In addition to attending contests, the Band have been very busy with concerts and carol playing around the area.  Our annual Xmas concert at Fishburn Club on 14 December went down a storm as usual and the following evening the band had a most enjoyable joint concert with the Durham Choral Choir at Elvet Church Durham with Ray Farr.

Bandroom News 19.12.07


Ronnie Bannister and Neil Simpson with their team 'Winterton Rangers' were 'luckily' crowned managers of the Month for November with an excellent 51 points, just pipping the runners up Audrey Gill and Jo Brown with their team 'Magners Merry Men' by 1 single point. 

Why not visit our Fantasy League site and keep track of our progress by clicking here.

Bandroom News 01.12.07


The band had a very enjoyable afternoon in Durham University as Brass Band in Residence on 25 November with Ray Farr's conductors masterclass.  The set piece was the very difficult 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth' which not only tested the conductors, but the Band also.  Our own resident Musical Director, Philip Rosier, was among the fine ensemble of conductors as part of his University course.  We look forward to many more events of this nature under Ray's leadership.
Bandroom News 01.12.07


We finished the year off during November with two good confidently solid performances at the Pontins contest and the Scottish Open which give the Band a new impetus going into 2008. The pieces chosen to play were demanding but also very enjoyable to rehearse and perform.  The Band were led by Russell Gray on Philip Sparkes 'Partita' at Pontins and both Judges (Rob Wiffen and Geoffrey Whitham) remarked on the technical prowess of the Band.  Peter Meechans 'Macbeth' (Strange but enjoyable) was the set piece for the Scottish Open and the Band on this occasion were led by Ray Farr.  Judges Roger Webster and Peter Meechan both enjoyed the performance of the band with complimentary remarks.  The band are hoping for a much improved set of results in the new contest season and are determined to get back to winning ways.
Bandroom News 01.12.07


Mal Usher and Helen Gill were again crowned managers of the Month for October with their team 'Souper Eleven' accumulating an excellent 49 points, 8 ahead of the runners up Audrey Gill and Jo Brown with their team 'Magners Merry Men'   Mal and Helen will still be hoping that they can retain their current run of form and leave us all in their wake.  Why not visit our Fantasy League site and keep track of our progress by clicking here.

Bandroom News 01.11.07


An excellent night was had by all at our concert on Saturday 6th October at Spennymoor Town Hall.  Over £1,000 was raised in aid of cancer research to help fight this terrible disease.  As a feature, the band dedicated the second half to reproduce 'Last night of the Proms' to a very enthusiastic audience who were up on their feet proudly waving their Union Jacks to several popular pieces, including Rule Britannia, Pomp and Circumstance (Land of Hope and Glory), Fantasy on British Sea Songs, 1812 Overture, and Radetsky March.  All members of Fishburn Band are obviously very proud to be associated with this successful fund raising venture for a very worthy cause which was enjoyed by all.

Bandroom News 07.10.07


Mal Usher and Helen Gill were crowned managers of the Month for September with their team 'Souper Eleven' accumulating an excellent 50 points, 7 ahead of the runners up Ronnie Bannister and Neil Simpson with their team 'Winterton Rangers'.   Mal and Helen also currently sit top of the league table and the league series table.  They'll be hoping that they can retain their current run of form and leave us all in their wake.  Why not visit our Fantasy League site and keep track of our progress by clicking here.
Bandroom News 07.10.07


Despite the recent holiday period, we've been busy with concerts at Whitby and Hexham.  We played to a very appreciative audience at Whitby Spa pavilion on 5th August in what can only be described as sweltering conditions.   Nevertheless, the Band played to a high standard and a great night was had by all.  On 27th August, we travelled up to the historic Town of Hexham and played a concert at the impressive Hexham Abbey, again to an enthusiastic audience.  On both occasions, our soloists John White, Melissa Maddison and Malcolm Gill were on top form and drew excellent applause.   The hard work doesn't stop there as we have further engagements at Sedgefield Church at 7.30pm on Saturday 8th September, Stokesley Show on 22nd September, Fishburn Church on 28th September and Spennymoor Town Hall on 6th October.  We are also busy preparing for the Pontins Contest at Prestatyn in November where the excellent 'Partita' by Philip Sparke is the set test piece.  Keep up to date with our concerts and other events by regularly visiting our events page.

Bandroom News 06.09.07


We've had a few player changes since our last bandroom news update.  We welcome Jayne Bateman on Cornet and her daughter Elizabeth (aka 'Wizz') on Trombone who both join from Langbaurgh Band.  Both Jayne and Wizz joined in August after attending a series of rehearsals and have settled in well.  Jayne's husband Trevor is a Bass player with Easington Band.  We also welcome John Barron on Bass.  John was a member of Fishburn Band between 1984 and 1987 on Euphonium and has played with several other local bands including Horden, Ever Ready and Easington during his absence.  Also a belated welcome to our new percussionist David from Barnard Castle Band and Bass Trombone Gavin Vardy formerly of BHK Band.  David joined the band after guesting with us at our Bowburn concert in May and has quickly established himself excelling on kit.  Gavin joined the Band in July after guesting with the Band.

