Verwood Youth and Training Bands!
Musicians from Verwood Concert Brass had a great day out at the
Wessex Brass Band Association contest for Youth and Training Bands
held on Saturday 27th January 2018, and were delighted to win many
It was the first time that the Verwood Training Band (for players of
all ages) had entered a contest but they did themselves proud by not
only picking up the award for best training band but also for being
the best band overall.
Furthermore, the Verwood Youth Band (for players under the age of
19) won the best youth band award and the Verwood Youth Ensemble
(for a small group of under 19s) picked up the best youth ensemble
Verwood Youth Band performing
It was also great to see a number of the young Verwood players
picking up individual awards in recognition of their excellent
playing. Gold awards were given to Naomi Selby-Grace for her cornet
playing and Emma Close who played a fabulous trombone solo ‘The
Acrobat’. Jack Musselwhite was awarded a cup for best
instrumentalist of the day – this was for his drum kit playing
showing that there are great opportunities for percussionist within
brass bands too. The award for best soloist of the day went to Amy
Cooke for her fantastic tenor horn solo performance of ‘Feelings’.
Mike Dunnings, musical director and conductor of the Verwood Youth
and Training Bands said "I couldn’t have been more delighted nor
prouder of how each and every player performed. For many, taking
part in a contest was a new experience and they came through it with
flying colours and of course it was fabulous winning some prizes in
recognition of their efforts.
Members of the winning Verwood
(L to R) Ellie Mullins, Archie Musselwhite, Naomi Selby-Grace, Amy
Cooke, Emma Close and Jack Musselwhite.
Above all else banding is about having fun and enjoying making music
together, so I was particularly pleased to hear contest adjudicator,
Robert Nicholson, from the No 1 brass band in the world, Cory, sum
up the day as one full of smiles from everyone on stage."
The doors of the Verwood Concert Brass band room are always open to
new players of any age and of any standard, to come along and join
the Training Band. Plus any brass players or percussionist under the
age of 19 can come along to the Verwood Youth Band and do not have
to become members of Verwood Concert Brass. For anyone interested,
details can be found on the Verwood Concert Brass website.
VCB Supports 'Katie's New Wheels
Concert Brass raises money through collections at the many carolling
events. Some of the money collected is used to support the Verwood
Concert Brass but some of the money raised goes to a chosen charity.
This year the band chose to support ‘Katie’s New Wheels’ via ‘The
Tree of Hope’ charity.
Katie in her brand new all-terrain wheel chair
surrounded by members of the winning Verwood Youth Band.
Katie, is 10
years old and recently joined the Acorns new starters group to learn
to play the trumpet. As well as loving making music we found out
that she would also love to be able to get out and about more in our
beautiful New Forest and Dorset coastal countryside with Vinnie, her
assistance dog. That’s not easy for Katie as she has cerebral palsy
but an all-terrain wheel chair solved the problem through ‘Katie’s
New Wheels’ charity which helped to fund the purchase of one, with
donations from the VCB and The Sarah Kinsley Fund.
Verwood Youth Band celebrates
Band competed in the Wessex Brass Band Association Youth and
Training Band Festival on Saturday 28th January 2017 and
celebrated by being awarded the cup for the Best Youth Band, and
principal cornet player, Naomi Selby Grace, also won the trophy for
said "It is a real privilege to see these young players enjoy
learning and making music together. We always welcome new brass and
percussion players and have seen many young players progress through
our Youth and Training Band and on to our 4th section
Verwood Town Band and ultimately to our championship section Verwood
Concert Brass Band."
Bass Section of Verwood Concert
Brings It Home
Concert Brass had a great day on Saturday 26th November 2016 in
being crowned Champions of the Wessex Brass Band Association Winter
Contest. A great achievement alongside the special awards of the
South Wilts Cup given to conductor Kevin Smith for best musical
interpretation of the score and the Kevin Bolton Plaque to Elaine
Close, principal cornet, for best instrumentalist on the day.
awards mean a lot but perhaps the winning of the Arthur Spencer
Trophy for the best bass section meant just that little bit more
when it was awarded to Verwood’s bass section of Nigel Tiller,
Mike Dunnings, Duncan Smith and Jane Cottee (see picture).
