The Shirley Band had some surprise guests at their Christmas Concert at Hall Green Theatre on Wednesday 14th December. Mike and Linda Lawrence from Great Eccleston in Lancashire, together with members of their family had made a special visit to hear the band. Linda is the grand-daughter of William Davis, a former conductor of the band in the period immediately before and after the Second World War who did much to establish the then Shirley Silver Band as one of the West Midlands premier brass bands, and who led them to their first contest in 1946 – a victory at the Midlands Brass Band Championships. A sell-out audience was treated to a sparkling programme of Festive music, with the star performance coming from Solo Euphonium Kevin Short in Keith Wilkinson’s stunning arrangement of “O Holy Night”. Fortunately for Kevin and Musical Director David Bishop-Rowe there was to be no trap-door trickery this year, with a newly strengthened stage having been constructed during the past 12 months. The band now look forward to a well-earned rest over the Christmas Holidays before looking to build on an encouraging year in the contest and concert fields, during which several new players have arrived to strengthen the line-up. Plans for 2012 include the recording and release of the band’s new CD appropriately timed for the Diamond Jubilee; the previous recording being for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977.