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The Amazing Grace Notes

Newsletter for Olney Brass and Friends
including Beginner Band and Open Band

March 2023

David Rose's work with our feeder bands really paid off this month, we thank him for his dedication and hard work, and for Sara's assistance!

The Band had two groups playing at the Festival this year and both had excellent comments from the adjudicator. OB1 played ‘German tune’,’Welsh Tune’ and ‘When the Saints’ where the solo cornets finished on a high C (3rd space!) - impressive! The adjudicator commented positively on their deportment and contrasting volume control as well as their tight ensemble playing. OB2 played, ‘Yma o Hyd’ an arrangement of a song by the Welsh singer Dafydd Iwan that is heard on the terraces sung by fans at Welsh Football games, ‘A Lan y Môr’, a beautiful Welsh Folk Song (spot the theme?!) and ‘Call Me’ as sang by Blondie. Again the adjudicator commented positively and “loved’ the drum introduction to the first piece well played Barney who, due to circumstances beyond our control, had to play a much longer introduction then rehearsed!! Both Bands received a commendation certificate - Well done OB1 and OB2



Ten members of OB2 (Open Band) joined forces with players from the MK Music Hub to perform as MK Brasshoppers at these Championships. Held at Stockport Grammar School, it was a long journey by coach but worth it to experience the buzz of playing
in the same venue as the cream of youth bands from across the country. The adjudicators were the Fodens principal euphonium player, Gary Curtin and the composer Darren Hall. They comment positively on the programme and the quality of playing, especially
considering that the band had only met for two rehearsals. The Band even got a fantastic write up on 4Bars Rest! It as a long day but the smiles of the young players’ faces said that it was an enjoyable one.

Olney Brass
Played for the first time in the 2nd section at the London a
nd Southern Counties Regional Competition and were placed a very creditable 5th out of 17 bands.

Drawing inspiration from John Bunyan's Christian allegory, 'The Pilgrim's Progress' and Eric Ball's setting of Bunyan's 'Pilgrim's Hymn', Rodney Newton has expertly crafted a set of variations, each outlining a chapter in the Pilgrim's journey to the Celestial City.The work was written in 2003 (Eric Ball's centenary year) for Bandmaster Stephen Cobb and The International Staff Band of The Salvation Army to whom it is dedicated.

Farewells and Welcomes!
After the area contest, two of our long standing members decided to hang up their instruments.
Henry, has been in the band since 2014 mostly on Solo Cornet, and is pursuing other hobbies.Laurence, after a 20 year 'temporary roll' on Flugel has decided to retire from playing afterdoing a sterling job over the years. His whole family has been involved at some point - his wifeTess taught many of our horn players and his two sons Peter (Euphonium) and Tim (cornet)played for several years. We are hoping to twist his arm to join us occasionally so we don't losetouch completely. Both players were presented with gifts and a momento of their time with theband.
Welcome to Charlie Harris who joined Olney Brass back in December - since then he has played both Solo and Repiano cornet and played in his first contest with us. The test piece called for three percussionists and we were delighted to welcome Borta Jones who has decided to stay with us.

Anthony Victor Moroney 'Tony'
The band were saddened to hear of the death of former Bass Trombone player Tony
A full appreciation of his work with the band will appear in May

A look back at some contesting origins
It would seem that the band is no stranger to contesting, checking out the Brass Band Results website here are some off the earlier successes of our namesake. Northampton Mercury Friday 26th July 1895 'The presentation of new silver instruments, which have been purchased at a cost of £300, was made on Saturday afternoon. Mr Attenborough officiated. The affair was arranged to take place in a field off the Weston Road, but owing to the inclemency of the weather a retreat had to be made to the British School. The band has since its inception in 1892 obtained prizes to the value of £43.00, has secured four second and three third prizes and never competed without taking a prize.......Attenborough said he thought it was a great credit to the members that they should have arrived at such a state of efficiency in so short a time. He would give them a little advice, being a bit of a musician himself. He urged them not only to practise
together, but to practise at home, and then probably they would not only gain second and third places but first also. He then presented the different members with their instruments, and after doing so he recommended them to keep their instruments in as good a condition as they were at the time.

James Hager was born in Earls Barton in February 1870 and so was only in his twenties when he had these successes with the band. He also conducted Newport Pagnell Band, Stony Stratford Band, Woburn Sands, Northampton Town, Berkhamsted Volunteer and Excelsior Bands and Oswestry Excelsior.
20th July 1893 Bedford Contest 2nd Luisa Miller (arr Round) J. Hager
14th May 1894 Aylesbury Contest 2nd Verdi (arr Round) J. Hager
18th August 1894 Luton Contest 3rd Elixir of Love J. Hager
18th August 1894 Luton March Contest 2nd Hero of the South J. Hager
25th August 1894 Wolverton Contest 3rd Elixir of Love J. Hager
22nd June 1895 Agricultural Contest 3rd Maritana Geroge F Birkenshaw
London 2nd Class
15th August 1895 Leighton Buzzard 2nd Maritana George F Birkenshaw
24th June 1896 Bletchley Contest 1st Lucrezia Borgia J. Hager

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