The reason being is that
this trophy was donated to the Wessex Brass Band Association in 2005
in memory of Arthur Spencer following his death at the age of 89 and
Arthur was what can best be described as a very important part of
Verwood Concert Brass’ heritage.
Arthur was the son of
Tommy Spencer, a renowned bass player of his day who conducted
Verwood and Shrewton Bands and was a past president of Wessex Brass
Band Association. Arthur and his brother, Fred followed in their
father’s footsteps and joined Verwood Band. Arthur was a successful
euphonium player before joining the bass ranks where he was part of
the team that saw Verwood Band rise from the Fourth Section to the
Championship section in the late 1960s.
1979 Arthur was awarded, like his father before him, the National
Brass Band Club award for playing for 50 years (see picture). He
also received a similar award from the Wessex Brass Band
Association. Arthur decided to retire from playing in 1985, aged 70,
but retained his links as a Committee member becoming President of
the Band in 1986. Arthur was very proud in 1995 when he opened the
new Band Hall and it was fitting that the main hall was named the
“Spencer Room” in his, and his family’s, honour for their
contribution to Verwood Band over the years.
One of the bass players
in Verwood’s winning bass section, Nigel Tiller, had the pleasure of
playing alongside Arthur in the band before his retirement and had
this to say: “Since 2005 we had seen other bass sections from other
bands winning the Arthur Spencer Trophy and it was just a dream that
one day we might actually win that Trophy ourselves and bring it
home to the ‘Spencer Room’ in our band hall. But on Saturday that
dream came true and it was a very proud moment indeed, made all the
more special by the connection back to Arthur.
Arthur was a great bass
player and even after he stopped playing he attended all the band’s
concerts and took great pride in the band’s achievements and
progress. He would have been delighted with Verwood’s recent rise
back up to the Championship section and all the contest awards
received but as a bass player I’m sure he would have been extra
delighted with us winning the best bass section award.”
Concert Brass Youth Players
win Wessex Contest.
Concert Brass’ young players did themselves and the organisation proud
at the Wessex Brass Band Association Youth and Training Band Contest
held on Saturday 30th January, at Trafalgar School in Downton,
Wiltshire. Verwood Concert Brass entered the Youth Band section and the
Youth Ensemble section, these are for players under the age of 19, and
they came away with some fantastic awards which were presented by
contest adjudicator, Captain Sam Hairsine of the Royal Marines Band
Youth Band, made up of 21 players and under the baton of Mike Dunnings,
won the cup for the best Youth Band as well as for the best overall band
across both the Youth and Training Band sections. It also won a further
cup for playing the best hymn tune which bands included as one of the
pieces they played as part of their varied programme of music.
Verwood Youth Ensemble, which consisted of nine players conducted by
Lloyd Bartlett, was awarded 2nd place in their section, with Jack
Musslewhite winning a bronze certificate for his percussion playing and
Oliver Bartlett, age 6, getting the cup for being the youngest player on
Verwood Concert Brass, Helen Dunnings said “It was a great day seeing
and hearing all of the young players from all of the competing bands
perform some wonderful music on the contest stage. I, and all involved
with Verwood Concert Brass, were of course particularly proud of what
our younger players achieved and the awards they won and it is so
pleasing that as an organisation we can do our bit to nurture another
generation of brass band players”.
Verwood Youth Band was started in 2014, Verwood Concert Brass’ 150th
anniversary year, not just for under 19’s who play in the Verwood
Training Band, Verwood Town Band or the Verwood Concert Brass
Championship band but for any other young brass and percussion players
in the area who want the musical development opportunities and fun of
playing in such a band.
Youth Band have band practice every third Sunday of the month from 2pm
to 4pm starting from March and would welcome along any young brass and
Concert Brass victorious at Wessex Contest
on Saturday the 28th November 2015.
On Saturday 28th November the Wessex Brass Band Association held its 59th Annual
Winter Contest at the Life Centre in Winton, Bournemouth. 18 bands competed,
some travelling from as far away as Medway in Kent and the Forest of Dean in
Verwood Concert Brass entered both its principal band, the ‘Verwood
Concert Band’, and the ‘Verwood Town Band’ and came away with five
trophies including the title of Wessex Champions.
