49 Articles


by Deb Lyons

On June 4th 2020 it was announced by BAFTA, the British Academy of Film, Television and Arts, that the first programme in the recent Sky Arts “Battle of The Brass Bands” series has been nominated for a prestigious 2020 BAFTA award in the ‘Sound-Factual’ category for television. The BAFTA Awards are industry leading and, until the pandemic this year, have always been staged in a major London venue such as the Royal Albert Hall, complete with red carpet and hundreds of television stars, presenters, celebrities and magazine photographers, televised every year on BBC1 and with hosts ranging from Stephen Fry and Graham Norton to Joanna Lumley. The awards are currently sponsored by Virgin Media having previously been sponsored by Orange and EE.

Programme One of the four programme Sky Arts brass band series, the BAFTA nominated episode about Whit Friday march contests, features our MD Chris Wormald not only being interviewed in the television studio retrospectively for the programme but also filmed adjudicating on the night of the contests themselves, in situ at Greenfield. Chris appears multiple times during the programme, providing insight, comment and context on how the contests work and the specific tasks and requirements of the adjudicators.

The following press statement was released;

“Episode One of the Sky Arts television series “Battle of The Brass Bands” has been nominated for a prestigious 2020 BAFTA award. The episode covering the Whit Friday contests has been nominated for a BAFTA in the ‘Sound-Factual’ category and will battle for the prize alongside nominations from BBC1 for ‘One Planet’ and the Netflix ‘Formula 1: Drive to Survive’ series. The four part Sky Arts “Battle of The Brass Bands” series also covered the British Open, National Championships and Brass In Concert contests, gaining widespread popular and critical acclaim. The 2020 BAFTA winners will be announced for the first time on-line this year due to the pandemic, on Friday 17th July.”

For an insight into the making of the Sky Arts BAFTA nominated programme, please click here;

Its official… we have been promoted to the 1st Section from January 2021.

by Deb Lyons

Our promotion from 3rd to 1st Section is a fabulous reward to all the loyalty of everyone from Lilly right around to Breeny and everyone in between. We couldn’t list all of the players who have been on this Eagley journey and the loyalty is very much appreciated.

When Chris Wormald took over as MD at Eagley in September 2016, during this time Eagley has accomplished many firsts. A range of large concerts at the Victoria Hall with Smithills Community Band & Choir supporting local charities, 2 professional CDs, 4 trophies from Ripon, Butlins, Amboise and Blackpool just a few weeks ago together with prize money of £1,500. Eagley is not just about the music, we make sure there is a wide range of social events throughout the year such as meals to suit every taste, socials, quizzes and we give a big thanks to Geoff  and Janet and others have kindly organised. 

As the country struggles during this unsettling of the  COVID19 pandemic, Eagley like many other bands have families and friends who are front line or key workers.
From all of us at Eagley Band we want to say THANK YOU to all those we know and those we don’t. You are all in our thoughts and prayers.
We can’t wait to see everyone when we come through the other side.

Mayor’s Charity Ball 2020, Bolton Town Hall

On Friday evening March 6th, the Mayor of Bolton’s spectacular annual Charity Ball took place in Bolton Town Hall in what proved to be our band’s last public engagement before the enforced break due to the pandemic virus. It was certainly a great evening for our superb musicians and everyone present!

The theme for the whole evening, as chosen by the Mayor, Councillor Hilary Fairclough, was James Bond. All of the music we performed had to be from the James Bond films, stunning tuxedos and classic dinner suits were in abundance amongst the guests, as were amazing dresses, and all of the invited guests were provided with a complimentary dry martini on arrival (shaken, not stirred, obviously!) or a non-alcoholic alternative. Originally the timing of the 2020 Mayor’s Ball should have coincided with the forthcoming release of the latest, and twenty fifth, official James Bond film “No Time To Die” but with the Mayor’s Charity Ball organised and set many weeks in advance, the James Bond film producers then announced that the global release of their new film would be delayed by over seven months to much nearer Christmas, entirely due to the vast majority of cinemas around the world being instructed to close.

