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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.

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.

A Week of Celebration For Our MD’s 60th Birthday!

What a special week it has been for all of us at Eagley Band as we have continued to prepare superbly for the 2021 National Finals in Cheltenham whilst also celebrating the 60th birthday of our MD Chris Wormald!

Before Monday evening’s rehearsal began, the bandroom had been secretly decorated with banners and multi-coloured balloons and Chris was presented with a large bag packed full of presents ranging from hospitality at the 2022 Formula 1 British Grand Prix at Silverstone next July to his favourite tea bags, a wide variety of his favourite chocolates and his obligatory Ribena of course! Just before the rehearsal ended we then presented Chris with a surprise cake which we had ordered especially, featuring an all-over icing photo montage from the last five years since Chris returned to conduct, all in Eagley green.

Monday night was also our Bass Trombonist Declan Cullen’s birthday and Chris presented Dec with a card and gifts as he arrived at the bandroom – and what a great rehearsal we had with just four weeks to go to the National Finals. Everyone played brilliantly. Then at rehearsal on Thursday evening it was the turn of our longest serving Cornet player Paul Field (over 30 years with Eagley) to have his birthday on a rehearsal night and once again Chris presented him with a card and gifts on his arrival at the bandroom.

The following evening, on Friday night, the band organised a surprise 60th birthday meal for our MD at Ciao Baby Italian restaurant in Egerton, with 40 seats booked up – and what another fantastic night it was for everyone. Three quarters of the band were able to attend, a number of former players were able to be back with us too, the food and stories were as superb as always and our Baritone player Tina Banks had secretly baked an incredible chocolate cake to bring along and present to Chris, complete with indoor fireworks and some questionable singing by the forty attendees!

The meal out was a great opportunity for everyone to dress up and get together socially again after nearly two years since our last band meal had been possible and it was literally the perfect way to round off a really special week of birthday celebrations for not only Chris but Dec and Paul as well. May they all have many more happy birthdays and years with us at Eagley.

Returning To Full Band & No More Committee Zooms!

by Deb Lyons

After almost 16 months of zoom-only committee meetings and no full band rehearsals being possible or allowed, we have finally held our first committee meeting in person on Sunday evening (July 18th, but outside on a stunning Summer evening) and now, Monday July 19th, we are really looking forward to having our first full Eagley Band rehearsal together since March 2020. It has certainly been a long wait.

Like all bands here in Britain, having not been able to rehearse fully since a year last March, it is really exciting to think that from tonight we are once again able to rehearse as a full band. The downside however, as every Summer in every brass band, is that we now have to contend with many players and their families going away on holiday to all parts of the UK over the next six weeks, so when we announce that “Full band is back from tonight!” it really means we are ‘allowed’ to rehearse again in full but will have to allow for a variety of holidays and any players who maybe forced to self-isolate at some point and not leave their homes!

However, tonight is the night, July 19th 2021, and after many weeks of small sectionals, larger sectionals, parts of upper band only, parts of lower band only, rehearsals only for our four percussionists, then various combinations of the above, tonight we hope to start back as a full band again and really look forward to beginning our preparations for the 2021 National Brass Band Finals of Great Britain in just eight weeks at Cheltenham and becoming a First Section band from January!

Eagley Band To Return To Rehearsing…But In A New Bandroom!

by Deb Lyons

After one year, two months and eight days without playing a single note of music together or, put another way, well over 430 days and 110 full rehearsal band nights lost to the pandemic and resulting lockdowns, we at Eagley Band are finally returning to playing together – albeit only in small groups but in our new bandroom!

It is exactly 50 years since the Eagley Mills closed down in 1971 and ever since that time, Eagley Band (formed in 1850 as Eagley Mills Band) has been trying to find a long term, permanent Bolton home in which to rehearse. Starting with a Cornet sectional followed by many small scale, sectional rehearsals for the best part of a month, at last we are looking forward to making music again and starting to prepare for our long anticipated participation in the 2021 National Brass Band Championships Finals to be held in Cheltenham towards the end of September.

Our new bandroom is situated in Bolton town centre along Institute Street, within the huge masonic building. Completely renovated and redecorated throughout and featuring a brand new, modern central heating system, Eagley Band can finally look forward to being based and rehearsing in one place rather than having to share rehearsal space with another organisation.

This means that our extensive and historic library, together with all of our stage and outdoor uniforms, waterproof coats and marching accessories are now all housed in one place, in adjacent rooms to our main rehearsal space.

Exciting and fun times lie ahead for our music making once again and we can’t wait to ease everyone back in to playing as a full band for the first time from the end of June all being well.