Band Night”, as it came to be known, was an evening of music and dancing, with the Temperance Band kicking off the evening, and then a local Big Band, Echo 4 2, finishing it off. Food was provided and the evening was a resounding success.
The band took part in the Harry Ramsden's entertainments contest this year, which took place in the car park of the famous fish and chip shop in Guiseley, Leeds. The band drew number one, and no sooner had they started to play, than the heavens opened. Luckily the band were undercover, but the audience were not. Paul Argyle, playing a soprano solo, also had to stand out in the rain and got a special mention from the adjudicator for performing in difficult circumstances. The band were placed second in the contest, with Todmorden Old being declared the winners.
The band also returned to the Malton Entertainments Contest, where they impressed adjudicator Geoff Whittam, winning the contest.
At the Rothwell Music Festival, scene of many successes for the early days of the Junior Band, David Roberts attended the brass soloist competition to watch Gemma Howley play. Gemma was the younger sister of Michael Howley, the band's principal euphonium, and played tenor horn. David wanted to listen to her with a view to inviting her to join the band but unexpectedly he also heard Steven Haynes, a young local trombonist. Steven won the contest, and David promptly asked them both to join.
During the summer, the band travelled down to London for the weekend to play two concerts in Hyde Park. They played one on the Saturday, and then stayed overnight, before playing again on the Sunday and travelling straight back up.
Dai Hale, principal cornet, married Claire Gilmore, a baritone player with the band, at a ceremony in Tredegar. Rothwell colleagues and friends from Brighouse and Rastrick, YBS, Black Dyke and Tredegar performed at the service with David Roberts conducting. Soloists included David Roberts, Leanne Blackledge and Ian Porthouse.
The band travelled to the Pontins Contest in the Autumn, which took place at the holiday camp at Prestatyn. They took part in the first section, playing Essence of Time, and were placed third with 188 points. The trombone section at this contest consisted of Peter Argyle and Philip Newton, with Glyn Thompson on bass trombone. Glyn was new to the band and joined alongside his wife, Jayne, who played on the back row cornets.
At the finals in Harrogate, the test piece was Midsummer Music by Michael Ball. Alan Morrison and Goff Richards were the two adjudicators. The band were drawn fourth and were placed eighth, with Todmorden winning the contest.
In November, the band took part in the Cleethorpes Entertainments Contest, again judged by Garry Cutt, and were placed first with 190 points – an unprecedented 10 points ahead of the second placed band. They were also awarded the prize for the Best Trombone Section.
The band used the Christmas Concert in the Blackburn Hall to launch their first CD, Dinah, which had been recorded over the year in the Parish Centre in Rothwell. They also used it as a launch for their new uniforms. This years concert featured soloist Sheona White, a former BBC Radio 2 Soloist of the Year and solo horn with the Yorkshire Building Society Band. The concert was a sell out, and people had to be turned away at the door. Leavers at this concert were Robin Mawson, who had played bass with the band for the past twelve years, and Peter Argyle, who played trombone and had conducted the Junior Band for the past eight years.
1999 : The Championship Section
This year 1999 was the first in which the band were in the Championship Section. All eyes were on the Area Contest in February, where the band would be competing against the old Rothwell Temperance Band, now called “The Rothwell Band (Leeds)”, for the first time. The band were also playing against world famous bands such as Black Dyke, Brighouse and Rastrick and Yorkshire Building Society, the last two of which had already qualified for the finals in London as they had done so well there in 1998.
The band came third in the contest, and because Brighouse were second, qualified to play in the Royal Albert Hall in October Contest Report).
In July, the band again led the parade for the Rothwell Carnival, by now a traditional fixture of the year.
In October, the band travelled to London to play in the National Finals in the Albert Hall. They again played well, and came an excellent sixth, ahead of many top bands (Contest Report).
2000 : The Millennium Year
The year 2000 started with a concert at Rodillian school. Though the acoustics weren't the best, the band gave a good performance. Some of the members of the audience were new to brass bands, and were very impressed with the performance and the sheer breadth of material that was played.
Next up was the Area Contest where the band came a disappointing eighth (Contest Report). The band were pipped at the post by the other Rothwell Band, who had newly merged with the DUT Yorkshire Imperial Band – they came seventh. This was only the second time that the two bands had competed, and so far one had gone each way. This result brought to an end the tremendous run of six national finals in a row that the band had qualified for.
The next engagement for the band was their annual Big Band evening. This was again a great success, and this year featured three bands – the Rothwell Temperance Big Band, Echo 4 2 and the Leeds Grammar School Swing Band. The Rothwell Temperance Big Band is made up of the normal band, plus wives and girlfriends playing Saxophone and Clarinet. This year Buzzer, a friend of the band, played keyboards on some numbers.
This year was the first that the band had been invited to the Grand Shield contest. The band were hoping to do well, but came a disappointing seventh, after playing the piece well on stage (Contest Report). This was Jo Sherry's last engagement with the band, as her college course had come to an end, and so she had to relinquish control of the junior band. This task was taken up by David Hale. His first engagement with the band was at the opening of the new Rothwell Country Park, towards the end of June.
During June, the band held their first Seminar Day. David Roberts relinquished his conducting duties for the day, and for the morning handed over to Chris Jeans, who took us through some entertainments pieces at a breakneck pace. We got through about eight pieces in a couple of hours. Music played included Mars from The Planets suite, Let Me Entertain You (Robbie Williams), Minstrel Boy & Toss The Feathers (The Corrs), and some French Renaissance Dances. In the afternoon it was the turn of some more traditional brass band music, with band members taking the helm, but first Malcolm Brownbill spent a quarter of an hour taking the band through Night Templar in preparation for the imminent Whit Friday marches. Once that was complete, John Gillam took the band through Corsair and then Brian Butler conducted the test piece Connotations. A good (if exhausting) day was had by all.
The following weekend was a busy one with the Whit Friday Marches on the Friday evening, a reception for Richard and Lindsey (two band members who had just got married) on the Saturday and then a march on the Sunday during a VE day parade in Leeds. The band had some music lined up that Richard and Lindsey didn't know about, including Michael Howley, our principle Euphonium player, singing the chart hit Mambo No 5, to band accompaniment. It went down well, but we all suffered later when Michael took over the karaoke…
July began with the Rothwell Carnival weekend, with the first “Brass In The Park” concert. This year the carnival was over three days, and on the Friday night, several local bands played in the park. The evening was started by Kathy Kearsley's Fun Music Group, made up of local children. Next on were the Royds Stage Band, and then “Rhythm and Sax”, a group made up of students from the saxophone and percussion groups from the Rothwell Music Centre. The Rothwell Temperance Junior Band were on next, followed by the Rothwell Concert Band. Finally, the Rothwell Temperance Band completed the evening, playing a selection of popular music, including chart hits from Robbie Williams and Ricky Martin. The evening was brought to a conclusion with the band playing the finale from the 1812 overture, complete with sound and light effects. A good (if somewhat chilly) evening was enjoyed by all the musicians, and the small but loyal audience appreciated it too. The next day, the band took their customary place marching at the head of the carnival procession.
The month rounded out with two concerts at schools, one with David Hale's school in Doncaster and the other more local at Carlton school. Both concerts featured children from the schools performing themselves, in addition to the band. This month also saw the departure of Michael Howley, leaving us to go to college in Manchester and take up the top Euphonium seat at Fairey's.
September saw the band return from a short summer break, and get ready for their first visit to the Swiss Open contest in Lucerne. This was the first time that the band had contested overseas, and the trip was arranged due to an invitation from the organisers of the contest. The band thought that they would not be able to go, given the amount of band members who were teachers and couldn't get time off, and also the cost. The organisers of the contest came back with a fantastic offer of helping finance the trip, and so it was arranged.
Rachel Maguire, a percussionist who had spent the previous year in Texas as part of her degree, returned to the band just before the contest, to play with us until her course finished.
The trip would involve lots of practice, as there were two contests taking place over the weekend. The first was the Swiss Open, held on the Saturday, which would involve playing a march and a set test piece. For the march, the band chose to play O.R.B, arranged by Charles Anderson, and the test piece that all the bands would play was Le Roi D'Ys by Édouard Lalo, arranged by Frank Wright. On the Sunday was the European Open, where the band would play a hymn tune, solo and own choice test piece. For this, the band chose to play The Day Thou Gavest, arranged by Philip Wilby, In Heaven, a flugel solo by Tom Brevik, and The New Jerusalem, by Philip Wilby. So five pieces, and a month to get them up to speed.
Mid September, the trip was in doubt again due to farmers and hauliers unhappy with the tax on fuel blockading fuel depots around the country. This, combined with panic buying, caused the petrol stations to run out of petrol, hence three weeks before the contest the band were forced to have a week off and cancel a concert, as no one was able to get to practice. We also had fun with the list of provided percussion equipment, as it was all in German.
The trip, during the last weekend over September, was a huge success, with the band thoroughly enjoying themselves (see the Contest Report for full details of the weekend). It also gained the band their first “title”, becoming Swiss Open champions by winning the contest on the Saturday whilst also completing a clean sweep by taking the prize for Best March. Sunday saw the band come a respectable fifth, after an excellent performance that the audience really enjoyed, and gave a great reception to.
The band were followed over the weekend by a film crew from LWT, gathering material for use in an episode of “Airline”, a fly on the wall documentary about EasyJet, to be broadcast as part of the new series, starting in February 2001.
Back home, and nose back to the grindstone immediately, with two practices and two concerts in the first week back. The first concert, at the Blackburn Hall, was the rescheduled concert from the fuel crisis. In the first half, the band played traditional brass band music, including all the pieces played in Switzerland, whilst in the second half they reverted to the big band formation and played more popular music. The day after, the band played a concert at Kippax Band Club, filling in for Kippax band who had been out at a contest in Blackpool all weekend.
