Sandhurst Enter the Championship Section!

Discussion in 'Bandroom News - User Submitted' started by chill, Jan 8, 2010.

  1. chill

    chill Member

    Sandhurst Enter the Championship Section!

    As the 1st January arrived, there was more than the new year's festivities of note to the players of Sandhurst Silver Band. For the first time in it's 101 year history, the band officially entered the Championship section. Just over seven years ago Sandhurst were competing in the fourth section, the lowest section in the brass band world.

    The progress of the band in the intervening years has been remarkable. With the arrival of Roger Burke as musical director, the band soon found winning form and began its rise in the contesting arena. Consecutive wins at the London and Southern Counties regional championships saw the band promoted through the third and second and first sections where it arrived in 2006. The reigns were then taking over by Ian McElligott for the regionals in 2008 and 2009, where the band finally secured promotion to the top flight of brass banding. It is great credit to both Roger and Ian that their committment and hard work have taken the band so far in such a short period of time.

    The hard work really starts now however, with the prospect of an extremely challenging piece for this year's regionals. The band will have to pull out all the stops just to retain its place at this level. With the first rehearsal of 2010 cancelled due to the snow, the band will be keen to get into the practice room and start work on 'English Heritage' in the hope that they can continue to make the town of Sandhurst proud of their band and fly the flag for the southern counties.

    The Band
    Sandhurst Silver Band is a friendly, progressive and independent brass band that has been making music in the community since 1908. It has enjoyed contesting success in recent years, and has just secured promotion to the Championship Section from 2010 onwards.


    We welcome players at all levels of ability and currently have a vacancy for a First Class Cornet player and a second trombone. Click here to find out more about joining Sandhurst.

    Sandhurst Community Brass is open to players of all abilities and meets on Thursday evenings at 7.30pm. The aim of SCB is to provide opportunities for new and developing players to enjoy making music under expert guidance.

  2. tuba1974

    tuba1974 Member

    great news well done, how many of the band are in the army bands
  3. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Congratulations :D
  4. bassendworld

    bassendworld Member

    Hi Chris

    Are you son of the infamous Mr Peter Hill who plays with us at Maidenhead SA?

    Congratulations to you all at SSB

    Ian & Sally
  5. chill

    chill Member

    Hi, thanks for the kind message.

    Zero military players at the moment. Just Marcus our princ Trom is I think has some non playing role for one of the TA bands.

  6. chill

    chill Member

    Sure am :)

  7. halsasaurus

    halsasaurus Member

    Your journey sounds fantastic and it is the stuff that dreams are made out of.
    I am full of admiration and perhaps a little envy.
    This is a genuine question though.
    How has the Band changed over time as it has climbed up through the rankings from 4th to Championship?
    I ask because I often think about the possibility of achieving the same success as your band but I wonder about what problems success brings along the way.
  8. towse1972

    towse1972 Active Member

    Skelmanthorpe did this during the 90's. We had very little player change throughout. It's a great feeling to be part of something like that.
    Well done to all at Sandhurst and good luck in the forthcoming contesting year.
  9. chill

    chill Member

    This is a very good question indeed.
    Roger our previous MD did a fantastic job in extracting the most out the players he had in the band. Ian has had to do the same since he took over in the 1st section, but there is a point in time where some hard decisions have to be made. Once in the first section we really had to decide if we continued with the status quo, or if we wanted to continue to improve and try to reach the next level.

    The latter would mean some difficult decisions in terms of players.
    Our constitution was re-written, which means no one's seat is safe, and no one has a right to stay where they are.
    So, me on Sop, our principal cornet etc are all prepared to step down for a better player coming into the band.

    .As a result the player base has changed significantly over the last 2 years. But there are still a few players left from the 3/4th section days.

    So for example, I moved of principal cornet to let a better player take the seat. Our principal Euph from 2nd section, is now our lead Bb Tuba player for example, and our 1st baritone player is also playing Bb Tuba. (a mighty difficult part at this level :) )

    So, as for change, it has been a tough couple of years, and I have lost some really good friends from the band, but we try to keep the same friendly social side of the band as it has always been, because this is the reason many of us are a part of the Sandhurst family.
  10. chill

    chill Member

    Fantastic band Skelmanthorpe,!!!

    got to meet a couple of you at Butlins the other year.
    And I know Fiona Berry from our band is good friends with many of you :)
    Good luck in 2010 guys..
  11. halsasaurus

    halsasaurus Member

    The Circle of Life

    Thanks for the reply. I wonder how many Bands have climbed to the top but retained the majority of the original members?
    This probably applies just as much to non-playing members
    If everyone is determined to take their band to the highest level possible, they must all think about the eventual consequences.

