Sunday February 24th saw every almost every adult brass band based in Lancashire and Greater Manchester head over to Blackpool Winter Gardens for the annual North West Area Brass Band Championships and we at Eagley were no exception!
Having been promoted to the Second Section just a year ago, the band could have been forgiven for having fairly low expectations of the outcome of the 2019 Areas, but in typical CJW fashion, we prepared as if we were going to win the contest – and our performance on the day certainly justified our MD’s unwavering beliefs!
Very happily for all Second Section bands this year, our section contest was held in the magnificent and iconic Opera House, the same venue within the Winter Gardens complex as the mighty Championship Section which would follow on from ours. With an excellent draw of No.11 from within the seventeen competing bands, Eagley took to the stage in thoroughly well prepared, confident and surprisingly relaxed mood and we delivered one of our best ever performances at the Areas, confirmed and evidenced by a number of excellent recordings which surfaced after we had played.
Our excellent rendition from start to finish of the late Darrol Barry’s “Rise of The Phoenix” had everyone in the band full of the highest expectation when it came to the results ceremony, with the internet site Four Bars Rest placing Eagley in second; Runners-Up of the 2019 Second Section and not only qualifiers for the National Brass Band Finals in Cheltenham later in the year but, as a result, promoted to the First Section only fourteen months after being a Third Section band with almost all the same players. As results were announced from the stage, and knowing that everyone in the band could not have played any better either individually or collectively, Eagley were read out in Fourth Place, sadly not runners-up as had been predicted in the light of our outstanding performance. Clearly our excellent performance was one which could, on another day, have found favour with the adjudicators and without doubt won the contest or finished anywhere in the top few bands. However, to be placed fourth in the section was an excellent outcome, only spoiled in that it was the top three placed bands which were to qualify for the National Finals, so our placing was tantalisingly close to that additional achievement as well as being promoted to the First Section from next year had we finished in third place or higher.
Click here to see photos from Blackpool
On Saturday evening, December 22nd, another 1,200 people came to watch, listen and pack into Bolton’s Victoria Hall to attend our 2018 Gala Christmas Concert with our friends from Smithills Community Choir and Smithills Community Band in aid of Bolton Hospice, all conducted by MD Chris Wormald. The queues outside the hall before the concert began were once again right around the block into the street outside and the foyer was completely swamped and overwhelmed with people congregating to buy programmes and CDs even before the concert had started.
What a concert it was too!
As always, Eagley played the whole of the first half, opening with the only non-Christmas piece before the interval, a stunning rendition of The Wizard, and then continuing with an eclectic variety of Christmas and seasonal music ranging from the repertoire of Michael Buble to Benjamin Britten.
Before A Christmas Fantasy by Gordon Langford brought the first half to a typically rousing climax, our band President, Gerry Russell, was welcomed onto the stage to present the annual Eagley trophies for 2018. Most Improved Player went to our Principal Percussionist Leo Turner-Patel, Chris Wormald chose his MD’s Award should go to Rebecca Crompton, the Players’ Player of The Year vote went to Lynsey Hayes and the committee awarded its Band Person of The Year to Marcus Atty.
The second half of the concert welcomed Smithills Community Band to share the stage with us and featured even more audience participation than the first half, ranging from simply singing, then clapping and singing in Jingle Bells and finally to the stand up, sit down Twelve Days of Christmas finale which has become a new, annual favourite for our audiences! The effect is wonderful to see and experience with over 1,200 people participating enthusiastically!
Our Christmas concert finished at 9.50pm and a great evening was had by everyone in the hall, from all those participating on stage to everyone in the audience
To see more photos of the evening, visit our Gallery.
Our brand new Eagley Band Christmas CD has just gone on sale! It is the very first such seasonal CD recording in the band’s 168 year history and it goes without saying that we are very proud of it!
We recorded our new CD entitled “Eagley At Christmas” over a whole weekend with the legendary brass band producer/engineer Richard Scott and World of Sound once again, the very same person, label and organisation behind our “From Sinatra To Wicked” CD recording last year, in 2017. Once again the expertise of Mr Scott shines through all of our latest recording.
The tracks on “Eagley At Christmas” range from seasonal classics such as “A Christmas Fantasy” by Gordon Langford to much newer music such as “A Polar Express Suite” and “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas” made famous by Canadian star Michael Buble.
There is a stunning, brand new Flugel Horn and Tenor Horn duet of “Silver Bells” played superbly by Janet Walsh and Deb Lyons and no Christmas CD would be complete without “Silent Night” and “Away In Manger” of course!
Other tracks range from “Sleigh Ride” and “The Christmas Song” to Slade’s “Merry Christmas Everybody” and George Michael’s “Last Christmas.” There are many other tracks too, such as “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and “Mid Winter” plus a final bonus track, a reprise of Gordon Langford’s “A Christmas Fantasy” featuring special guests Smithills Community Choir alongside the band.
“Eagley At Christmas” makes the perfect present to give to family and friends and is priced at a very reasonable £10. The CD is available to buy at all of the band’s forthcoming November and December concerts and via both this website and www.egertontickets.com at no extra charge for posting and packing.
Once again this December, Eagley Band, Smithills Community Band, Smithills Community Choir, Musical Director Chris Wormald and Pianist Robert Aston take to the magnificent stage at the Victoria Hall with an audience involved ‘Gala Christmas Concert’ of seasonal fun for everyone aged from 5 to 105!
As every year, proceeds from this very special Christmas Concert will go to Bolton Hospice but, for the first time this December, there will also be a special donation made to Bolton’s Special Care For Babies Unit – another superb charity very close to many of the Eagley and Smithills musicians and singers.