Then, with still no break, it was time to begin preparing for the Pontins Contest in Prestatyn at the end of the month. Just over two weeks to get yet another test piece up to speed, but it was well worth it. Another superb performance saw the band take first prize at the contest (Contest Report) and prove that the success in Switzerland was no fluke. This contest was also the first ever contest appearance for Brad Parsk, a drummer who had come up through the junior band. He coped with the situation well, and even went up on stage as band rep to pick up the prize.
During the weekend in Wales, the band were photographed for a centre page spread in brass band world to appear early next year, mainly due to their success in Switzerland. Michael Howley returned to the band during November, leaving Fairey's after playing for the National Finals in the Albert Hall, and the British Open. This month also saw the return of Paul Argyle. Paul had been with the band quite a bit recently, playing for the Swiss Open and Pontins, and he decided to rejoin again after his stint with the Imps. The first thing that Paul was subjected to after his return was a sponsored head shave – pictures are available here.
The Rothwell Record reporting the band playing on Christmas Day. Next up was a concert with two local school bands. First on stage was the Royds Stage Band, who featured mostly instrumental numbers with the occasional vocal. Next up was the Rodillian Swing Band, who played all vocal numbers with lots of Commitments and Abba. The Temperance Band then finished up the concert playing mostly upbeat modern music, and featuring solos from Rachel Maquire on Xylophone and Glyn Thompson on Bass Tombone. A picture of some of the members from the two schools bands is available here.
This year's Christmas concert was held over two nights, due to the large demand for tickets last year. Roger Webster was our guest soloist, shortly after being confirmed as the new principal cornet at the Black Dyke band. These concerts also saw the debut of Rebecca Yeo, the band's newly signed front row cornet player. Presentations were made to Kathy Kearsley and Jane Riley on their retirement from the band and the concerts also featured the world premiere of Bandance, a piece specially composed for the band by Ian Laidler, which was very well received by the audience. There was a surprise guest at the concerts, Sara Abbey, who was there to sing a vocal solo with the band.
The year was rounded off with the band's second Christmas Dinner and Award Ceremony. A good night was had by all, with a large amount of beverages being consumed. The day after, the band (with the occasional worse for wear member) played the final concert of the year, the festival of nine carols at Rothwell Church.
All in all a very good year for the band, with notable successes in Switzerland and at Pontins, and at December 2000 a placing of 17th in the Brass Band World rankings. The band look forward to the Area in March, the Grand Shield in May, followed two weeks later by the band's first visit to the All England Masters contest in Cambridge. The future looks interesting…
2001 : The Start of Something Big
The year started on a sour note, with the departure of Michael Howley once more, this time to the second Euph seat at the Yorkshire Building Society Band. This sudden departure, eight weeks before the area contest, left us with the problem of finding a replacement player. We were already having problems with horn players, as Les McCormack was getting married the day before the contest (good timing!) and Catherine Roberts was due to give birth. Luckily, David's friends came to the rescue again, with Billy Rushworth, Andy Keegan and John Powell stepping in to help out. Early February saw the band being measured for new uniforms (David Hale did at least apologize for being large!) and these were ready in time for the area contest.
The band appeared as Centre Band in Brass Band World in the February issue, the first of 2001. The article is reproduced here, the picture is that featured on the 2000 history page, taken at the Pontins Contest in October 2000.
In the middle of February, it was getting close to both the impending birth of David's first child, and to the Area contest. When asked after band if “he was looking forward to the big day” (referring to the impending birth), David replied “I can't wait, the band are on top form!” The baby, named Ben, was eventually born in the early hours of the Friday morning before the contest, thankfully not clashing with the Area itself. David was serenaded with “Congratulations” at the band practice that evening. There were two other band births in the weeks leading up to the Area Contest; Nigel Walker's wife gave birth to a little girl, Sophie in the middle of February, and Lindsay Stark, one of the back row cornets, gave birth to Aidan, an 8lb baby boy on 22nd February.
Two weeks before the area, the band played for the NABBC in Wetherby. They first played six new marches, which were then judged as to which was the best composition. The band then moved into their big band formation and played some big band numbers to illustrate how the band has performed different types of music, moving out of the traditional brass band configuration.
At the Area in March, the band came a disappointing 8th, exactly the same placing as last year. For full details see contest report. They were also again pipped by the other Rothwell Band who came 7th this year – exactly the same as last year. A disappointing result, as we thought we had played reasonably well.
In the middle of March, the band welcomed their new Euphonium player, Chris Larder, who took part in his first concert with the band at Leeds Grammar School, a concert featuring Simone Rebello as a percussion soloist. The end of March saw the band's annual Big Band Spectacular at the Blackburn Hall, with the band playing more music than they had ever done before. Pictures of this concert are available here.
The band appeared in an episode of the television series Airline, a fly on the wall documentary about EasyJet, in mid April. From the 18 hours or so of film taken whilst the band was competing at the Swiss Open, about three minutes worth made it onto screen. Disappointing, but at least some members of the band weren't shown up as much as they expected to be…
May saw the band embark on a month of contesting. Two competitions were attended this month, the first being the Grand Shield in Blackpool. After an truly excellent performance on stage, but a bad draw, the band came a very disappointing eighth (Contest Report). Most of the people that heard us also were very surprised at this placing. So two eighth placings this year so far…and at the next contest, being the All England Masters, an eighth place would do very nicely in that company…
…but it was not to be. The band did, however draw 8th at the Masters, but finally came 11th. Not too bad a result, right in the middle of the field of 21 bands, but we did expect to do a little better than that (Contest Report). This contest saw the debut appearance from Emma Farrow, our new second Euphonium.
June and July saw the band playing their usual array of local concerts, including a parade for the British Legion, a concert at Howden Manor House and the annual Rothwell Carnival. The band finished off with a football match against the Rowntrees Band before taking a well deserved break.
The summer also saw the departure of some players, David “Moose” Fowler left due to work commitments, Pete Richmond left to take up a new job out of the area, and Rachel Maguire returned to Texas to do a Masters degree in percussion. Chris Brunyee also left us after being with us for a long time due to him getting a new job. Replacement players coming in during the summer were Richard Glascodine and Anna Ferguson on Cornet, Ivor Philips on 2nd Horn and Matthew Allsop on 2nd Baritone. We also gained Matthew and Rob Hattersley on Percussion. Brad Parsk left us.
The band returned from their summer break and got straight back into the swing of things with a band cricket match, and then a concert for the band sponsor, Autocruise. The band played during the company's open day, playing background music during the afternoon then playing for a big band concert in the evening. In October, the band played their annual concert for the local Rotary Club.
November saw the birth of another banding baby, Alistair was born on the 1st, to Derek and Caroline Hoyle. Also in November, the band played at Royton Assembly Halls for the first time. Royton has hosted many of the top bands and it was good to be invited to play there. At the end of November, the band made their second annual visit to Thorne Grammar School in Doncaster. This event is fast becoming a regular on the band's calendar. Our principal cornet player is head of music at the school, and this event is their annual Christmas concert. Performers from the school play during the first half, and then the band take over and finish off the concert. It went down really well as usual, and we had the audience clapping along to the first rendition of Jingle Bells of the year. It would not be the last!
December was the band's busiest ever, with four big concerts and a carol concert. First up was the band's annual Christmas concert, for the second year spread across two nights. Again, the concert almost sold out both nights, and everything went well. This year, the band allowed Ed Hodkin loose again, playing Frosty The Snowman, and it brought the house down each time it was played.
This concert saw the release of the band's second CD, The Start of Something Big. The band have been amazed at the speed at which this CD has sold.
Following on from their own concert, the band played a Christmas concert at Leeds Grammar School, featuring the school swing band and junior school choir. It was the second time that this event had taken place, and this is another concert which looks like it will become a regular in the band's calendar. The third annual band Christmas Dinner and Award Ceremony was held next, followed the day after by a practice with some very worse for wear band members. The band played for the Lord Mayor at a Carol Concert in Leeds Town Hall, which featured Headingley Amateur Operatic Society and Gateway School Senior Choir. The final full band event of the year was the annual festival of nine carols at Rothwell Church.
So, not a good year for contest success by our own high standards, but the band as a whole have had a very good year, and are playing well. Ending the year down on last year's ranking of 17, the band are now 29th in the Brass Band World rankings and looking forward to the challenges presented in 2002, including the Area in March and the Grand Shield and Cambridge Masters in May.
2002 : Consolidation
The year started off quietly this time, with a couple of concerts to get us back in the mood after Christmas, in the run up to the Area Contest in March. First up was a concert at Yeadon Town Hall, which was a good start back. Someone in the band forgot their uniform, and so Chris Rhodes drove back to Rothwell to pick it up, arriving just in time for the second half…
Towards the end of February, the band performed at two concerts, each of which was different form the norm. The first of these was a concert arranged and compered by Chris Larder, as part of his degree course. Chris performed five Euphonium solos in the first half, and then after the interval, the band played a more traditional concert. The following day, the band played a joint concert with the Wetherby band, as a trial run out of our respective test pieces for the area contest. Both pieces were rather odd and not too audience friendly! Next up it was the area contest (Contest Report), where the band came a creditable seventh, which was an improvement on previous years.
In the middle of April, the band presented their annual Big Band Spectacular. This year, in a break from tradition, the band did not book a swing band to end the evening, but opted to do it themselves. Performing a total of 32 pieces during the evening was quite a feat, and there were a few tired players at the end! There was a guest singer this year, Emily Roberts (no relation to our conductor), who performed a few pieces with Nigel Wears at the piano, as well as singing “It's all right with me” along with the band. The Leeds Grammar School Swing Band also performed a small set during the concert, giving the band a rest. The evening was its usual resounding success.