The contest is what’s called an ‘open own choice competition’ which as
Helen Dunnings, Verwood Concert Brass’s chairperson explained, “All the
bands regardless of their standard compete against each other so there
are bands who are in the Championship Section (The highest section)
through to the 4th Section (The lowest section) who perform a test piece
of music of their own choice to be judged by the adjudicator. The
adjudicator, who cannot see which band is playing which avoids any
unconscious bias, then ranks the bands as to which they think is best”.
The Verwood Concert Band is currently a 1st Section band and the Verwood
Town Band is in the 4th Section of the West of England region, so both
were up against potentially better, higher section bands.
At the end of a long but very enjoyable day, the results, when they were
announced, could not have been better.
First of all the Verwood Town Band won the cup for best 4th Section band
but not only that they beat a number of 3rd Section bands to take 15th
place overall. Conductor of the band, Emma Button commented ‘I am so
proud of the effort the band has put in during rehearsals and the result
just shows it was all worthwhile. I could not be more delighted”.
This was followed by the Verwood Concert Band being awarded trophies
the best percussion section, thanks to Henry Boler, Ella Walker and
the best instrumentalist, won by Elaine Close on solo cornet,
the best 1st Section band,
And . . . won the contest outright, beating three championship bands to
become WESSEX CHAMPIONS!
But that was not all because the organisers had invited the Verwood
Youth Band to perform a short concert during the lunch break. The
Verwood Youth Band, which comprises of youngsters ranging from age 6 to
18, played fabulously to the absolute delight of the audience, which of
course consisted of discerning brass band aficionados.
Kevin Smith who conducted both the Verwood Concert Band in its
championship winning performance and the Verwood Youth Band and is also
overall musical director for Verwood Concert Brass had this to say “It
was such a wonderful day for the whole Verwood Concert Brass family with
over 70 of our players taking part. The day started off with Verwood
Town Band. Congratulations to Emma Button and the band. They did
themselves proud. Then the wonderful Verwood Youth Band. It was an
absolute pleasure being on stage with them and the future of brass
banding looks very safe in their hands with such talent at their age.
And finally the Verwood Concert Band. What a performance! I thank them
all for all their hard work and dedication. Onwards and upwards!”
Helen Dunnings concludes “Winning contests is the icing on the cake,
with the cherry on top, which brings its own level of enjoyment. It does
help to show what a successful team we are at Verwood Concert Brass but
contesting is only part of it. Our ethos is about enjoying making music
together regardless of age or experience, so we would welcome new
players who share that ethos to any one of our bands including brand new
starters to the Verwood Training Band”.
For further information about Verwood Concert Brass and its forthcoming
Christmas concert events please go to
The trophies from left to right.
Mike Dunnings (Band Master for the VCB) with the Best 1st
Section band trophy.
Kevin Smith (Musical Director of VCB with the Wessex Champions
Sally Burrows (Band Master for the Town Band) with the Best 4th
Section band trophy.
Emma Graves, a member of the team who won the Best Percussion
Naomi Hewin, standing in for Elaine Close (Solo cornet player)
who won the best Instrumentalist award.
Cornet and Percussion Section
Verwood Youth Band
Concert Brass joins the top flight after promotion to the Championship
Section at the West of England
Regional Finals in
March 2015 in Torquay.
Brass will become a Championship Section band after yet another
fantastic performance at the West of England Brass Band Association
Master, Mike Dunnings said “This is like a dream come true, earning
promotion to the highest level, and is an historic way to start the band’s
151st year. But unlike a dream this has actually involved a lot of
dedication and support from everyone involved with Verwood Concert Brass
to make this happen. It is amazing to think that back in 2006 the band
was in the 4th Section but has continually improved and developed to
earn the right to be in the top flight. The journey has been a great
experience and also a lot of fun too”.
unfamiliar with brass banding the country is split into eight regions
and in each region there are leagues, like in football, with the top
section being the Championship Section and then Sections one down to
four. Every March regional contests are held presenting an opportunity
for bands to win prizes and very importantly get promoted to a higher
section or indeed relegated to a lower section.