Unfortunately, we have recently lost the services of Steve Symonds on Soprano Cornet who was with the band for a short time.  We wish him well in his new ventures.

Fortunately we have the excellent Mal Usher who has returned to his Soprano position and Helen Gill who has moved onto Tenor Horn after a lengthy spell on Repiano Cornet whilst 'regular' Paul Vickers is not at the Band.  Strength in depth!
Bandroom News 01.09.07


Great fun was had by all at our annual fantasy football auction held in the Fishburn Club in July.  The following teams were registered for this season:

Bari town                               Neil Parkin
Abigail's Avengers               Jeff Bell
Winterton Park Rangers      Neil Simpson & Ronnie Bannister
Die hards Trilogy                  John, Mal & Kieran Gill
Souper Eleven                      Mal Usher & Helen Gill
Fishburn Bandits                  Steven Hardy & John Youll
Magners Merry Men             Audrey Gill & Jo Brown
Grannies Gunners                Carole Bell & Phil Rosier

Neil Parkin's 'Bari Town' were the first victors in the manager of the Month competition with an impressive 45 points.

Why not visit our fantasy league site and follow the fortunes of our teams by clicking here.  Game on!
Bandroom News 01.09.07


Most of the band are currently involved once again in working with the excellent Ray Farr, featuring in his Northern ‘All Stars’ Band that is due to perform at The Sage on Sunday, 17 June 2007.  The concert starts at 2 pm and this year the featured soloist is renowned virtuoso euphonium player, David Thornton of Black Dyke Band.   The ‘All Stars’ event is the brainchild of Ray Farr, who thought of gathering together around 50 players from the North East to perform in a concert each year.  Having been involved in previous such events held at The Sage, the atmosphere for the participants is amazing and to be involved in such a concert and in such magnificent surroundings is a privilege.  The programme this year is once again innovative, exciting and well worth making the effort to attend.  Tickets are available via The Sage box office.  Why not visit the website designed for the event  by our Soprano Cornet player Steve Symonds by clicking here

Bandroom News 07.06.07


The Band return to play in Sedgefield for the annual Proms in the Park on Saturday, 9 June 2007.  We performed at last year’s event and are hoping once again for glorious weather for the audience who bring along their picnic baskets and copious amounts of wine.  Fishburn Band will be featured around 5.30 – 6.30 pm and we hope to see you there. 

Bandroom News 07.06.07


We have been very busy working with Ray Farr and 3 of his music students, Clair, James and Chris, who are completing their Masters Degree in Conducting.  Their examination took place in the Music Department of Durham University, Palace Green on Sunday, 3 June 2007 in the form of a concert with the Band featuring each of the students putting the Band through their paces on a diverse range of music.  In preparation for the event, in addition to mixed rehearsals at which all the students attended under the guidance of Ray, each student took a full rehearsal on their own with the Band which was filmed by Ray to enable them to review their technique and to polish up their own and the Band's performance.  The event went well and we wish each of the students every success on achieving their desired grades and also hope they all have a succesful career in conducting.
Bandroom News 05.06.07


That’s another football season over and done with and this year it ended up being a two horse race in the league, with the Gill boys and Neil Parkin head and shoulders above the rest. 

Here’s the full results of the league table:

1.     Silent But Deadly               John, Mal & Kieran Gill
2.     Bari Town                            Neil Parkin
3.     Hex Hustlers                       Audrey Gill & Jo Brown
4.     Out ‘til October                   Neil Simpson & Ronnie Bannister
5.     Fishburn Bandits              Steven Hardy & John Youll
6.     George & Mildred              Mal Usher & Helen Gill
7.     Bellselecta (Hee Hee)       Jeff & Caroline Bell
8.    Bell’s Up Utd                      Carole Bell & Phil Rosier

Winners of the other categories were as follows:

FA Cup                                          Fishburn Bandits
League Series                              Silent But Deadly
Custom Cup (Joint Winners)       Silent But Deadly & Bari Town
Bandroom News 05.06.07


Unfortunately we're not the bearer of good news in this report regarding the band’s performance at the Grand Shield contest in May.  Whilst the band felt that we gave a good account of ourselves on Bramwell Tovey's very difficult 'The Night to Sing' and being conducted by the very charismatic Richard Evans – we certainly didn’t hit the right note with Alan Morrison, one of the adjudicators (and ex-Fishburn Player!) and find ourselves relegated to the Senior Cup in 2008.  Whilst extremely disappointed, we know that we will have to work very hard to get ourselves back into the Grand Shield for 2009 as there are a lot of top class bands still trying to get promoted out of the Senior Cup.  Click here to read the remarks
Bandroom News 05.06.07


The next contest on Fishburn Band's engagement list is the Grand Shield, due to take place in Blackpool on Saturday, 19 May 2007.  Individual sectionals are already planned so that Phil Rosier, our resident conductor, can put us through our paces before the arrival of Richard Evans who will take us on the Winter Gardens stage.  This is a prestigious 'invitation only' event where the top two bands will move up to compete in the British Open in September.  Fishburn Band have been there or there about over recent years and it is important that we go and put on a good show following our disappointment at the recent Area Championships. 