    Its life I suppose
    One of the things that always interests me is where all the great players dissapear to, when they are not needed anymore, as the Band improves and moves upwards through all the sections?

  12. The Wherryman

    The Wherryman Active Member

    Perhaps you should re-write your web site as well. There appears to be little friendship left in your group and surely you are only welcoming players who have the ability to support your quest for contesting glory.

    Nothing wrong in that, if that is your Holy Grail.
  13. towse1972

    towse1972 Active Member

    Geoff. I just had a look at the web site as well. I have no idea what your alluding to with the above comment. The band seem to be a very proud and progressive bunch of friends.
    Can you explain so a thick Northern lass can understand? I might be wrong but my interpretation on what you have written is they can't be that friendly group because they want to work hard and perform at their best at contests.....I'm sure you will correct me if I'm wrong!
  14. steve butler

    steve butler Active Member

    Some people find it difficult to understand how close knit (even friendly) a top class ambitious band can be. The perception seems to be that their friendly little world of failing gracefully in a 'happy' band is the essence of brass banding. In my (limited) experience theres not much more fullfilling (in a brass band sense) than playing in a band where everyone is 100% committed to attaining the highest standards.
  15. The Wherryman

    The Wherryman Active Member

    Is this Marcus Gibbons LRSM, who joined the Army Junior School of Music at 16, studied at Kneller Hall, served with the RAMC Staff Band and was Band Sergeant Major with the REME Band? Sorry if I've got the wrong Marcus.

    Donna, you are a past master (or should that be mistress) at misinterpretation.

    The current band is undoubtedly committed and may well be friendly. I was considering more the previous players who, apparently, didn't come up to scratch in the present regime and have been replaced. Hardly friendly. Necessary, presumably, to enable the band to achieve its goal, but friendly?

    Steve, while I agree with you, there is no suggestion that I can see that the 3rd/4th section players were not 100% committed, simply that they were unable to achieve the required standard. Not all of us are Kneller Hall or RCM trained. Commitment does not equal virtuosity. There are many, many 100% commited people who will never play in a Championship band and, dare I suggest it, players in the upper sections who can play good but lack commitment.
  16. steve butler

    steve butler Active Member

    I've yet to come across a lower section band with the committment of a top band Geoff. You don't have to be a brilliant player to play in a top band, you can get away with being fairly average, but pratice like crazy and work hard with MD and other players.

    PS I'm very impressed with how you manage all this multi-quote malarkey :D
  17. The Wherryman

    The Wherryman Active Member

    Commitment, Steve, pure and simple!!!
  18. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    That appears to be a very, very harsh judgement.

    For a start, unless I've misunderstood, they have had to rewrite their constitution to allow players to be moved around to improve the band. Surely an action like that would have required the agreement of a majority of the band members at the time (in other words before they got into the Championship section)? Some of whom must have known that such a vote might place their seat in jeopardy.

    I'm reminded of a story I was told when I first joined Northop. Way before my time they recruited Graham Jones (then PC of Cammell Laird) with the aim of taking a solid village band and getting it to the top section. Jones sat down with the committee at the time and told them that in order to get the band to improve some players would have to give up their seats. The secretary got a pencil and a piece of paper out and said "OK, which ones?" - to which the response was "well the first one's you!".

    Said secretary was still involved as a non-playing member of the committee getting on for 20 years later.
  19. chill

    chill Member

    This is the conundrum (did I spell that right ?) . Under great leadership the band improves. You reach a point where you can't continue to progress much more with the players you have, so then a decision has to be made. You will have some players who have the ability, and desire to keep moving forward and others who are happy with where the band is currently. Every band will be different, and will have to tackle such issues in it's own way.
  20. chill

    chill Member

    Hi yes this is the said Marcus Gibbons. Terrific player!!! :)

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