Over the weekend of
the 14th and 15th March around 80 brass bands, which means over 2,000
musicians, from Cornwell, Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire and
Hampshire descended on Torquay to battle it out in the West of England
Regional Finals. Verwood Concert Brass was up against 14 other bands in
the 1st Section and was picked out of the hat to be the 2nd band to play
the very challenging set test piece of music, ‘A London Overture’ by
band’s conductor, Kevin Smith was absolutely delighted with their
performance saying ‘I could not have asked for anything more from any
of the players. Every single one of them performed how I knew they
could, with confidence and skill, but most importantly they played as
one complete team. It was an absolute privilege and delight to be on
stage with them”.
Playing 2nd meant a
long wait for the results whilst the rest of the bands took their turn
to perform and there is always a fear that the adjudicators might forget
just how good bands who played early on were. When the results were
announced a great cheer went up from the band and its supporters when
Verwood was awarded 3rd place.
explained why even coming 3rd meant so much. ”Promotion isn’t about
being a one hit wonder. It’s about being consistently good over a
period of three years. Our 3rd from this year was added to our 4th from
last year’s contest and our 3rd from the year before that, giving us a
total of only 10 points – the lower the better. That’s a very low
score and was 3 clear points clear of our nearest rival and that’s
what earned us our well-deserved promotion from the 1st Section to the
Championship Section. We are really looking forward to the challenge
that will present”.
Youth Band success at the Wessex Youth and Training Band Festival.
The Verwood Youth Band took part in the Wessex
Brass Band Association Youth and Training Band Festival on Saturday 31st
January and came away with the Youth Section 1st prize and
Royal Marines Cup. Plus the band’s principal cornet player, Emma
Graves, was awarded the Woodfalls Trophy for the best soloist of the day
from any section.
The Verwood Youth Band
Youth Band was formed only a year ago to help nurture not only the under 19
year old members of Verwood Concert Brass but other young brass and percussion
players in the area. The band under the musical direction of Kevin Smith, were
required to played a 20 minute own choice programme which had to include a
hymn. The programme they played comprised of ‘Singing in the rain’, ‘Amazing
Grace’, the hymn – ‘Blaenwern’, the march – ‘Slaidburn’ and the
soloist piece performed by Emma, ‘My love is like a red, red rose’.
After the last band had played and the
adjudicator was assessing the results the participants and audience were
treated to a mini concert by the Championship Section Woodfalls
Brass Band. The whole event was sponsored by the Royal Marines Band
Service with the adjudicator being Captain Sam Hairsine, Assistant
Director of Music at the Royal Marines School of Music. He summed up the
day by saying he was both pleasantly surprised and encouraged not only
by the numbers of young players taking part but also the quality of
playing which boded well for the future.
Kevin Smith, (musical director of Verwood
Concert Brass) who conducted the band said “I really enjoy having the
opportunity to rehearse and then present such an enthusiastic and
talented group of young musicians. They can all be very proud of what
they have achieved.”
Emma Graves, winner of the best soloist prize,
for the second year running said “It is always special to be awarded a
prize as it makes the practicing all the more worthwhile. I was
especially pleased to have received the award from Captain Hairsine of
the Royal Marines School of Music as my ambition is to join the Royal
Marines Band Service when I finish my A levels in 2016”.
The Verwood Youth Band would welcome more
under 19 brass and percussion players to come and join them. For details
please contact Mike Dunnings via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
or phone on 07791 340870.
Concert Brass wins South West Championship
in Torquay on the 1st of November 2014.
Concert Brass earned themselves a fantastic result at the 68th Annual
Championships of the South West Brass Band Association held on Saturday
1st November 2014 in Torquay to take part in the 'Open Section' of the
contest . Not only did they win the special award for the highest placed
First Section Band but also won the contest out right. It was an 'Own
Choice' event meaning each band could choose a test piece to play and
Verwood’s test piece choice was 'Spectrum' by Gilbert Vintner.
chairman and cornet player, Helen Dunnings said ‘This is a great
achievement for the band. We have been putting in some consistently good
contest performances but in the past have just missed out on winning
some silverware. Coming away with the winning cup and special award for
highest placed First Section Band has given us all a real boost and is
great recognition for everyone’s hard work and efforts.