However, before we get to the contest stage we have three concerts on our list of engagements and we hope that you will come along and support us at one of the following events:  first on the agenda is a joint concert with Barnard Castle Band and Barnard Castle Youth Band.  This will be held at the GSK Sports & Social Club in Barnard Castle on Sunday, 15 April 2007.  Starting at 7 pm, tickets are priced at £5 and £4 concessions (available at the door).  Then, as previously mentioned on our Bandroom News page,  on Saturday, 21 April 2007 we will be appearing in concert at Hartlepool Town Hall featuring Guest Soloist, Russell Gray - this concert starts at 7.30 pm and tickets are now on sale.  Our last concert before the Grand Shield is our re-arranged concert at Bowburn Community Centre on Friday, 4 May 2007.   Always a well supported event, this concert will start at 7.30 pm.

Bandroom News 09.04.07


Congratulations go to Neil Simpson and Ronnie Bannister, and their team 'Out 'til October' on being Managers of the Month for March 2007 with an excellent 35 points.  Neil and Ronnie left the rest of us in their wake and the points helped push them up the league into 4th place.  Runner up for March was Neil Parkin and his team 'Bari Town' with 28 points.  Why not keep up to date with the progress of our teams by clicking here.

Bandroom News 03.04.07 


Press release that the Bowburn Banner Group are releasing about the change in date:

A brass band concert has been re-arranged because of a football match.

Bowburn Banner Group faced a minor disaster when it was announced last weekend that Sunderland AFC's last promotion-chasing home match of the season was to be switched to Friday 27th April and shown on Sky TV.  The Banner Group had booked the Fishburn Band to play one of their superb concerts that night and this could have seriously hit
audience numbers.

The response to this threatening news was fantastic.  The band agreed to shuffle its programme and play the following week instead.  Bowburn Community Centre was found to be available, and agreed to alter the booking.  And the bar manager, with the help of Durham City Council's licensing officers, agreed to make the necessary amendments.  In short, everyone was wonderfully helpful!

The concert will now be on Friday 4th May, in Bowburn Community Centre.  New tickets (£4 ordinary price but £2 for children and £3 concessions) will be on sale from this weekend.  Doors and bar will open on the night at 7.00pm and the band will play from 7.30pm.

During the concert, a special copy of the score of The Bowburn March, which was commissioned during the village's centenary celebrations last year, will be presented to Bowburn Junior School.  It is hoped that young musicians from the village will learn to play Bowburn's very own brass band music in the future.

For further information, contact:
Mike Syer
Secretary, Bowburn Banner Group
Tel.: (0191) 377-1491
Bandroom News 30.03.07


Ah well, we didn't do ourselves justice at the area contest and came in a disappointing 4th place, behind winners Reg Vardy, Runners Up EYMS and 3rd placed Chester Le Street Riverside.  The Band had worked very hard under the superb direction of resident Phil Rosier and Professional Russell Gray on the excellent 'Isaiah 40' by Robert Redhead.  Unfortunately, things didn't go to plan on the stage with several uncharacteristic clips which spoilt the performance.  So we couldn't complain about the result, but we will take the experience on board to ensure that we produce our best at future contests and get the results we want.  Click here to read the adjudicator's remarks.  Good luck to Reg Vardy and EYMS at the Royal Albert Hall in October, we hope they do the area proud.  On a positive note, we secured the services of 3 excellent new players for the area contest and beyond - Matty Williams on Bb Bass, Paul Vickers on Tenor Horn, and Steve Clinton on Euphonium.  All three will help to improve the Band with their blend of technique, sound and experience.   Welcome to all three from all the Band!
Bandroom News 30.03.07


Next on the agenda is Fishburn Band ‘In Concert’ at Hartlepool Town Hall on Saturday, 21 April 2007 featuring the brilliant Russell Gray as our Guest Cornet Soloist for the evening. We're all eagerly awaiting to accompany Russell following our successful association with him in his role as Professional Musical Director at various contests and can assure you of a very enjoyable and entertaining event.  Patrons note: This is a designated Patrons event – so please contact us as soon as possible to arrange your free tickets. 