The brief for our Eagley Band performance was to bring a small band, a 15 piece ensemble at most, and perform all of the published music of James Bond films for an hour or more as the many VIP and civic guests arrived. As our MD Chris Wormald has more published arrangements of James Bond music around the world than any other professional arranger, this really was the perfect, ideal brief for us at Eagley. Amongst the civic guests listening to our superb performance was a wide variety of local and political figures including a number of past Mayor’s, previous Leaders and Deputy Leaders of Bolton Council, the current Leader of the council and huge supporter of Eagley Band for many years, David Greenhalgh, the Vice Chancellor of Bolton University, George Holmes, and an array of leading business figures, entrepreneurs, press and journalists from the town.

The evening proved to be a great success for all those attending and especially for our Eagley ensemble which sounded stunning from start to finish.

Promotion To The First Section And Qualification For The 2020 National Brass Band Finals of Great Britain!

by Deb Lyons

As a result of our performance in the Second Section at the North West Area Brass Band Contest Winter Gardens in Blackpool on Sunday afternoon, February 23rd 2020, we at Eagley Band and our MD Chris Wormald were not only awarded Third Place in the contest, a silver trophy and prize money too but we have now qualified for the 2020 National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain Finals being held in Cheltenham this September! All of this in our 170th year too!With brass band sections being very much like league tables in sport, with annual promotion and relegation, only three years ago Eagley Band had been in the Third Section for many years. Now, after a string of excellent contest performances we have been promoted twice in just three seasons and find ourselves a First Section Band from next year!

As we were formed in 1850, this year Eagley Band celebrates 170 years of existence, one of the oldest brass bands in the entire World. Only once since 1990 has the band qualified for the National Brass Band Championship of Great Britain Finals back in 2008 when the band was in the Third Section. Thirty years ago, in March 1990, Eagley won the North West Area Championships Third Section conducted in his very first ever Area contest by our new MD then – a much younger Chris Wormald during his first spell with an adult band!

We can next be heard performing in Bolton at the Mayor of Bolton’s Charity Ball in the Town Hall on Friday evening March 6th and after that in our Prostate Cancer UK Charity Concert on behalf of the Bolton Lions Club at the Victoria Hall on Saturday April 18th.


Butlins Contest Weekend 2020

by Deb Lyons

In spite of the stunning victory we all enjoyed at Ripon Contest, our MD Chris Wormald described our performance at Butlins 2020 as “by far the best the band has played in a contest” since he came back to the band in 2016.

Internet site Four Bars Rest had already installed Eagley as pre-contest favourites to win the 2020 Butlins 2nd Section and take the £2,000 First Prize and following our outstanding performance from draw No.1 on the day, and the conclusion of the six hour, eighteen band section, they still had the top two places as Hade Edge and Eagley bands.


Four Bars Rest ‘live’ comments on the day described our Eagley performance of the set test piece “Galdhoppigen” by Simon Kerwin as “a reading typical of the MD, real attention to detail, especially tuning” and “allowed the music to shine through and give the players a chance. Very musical” and “not a performance to discount from the mind.”

Unfortunately for us all at Eagley, superbly led by our Principal Cornet Lynsey Hayes, the announcement of results in the evening went from being the most exciting and highly anticipated event into one of huge anti-climax and disappointment as we were placed fifth of the eighteen bands. Although the winners were happily conducted by a former Eagley Cornet player of ours and pupil of our MD, the wonderful Jonathan Fearn.

Happily for us all, aside from the result of the contest, our Skegness weekend was another fantastic one and featured many meals together, watching other bands, swimming and general socialising. Our performance of the test piece will live long in all of our memories and a huge congratulations to everyone on stage representing Eagley at the start of our 170th year.

Concert for St George

“Bolton’s Eagley Band, which this year celebrates its 170th anniversary, once again returns to the Victoria Hall in conjunction with Smithills Community Choir and Band under the directorship of Musical Director Chris Wormald for their annual Concert For St George. Following another packed and hugely popular evening at their Christmas Concert in December, Eagley and Smithills Community will once again perform and entertain an audience and family friendly programme of popular and well known music which will feature audience participation in Jerusalem, Land of Hope And Glory, Rule Britannia and many other songs and pieces associated with their annual St George’s Concert given on behalf of Rotary Charities. As ever, Eagley and Smithills Community concerts start at 7.30pm with a twenty minute interval at 8.25pm and an anticipated conclusion time of 9.45pm. All tickets are just £5 and will go on sale from February 1st.

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!