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Welcome to the official website of Eagley Band

by Deb Lyons
Eagley Band was established in 1850 and has been performing for audiences in and around Bolton ever since. We are a friendly and social band and always welcome players, whether you’re thinking of coming regularly or just want to come along for a blow.

This website contains comprehensive information about the band – past, present and future – as well as listing all our events and engagements.

Eagley Band is a charity and has been entered onto the Register of Charities with the Registered Charity Number 1181741.

If you would like to book the band please get in touch via our contact page.

Another Victoria Hall Eagley Success!

by Deb Lyons

On Saturday night, April 23rd, we took to the stage at Bolton’s Victoria Hall once again for only the second time in three years due to the pandemic, this being our latest concert for St George in association with Bolton Lions charity. Together with our usual Victoria Hall stage guests, our M.D. Chris Wormald’s Community Choir and, after the interval, his Community Band too, we performed another superb night enjoyed by a wonderful audience of many hundreds of enthusiastic Boltonians!

The compliments which all of the performers received after the concert were unanimously effusive and everyone was of the belief that Eagley had played even better than ever. All of our principal players, led by Cornetist Lynsey Hayes, really brought their ‘A’ game to the entire concert and this led to everyone else in the band playing at their absolute best level too, from the opening notes of Army of The Nile through to the Star Wars encore at end of the concert. It was a programme of technique, sound and stamina for every player too, from outstanding Soprano Lilly Gliddon to the superb four Basses and three percussionists who had all been members of the award-winning Smithills bands with our M.D. during their school years before joining Eagley. Our programme included well known pieces ranging from Let’s Face The Music and Dance to Star Wars (in tribute to composer John Williams’ 90th birthday) but also brand new arrangements made especially by Chris Wormald such as Wherever You Maybe, The Prayer and many more.

Our hugely successful evening, with proceeds going to Ukraine via Bolton Lions, also included a performance of the 1976 hit Music in recognition of the passing of John Miles in December and only a day after it was announced that legendary brass band figure Richard Evans had died, the combined bands, choir and audience joined forces in a powerful rendition of Be Still For The Presence of The Lord involving over 600 voices which raised the roof and created goose bumps for everyone in honour of Mr Evans. The combined forces of Eagley, the Community Choir and Community Band also performed an emotive Prayer For Ukraine during the second half of the concert in solidarity with numerous bands and choirs all currently giving concerts throughout the UK and Europe.

A great night was once again enjoyed by everyone who played, sang, performed, supported, attended and spoke from the stage, and with a hugely successful raffle and the superb printed programmes selling out completely long before all of the audience had arrived, the evening was a huge success in every respect.

Spectrum Sunday And A Band Picnic Lunch!

by Deb Lyons

For the second time in the last three weeks, we at Eagley Band have once again spent a fantastic Sunday in the bandroom with our MD Chris Wormald preparing for our debut contest in the First Section at Blackpool in two weeks‘ time.

After a full 7 hours of individual sectional rehearsals with Chris at the end of January, this time on February 13th we organised a full length rehearsal Sunday complete with band picnic lunch, where all of the Cornets and the full Horn section rehearsed the whole morning with Chris, the full band including all three percussionists arrived at 12 noon bringing with them hot pasties, sandwiches, sausage rolls, cakes, biscuits, crisps, tea, coffee, milk and soft drinks for a band picnic lunch and social until 1pm, then we had a full band rehearsal for an hour until 2pm, at which point all Cornets and Horns went home and the rest of the day was spent rehearsing the full Baritone, Trombone, Euphonium and Bass sections until 3.30pm as can be seen.

Once again we had a great Sunday and the piece has really improved with just two weeks to go to the North West Areas at the Opera House Winter Gardens. We are all really looking forward to the challenge of playing in the First Section for the very first time, especially as the pandemic lockdowns meant we were not allowed to play a single note for more than half of the time we were a Second Section band, only just promoted up from Third Section!

Spectrum and the First Section will be great challenges, but the band has improved hugely since Christmas. Here’s to our Blackpool performance!

An Eagley Night of Music For St George – Victoria Hall, Bolton

by Deb Lyons

Once again we at Eagley Band are returning to the magnificent Victoria Hall in Bolton on Saturday 23rd April at 7.30pm with our MD Chris Wormald who will be conducting the full concert which will also feature the Community Choir and Community Wind Band performing a varied night of popular and well known music.

For the first time ever, our April 23rd concert will include Cole Porter’s classic film musical High Society featuring the iconic songs Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? True Love, You’re Sensational and Well Did You Ever? and there will be a number of songs associated with the repertoire of Andre Rieu including Smile, composed by Charlie Chaplin.