May is fast becoming a bit of a long slog for the band. At the start of May is the Grand Shield contest in Blackpool, and at the end is the Masters in Cambridge. The Grand Shield contest was terrible for us this year, with a number one draw, and a final placing of fifteenth (Contest Report). This result means that we will now drop down a level and compete in the Senior Cup in May 2003, where we must come in the top six to regain a place in the Grand Shield. The Masters contest in late May was initially dogged by controversy, as the organisers decided to invite the Cory Band from Wales to compete. As the contest's full title is the All England Masters Contest, some bands complained about this, and eventually Cory's ended up refusing to attend. We came a creditable twelfth at the contest, in what is always a strong field (Contest Report). The piece this year was Atlantic, which had a different seating arrangement to normal. Richard Glascodine was heard to say “Has he done that so it's like the bow of a ship?” when he first saw the seating plan. This contest is an interesting one, as their are three adjudicators who all give their own placings, which are then aggregated for the final result. One adjudicator had us as high as 7th, while another had us as low down at 17th.
June was a month with some player changes. Dai's wife Clare was pregnant, and due to give birth at Christmas. As most of their friends up here are in the band, and both sets of parents live in Wales, they decided to move back down to Wales for when the baby was born so that they could have some support. This meant that we needed a new principal cornet, and after a search we found Thomas Hutchinson, a young player with lots of potential.
At the end of June, the band played a concert with St Mary's Youth Theatre. Various members of the group sang accompanied by the band. This was something new for the band, and it made for an excellent event. July saw our annual concert at Carlton School, which featured our junior band as well as lots of kids from the school who were just beginning to play brass instruments. The Carlton School Choir also performed at the concert, which sowed the seeds for them to sing some items with the band later in the year.
Mid July saw the band's traditional 'end of term' performances before their traditional summer break, and as usual, the last concert was the Rothwell Carnival. The band marched during the afternoon, at the head of the carnival procession, and then headlined a 'brass in the park' concert during the evening.
The March involved a trip past the Coach and Horses pub on Commercial Street in Rothwell, a familiar watering hole for a couple of the band members. Signs held up for the passing band were “Stop Kenny Stop”, aimed at Kenny Argyle on bass drum, and “Go Fester Go”, aimed at Paul Argyle on Soprano Cornet.
The summer break is a usual time for some players to leave the band and others to come in. This year, Stephen Haynes was reported in the banding press to be leaving us to join the Williams Fairey Band. In actual fact, he was simply being borrowed by Fairey's to play at the British Open, and was returning to us in time for the Yorkshire Area next March. We hastily emailed our corrections to make sure that the message got across!
Players really leaving this summer included Anna Ferguson, who was leaving due to the band being so busy, and her not getting to see her boyfriend down in Cambridge. Rob and Matthew Hattersley who had joined on percussion also left, due to time pressure and the standard of the band being higher than they expected. Players rejoining included Jonathan Hammond, who promptly got seriously ill and had to postpone his return until Christmas. On rejoining the band, David Roberts were heard to say “once you're better, I don't want to see that mouthpiece anywhere near this bandroom!”
September saw the band return to a busy concert programme. First up was the traditional Autocruise open day concert, at the Autocruise factory near Sheffield. As last year the band played background music during the afternoon, and then in the evening took to the stage to play big band music whilst visitors were eating a meal. In a repeat of Nigel Walker's “problem” last year one of the chairs exploded under another bass player, Andy Catherall. Later in the month, the band performed a concert for the local Rotary Club in the Blackburn Hall, and then played at Ripon College in a concert for the Masons.
In October the band performed with the Leeds Methodist Choir in Leeds Town Hall, in a concert with had an Elizabethan theme. October also saw the departure of Derek Hoyle from the bass section, so that he could concentrate on his own band and spend more time with his family. The band also signed a new Flugel player in Lucy Murphy from the Marple band, who would only be playing with us at contests and occasional concerts.
December this year was busier than ever. The first weekend in December was the now traditional two consecutive nights of the band's Christmas concert in the Blackburn Hall. This year, this was followed by a concert in Ossett Town Hall on the Sunday evening, leading to a very busy weekend. The following Thursday, the band played the annual concert at Leeds Grammar School, which featured the Leeds Grammar School Swing Band and also the Leeds Grammar School Junior School Choir, as usual. One of the players was accidentally left behind at the concert after we had finished playing, and so was not too pleased to have to walk all the way into Leeds to get home!
The next event was the band's annual Christmas party and award ceremony. The awards given included a joint award to five players for attendance (Paul Argyle, Andy Rigby, Andy Riley, Chris Larder and Ed Hodkin), an award for 'funniest event of the year', 'illness of the year', 'performance of the year', 'split of the year' and 'stupidest comment of the year'. This year a special award was given to David Roberts, after he shortened a carol at the Leeds Grammar, getting the band to play three verses instead of the four the audience had. After a short break he realised and played the final verse!
The final big concert took place in Leeds Town Hall, and featured Headingley Amateur Operatic Society and Gateways School Choir, in a repeat of the format of last year's event. The band went down very well at this event, the audience seemed to really enjoy it. The final two concerts of the year were the traditional Christmas Eve and Christmas Day carol concerts around Rothwell.
So, to sum up another year, the band have again had a successful year from a concert perspective, and another mediocre year on the contest stage. There were slight improvements at the area followed by a dreadful Grand Shield, and a mid table Masters. The result at the Grand Shield means that the band are relegated to the Senior Cup contest, a level down from the Grand Shield. This is a blow for the band, and we will be looking to do especially well at this contest come May. The other two contests of the year are the same as this year, the Area in March and the Masters in Cambridge in May, making May again the busiest month of the band's calendar.
2003 : Spitfire
The new year started off with a birth, when Dai and Clare Hale had their first child, Lucy, early on the 4th January. The band spent the early months of the year working on two test pieces. The first of these, Prague, was a new composition in use for the Area Contest in March. This was a very strange piece without many tunes, and there was much controversy in the brass band world over its choice as a test piece. Also to be played this year was Paganini Variations, required for the Senior Cup in May. We had attempted to appeal against the decision to demote us from the Grand Shield into the Senior Cup, but the appeal was unsuccessful.
On the player front, we gained a new Flugel Player in John Ward, and a new member of the horn section, Simon Thewliss, joined us from the Black Dyke Mills Band. Lucy Murphy left us to take up the Flugel chair with the Leyland Band, and Ivor Phillips had to leave the 2nd horn chair due to work commitments.
The early months of the year saw two reviews of our CD, the Start of Something Big, in both Brass Band World and the British Bandsman.
At the beginning of February, the band members (minus percussion) had a residential weekend in Clitheroe, including intensive rehearsals for the area contest. Mid February saw the band playing at the NEC in Birmingham. Our sponsor, Autocruise, were taking part in a show at the NEC, and we were asked to attend. After a very early start (7am doesn't exist on a Sunday!) we travelled down to Birmingham, and spent much of the day playing in the foyer. We were provided with some free “VIP sandwiches” for lunch, and it appeared that the organizers had paid over £100 for the food for us.
Tim Hammond, who plays cornet on the front row, and is engaged to Joanna on the back row, is an army bandsman. Due to the impending conflict in Iraq, Tim was sent out along with the other members of his band. We all wished him a safe and speedy return. In early March, the band were placed an excellent fourth at the Yorkshire Area Contest (Contest Report). This was an excellent result, and was a win over several of the top bands in the region.
The band then began to prepare for their annual Big Band Spectacular, which took place in early April. We again played with our band augmented by friends on Saxophone and Clarinet, and also a bass and lead guitar for one piece. Our guests for the evening were the Leeds Grammar School Swing band who played a short spot between our final set. The evening was again a good success, with more tickets being sold than last year. A week after the big band night, the band played a traditional brass band concert in Howden. This was very well attended and the audience were quite surprised by how young the players in the band were.
May was again our usual hectic season, with two competitions in one month. First up was the Senior Cup, which we wanted to do well in after our relegation from the Grand Shield last year. The band performed true to their status and won the contest off a very late draw (Contest Report). Next up was a concert in Rothwell followed by a scramble to rehearse the piece for the Masters in Cambridge, which this year was a difficult one for percussion. This proved to be a problem, as we were struggling for players. We finally managed to borrow Ashley, who is studying at Cheethams school of music. He was very much in demand, and did not manage to attend many rehearsals. This lead to Dave Roberts, our conductor, asking who was playing particular parts of the music, to which I would reply “Ashley”. This became a standing joke, especially when I was led to believe that he was a tuned percussionist (and so gave him the hard tuned parts) only for it to turn out that he was a jazz kit player who struggled with the tuned stuff! The band came in with a creditable mid-table position again, which was what we expected given the little preparation time we had (Contest Report). We also saw Tim Hammond return to us in late May, safely back (and tanned) from his time in the Gulf.
The Whit Friday March Contests were this year in June and, due to the fact that they didn't clash with the Masters contest, the band decided that they would take part. After competing in several contests we were placed 6th, 7th, 8th, 8th, 11th and 12th. In late June, the band played a concert at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School in Wakefield. The concert was poorly attended, but the band were very well received.
Right at the end of June, the band spent the weekend at Rothwell C of E School, recording a new CD to be released towards the end of the year. This was a very intensive weekend, but the band enjoyed themselves and the CD shows improvement over the previous release. The Wednesday after the recording, the band played a joint concert with Royds Stage Band in the school hall. The band went into their summer break with their march at the head of the Rothwell Carnival. This year they declined to play for the evening event, mainly because in previous years players had to hang around in Rothwell from 2pm when the procession finished, until 8pm when the band played on stage in the park.
Summer was a time of player changes as it usually is, with this year seemingly busier than usual. The cornet section was strengthened with the arrival of Billy Parkinson and Neil Cole. Andy Rigby left us due to his new job in Milton Keynes, and his place was taken by Andy Padgett, an ex-Black Dyke player who joined from Hepworth. Matthew Allsop moved from Baritone to Euphonium and Sophie Rhodes, a member of the National Youth Brass Band, joined on second Baritone to replace Matthew.