The fun evening of audience involved Christmas music will feature seasonal favourites and carols ranging from “Silent Night” and “Away In A Manger” to “Sleigh Ride” and “White Christmas” with mighty classics such as “A Christmas Fantasy” by Gordon Longford included together with recent hits such as Michael Buble’s “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas” and a brilliant new suite for younger audience members from the Tom Hanks film “Polar Express” which will receive its very first public performance at this concert!
As always with Eagley, Smithills and Chris Wormald there will be audience participation from the very start right through to the end, with regular opportunities throughout the evening to win free prizes of chocolate and the brand new 2018 Eagley Christmas CD!
Tickets are all priced at only £5 for everyone this year and with a fantastic 1,000 people attending last year’s Eagley/Smithills Christmas Concert, we hope to fill the hall completely this year on December 22nd!
Please come along of you can!
Tickets are now on sale from the Victoria Hall Box Office, Bolton Hospice and Bolton Hospice shops, Booth’s Music (Churchgate), Smithills School Reception and, without any extra charges whatsoever, www.boltonmethodistmission.org.uk/events and www.egertontickets.com
A POIGNANT service was held to mark 100 years since the armistice of November 11, 1918, which brought an end to the fighting between the Allied forces and Germany during the First World War.
Some 200 people attended the centenary commemoration at Christ Church Walmsley in Egerton, to remember the soldiers who fell while serving their country.
Those gathered included the Bishop of Bolton, Mark Ashcroft, Sir David Crausby, MP for Bolton North East, and the Mayor of Bolton, Cllr Elaine Sherrington, among other civic and religious leaders.
The service opened with a medley of wartime songs, ‘Keep Smiling Through’, and fanfare, performed by the long-established Eagley Brass Band, led by Musical Director Chris Wormald.
A selection of poetry, readings and moving imagery had been collated for the commemoration, which saw the community come together to remember all experiences, good and bad, of conflicts past and present.
The service featured true stories of courage and bravery, contributed by families living in Bromley Cross.
Cllr Sherrington said: “It was a very moving service commemorating 100 years since the end of the First World War.
“There were stories of real people who had lived in Bromley Cross, who had served during the War.
“The service was put together very well and I was very pleased to have been invited.”
Church warden Dawn Hitchen was heavily involved in organising the service after being approached by Bromley Cross ward councillors with the idea.
She said: “We wanted to organise a fitting commemoration for those who have lost loved ones, not just during the conflict of the First World War, but in other wars too.
“We want to say a big thank you to everyone who attended. It was very heartwarming to see people come together.
“Particular thanks go to Eagley Brass Band, who brought the fanfare element to the commemorations. Thanks also go to Mark Head for producing the amazing programme with the help of Ken Holt, and to Derek Bailey who has coordinated various memorabilia from the First World War.”
A heritage day was held in September, when members of the community were encouraged to share remembrances or memorabilia, in word, image or artefact, of the First World War. These memories and real stories were used to form much of the content of the service.
Staff and pupils from local schools also contributed to the gathering, through readings and the creation of various art pieces for the displays.
As part of the service, those gathered joined in with some of the music, including the well-known refrain ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’ and ‘Keep the Home Fire Burning’.
A procession made their way to the front of the church, as children carried candles. The Bishop of Bolton then led the congregation in the act of remembrance before the Last Post rang out and a two minute silence was observed by all of those gathered.
Rev Carol Hayden said: “The service commemorating the First World War armistice was a great act of community remembrance, giving us the opportunity to collectively remember those who gave their lives.
“It was a well-attended event with representatives from across the whole community — young and old.
“The service comprised of many elements including the lighting of candles by school children and music played by Eagley Brass Band. We also heard the stories of local soldiers that served during the First World War, which was particularly poignant as they were personal and connected to our local area.
“Thanks and credit goes to those who worked hard to organise the event.”
Photograph from This is Lancashire
Our first experience of the huge Bolsover Entertainment Contest down in Chesterfield was both a superb but ultimately unsuccessful one on Sunday September 30th!
The contest day itself was excellent in every way for us all at Eagley, from the fantastic morning rehearsal in our band room, complete with our new black shirts, the coach journey down to Chesterfield and everything that had been carefully timed out and planned. We had pre-drawn to play fifth in the Second Section of the contest but out of the fifty bands who had entered the event, there were withdrawals in all sections both above and below, so we ended up being Band No.4 in our section and played superbly well.
With every performance being officially streamed live over the internet via websites and social media by the organisers, our performance and that of every other band on the day in the two halls was available for all to see and hear worldwide.
The written adjudicator comments by Mr Dave Lea were completely positive throughout, from ‘excellent opening’ (Birdland) to ‘great choice of march (The Wizard) and the tempo is perfect’ before making numerous positive and entirely complimentary comments from ‘good choice’ to ‘very well played’ with regard to all of our programme (Saving All My Love For You played by Janet Walsh on Flugel Horn, the Genesis song Turn It On Again and our finale of Firebird Final Hymn by Stravinsky featuring our excellent Solo Euphonium player Caitlin Stranks who, as ever, was note perfect under great pressure on the day).
At the announcement of results it was therefore massively disappointing to be placed 8th after such a list of high praise in writing and almost nothing negative scripted at all, especially having won our only other Entertainment Contest with MD Chris Wormald at Ripon last June. The scripted, written comments of the adjudicator certainly didn’t match up to his placing!
To see more highlights from the day, visit our Gallery Page.
To see a video of our performance visit our Video section on our Facebook Page.
Another great turn out for our latest band social at Baci. Bands are always busy getting ready for the next event, whether it’s a concert, march or contest. Banding made even better when players, friends and families get together to enjoy excellent food and good company.
To see more photos from the night, see our gallery page.