In addition to keeping Eagley Band, the Community Choir and Community Wind Band in existence after the enforced two year pandemic break, proceeds from this St George’s Day Gala Concert will go towards Bolton Lions Charity. Current Lions President Jeff Hartley and many of his Bolton charity members will be in attendance at the concert.

All tickets for our very special St George’s Day concert at 7.30pm are priced at the single rate of just £5 and are on sale now from the Victoria Hall Box Office (Tel.522569), Booth’s Music Shop in Churchgate (Tel.522908), Eagley Band President Gerry Russell (Tel.07764 826233), band and choir members, online via the website www.egertontickets.com without any additional booking fee or on the door.

From Little Lever To The Victoria Hall – A Very Welcome & Happy December For Eagley

After the complete vacuum of any full band concerts throughout 2020, of any playing at all from March 2020 through to half way into 2021, and with a complete absence of any Christmas performances at all last year, this December proved to be a wonderful, and very near normal, Eagley Band Christmas, with full concerts and smaller performances led by our MD Chris Wormald starting as most years at Little Lever Conservative Club on the first Friday of the month and going through to our fabulous Victoria Hall Gala Concert on the third Saturday evening, with numerous other bookings in between, and a small social gathering to end the year.

After an absence of two years since any full Eagley Band concerts in public until the recent Remembrance Sunday just a few weeks ago, this year’s Little Lever Christmas Concert on Friday December 3rd took on considerable extra significance and meaning for everyone in the band, for our audience, and for all who were involved in any way staging the event. What a brilliant and fun concert it was too! For many years, our Little Lever Christmas Concert has been the start of a heavy Eagley Band December Christmas schedule, concluding on Christmas Eve with outdoor carolling, and this December proved to be exactly as we had intended and hoped.

Only two of the band’s traditional, annual bookings had to be cancelled by organisers due to Covid concerns, these being our annual full band Christmas concert in Blackrod and the Walmsley Unitarian Chapel Carol Service which is always completely packed every year. Those two engagements apart, the band performed throughout the month both indoors and out, raising much needed funds after two years without concert income by carolling on two separate weekends in Bolton Market Place, performing as usual at Eagley Cricket Club, Bolton Masonic Hall on Monday and Saturday evenings, at the Walmsley Cenotaph for the switching on of the Bromley Cross and Egerton Christmas lights, on a housing estate in Westhoughton, up at Horrocks Fold near Belmont, the fantastic Victoria Hall Saturday night Gala Christmas Concert  and finally finishing the year carolling outside at Tesco Horwich. We survived the whole month without any band member testing positive for Covid or needing to isolate, so it was a huge pleasure and great relief to everyone for us to be able to play throughout the whole month with all of our own players, no empty seats, and with no last minute changes, rearrangements or a single dep. required to fill an unexpected gap.

Such a highly successful month is a tribute to all of the organisation and responsible attitudes taken by all of the band members and their families throughout the Autumn, especially since returning from our Nationals Final performance in the Second Section down at Cheltenham in September. To round off a hugely successful and very happy banding month, and bid farewell not only to a difficult 2021 as a whole but also being a Second Section band no longer, our Principal Cornet Lynsey Hayes organised a wonderful, small band social at her house on December 28th to mark the joint birthdays of both Deb Lyons and Becca Crompton the previous day. Twenty band members were able to attend plus Lynsey’s family and it was a perfect way to end Eagley’s half year since returning to play together in the Summer. 

Everyone at Eagley Band sends their very best wishes for a happy, healthy and safe 2022 and we hope that our new life in the First Section will get under way as planned in early January and be a good one!

Eagley Christmas Concert Tickets Now On Sale!

As for so many years, the arrival of November means two things for us at Eagley Band – our annual Remembrance Sunday parade march and full afternoon concert in Little Lever are less than two weeks away and tickets go on sale to the public for our Victoria Hall Christmas Concert being held on Saturday 18th December at 7.30pm this year!

After all the cancellations of November and December last year due to pandemic lockdowns and restrictions, this Christmas we are once again returning to the Victoria Hall and are delighted to be able to celebrate musically after last year’s enforced emptiness. Our annual Gala Christmas Spectacular Concert at the Victoria Hall will again be in aid of Bolton Hospice. The relationship between our Musical Director and Bolton Hospice dates back well over thirty years, during which time tens of thousands of pounds have been donated.

On the evening of Saturday December 18th at 7.30pm, our flagship Eagley Band will once again join forces with the Community Band and Community Choir to perform another family fun evening of Christmas music to the highest standards, for which our concerts are renowned. The evening will feature much audience participation as always, traditional carols, a few surprises and a wonderfully uplifting night of music and fun to welcome in Christmas week!

