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Playing For Sir Ian McKellen’s 80th Birthday Celebrations!

by Deb Lyons

Famously educated at Bolton School and forever proud of his north west heritage having been born and raised in Burnley, Wigan and Bolton, legendary actor Sir Ian McKellen is currently in the middle of a nine month sell-out tour of UK theatres from January through to September to celebrate his 80th birthday and 80th birthday year. On Friday evening May 24th, the eve of his actual 80th birthday the following day, Sir Ian is Guest of Honour at a Gala Dinner being held at Bolton School, where he made his acting debut nearly 70 years ago and as part of the celebration there will be an hour long set of brass band music performed by Eagley Band as well as playing Happy Birthday for Sir Ian arranged especially by our MD!

From The Royal Shakespeare Company and Coronation Street to X-Men and all six Lord of The Rings films, Sir Ian McKellen is known throughout the world as an acting legend of classical stage, screen and television. The exhaustive and extraordinary list of his A-list friendships reads like a Who’s Who of the world’s leading actors, celebrities and personalities of the past and present and we have been booked for this gala event for many months! Sir Ian plays Bolton Town Hall the following night, on his actual birthday of Saturday May 25th, because he considers Bolton to be his acting home and it is therefore the centrepiece of his nine month national tour. Sir Ian also particularly likes brass and wind band marches as his very first choice for the iconic BBC Radio 4 ‘Desert Island Discs’ programme highlighted some years ago, “Stars And Stripes” by J.P. Sousa.

Sir Ian’s 80th birthday tour of 80 dates completely sold out within days of the tickets going on sale and such was the advance demand for tickets that certain venues only sold tickets via ballot!

Another £1,000 Raised For Charity!

Only two weeks after we raised many thousands of pounds more for two fantastic local, Lancashire charities through our music at Bolton’s Victoria Hall (in aid of Bolton Lions and the International Aid Trust) on Sunday afternoon, April 28th, nine of our female band members took part in the annual Bolton Hospice ‘Muddy Maniacs’ 5,000 metres Obstacle Course and Fun Run at Burr’s Country Park in Bury, raising over £1,000 in the process whilst having a great time!

Organised by our Solo Cornet player Lynsey Hayes and led by her and our Chair and Solo Horn player Deb Lyons on the day, our nine Eagley Band ladies, supported by a network of other players, family, friends and our MD all converged in Bury on the Sunday lunchtime in glorious weather after torrential rain only the day before had certainly left the course very soft in places!

Hundreds of people from all over the northwest participated in the “Total Wipeout Meets It’s A Knockout” type Sunday fun, with obstacles ranging from descending soapy water slides and inflatable tunnels filled with soapy water to crawling under netting, scaling 3 metre high netted climbing frames, dodging huge inflatable, hanging space hoppers to actually riding space hoppers around a short circuit having just walked around a grassy zigzag path carrying a heavy tree log above head height. The organisers had certainly thought of everything!As the photographs show, all nine of our Eagley participants had a great afternoon and all completed the course successfully, in doing so raising another hugely impressive sum of money for another great local charity in Bolton Hospice.

As the photographs show here and on the Gallery page, all nine of our Eagley participants had a great afternoon and all completed the course successfully, in doing so raising another hugely impressive sum of money for another great local charity in Bolton Hospice.

Another Victoria Hall Concert Triumph!

On Saturday evening, April 13th 2019, we once again took to the stage of Bolton’s Victoria Hall with our MD Chris Wormald in front of hundreds and hundreds of people to perform another Charity Gala Concert on behalf of Bolton Lions Club and International Aid Trust, a fantastic charity based in Preston and founded by the Reverend Bernard Cocker almost thirty years ago and who attended our concert in person.

Special overseas guests Bill and Ellie Miller from North Carolina and Mark Almond from San Francisco, USA flew in over the Atlantic from opposite coasts of America especially to take in the concert and a great night was enjoyed by all. The concert certainly was another triumph for us all at Eagley, for Smithills Community Choir and Band, which performed together with Eagley after the interval, and for the two charities too. The reaction of the audience to every piece was superb.

As always, Eagley Band opened the concert and we played to the absolute limit of our abilities and, as the photographs illustrate, to the very best standard of presentation too. Our programme included Don’t Rain On My Parade, Gladiator, B.B. & C.F., Cry Me A River (sung superbly by John Kearns with Eagley Band accompaniment) and many more pieces too.

A particular highlight of the second half was the double figure of soloists in Buglers’ Holiday which, arguably of course, drew the biggest ovation of the evening, such was the prowess of the soloists and the accompanying band. 

It is too soon to know how much money was raised for the charities from the large audience which attended but certainly thousands of pounds were taken in advance ticket sales and on the door in addition to a superb raffle which was organised and announced by Eagley Band President and Trustee Mr Gerry Russell. 

 

 

Concert For St George Saturday April 13th 2019 at 7.30pm

Our next Victoria Hall Gala Concert in Bolton is so close now, Saturday 13th April at 7.30pm in aid of the Bolton Lions Charity and especially International Aid Trust, a fantastic Lancashire charity which we are more than happy to support!

Our programme will include The Incredibles, Thunderbirds, Gladiator, Cry Me A River, Amazing Grace, Buglers Holiday, Don’t Rain On My Parade, Stravinsky Firebird, Jerusalem, Land of Hope And Glory and many more!

Saturday April 13th, 7.30pm, the Victoria Hall in Bolton, just £5.

It’s free parking all day and all evening at NCP Topp Way Car Park or just £1.50 (night rate) in the Victoria Hall Car Park.

See you there hopefully!

Eagley Welcomes Black Dyke Band Back To Bolton

by Deb Lyons

On Saturday evening, March 23rd, the fantastic Black Dyke Band and its Musical Director Nick Childs returned to the Victoria Hall in Bolton, which has become the main concert home for Eagley Band since 2016.

We were delighted to be asked by Professor Childs to perform on the same stage as Black Dyke for their visit and we opened the evening with a pre-concert half hour set to many hundreds of people, which was a great thrill.

 

Our set ranged from The Wizard and Amazing Grace to The Incredibles, Don’t Rain On My Parade and Sing Sing Sing.

Black Dyke Band were in typically stunning form and played everything from Liberty Bell and Ruslan and Ludmilla to the fantastic 1812 Overture to finish the concert.

The volume at the end was incredible! What a finish.

Our MD Chris Wormald was also invited to conduct Black Dyke Band in two pieces, both of which he had arranged, and the whole night was very special for everyone who took part or came to watch.

Professor Childs personally walked onto the Victoria Hall stage at the conclusion of our Eagley Band set to invite us to share the stage with Black Dyke next year and play joint items with them throughout the second half of the concert, which will be a great thrill and huge honour for us in 2020!

 

Black Dyke come to Bolton!

by Deb Lyons

Plans are really taking shape for our Eagley Band pre-concert set in the Victoria Hall on Saturday March 23rd when Black Dyke come to Bolton!

Our exciting programme is finalised, our rehearsals are going superbly well and we can’t wait to see a huge audience come to see us play and welcome the most famous brass band in the world to our town!

Eagley without instruments!

by Deb Lyons

Eagley without instruments, massive thanks to everyone who came to Coast To Coast and who all looked amazing too. Huge thanks to Kay B and Geoff for organising the meal, the menu and the spread sheet paying at the end too.

The photos of last night are excellent and funny too (thanks especially to Lyns and those who took them) and what a perfect way to end our fabulous Blackpool performance and AGM week with food, drink and laughs. 

To see more of the evening click here

Great Performance And Result At Blackpool!

by Deb Lyons

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