The trombone section lost their principal of four years, Stephen Haynes, as he was going off to study in London. His place was taken by Will Porter with Alison Stockdale joined on second trombone. Gemma Howley was another long time member of the band who also left to go to University. The percussion section was strengthened with the arrival of Rich Prentice, a student from Leeds University. Ben Ridgeon joined on Bb bass, also a student from Leeds. Graham Williams also joined on Bb bass, with Nigel Walker moving to Eb, taking over the position of Michael Cox who left us to go to university. Chris Larder left us as he got a job in Morecambe, and the solo euphonium chair was taken by Jamie Ogden.
Dave Roberts was a little worried at first at the amount of players who were changing in the band, but after working with them for some months he relaxed. The new players that came in fitted in well and put in some excellent performances, strengthening the band even further.
The band started back after the summer break with a cricket match. Dave Roberts and Billy Parkinson both hit unbeaten 33s as John Ward's XI beat Tim Hammond with just five balls to spare. A great day was had at the excellent Carlton Cricket Club. We extend our apologies to guest player James Fletcher of Grimethorpe, who came a distance to play only to be run out for 0. (He wasn't pleased but it was funny!) The final indignity came for Tim Hammond as he was bowled by my girlfriend, Sharon, as he was going for a six!
Concerts came thick and fast after summer, with the annual Autocruise event starting things off in early September. This featured the usual background music in the afternoon and big band set in the evening. Then, later in the month the band played in Yeadon Town Hall as part of the Best of Brass season. This concert was reviewed by 4BarsRest. The following day the band played for the wedding of long time band member Chris Rhodes. The following week, the destination of the band was Ilkley, where they played a joint concert with Steeton Male Voice Choir.
In early November, two members of the band took part in the British Open Intermediate Solo Championships. In a stunning result, our solo Euphonium, Jamie Ogden took first place, and Thomas Hutchinson, our principal cornet, took second place from a field of 28 competitors. Jamie thought Tom had pipped him to first prize, and vice versa! The final concert before the Christmas season saw the band back in Ilkley, playing at Westville House school.
Christmas was much lighter this year than last, with the only big concerts being the two annual Christmas ones in the (newly refurbished) Blackburn Hall. This year featured the Rothwell C of E school choir on both nights, singing a selection of Christmas music with backing from the band. On the Saturday evening, a presentation was made to Kathy Kearsley on her retirement from the band, after trying to escape for many years! We also had a special guest, in Rachel Maguire, who had just returned from doing a masters in percussion in Texas. Rachel took part in the percussion feature Tea for Two. This concert also saw the release of the band's new CD, ”Spitfire”.
The band then finished up the year with their Christmas party, where player of the year was awarded to Matthew Allsop. The band's year was complete with the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols in Rothwell Church, and playing carols around Rothwell on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
In 2004 we look forward to a complicated piece (Tristan Encounters) for the area, when we will do well to improve on this year's result. The piece is much more interesting and tuneful than Prague in 2003. May will be its usually busy time, with the Grand Shield in early May, where we will be looking to do very well, and Cambridge at the end of May. There is also a potential return to the Swiss Open in September to look forward to.
2004 : Back To Switzerland
The year began with the slow build up to the Area contest, which this year featured a complex piece called Tristan Encounters. In late February, the band played a concert in the Blackburn Hall in Rothwell, where the first half consisted of serious music including a performance of the Area test piece, and the second half included lighter music with the band starting out in Big Band formation.
The Area contest was a great success, with the band achieving sixth place behind some of the best bands in the world (Contest Report). Just after the Area, the band took part in a joint concert with the Backbeat Percussion Quartet, at Leeds Grammar School. Backbeat played for the entire first half, and then the Temperance band took over for the second half. This was an excellent concert which was thoroughly enjoyed by the large audience. Some pictures are available of the concert, courtesy of Leeds Grammar School. March also saw the marriage of Rebecca Yeo, our repiano cornet player, to Richard Marshall, principal cornet of the Grimethorpe Band.
Early in April the band put on their annual Big Band Spectacular at the Blackburn Hall, which this year featured over four hours of live music. The band were joined by the Leeds Grammar School Swing Band, and played a wide variety of music both new and old. Our guest vocalist this year was Sheldon Bonner from Leeds Grammar School, who sang several numbers including Young at Heart and My Kind Of Town. The evening was greatly enjoyed by the sell-out audience.
At the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain course at Easter, several players connected with the band took part and some were awarded principal positions. Sophie Rhodes, our second baritone was awarded the principal baritone seat, Ben Ridgeon, was awarded the principal Bb bass position, and Thomas Hutchinson was awarded third place in the cornet section.
At the end of April, one of our semi-regular percussion deps, Lucy Beeson, qualified for the percussion final of the Young Musician of the Year contest, and was placed first. This entitled Lucy to play in the grand final with the other instrument winners with a full orchestra, where she acquitted herself well but did not come away with a prize.
May has, in recent years, become the month of two contests, which was always hard work. The first contest in the month was the Grand Shield in Blackpool, from which the band were trying to come in the top two (actually top three this year) in order to qualify for the British Open in Birmingham in September. The band were placed an excellent second (Contest Report) and therefore would not have to compete at this contest next year. This would allow us a good run up to the Masters in 2005, which had historically always taken second place to the Grand Shield, and so had never really had our full attention. This year's Masters contest in Cambridge at the end of May was a good example, where the band were tired and didn't play very well on stage (Contest Report) resulting in them being placed 15th. A couple of weeks after the contest it was announced that the 2005 Masters would be thrown open to International Bands, with only the top eleven bands from this year's contest being invited back next year. So much for the band having a clear run at the contest next year, and they had now gone from two contests in May 2004 to none in May 2005.
July saw the usual summer player moves, which Will Porter, our principal trombone, leaving for a year in Chicago as part of his degree course. He was replaced by Steven Haynes for the two contests in September, as Steven was home for the summer from his degree. We also signed Richard Golding to the front row cornets. Richard was principal cornet of the Rochdale Youth Band at started a degree at York University in September. The band sent even more players to the summer National Youth course. Steven Haynes, Ben Ridgeon and Sophie Rhodes all took part again after being principals at the Easter course, Thomas Hutchinson also attended, and Rebecca Robertson made her debut. At the end of July, there was the second band wedding of the year, which Tim Hammond and Joanna Ward getting married at Rothwell Church. The band played many pieces at the service and several members attended the meal and reception.
The band decided not to have their annual summer break this year, due to the two contests coming up in September, the British Open and the Swiss Open. However, much of the normal rehearsal time was spent in sectionals so most members of the band got a couple of weeks of at one point or another. At the end of August, the band held an inter-band cricket match against the Yorkshire Building Society band. In a freak accident, the YBS Wicket Keeper (Mike Walsh, 2nd Baritone) threw the ball back to the bowler with force, but it slipped out of his hand and the ball hit Rothwell's Conductor, Dave Roberts, squarely in the right eye. Dave suffered a broken cheekbone and a massive black eye. By coincidence, this incident took place four days before the band were due to have their picture taken for the centre band feature in Brass Band World, but the picture was digitally cleaned up to make Dave look more human.
September was this year even more intense than May for rehearsals and contests. On Wednesday 15th September the band played a concert in Howden Minster, as part of a larger concert season. The stage was far too small for the band, and most of the percussion equipment ended up on the floor beside the stage, about six feet below the rest of the band. The following Saturday the band travelled to Birmingham to compete at the British Open (Contest Report). Although the band produced what we thought was an excellent performance on stage, we were placed a disappointing fifteenth overall. We will need to do better next year or else we will be relegated back to the Grand Shield from 2006.
The following weekend the band travelled back to Switzerland to take part in the Swiss Open (Contest Report), scene of the band's win in 2000. The band had a fantastic weekend, but were oddly placed last at the contest, the first time the band have ever been placed last. Dave Roberts said, “I am so proud of the players. They showed what a wonderful bunch of people we have here. Despite being in a state of shock by the result the players took it in an impeccable manner. There are no remarks from the adjudicators but I can only guess that they didn't take into account that some pieces were much more difficult than others. I've heard a rumour that they thought we were too loud, but I would never let the band overblow as I hate it. We played well. We took twelve players with us who competed here in 2000, and returned with a much stronger band, only to be placed last by seven points.” The band were helped with money this month by two generous donations. The first was from Glyn Thompson's dad, who agreed to cover the cost of the coach to Birmingham for the British Open. The second was from Gordon and Eileen Roberts, who donated £500 towards the cost of competing at the two contests. The band would like to thank them all.
At the beginning of October, the band staged a private rehearsal with the adjudicators for the National Championships to help familiarise the men in the box with the new composition, All The Flowers Of The Mountain. Conductor David Roberts said, “I think the adjudicators and publishers should be commended, and the bands drawn early should feel happy that the adjudicators have done extensive work on the music.” October also saw an influx of new players, with the start of the new University term. Andrew White on solo trombone joined to cover for Will's year out in Chicago. James Hartley, another member of the National Youth band, joined on Eb bass from Dinnington Colliery. Samantha Robson joined on the back row from the Greggs Bakery Band, and replaced Rebecca Robertson who left to join the Yorkshire Imps. John Turnbull also joined on percussion from Aveley and Newham.
In early November, a quartet from the band took part in the British Open Quartet Championships in Hyde Town Hall and were placed second, beating quartets from The Fairey Band and Hepworth amongst others. The competition was won by a quartet from Brass Band Willebroek. The RTB Quartet consisted of Dave Roberts, Andy Riley, Les McCormack and Matthew Allsop. David Read and Roy Newsome said it was a sensitive reading with good balance and a brilliant cornet sound in the slow movement. David Roberts was extremely pleased with the result, which saw his return to competitive playing after many years conducting.
In the middle of November, the band recorded some music for the popular Listen To The Band programme on Radio 2. This took place in Morley Town Hall, with the recording being done by technicians from the BBC. The band performed several pieces, many of which had been arranged especially for the band, and the show will be broadcast on the 1st April 2005.