New on our list of engagements is a joint concert with Barnard Castle Band which will take place in March (date to be confirmed) at the Glaxo Club in Barnard Castle.  Please keep checking the events page on the website or with band members as we are awaiting confirmation of the date of this new event. 
Bandroom News 12.02.07


We’ve now started to look at the test piece for the Regional Championships at the Dolphin Centre, Darlington on Sunday 18 March.  We have been given the difficult set test piece  'Isaiah 40' by Liet Colonel Robert Redhead, who is famously known for his association with the Salvation Army.  In 1996, he was commissioned to compose the piece by Switzerland together with Great Britain, the Netherlands and Norway with funds provided by the Swiss Brass Band Association, the Netherlands Brass Band Championships, the Norwegian Band Federation and Boosey & Hawkes plc, being used for the National Brass Band Championship of Great Britain at the Royal Albert Hall in October of that year.

Phil Rosier, our resident Musical Director, is currently putting us through our paces, at full band rehearsals and sectionals, before Russell Gray steps back in the middle to put the final touches on what we hope will lead to a performance that sees us heading back to London in October 2007.
Bandroom News 12.02.07


It is with sadness and regret that we report the death of Hannah Dixon, dearly loved Mother of Fishburn Band's Manager and Percussionist Carole Bell and Nan of Solo Euphonium Player Jeff Bell.

Hannah's funeral was held on Thursday 1st February in her home village of Trimdon Colliery at which we were honoured to provide the music for the hymns during a very emotional service.  Her popularity was evident by the number of people who attended the service, many of whom had to stand outside the Church during the proceedings.

Hannah had long been a popular supporter, patron and fundraiser of the Band for many years whilst attending many concerts.  She will be sadly missed.  Everyone connected with Fishburn Band send their thoughts and condolences to Hannah's husband Robert, Carole, Frank, Jeff and Caroline, and members of the family.
Bandroom News 12.02.07


On Sunday 28th January, we were involved in a massed bands afternoon concert at the Sage, Gateshead, under the Musical Direction of the excellent Ray Farr.  Other than ourselves, the Bands who took part in this enjoyable event were Chester-le-Street Riverside, Easington Colliery and Broughtons.  Fishburn Band took the lead as the ‘centre band’ and accompanied guest Cornet soloist, Roger Webster, as he gave a master-class in the art of precision playing.  This was a great occasion for all bands concerned, especially with over 1300 people in the extremely appreciative audience. 

Bandroom News 12.02.07


Over the weekend of 20th and 21st January, we attended the Butlins Mineworkers Contest for the third year running, this time with the masterly Richard Evans in the middle and we felt that we were onto a sure-fire winner.  Playing a very entertaining programme which had the audience enthralled it was clear that we were the audience’s favourite to be in the prizes.  Unfortunately, we weren’t in favour with the adjudicators and came away extremely disappointed.  Never mind, there's always next year......
Bandroom News 12.02.07


We were extremely privileged to have 3 World Class Conductors in our bandroom on Tuesday evening 16 January.  Our professional Conductor Richard Evans was with us in the run up to our forthcoming contest at Butlins during which he and the band are working very hard polishing up our test piece "Northern Lights" and our entertainment programme.  Bramwell Tovey was with us taking the Masters Students from Durham University through a Conductors masterclass and Ray Farr was with us overseeing the masterclass as their principal tutor.  All three Conductors are known world wide and are masters at their craft. To have all three at the Band at one time gave us a great deal of enjoyment and experience which was very inspirational making it a unforgetable event. 
Bandroom News 17.01.07


Fishburn Band would like to wish all our visitors and supporters a very Happy, Healthy and Successful 2007.  We've had a very busy period just prior to Xmas and completed our regular Xmas carol playing around the local villages and at Makro and enjoyed our Xmas concert for our supporters at the Fishburn Club on 15 December.  We again enjoyed playing for a Conductors Masterclass led by the excellent Ray Farr at Durham University.  We also played at a very touching memorial service at Bowburn Community Centre on 16 December, where there were numerous miners banners on resplendant display around the Community Centre Hall.  Unfortunately, our planned concert at Chilton on 22 December was cancelled due to the unfortunate illness of the local Mayor.  We've been having a well deserved short break and enjoyed the festivities but it's back to work this Wednesday preparing for the Butlins Contest (with Richard Evans) on 20 & 21 January 2007 and for our joint concert at the Sage, Gateshead (With Ray Farr) on Sunday 28 January 2007

Bandroom News 01.01.07


Well done to John, Mal and Kieran Gill and their team 'Silent But Deadly' on becoming Managers of the Month for December 2006 with an excellent 90 points, edging out Neil Parkin's team 'Bari Town' who had a reasonable 60 points.  These 2 teams are setting the pace at the top of the league at present, but we will be having our mid-season auction at the end of January which will shake things up when each team have to release 10 players from our squads.
Bandroom News 01.01.07

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