Christmas

10 Articles

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.

Victoria Hall Christmas Concert Success!

On Saturday evening December 21st we took to the Victoria Hall stage in Bolton once again in front of the Mayor of Bolton, the Chair of Bolton Hospice and hundreds and hundreds of Boltonians who packed into the hall to watch our latest Eagley and Smithills Community Music gala concert.

Our programme included lots of audience participation in the traditional carols and, of course, the obligatory finale of The Twelve Days of Christmas with lots of organised fun and invited chaos within the choir, massed bands and audience!

One of the highlights was a beautiful arrangement of Silent Night which featured over one thousand people humming the melody whilst we played the three verse arrangement by our MD Chris Wormald. The effect was magical and no need for any word sheets or big screen projections!

Our next Victoria Hall gala concert is on Saturday April 18th 2020 at 7.30pm when we give our annual charity evening in aid of Bolton Lions together with Smithills Community Choir and Band.

Visit our Gallery Page to see photos 

Eagley & Smithills Community Victoria Hall Christmas Concert So Close Now!

For the fourth consecutive year, the Eagley Band and Smithills Community Band and Choir Christmas Concert in aid of Bolton Hospice takes place on the nearest December Saturday to Christmas Day. We can’t wait! This year the date is Saturday December 21st at 7.30pm, so once again we are fortunate not to be clashing with the Grand Final of BBC1 “Strictly Come Dancing” which finishes the previous Saturday.

As every year, the concert will feature plenty of family audience participation throughout, not only with the singing of traditional carols in between band and choir items, but the now traditional finale of standing up, sitting down and general chaos in the “Twelve Days of Christmas” finale!

Our brand new, full colour, glossy tickets for this year’s concert are already selling faster than ever and with our last three Victoria Hall Christmas concerts being packed full, it is always a pleasure for all the band members, singers, conductor Chris Wormald and pianist Robert Aston to know that everyone on stage will be performing to a huge audience of over a thousand people in a great atmosphere from first note to last. Of course everyone looks forward to the “Twelve Days of Christmas” finale as the climax of the evening, but no Christmas concert is complete without the dimmed lights and beautiful sounds of wonderful carols such as Silent Night, Away In A Manger and The First Nowell amongst others.

In addition to such public domain carols known and loved the world over, there will be the short, annual presentation of Eagley Band Awards in the first half of the concert. These include Bandsperson of The Year, Players’ Player of The Year, Most Improved Player of The Year and the Musical Director’s Award. Previous winners of the trophies in the past two years have been Marcus Atty, Rebecca Crompton, Geoff Gliddon, Lynsey Hayes, Caitlin Stranks, Leo Turner-Patel, Lilly Taylor and Martyn Walsh, so it remains to be seen who will win this Christmas!

As always, tickets priced at just £5 for everybody are available from the Victoria Hall box office (in person or on line), from Booth’s Music, Jeff James Hairdressing, Bolton Hospice and the Bolton Hospice Shop, Smithills School Reception, Egerton tickets (on line with no booking fee at all) or on the door if the concert isn’t completely sold out before the night.

We look forward to another fantastic evening of Christmas music in the Victoria Hall on Saturday December 21st!

From Remembrance Sunday To Boarshurst Concert Series – Another Busy Eagley Week

Once again we at Eagley Band have been very busy on behalf of our local community, the town of Bolton as a whole and our Second World War heroes this past week.

Last Sunday, November 10th, we once again led the huge, annual Remembrance Sunday Parade in Little Lever as we have done for many decades and this year in particular, due to the stunning Sunday morning Autumn weather, an even bigger, huge crowd of well over 3,000 people gathered as we marched through the town and then formed up at the cenotaph to play the hymn tunes St Gertrude and Crimond as everyone joined in and sang the hymns with us. The atmosphere was even better than ever this Remembrance Sunday and the reverence shown by everyone was exemplary. Following the Last Post and Reveille, we then marched back to the church where our march traditionally begins and, as always, then gave a wonderfully received two hour indoor concert in the afternoon commencing at 2.30pm.

This Sunday, November 17th, it was a pleasure to be the latest band to take part in the Boarshurst Band ‘live streamed’ evening concert series which has featured bands ranging from Milnrow to Faireys this year. Commencing at 8pm, we performed two, one hour sets of music, many of the titles we performed being published arrangements by Obrasso and Kirklees Music made by our own MD Chris Wormald, plus three traditional brass band marches composed a century ago; Knight Templar, The President and O.R.B.

Our three, superb featured soloists during the concert were Principal Cornet Lynsey Hayes, Principal Euphonium Caitlin Stranks and Flugel Horn player Janet Walsh. They performed “Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out To Dry,” “Portrait of My Love” and “Saving All My Love For You” respectively and all to great applause from the audience. All three of our Eagley Band soloists were greeted with wonderful applause before they had even finished the final notes of their respective solos – always a reassuring and most welcome sign to any solo performer that their efforts have been both excellently played and particularly well received by those watching and listening.

Our next musical tasks are to lead the parade for the Bolton Town Centre Christmas Lights on Thursday of this week (November 21st) and to prepare varied programmes of traditional carols and Christmas music for our usual schedule of annual Christmas Concerts throughout December, the climax of which is our fourth successive Bolton Hospice Victoria Hall Christmas Concert on Saturday December 21st at 7.30pm together with Smithills Community Choir and Band and pianist Robert Aston, for which tickets are already on sale and selling as fast as every year.

Christmas Concert Sell-Out Success!

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.

Gala Christmas Concert in Aid of Bolton Hospice

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  

Christmas CD Recorded With World of Sound

by Deb Lyons

 

Over the scorching hot weekend of Saturday June 30th and Sunday July 1st the band recorded its first ever Christmas CD! Richard Scott from World of Sound was again the producer, the man behind our 2017 CD of just eight months earlier, From Sinatra To Wicked.

The Christmas CD recording weekend was a fantastic two days of our very best playing, great bonding time for all of the players, eating far too much (there are some brilliant cooks and bakers within the band, not to mention deliveries of Carr’s Pasties on Saturday lunchtime and Papa John’s Pizzas on Sunday…) and working really, really hard throughout both days of recording. The end product will be a brilliant Eagley CD of Christmas music and carols when everything is mixed, mastered, edited down, duplicated and wrapped, ready for going on sale by the Autumn.

The seasonal tracks we recorded over the unusually boiling hot weekend included many brand new arrangements made for the band by our MD Chris Wormald and Bass Trombonist Declan Cullen, ranging from A Polar Express Suite, It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, Last Christmas, Midwinter and Sleigh Ride to Away In A Manger, O Little Town of Bethlehem, Silent Night, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas and Slade’s Merry Christmas Everybody. There was also a brand new duet arrangement of Silver Bells made especially for Flugel Horn player Janet Walsh and Solo Tenor Horn Deb Lyons! The opening track on the CD is to be the iconic A Christmas Fantasy by Gordon Langford.

Everyone connected with Eagley Band would like to thank Richard Scott once again for another brilliant, relaxed, but thoroughly professional weekend of recording and his superb Assistant Engineer Phil Hardman, who looked after the technical aspects of the weekend’s recording sessions.