December, the band held their annual Christmas Party and Award Ceremony at the Rugby club, which as always was very well attended. This years awards were presented by Ed Hodkin and Paul Argyle, assisted by Billy Parkinson. The usual band helpers got awards along with several for performances throughout the year. The annual Christmas concerts in the Blackburn Hall were again almost a sell out both nights, and were followed by a concert at Leeds Grammar School featuring the Junior School Choir, School Saxophone Group and the Temperance Band. Santa paid a visit and even gave the drummers some chocolate…
The year ended with the usual Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at Rothwell Church, playing around the tree on Christmas Eve and playing around Rothwell on Christmas Day. There was some sad news at this event, when it was announced that Jamie Ogden, the band's principal euphonium, would have to leave the band. His dad had got a new job and was unable to ship him across the Pennines for each rehearsal. We were sad to see Jamie go, as he had been an excellent asset to the band.
All in all a good year for the band, with success at some major contests, and also some disappointing results. We look forward to a quiet time next year on the competitive front, with only two contests planned in 2005, the Area and the British Open. There are, however, many concerts in the pipeline and the band look forward to another excellent year.
2005 : British Open Success
At the beginning of 2005, Emma Farrow rejoined the band. Emma had previously played second euphonium with the band before leaving to take up a principal euphonium seat elsewhere, and joined to cover the chair left by Jamie. Emma was due to take up a place at Oxford University in October, but was prepared to play until then.
Sophie Rhodes, the band's second baritone, entered the BBC Radio 2 Young Brass Soloist competition early in the year qualifying for the final before losing out to Brenden Wheeler. Sophie often played with the National Youth Brass Band on baritone, but played euphonium in this competition.
Mark Lowe joined the band on first horn in February, in time for the build up to the Area contest in March. Mark had formerly played with the Wallace Arnold (Rothwell) Band and Black Dyke.
Just before the Area, the band heard that they had been given an invitation to the Masters contest in Cambridge after all. Some of the top bands decided to boycott the contest in protest at the way it had been opened up to be an international contest, where English bands that had supported the contest for years were shunned. Bands that had come lower than the eleventh place cut off last year, were therefore invited back to compete at the new contest. After some consideration, the band decided to accept.
The Area test piece this year was the Overture from Rienzi by Wagner, arranged by Howard Lorriman, who coincidentally was of the judges at the Swiss Open contest the band attended in 2004. This was a fairly straightforward piece for the band, but it required lots of stamina. The percussion parts were extremely easy, but the piece required a total of six percussionists to play the part as written. After some looking around the band dragged Kath Kearsley back out of retirement to play once more, and co-opted Joanna Hammond, one of the spare third cornet players, to join the team. Lucy Beeson was also welcomed back to play the glockenspiel.
On the day of the contest the band met at 3pm to have a short rehearsal and wait for the draw, which was at 3.30pm. They were drawn twelfth, which was good because it was late, but unfortunately between Brighouse and Grimethorpe. After a slightly nervy start, the band then seemed to settle down and the performance improved as it went on. Come results time they were placed seventh, with the top four places going to the four 'big' bands in the contest (Contest Report).
The band's Radio 2 recording was finally aired on 18th March. This was the first Listen To The Band performance they had done, and it seemed to be very well received. The band were also part of a new medium later in March, when they featured in a Podcast, where tracks from “The Start of Something Big” were interspersed with an announcer, in a downloadable mp3 from the internet.
At the Easter National Youth Brass Band course the band's principal cornet, Thomas Hutchinson, was awarded the principal cornet position, improving on his fourth place from last year. The band also had James Hartley, Ben Ridgeon and Emma Farrow (awarded co-principal euphonium) taking part in the course.
On Saturday 9th April, the band held their now annual “Big Band Spectacular”. The night was not a traditional brass band concert, and the audience were encouraged to dance along to the band's music. The band purchased lots of new music for this year's event, and played 34 numbers, a handful of which were accompanied by special guest vocalists. The vocal numbers included music from Robbie Williams' “Swing When You're Winning” album. The first singer was James Dougal, whose own excellent vocal CD was available to purchase on the night. Also featured was Kenny Davis, who was a finalist on ITV's “Stars In Their Eyes” and recently took a lead role in a youth production of Les Miserables at the Civic Theatre in Leeds. Joanna Kearsley, Kath's daughter, joined Kenny on stage to sing the duet “Something Stupid”. Other music played by the band included a Count Basie set, a Glenn Miller set, a Salsa set and arrangements done for the Phil Collins Big Band. The guest band on the night, as in previous years, was the Leeds Grammar School Swing Band, who received an excellent reception from the capacity audience.
The band took part in the famous Whit Friday Marches on 20th May, and took first place at Scouthead in a field of 63 bands. They also took third place at Roundthorn and fourth place at both Grotton and Greenfield.
For the Masters contest, the band had a slight player dilemma, as they were originally not scheduled to take part in the contest. Both Tim Hammond and Andy Riley had committed to work or holidays on contest day, and so replacements had to be found. Phillip Cobb had established himself as one of the finest young cornet players around and was best friends with Tom Hutchinson, the band's principal cornet, after their time together on National Youth Brass Band courses. He was therefore a natural person to invite, and he played second man down on the front row. Glyn Kearsley (the original conductor from when the band first started in 1984) returned to play baritone with the band, and John Gillam added his considerable presence and experience on bass.
Upon arriving in Cambridge city centre, the bus driver had no idea where to go. The idea of using a map seemed alien to him and at 9.55am, with five minutes to go until the first band had to be on stage, Andy Padgett took care of the situation by paying a taxi driver for the bus to follow him in. The band arrived at the Corn Exchange shortly after 10am, leaving just fifteen minutes to change, get backstage and register…nothing like cutting it fine! After a good performance on stage, off a number two draw, the band were placed seventh (Contest Report).
During the summer the band played for Eileen and Gordon Roberts' Golden Wedding Celebration. This took place at an afternoon event at the Parish Centre in Rothwell, where the band performed several favourites for the invited guests.
Thomas Hutchinson left the band over the summer, to start his music degree at the Royal Northern in Manchester. He was due to play repiano cornet with the Black Dyke Band during his time there, and the band wished him all the best. Andy Marsh joined at the same time, taking the principal euphonium seat vacated by Emma Farrow on her way to university.
For this year's British Open the organisers had thankfully chosen only one test piece rather than the three as they had last year. It was a new composition by Bramwell Tovey called The Night To Sing, celebrating VE day at the end of the Second World War. The DUT Yorkshire Imperial Band, who came 17th in 2005, asked for and were granted a bye from this year's contest. This was due to the date of the 2005 Open being moved in late 2004, and the band having already organised a prestigious concert on the new date. After complaints from other bands who were in danger of relegation from the contest, the organisers decided to demote only one band back to the Grand Shield this year, and demote three in 2006. This reduced the chances of the Temperance Band being demoted, but with Imps withdrawing Rothwell were highest but one on points, with only Tredegar having more. This left the band in a precarious position, meaning they needed to do well and beat Tredegar to stay in the contest.
The test piece was difficult for percussion, featuring almost every instrument the band had and then some more. It required a 'large rainstick' and a marimba. There are very few bands in the country with a marimba, and the band were forced to practice the part on vibes: the one instrument not needed. The part also called for three triangles to be played simultaneously and, after many a head-scratching moment, a special triangle stand was designed and produced in wood by Tim's dad especially for the part. Lacking a full complement of drummers (especially with Kenny Argyle's partner due to give birth imminently), Lucy Beeson was drafted in once more. There were four large percussion parts, and after trying to get someone to play the fourth part locally, the band were forced to fly in Stefan Kurzo (a professional timpanist with the Bern Symphony Orchestra) to help out. Les McCormack had met Stefan whilst they were both tutoring on the Swiss Youth Band course.
The band played very well on stage, but were worried by the draw. They followed on the two lowest ranked bands in the contest, but then were followed by Black Dyke and YBS. When the results were announced, many of the band weren't in the hall, as there were no bandsmans' tickets. Those that were there found themselves astounded with the fifth place they were given. This was the best result the Temperance Band had ever had in its entire 125 year history (Contest Report).
Tim Hammond played principal cornet at the Open following the departure of Tom Hutchinson but due to his Army Band work commitments, it was difficult for him to hold down the seat full time. The band therefore recruited a new principal cornet in the form of James McCabe, who joined from the Sellers International Band.
Towards the end of the year the band spent several days preparing two CDs for release at Christmas. One of these, “Concert Collection”, was planned well in advance, but the second, “Christmas Collection” was a last minute addition. Mark Lowe obtained sponsorship from his work specifically for the band to record a Christmas CD, on condition that it was done in time for this Christmas. After two very busy weekends the band's job was complete and the music was sent off to be produced and pressed onto CD.
Tim Hammond sadly left the band at Christmas to fulfil a life-long ambition and join the Grimethorpe Band, but before he did he took part in a busy Christmas season with sell out concerts in Rothwell followed by the regular event at Leeds Grammar School. The year ended as always with carols around the tree on Christmas Eve and the band playing around Rothwell on Christmas morning.
2006 : Masters Champions
The band's first engagement of 2006 was a concert for local charities at the Blackburn Hall in Rothwell. This was a resounding success, with many people saying that it was the best concert they had ever attended. This seemed to be a good omen for the year ahead.
The set test piece for this year's area contest was Journey To The Centre Of The Earth by Peter Graham. The piece is based around the Jules Verne book of the same name, which chronicles a young adventurer's descent into a volcano and the caves deep beneath it. It is an excellent, descriptive piece of music, and when played well conjures up images from the book.
In the middle section of the piece, the band members were instructed to whisper “De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine” (Out of the depths I have cried unto thee) over the top of some atmospheric horns and vibraphone. The band were provided with a CD with whispering recorded on it for use in this section and the instructions from the contest organisers were that it could be played if the band wanted to use it, but the CD player would have to be provided by the band and it would have to be battery operated. After experimenting it was decided that the most atmospheric sound was made with the band members whispering, so the decision was made not to use the CD.