Tickets are for our Christmas Concert are on sale now from the Victoria Hall Box Office (522569), Booth’s Music (522908), our Eagley Band President Mr Gerry Russell (07764 826233), www.egertontickets.com or on the door.

Are you a brass player? Your chance to join us

by Deb Lyons
2021 National Brass Band Finalists, Cheltenham (2nd Section)
Do you live in the Bolton area, play a brass band instrument to a good standard and fancy playing with a highly successful local band with 170 years of proud history?
Due to four of our best teenage players having started at university, our normally full band is urgently seeking good Cornet, Tenor Horn, Euphonium and B Flat Bass players to complete our line-up again.
We perform three or four major gala concerts every year to 1,000 people in Bolton’s Victoria Hall, plus a very small number of full concerts, mainly in the Autumn, and smaller band carolling engagements in December, but never anything at all any distance from Bolton except for the annual Blackpool Areas by coach (and Cheltenham by coach if we qualify!).
We rehearse Mondays & Thursdays 8pm-9.30pm in our own bandroom, Bolton town centre.
If you are even a little interested or tempted and would like to come down for a rehearsal to see for yourself with pleasure, please ring Deb Lyons (07731 996925) or e-mail Chris Wormald cj.wormald@btopenworld.com with pleasure.
We would love to welcome anyone who is interested in playing with what we believe is a unique band of friends who all want to play to their very best abilities.
We have 170 years of band history to keep going too!

National Brass Band Championship Finals of Great Britain 2021

by Deb Lyons

Over the weekend of Saturday September 18th and Sunday September 19th, all of us at Eagley Band were really proud to be based at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel down in Cheltenham, having qualified for the 2021 National Brass Band Championship Finals of Great Britain through our excellent North West Area Blackpool result from February 2020 before the Covid pandemic lockdowns of the previous year.

The National Finals weather was scorching for much of the time and a brilliant weekend was enjoyed by all of us, with the opportunity to explore the excellent shops, parks, gardens, eateries and centre of Cheltenham (birthplace of Gustav Holst, composer of The Planets), the opportunity for another excellent band meal together on the Saturday evening, organised to perfection by Janet Walsh, and finally the opportunity to represent the North West in the Second Section of the National Brass Band Championship Finals of 2021 on the Sunday afternoon.

On the day of the contest, Sunday September 19th, everyone in the band was up bright and early and in breakfast by 8.30am. Having checked out of our rooms, we rehearsed in the hotel from 10.30am through to noon, and sounded superb. Our MD Chris was clearly thrilled with the tuning and the standard and the atmosphere within the band was brilliant. After a few, initial early morning nerves, the playing became relaxed and focused and the vibe within the band was electric as we awaited the draw for order of play to take place at 12.30pm.

Our Chair and Band Manager Deb Lyons attended the draw and we were allotted the number 7 for order of play, a really good draw except that it immediately followed the contest favourites who had drawn number 6, and so often this affects the final placings dramatically, as would be the case for us on this occasion regrettably.

We took to the stage at around 4.30pm and at the conclusion of our performance, led brilliantly as always by our Principal Cornet Lynsey Hayes, the audience applauded with considerable enthusiasm. At the half way stage, website Four Bars Rest had Eagley in 2nd place, narrowly behind the predicted winners, and we would remain in 2nd place for the rest of the contest until the very final band of the seventeen able to accept their qualifications and attend. Prior to the announcement of results, the 4BR correspondent had Eagley Band in 3rd Place, predicted to win the £500 prize and 3rd Place trophy. Very sadly for us, and inexplicably in a variety of ways, in the results ceremony at 9pm, Eagley Band wasn’t mentioned or featured in the top 6 placings at all and we were soon to discover that rather than finishing in 3rd place, we were placed third from the bottom, in 15th position. This was clearly a shock to everyone and a very unpleasant and unwelcome one, but that’s contesting! It is doubtful that anyone listening to all seventeen bands in the hall would have placed our performance anywhere near the wrong end of the seventeen or even close to the bottom half, but sadly the only opinions which matter thought so and did exactly that, and our long journey back up the M5 and M6 was a far less enjoyable one than the journey down had been.

Overall, our Cheltenham experience was a really positive and highly enjoyable one, barring the surprise result after the way in which we, and other bands, had played. Due to the imposed national lockdowns, we hadn’t performed together as a full band in public since the Winter Gardens in February 2020 (Blackpool Areas) and after almost twenty months without performing under the pressure of an audience and nerves, everyone gave everything they had on stage. To have achieved such a performance in a matter of weeks from being allowed back to play was a great triumph and a huge thrill for everyone involved to experience.