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Happy New 50th Year

Plans are well underway for the band’s 50th year celebrations. Reserve the date Saturday 28th September 2024.

More details will follow in future Grace Notes and through social media - please mention to anyone who has a connection with the

band or who might be interested

Stevenage Beckons

The band return to Stevenage in March for the Regional Qualifying contest, and following last year’s promotion will be playing Triptych by Philip Sparke in the Second Section. The successful Christmas season over, the rehearsals take on a new meaning as we get to grips with the test piece.

Written in three connected movements, the piece tests all players whilst remaining entertaining to listen to

1. Pageant

Has a slightly medieval mood through use of modal harmony and starts with a single line with the feel of a fanfare. The texture thickens as layer is laid upon layer until a chordal climax is reached. A second, but still martial, subject leads back to the original fanfare and after material is restated three themes combine to close the movement.

2. Fantasy on One Note

A hymn-like movement, which has a concert ‘F’ present throughout. As the harmony changes, the ‘F’ appears in various parts of the band but returns to the 2nd and 3rd cornets under changing harmony to lead to:

3. Festival

A joyous movement with a lively tune first stated by the trombones and euphoniums. The full band takes this up. A cantabile second subject is introduced by the euphoniums and again taken up ‘tutti’. The first tune the reappears to bring the movement to a close.

Martin Mills

Martin Mills, our soprano cornet player for over a decade, has retired from Olney Brass.

Whilst he was with us he helped the band to a number of contest successes and also featured often as a soloist. In 2012, not only did he help us win the Second Section at the SCABA contest he was also awarded best instrumentalist and was mentioned several times in the adjudicator’s comments about our performance of Laudate Dominum.

Martin has a distinguished playing career and I’m grateful to Chris Stevens at Towcester Band for the following information and photos. Martin played for Jaguar Car Works Band and transfered to Coventry Festival in 1962. He then moved to Towcester Studio in 1977 before joining us. He will be hard to replace and wish him every success in his retirement

This photo shows a dashing young

Martin, next to Laurence May as part

of the cornet line-up at Towcester.

We take our hat off to you!

Elsa Morley

Our First Baritone player Elsa Morley has also decided to step down in order to concentrate on her studies. Elsa is an example of the great work David Rose does with the band to develop and encourage players of the future.

Elsa took to brass playing quickly and soon began being recognised as an outstanding

player. She was presented with the gold award at our solo competition. Kevin Nicholls said ‘Elsa chose to play 'Bone Idyll' which was a brave choice as it was much more avant garde but she played with clarity and conviction.’

Elsa quickly rose to the main band and coped with the demands of playing Solo Baritone.

In 2022 Elsa was awarded best instrumentalist prize as part of our Second place at the Area Qualifying Contest (playing Facets of Glass) and helped to secure a place at the Cheltenham Finals We wish her every success with her studies.

Often when we say good bye to players we loose the invaluable support of parents. Elsa’s mum Debbie made a valuable backstage contribution to the band - helping at concerts, beginner band rehearsals, serving teas and selling raffle tickets.


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