On the day of the contest, the band performed very well on stage, being placed fourth overall (Contest Report). When the adjudicators came to give their remarks to the audience, just before the results, they said that they were looking for bands who painted a picture and that the top four placed bands had done that.
A fourth place on its own is an excellent result at the Yorkshire Area, but the band realised that with Brighouse in fifth place, they were in with a chance of qualification for the finals in London. Black Dyke and Grimethorpe had already pre-qualified for the finals, due to their top four finish in London last year. The band held their breath, whilst YBS were announced in third and then gave a bigger cheer than Grimethorpe when they were announced the winners.
The adjudicator's remarks were very positive:
David Read said: Good start – well balanced – fine perc colour. B. Drama unfolds as it should – well done. Excellent tuned percussion – fine close. M. Fine bass duo in the depths. Well shaped and played Sop. Dynamics excellent. P. Just the right amount of rubato. Trom excellent portrayal. Solo Cornet not blemish free but good shape. Sop – congratulations. All very tasteful and the word despair comes to mind. However the slightest slips do spoil the atmosphere you create which is otherwise excellent. X. Fine. Reprise from Y fine. Bass Trombone – first class. F1 battle – I can imagine the animals fighting to the death! Majestic Homecoming. A fine performance and told the story. One or two minor hiccups on the way. Percussion added great colour throughout – in its proper place.
James Scott added: An atmosphere is created in the opening. The vivace has dynamic control and is committed playing with rhythmic sense. Bass duo phrased very well (though a little 'edge' in the odd bar!) All solo lines are delivered so well here. P. Good balance in chording. Trom line was excellent in its musicality. Cornet also (apart from the blip!). Sop has flair. 282 is very musical. Beautiful chording from V. Time taken into W and well phrased to follow. Z begins with accuracy from Bass Trombone and the vivace is again committed and controlled. J1 Tonal control here – with of course a very strong close. A fine performance – with much musical detail.
Following the Area, the band began the slow build up to the Masters contest in Cambridge in late May. Following on from the success of last year's International Masters contest, more foreign bands were attracted, including one from as far away as Australia : Brisbane Excelsior. The current European champions Willebroek (Belgium) were also in attendance, along with Brass Band Treize Etoiles (Switzerland) and Brass Band Rijnmond (Holland).
The set test this year was Paganini Variations by Philip Wilby. The band had played this piece twice before, winning the contest with it both times. The first of these was at Pontins in 2000 whilst the second was at the Senior Cup in 2003.
On the morning of the contest the band received news that Paul Argyle's partner Lucy had gone into labour. This was a little unexpected, as the baby was not due for another fortnight. The band drew number nine for the contest, and so were due on stage at about 1.00pm. Paul elected to stay, and arrangements were made to get him back home as soon as possible after he had played. Paul became a father at 1.27pm, just as the band were leaving the stage after completing an excellent performance that they were more than happy with.
Come results time many members of the band were in the hall to listen to the results. At the Masters there is a soloist's prize, awarded to the best instrumentalist on the day. The band were stunned to hear that this was awarded to their euphonium player, Andy Marsh. This is usually a good indicator of a band that has done well in the contest, so the band listened to the results with renewed confidence, eventually being placed first (Contest Report).
This was a stunning result for the band, which was a just reward for an excellent performance on stage. It was the band's first win at a 'major' contest, and it completed a hat trick of wins on Paganini Variations. Following the contest, the band and David Roberts received many messages of congratulation from friends throughout the brass band world.
Each year a CD is produced of the gala concert which takes place in Cambridge Corn Exchange the evening after the contest has finished. The winning performance from the contest is also included on this CD, and so the band's performance of Paganini Variations was released as part of this CD, entitled “Master Brass – Volume 17” later in the year.
After the success of the Masters, the band took part in the Whit Friday Marches once again, competing in nine contests. They were rewarded with five second places and an excellent first at Delph, where they also collected the best euphonium and best cornet prizes. Conductor David Roberts said, “to get five seconds and a first is awesome, but to win Delph is special”. The band were also awarded fourth place overall for their performances at the Tameside contests.
Next up was a concert at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School in Wakefield, where the band showed off their Master's trophy. The band then played at the wedding of Ed Hodkin, our solo Eb bass, and Kath, performing the wedding classic “Pinball Wizard” whilst they were signing the register. The band were forced to hold their big band night later than in previous years, due to the availability of the Blackburn Hall. This meant that it took place on the first of July. An excellent night was had by all, though it was a bit warm in the hall!
The band's trip to the British Open wasn't as successful as we expected, with a fourteenth place (Contest Report). We hope to do better next year.
The band's trip to the Royal Albert Hall for the National Finals similarly wasn't as successful as we expected. The band were placed fourteenth again, although it is interesting to note that some observers around the hall had us in the top six (Contest Report).
The band recorded music for BBC Radio 2's Listen The The Band programme in late November, which should be broadcast in February 2007. The year ended as usual with a string of Christmas concerts. What was unusual was the location of the first of these – Stroud. The band had a three hour journey down to Stroud, before playing an excellent concert to a very appreciative capacity audience. They then had a long slog back up the country, arriving back at the bandroom at half past one in the morning. Christmas concerts also took place at Leeds Grammar School and Middleton Primary School near Rothwell before the final two concerts took place at the Blackburn Hall. These concerts were very well received by the audience and featured The Clock With The Dresden Figures, a percussion feature and Ed Hodkin (dressed up again) playing Teddy Bears' Picnic.
2006 was an excellent year for the band with notable successes at the Yorkshire Area and a stunning win at the Masters in May. The latter half of the year was not as successful, though the band did play well and will build upon this in 2007.
2008 : Albert Hall Success
2008 started with a joint concert featuring the band and West Riding Opera. The concert took place at the new City Church, on part of the site of the former Stanley Royd hospital in Wakefield. The building contains one of only two Victorian stages still remaining in England, and was used as the hospital refectory for many years.
The area contests in March was excellent for the band, with their performance of Eric Ball's Festival Music being placed fourth (Contest Report). This, combined with the fact that two of the bands placed above us were pre-qualified for London, meant that the band were invited to compete at the National Finals in the Albert Hall in November. This was the third time the band had qualified for the contest, attending in 1999 and 2006. This contest was the last performance with us of John Ward, our Flugel player of many years, who was leaving to take up the baton conducting the Milnrow Band over in Lancashire.
Following the departure of John Ward, the band quickly gained a new flugel player in Sian Carradus. Sian was formerly from the Sellers band, which had recently folded after many years of top flight contesting.
In the middle of March, the band played a “Music from the Shows” concert in the Blackburn Hall, in aid of Rothwell Rotary Club. This was well received by the capacity audience.
At the end of March, the band played at the evening reception of the wedding of Paul Argyle and Lucy Gilvarry. Paul, the band's soprano cornet, has been a member of the band from a very early age.
In April, the band played an excellent concert at Lidgett Park Methodist Church in North Leeds (Photos). The band also used this concert to launch their Patrons' Scheme where in return for a donation, members receive a quarterly newsletter containing information about the band and advance notice of the band's concerts.
May was a busy month for the band. It started with the annual free Old Folks Concert in the Blackburn Hall, and was then followed by the band taking part in the Whit Friday March Contests over in Lancashire (Pictures). The band had an excellent evening, with wins at Delph and Uppermill, three further second places and a third. The band's winning performance at Delph was filmed by John Whitmore and is available on YouTube.
At the end of May the band travelled down to Cambridge for the All England International Masters competition. Off a number two draw, the band were placed seventh (Contest Report), slightly disappointed to be outside the top six.
June started off with a Race Night, held at the Rugby Club to raise some funds for the band's trip down to the finals in London, which raised £555. Next up was a concert in Morley Town Hall with the Skelmanthorpe Male Voice Choir.
We were saddened to hear of the death of former Treasurer Bob Carrington at the end of June. Bob joined the Temperance Band as a boy during wartime and gave over much of his spare time to the band, writing a centenary chronicle book about the band's first 100 years in 1981. Much of the content of this book can be found in the history pages on this website.
At the very end of June the band took part in the English Nationals contest playing a new Robert Redhead piece called Infinity (Contest Report). Off a late draw, the band were placed seventh.
2008 marks 600 years since Rothwell was awarded the Royal Charter, and so this year features several celebratory events. As a mark of this, the band once again marched at the head of the procession at the carnival in early July.
The last concert of the year took place in Wakefield Cathedral in mid July and featured the band alongside the excellent Yorkshire Philharmonic Choir. This was a repeat event after the same combination came together last year and once again the combined groups performed Ben Oliver's new work for Choir and Band – Do Not Go Gentle/Death Is Nothing At All. The concert was attended by various dignitaries including the Lord Lieutenant of Yorkshire and seven Bishops from around the world on their way to the Lambeth Conference. The audience left thoroughly entertained by the band and choir and there was some excellent feedback from the special guests at the reception held afterwards, attended by conductor David Roberts. A review of the concert is available.
Over the summer there were the usual round of player changes. Bob Blackburn, formerly a baritone at Grimethorpe joined on Eb bass, whilst Emily Dodsworth joined on Repiano cornet. Rich Golding moved onto the Flugel seat as Sian regretfully had to leave us.
In September the band played for the British Open in Birmingham and were stunned to be placed last (Contest Report) This result in combination with last year's ninth, means that the band has been demoted out of the British Open and will compete in the Grand Shield in 2009, to try and win their place back in the Open.
The band launched a 100 club just after this contest, which again was designed to raise funds for the trip to London and for the ongoing expenses the band has including paying for their rehearsal space and new music.
In October the band travelled down to London for the National Finals. After an good draw (not early for once!) the performance was well received by the judges and the band were placed sixth, an excellent result (Contest Report). The band beat the reigning champions Grimethorpe, who could only manage seventh after drawing to play number one.
