Aldbourne Band plays throughout the night on Christmas Eve

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by ROBWILLIAMS, Dec 6, 2005.


    ROBWILLIAMS New Member

    We have quite an unusal tradition at Aldbourne Band for Christmas, and I was wondering what other Bands are up to around the turn of Christmas Eve / Christmas Day.

    There is a long-standing tradition in the Village of Aldbourne, in rural Wiltshire, of playing through the night on Christmas Eve, then waking up the village at 4am to welcome in Christmas Day. The morning is rounded-off at 6.15am playing the final selection of carols from the top of St. Michael’s Church Tower. The tradition started decades ago because the Band wanted to play Christmas morning, but they needed to be finished by 6.30am because some of them were also in the Village Bell Ringers who always start at 6.30am. Christmas Eve usually starts off around 7pm at the Browns farm for the start in a series of private parties before gate-crashing the pubs to lead the carols and busking. Rick Bendle usually entertains the crowds with "Music Man", plus a couple of stand-up stints. Beer flows readily and everyone enjoys themselves. Some of us don’t actually go home to sleep between Christmas Eve and Morning, preferring to busk and drink in lock-ins in various village ale houses until 3:45am. (Well there’s really not much point trying to sleep between 2am and 3.45am if you need to be back ready to play at 4am!).

    Everyone still standing, and people who went home early to get some sleep, meet up at the Memorial Hall just before 4am. We play carols in every major street in the village at each lamppost to audiences who have gotten up early, some already having placed carol requests to be played at specific houses, and a few lay on refreshment buffets. :clap:

    Various supporters like to walk around with us and some bring their kids and dogs as well!

    Richard Hughes, Band Secretary said “I've played with the Band on Christmas morning for the last 12 years and still enjoy it!. I'm not particularly religious but often feel that I've contributed something special every time I stand on that Church Tower. Long may it continue.”

    This year it follows a particularly busy Christmas schedule for the Band with 5 concerts in 2 weekends, plus 3 all-day caroling stints.

    We're usually fit to drop come 7am on Christmas Day!

    Further details of this and other long-standing Aldbourne Band traditions are found on their web-site

    What does everyone else do for Christmas? :D

    Rob Williams
    Publicity Officer

    Aldbourne Band

    07736 691902
  2. postie

    postie Member

    Blimey we certainly arent awake on Christmas Day that early. Bestwood do there annual club run around Bestwood Village and Hucknall on Christmas Eve . The clubs involved are always more than willing to let us come and entertain there customers. Normally we start at 7.45pm and finish at 10.30pm. Good luck with your Christmas festivities.

    ROBWILLIAMS New Member

    Well it's not that we awake that early - we generaly find it easier NOT to go to bed inthe first instance! You are more than welcome to join us if at a loose end!
  4. postie

    postie Member

    Cheers Rob thanks for the offer having various lock-ins is very tempting. But have a long night banding it will be bed for me.

    BRIAN KEECH Member

    Christmas Morning Playing

    Bradwell Silver Band (Milton Keynes) play on Christmas morning starting at 6am.
    This has been a tradition since the band was formed in 1901. Part of the tradition is that the children of Bradwell are not allowed to open their presents until they have heard the band.

    This event is one of many the band undertakes over the Christmas period.
  6. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    We visit a number of old people's homes, a street party and a couple of the clubs on Christmas Eve, finishing about 10pm. Last year for the first time we held a late night service, from 11.30 onwards, but the band is not on duty for that, although several of us attend.

    Then on Christmas morning a group of us play carols at Basildon hospital until lunchtime.
  7. Aaron

    Aaron Member

    We at Meltham have a long-standing tradition of busking most nights through cdecember round the local pubs & hotels which brings in alot of extra cash!

    On xmas eve, the band meet up around 6.30-7pm, split into 2 teams, & do 2 different circuits of pubs, hotels, social/sports clubs & meet up in the centre of the village around 11.30pm for a pint
    We then form up in the middle of the road in the square, & soon as the clock hits midnight we play the meltham carol, all the locals pile out of the surrounding pubs & join in singing which makes for a very festive start to xmas day
  8. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    Traditionally Killamarsh Silver (Prize) Band would play on Christmas Day around the village which is now more of a small town. I would think the last time the band did this was more than 40 years ago so I'm affraid that's a lost one.

    When I first joined our band we started a new tradition of playing carols in the main street the morning of the last Saturday before Christmas and for many years this happened - however a number of other groups - Scouts, church choirs, hand-bell ringers turned up on the same day so we would play in one spot move on only to find that another group had got there before us - that's one we no longer do.