Towards the end of October, the band had two concerts. The first was part of the Open Door Music Festival in Kippax and took place at Brigshaw School. The next was for Aireborough Rotary Club in Yeadon Town Hall. This event was conducted by Frank Renton, of BBC Radio 2's Listen To The Band programme, and the hall was full for an excellent evening of music. Some pictures are available from the evening courtesy of Barry Wilkinson.
In November, the band played at Kirkby Overblow Church in Harrogate. The capacity audience really enjoyed the show the band put on, and went home thoroughly impressed with the band's performance.
After a march for the Remembrance Day service in Rothwell, the band's next event was at the Frontier Club in Batley, where they started a charity event hosted by BBC Radio Leeds in aid of Children in Need.
December began with the usual Christmas Concerts in the Blackburn Hall in Rothwell. This year, both concerts sold out well in advance and featured the usual favourites including Hail Smiling Morn, Carlton School Choir and Kathy Kearsley with the kids. This year's stand out performances were Sandpaper Ballet (featuring Lewys Rowles and Richard Glascodine's dancing) and the marathon cadenza in Frosty The Snowman from Ed Hodkin, which ended up with the entire audience singing the Twelve Days of Christmas.
The band Christmas dinner and award ceremony was an excellent evening. Richard Golding won the most improved player of the year award, Paul Argyle won the performance of the year award, and Ed Hodkin won the player's player of the year. All awards were voted for by the band members themselves.
The last full band concert of the year was the Festival of Nine Lessons and carols in Rothwell Church. This event was once more very well received. The band also played carols around the Christmas Tree in Rothwell on Christmas eve and were out and about like usual on Christmas Morning playing around Rothwell.
The band assembled once more during their Christmas break, to play for the wedding of Kenny Argyle and Toni Marsh. Christmas music was played before the bride arrived, and she then walked in to Vitae Lux. They left the ceremony to the strains of the Imperial March from Star Wars, through an arch made of light sabres.
2008 was a very good year for the band with some excellent performances, both on the contest and concert stages. The demotion from the Open back to the Grand Shield was a small setback, but the band took it on the chin and will be pulling out all the stops to regain their place in the British Open, by aiming for the top two at the Grand Shield. The excellent result at the Albert Hall went some way towards making up for the Open result.
2009 : Yorkshire Champions
2009 started off with some excellent concerts. The first of these was our trip down to Stroud for the Stroud Festival. This is always well attended and the band picked up some new patrons too. Up next was a trip to Bridlington to play at Christ Church. A good evening was had by all.
In February the band played a concert in the Blackburn Hall, Rothwell for the Rotary Club. After performing music from the shows for the last couple of years this time we played music from both Shows and Films. Music from various films was performed including The Empire Strikes Back, Harry Potter, Braveheart and Jurassic Park. Shows included Cats, Chicago and They're Playing Our Song. Our next concert was more traditional, when we played at Yeadon Town Hall as part of these Leeds Best of Brass season, compered by Mike Meadmore.
In March the band had a stunning result at the Yorkshire Area, winning the contest ahead of all the local rivals including Black Dyke, Grimethorpe and Brighouse (Contest Report). Contgratulations to Hepworth who took the runner up spot.
The band website resembled the births, marriages and deaths column from a newspaper soon after the Area, with babies for Paul Argyle and Neil Cole, the wedding of Tim Sawyer to Sharon D'Aucourt and the sad death of Donald Brown, one of our staunchest supporters.
In May, the band competed in the Grand Shield after being demoted from the British Open last year. It was their second contest of the year, and their second win (Contest Report). The band were therefore promoted back to the British Open in September.
Mid May, the band played their usual half concert for the Rotary Club at the free Old Folks concert in the Blackburn Hall, Rothwell.
At the Masters at the end of May, the band were looking for their third win in a row, but it was not to be. The band was tired, and our interpretation did not find favour with the judges, who played us 10th (Contest Report).
In June the band competed at a very wet Whit Friday, managing 4th overall in Saddleworth with three seconds, two thirds and a fifth place.
The band were due to compete at the English Nationals at the end of June, but after our mammoth start to the year we pulled out of the contest. We had spent most of the year working on one test piece after another, and didn't feel that we'd be able to do the contest justice. We spent the time instead rehearsing and recording music for BBC Radio 2's Listen to the Band programme, and on contest day the band held another race night.
At the beginning of the year we had four contests planned – the Yorkshire Area, Grand Shield, Masters and English Nationals. At the mid point of the year we'd gained two more towards the end – the British Open and the National Finals at the Albert Hall. We also got busier when, over the summer, we received our first invitation to the Brass in Concert entertainments contest at the Sage Gateshead.
In July we got gained some new players in Matt Hindle on Eb Bass, Vikki Holland on the back row, and Bob Blackburn on Euphonium. Bob came in on second Euph to cover for Matthew Allsop who left to join the Hammonds Saltaire band on principal Euphonium. The season ended with the traditional football match and BBQ at the Rugby Club. The band featured as 4barsrest's Band In The Spotlight during July, recognising the achievements so far this year.
In August, Ed Hodkin also gained a daughter, meaning that he didn't play at the British Open in September. The piece for this was difficult, and though we had a good performance it didn't find favour with the judges and the band were placed fifteenth (Contest Report).
In October our recording for Listen To The Band was broadcast, and we took part in the finals at the Albert Hall. We gained a stunning fourth place (Contest Report) behind some of the best bands in the world.
We now came to the busiest time of the year, with concerts at Yeadon Town Hall with Frank Renton conducting, a Best of Brass concert in Morley Town Hall, and a concert in the church at Kirkby Overblow. This last concert featured Lucy Rhodes who would be performing with us at Brass in Concert.
After performing for the Remembrance Day parade in Rothwell, the band had just a week left to prepare their programme for Brass in Concert. Their performance on contest day went well, and whilst the musical aspect was praised, we did not do as well on the entertainment side (Contest Report). The band was placed 10th overall.
The band then relaxed into Christmas Concert season, kicking off with the now traditional two concerts at the Blackburn Hall, which we well received. After performing together with Middleton School Choir at the Parochial Hall in Middleton, the band then played carols for various events before finishing up with the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at Rothwell Church. This was Neil Cole's last event with the band before he left to spend more time with his young family.
The band held their annual Award Ceremony and dinner during December. The most improved player of the year award went to Jack Telfer, whilst the performance of the year went to James McCabe for his performances throughout the year, but particularly for the soloist prize at the Yorkshire Area. The coveted player's player of the year went to Richard Glascodine, for his work in arranging music for Brass in Concert.
The band finished the year seventh in the 4barsrest/World of Brass rankings, and were as high as fifth on the Brass Band World ones. This was after starting the year somewhere towards the bottom of the top twenty. It was an excellent year on the contesting front, but very busy, and we are hoping for a less frantic year in 2010, but still with success on the contest stage.
2010 : Stage and Screen
2010 started with a cancellation – our first rehearsal of the year was called off due to the snow. Then, the second one was called off as well. We finally managed to meet back at our third attempt, though the car park at the Rugby Club was treacherous, being mostly solid ice! It was somewhat difficult to drive on.
We had a couple of player changes over the Christmas break including Jack Telfer moving from second to principal baritone, and Jim Ely joining on second Euphonium. Glyn Kearsley also rejoined to take the second baritone seat. We also received £10,000 from the local council which was used to pay for some much needed new instruments, including a couple of trombones, a horn and a baritone.
David Roberts was travelling over to Norway for weekends throughout January, where he was taking Sandefjord band to their National Contest on the 6th February. Unfortunately towards the end of January David fell ill – a rare occurrence – and he had to miss out on a weekend's rehearsing. Undeterred, he was soon back over in Norway and at the contest the band took first prize with their own choice test piece Eden. Fortuitously, Rothwell were playing Eden at the English Nationals contest in June, so David now had a head start on the rest of the conductors involved.
Our first concert of the year presented music from stage and screen at the Blackburn Hall for the Rotary Club. The capacity audience really enjoyed this event, which included music from The Magnificent Seven, Cats, West Side Story and 633 Squadron.
The band then knuckled down to working on this year's Area Contest Test Piece, English Heritage by George Lloyd. Helpfully, David Roberts took part in a recording of this piece with the Black Dyke Band many years ago, in the presence of the composer, so he had some idea of what the composer's intentions were.
Our preparations for the contest were marred by a selection of problems. We had more trouble with the weather, and various ailments occuring in key band members.
Given that we had pre-qualified for the Albert Hall after coming in the top four last October, there was very little pressure on for the contest, but we were still determined to do well. We prepared just as we would any other year, and put in the same amount of rehearsal. The team was bolstered by Geoff Brothwell on the front row of cornets and the return of Tim Hammond. Andy Riley played on the back row in the seat vacated by Neil Cole who left at Christmas to spend more time with his young family.
By contest day the band were playing really well, we though even better than last year. We were quietly confident of defending our title in style. The band were very relaxed about the whole day, and there was much hilarity in the changing room.
Our performance on stage was very good. Everything came out just the way we'd planned, and we felt that the band's sound shone through. The quiet section was very musical. The audience reaction at the end was amazing, with cheers from all around the hall, not just from our supporters. James McCabe on principal cornet got the biggest cheer.
The contest started a little late and there were slightly more bands than last year, three were promoted from the first section and only two bands demoted. This all added up to a very late night, and we were still listening to the speeches and results at gone 11.00pm.
When the results were announced and we came out third, the band were actually quite disappointed! However, it was a fantastic achievement. (Contest Report)
Many people in the hall had the top four in a different order, with us or Black Dyke to win followed by Brighouse and Carlton Main, but the men in the box has things differently, and it's their opinion that counts.
Immediately after the Yorkshire Area, the band returned for a week of intense rehearsal before their performance at the Stroud Festival on 20th March. We've been taking part in this concert season for a few years now, which contains performances of many of the best bands in Britain, but this will be the last. Unfortunately, due to high fuel prices and a drop in audience numbers the season's organisers have decided to stop putting on the concerts. We were always assured of a warm welcome at the concert in Stroud, usually after we'd annoyed the local police by jamming up the town centre with the coach!