    Our current regular village events at Christmas now consist of playing carols at the turning on of the Christmas Lights, carols at a Victorian Market held the first Saturday of December and a multi-denominational carol service two Sundays before.

    I'll be spending my Christmas Day with family in Wantage so perhaps I should bring my tuba mouthpiece along and help out Aldbourne (about 10 miles away).

    ROBWILLIAMS New Member

    Hello Tubafan, yes our Band knows Wantage well (and their good Band), and consider yourself welcome for Christmas eve / Day. We typically start at around 6.30 to 7pm in the evening, and you'll hear the Band around the village, even if you can't see us. If all else fails have a few drinks at the Blue Boar public house and you will see us on the village green sometime before 8.30. If you join us for teh 4am shift you will definitely hear us to find us as we follow our route. I am not sure we have a spare EEb though, they will either be in use, or at home for practice!

    There are proper contact detais on

  10. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Or you could save yourself the trek and turn out for Wantage on their round-the-town tour on Christmas morning! It has the advantage of being at the civilised hour of 11 o'clock. In fact, you could probably turn out for both bands - it doesn't sound like the times clash. ;)

    Rob - you're the Percussionist at Aldbourne, right?
    Hi there...

  11. imthemaddude

    imthemaddude Active Member

    What if santa catches presents ;)

    ROBWILLIAMS New Member

    Yeah, Hi David, right on with percussion, but not THE percussionist, just one of our team of percussionists. However you probably see me beating (literally) the Bass Drum at Aldbourne Carnival.
    I would love to come over to Wantage, however, come 11am Christmas Day I will be in the middle of my 5 hours sleep! I think I can pretty safely say that it will be the same for anyone else involved. But have a good Christmas if we don't see you out about about carolling.
  13. alanl58

    alanl58 Member

    I just hope no-one falls foul of the new "Entertainment Licence" law....

  14. tinytimp

    tinytimp Member

    My old band used to go round the village on Boxing Day. We'd start at the secretary's house around 9am for breakfast and make our way through the village, stopping en route to entertain the locals. We'd be 'entertained' by the residents' offerings of food and much beer, mulled wine and Grappa from an elderly Italian man living in the village!

    We'd be finished by the early afternoon after trekking through a field to a farmhouse and round the day off with a carol on top of the mountain. The number of players making it to this point was always variable due to the hospitality along the way!
  15. persins

    persins Member

    Blimey, That is good committment! Another random wiltshire tradition ehh?
    And I thought the Pond concerts were amusing enough!
    I can't think of any christmas traditions for Woodfalls actually. Well, not that I could post in public anyway!!

    ROBWILLIAMS New Member

    Hi Tinytimp, that sounds like good fun, especially the "much beer" bit, not sure about the mountain bit though, but a chance to blow the cobwebbs away after a Christmas Day with the family. Some of our players also escape to convene in the public houses in Aldbourne on Boxing Day evening too.

    We have now completed our 5 Christams concert and have 1 all-day caroling session and then the Christmas Eve left before we get stuck into 'Journey'.
    Have a great one, christmas, thanks,
  17. michellegarbutt

    michellegarbutt Supporting Member

    Well I'm staying with my sister in Cleethorpes for Christmas this year but if theres a band in the area doing anything Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or Boxing Day I'd love to get involved
  18. alks

    alks Member

    We at marshfield (wiltshire/Gloucestershire)always do the same events around Christmas day. But always get Christmas day off as we do Boxing day as well.

    On xams eve its always the 600pm start around the villiage and then a 4-5 hour stint.

    Then xmas day off !!

    Then Its boxing day morning at 10.00pm for the 'mummers' events.
    This is a Marshfied tradition that has occured since the 11th century (or so they say). The band plays carols in the villiage before the 'mummers' start.

    Then thats it.
  19. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Playing on Christmas Day

    Anyone else playing on December 25th? I've agreed to play at the local parish church for their Christmas morning service. Got a good deal out of it, though. Christmas lunch at the vicar's! (My GF is away visiting her mum :( ). Have to curtail my usual ribald 'humour', though!

    Reminds me of a time when I was living in London, 10 local (SE London) brass players got together to play Carols on Christmas Day for the patients at the now defunct Hither Green Hospital near Lewisham some years ago. As we struck up the first carol, 'O Come All Ye Faithful', one particular patient knocked the wall with his fist and demanded that we 'Shut that ****ing row up!'

    'Tis the season to be jolly'...... :)

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