The band held a mini beer festival in early May to have some fun and raise funds. An entertaining evening was had by all at the Rugby club, with pub games and a quiz. £162 was raised.
After this, the band knuckled down to some more hard work preparing to record their new CD. This was recorded over the weekend of 8th and 9th of May at Rothwell C of E school and featured music from stage and screen. Show music includes Cats, West Side Story, No Business Like Show Business, Another Opening Another Show and Singing in the Rain. Film music includes The Magnificent Seven, 633 Squadron, Dance with Wolves and The Mask of Zorro. By popular request we also recorded I'll Walk With God from The Student Prince, which is always a favourite at our concerts. We would like to thank Michael Bartlett, the band's president, for the donation which allowed us to record this CD. We must also thank Brian Jones and Al McNichol who once again engineered the recording. They were ably assisted by Dal, who at one point was on the school roof trying to shut a window so we could avoid the sound of lawnmowers on our CD. He was also a dab hand with gaffer tape when required to make the vibraphone mechanism quieter!
The weekend recording session was good fun and the band were on good form. We did so well that we recorded more pieces than we expected to on the Saturday and so finished early on the Sunday.
The next event for the band was the annual Senior Citizen's concert in the Blackburn Hall, Rothwell. This event features a choir in the first half and then the band finish off the night. We played much of the music recorded for the CD and Dan Eddison, our young trombonist, played his first solo with the band, Shout, which was very well received.
The band were out and about on Whit Friday, this year taking in the Lancashire sunshine rather than the torrential rain of 2009. The band performed well and took third place overall in Saddleworth. The band managed eight contests and were fourth at Delph, third at Greenfield and Lees & Springhead, second at Grotton and first at Diggle and Dobcross. Hepworth won overall, with Brighouse and Rastrick second.
Next up for the band was the English Nationals at Preston on 26th June, playing the difficult test piece Eden. The content was run with just nine bands. The main reason given by the bands that withdrew was financial – the winning band needed to find almost £25,000 to compete in the European Championships in 2011 which is due to be held in Montreaux, Swizerland. At the content, the band were placed a very creditable third, with the Fairey band winning. (Contest Report)
For this contest, our ranks were bolstered by two foreign players helping out on the front row. Christopher Røedvang is a member of the Sandefjord Band that won on the same piece under David Roberts in January. He was joined by Jef Vermeiren from Belgium who used to play for Willebroek and is the current British Open solo champion.
Our summer break this year was different, in that it actually included three band jobs. The first was the Great Yorkshire Show. The band did a sterling job, playing various slots throughout the day from 10am through to 5pm, with some very positive comments being received from the visitors to the show. The band were invited to appear live on BBC Look North, but that would be meant staying on the site until 7pm, and many of the band members left home at 7am to make sure they got to the venue on time through the busy traffic. The band unfortunately had to decline the invitation due to fatigue!
Our first band wedding of the summer was for Andy Marsh, our principal euphonium. Andy travels down from Durham for band rehearsals, so the entire band made the reverse journey up the A1 to play for his wedding to Anne. The venue was a Catholic Church in the centre of Durham, and the band were playing on a balcony at the back of the church. The photo top left is of the band playing – it was a little cramped!
Our next wedding was a non-band one, but it took place on the same day and in the same church as our bass player Ben married Sarah, so we decided to take the job on. The groom is a member of the Royal Marines and turned up in the back of a transit van, complete with ribbons! The bride was just over half an hour late for the wedding due to the late arrival of the hairdresser, but all went well and the couple had a fanfare from four marines trumpeters before they left the church with the band playing them out.
Just an hour or so later the band were back in Rothwell Church for Ben and Sarah's wedding. The bride was thankfully on time for this wedding! During the signing of the register the congregation were entertained by Ed Hodkin playing the bass solo The Sun Has Got His Hat On, which went down well.
Over the summer we had a player change on the bass line. Nick Collier took up a new job down in Oxford and so had to leave us. In his place cames Steve Peacock. Steve was a member of Grimethope Band for many years on both Cornet and Horn, but has now decided to try his hand on Bass.
On 4th September the band took part in the British Open contest at Symphony Hall in Birmingham, were they came an excellent sixth. (Contest Report) Unfortunately we were without our regular Soprano Cornet Paul Argyle, as he had been sent on a course with work and was unavailable to play. We secured a quality replacement in Martin Britt who has recently played the piece in New Zealand, but he was only available for three rehearsals.
This result removes our worries about relegation from this contest back into the Grand Shield. After our fifteenth place last year, another bad result would have dropped us down again, but sixth consolidates our position amongst the best bands in the world.
The piece, On The Shoulders of Giants by Peter Graham, was easier to play than Eden, and we managed to rehearse it up in just two and a half weeks.
The contest was won by Tredegar, who have only just been promoted to the contest from the Grand Shield. It is believed that this is the first time that a band has held both the Grand Shield and British Open titles at the same time. The Fairey Band are also on good form at the moment; after their success at the English Nationals they followed it up with a second place at the Open. The defending champions, Cory, could only manage fifth place off the dreaded number one draw.
The band then knuckled down to work rehearsing Terra Australis by Martin Ellerby for the National Finals at the Royal Albert Hall. The band were again placed fourth, the same result as last year. (Contest Report)
We normally take two coaches down to London for the weekend as there are so many supporters accompanying us, but
this year the expense proved too much. A compromise was found with us managing to secure a large double decker coach. It was good that we were all together!
We travelled down to London on the Friday afternoon, and had arranged to rehearse in the Coldstream Guards Bandroom at Wellington Barracks near Buckingham Palace. This was an excellent venue for us to rehearse in, not least because a full set of percussion equipment was available to use. After running the piece through we returned to the hotel and retired to bed (or the bar) before our early morning on contest day.
This fourth place means that we have again pre-qualified for the National Finals in 2011, but we didn't get any prize money at all!
Our new CD, Stage and Screen was released in September, and a track from it was featured by Aled Jones on Radio 2. His Good Morning Sunday show has a “Brassed-off” slot, and the band submitted their CD. It was well received by the audience and we had many orders for the CD off the back of the broadcast.
Just after the Nationals, David Roberts was out in Denmark conducting the Svogerslev Blaeserne band to the Danish Nationals Championships. David was ably assisted by his wife Catherine who helped out on Horn. The band weren't as dedicated as us, and David struggled to get the players to enough rehearsals. They were both surprised at the differences in contesting between England and Denmark, with the players having to take their own music stands onto stage. The band came fifth at the contest, and were very happy with their result.
In early November David was busy again adjudicating part of the British Open Solo Championships. This featured soloists from all over the world, including our very own James McCabe who eventually came second. Jef Vermeiren from Belgium, who has helped us out at many contests this year, was the defending champion, but could only manage third place this year.
The next band event was the Brass In Concert contest up at the Sage in Gateshead. We didn't do well here last year, the
Entertainments format being a bit different for us. We improved on last year's tenth place, but could only manage eighth overall. (Contest Report) Our programme was: Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Tour de Band, March: Simoraine, Estrellita (featuring Andy Marsh on Solo Euphonium), Eliza Doolittle v Fats Waller and Fantaisie Brilliante from On the Shoulders of Giants.
The Eliza Doolittle piece was arranged by Richard Glascodine from our back row of cornets, and featured him and three other dancers out front. He was joined by Mark Lowe, Steve Peacock and Jack Telfer. Mark and Jack did a homage to Anton Du Beke and Ann Widdicombe. We could see many members of the audience laughing hysterically but others didn't seem to get it!
Our Christmas season started with our two sell out concerts in the Blackburn Hall, Rothwell. These events were a great success, despite our lack of preparation due the the adverse weather. Ed Hodkin was in form again playing his usual brand of never-ending solo, whilst the band's encore of Twelve Days of Christmas had the audience leaving in high spirits.
On the weekend following these concerts the band held their annual dinner and awards ceremony, which this year started with a Fish and Chip supper. The major prizes went to Vikki Holland for Most Improved Player, Catherine Roberts for Performance of the Year and Jack Telfer for Player's Player of the Year. Thanks must go to Jack and Ed Hodkin for their hard work presenting, and to everyone who helped make the evening a success. A good time was had by all.
Following this event, we started our busiest Christmas for some time. First up was the concert at Leeds Parish Church which saw the band perform with the St Peters Singers, Leeds College of Music Choral Society and the Choir of the Parish Church. The following night the band were at Leeds Town Hall, where they performed to over 2000 people at the Lord Mayor's Carol Concerts. This event was run twice, once at 6.30pm and once at 8.30pm, to cater for the demand for tickets and featured the band performing with Leeds Philharmonic Chorus and Alan Horsey on the Organ.
Our last big event was a concert with Bradford Festival Choral Society at Bradford St George's Hall. It was a change to play a concert in this venue – it's somewhere we usual only get to play at for the Area contest! This was an excellent concert, with the second half aimed at the childen in the audience. Children were asked to provide jokes which were then read out. There was one from a Mr D Roberts – “How many third cornet players does it take to change a lightbulb? None – they can't get up that high!” There was lots of dressing up – the choir conductor did the entire second half in a Reindeer constume and the choir's (male!) piano accompanist was wearing a fetching red dress. Children were asked to identify instruments and then were sent hunting around through the band to find hidden presents. An excellent time was had by all.
Just before Christmas the band were again featured on the Aled Jones show – this time a track from Christmas Collection was played.
The final full band event of the year was the annual Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at Rothwell Church. A good (if somewhat chilly!) evening was had by all.
The band were out and about as usual on Christmas Morning, entertaining around the Rothwell area. This year, a record seventeen players took part, with eight supporters helping out with driving duties.
It's been a good year on both the concert and contesting front. We look forward to the challenges that 2011 brings.