Verwood Concert Brass’ next contest will be
one closer to home; the Wessex Brass Band Association Winter Contest
taking place on 29th November at the Life Centre,
two brass bands do the town proud
in March 2014.
of ‘The best ever Verwood Concert Brass “B” Band . . . so far!’
after being placed 9th out of 21 bands competing in the 4th
section of the West of England Brass Band Regional Championship Contest in
Torquay 8th March 2014.
March is a very important month in the brass
band calendar. All over the UK bands are competing in the national brass
band championships. Over the weekend of the 8th and 9th
March over 70 bands in the West of England region descended upon Torquay
to do battle.
Most towns only have
one band competing in the championships but because of the exceptional
number of players in Verwood Concert Brass it was able to send two bands
to represent Verwood.
The “A” Band competed in the 1st
Section against 13 other bands and did brilliantly by being placed 4th.
Although not a podium finish, unlike last year where they were placed 3rd
it proves that the band can consistently perform at a high level which
puts them at the top of the table for next year.
Musical director, Kevin Smith explained “The
championships run on a league basis with the two bands with the lowest
score over three years being promoted and the two with the highest score
demoted. Our 3rd from last year and 4th from this
year means our score of 7 gives us the lowest score going into next year’s
contest. Another good result will see the band promoted to the top
To be in this position is a great achievement
when only last year the band was at serious risk of being demoted to the 2nd
section. It demonstrates just how well the band has come on under Kevin
The “B” Band competed in the 4th
section which is a tough section given that there are 21 bands and not
forgetting that Verwood’s 2nd band was up against many town’s
main and only band.
Over the last three years the band has been
placed 19th, 20th and 20th and so the
band were overjoyed with achieving 9th place this year; a huge
improvement. In fact this is the best result the B Band has ever had by a
Barry Harkcom, Musical Director of the “B”
Band said “I was so pleased the band were awarded a very creditable 9th
place as it is just reward for all the hard work and effort everyone in
the band has put in to improve their performance. It is made
all the more rewarding that a number of players have come up through the
Verwood Training Band and for about half a dozen players it was their
first ever experience of contesting. This result gives a great foundation
to build on.”
Verwood Concert Brass President, Pam Reeks, who
earlier in the year received a British Empire Medal for services to the
community which includes her involvement in the band, said “I could not
be more proud of our bands and the great results they achieved. It
continues the great start to our 150th anniversary year.”
Emma Graves-soloist winner
Rowan Powis-youngest player
Verwood’sYouth Band gets
new off to a flying start with contest success.
Sunday 12th January 2014 history was made as it marked the
formation of the brand new Verwood Youth Band, set up as part of Verwood
Concert Brass, and only two weeks later it has already won trophies!
Verwood Concert Brass, now in its 150th year, has a long
tradition of nurturing brass players of all ages from beginners in its
Training Band, good players in its B Band and on to top talent in its A
Band, it has never had a Youth Band.
youngsters gain a lot from playing in a band alongside experienced adult
players there is also a lot to be gained from them playing in a group of
other like minded and enthusiastic youngsters. What’s more there are
youth band contests which are not only great fun but give a sense of
purpose and a measure of progress.
it was that the Verwood Youth Band or VYB for short was established to
not only give Verwood Concert Brass’ under 19 year old players such an
opportunity but also other young players in the area the chance to gain
Dunnings of Verwood Concert Brass and the driving force behind the
setting up of the Youth Band said “Although we already had a core of
good young players within Verwood Concert Brass we needed more to make
up a whole band. We put the word around that all young players would be
welcome to come along but to be honest it was a bit of a leap of faith
as to how many would turn up for the first rehearsal.
New Youth Band in in
Stour and Avon Magazine
Ever Result for Verwood Concert Brass at the West of England Brass Band
Regional Finals in March 2013 in Torquay.
musicians from the A and B bands travelled to Torquay and became known
as the VCB Green Army. The A Band competed in the 1st section and came
3rd overall amid cheers, beating relegation to the second section.
Verwood concert Brass consists of 3 bands and any players of any ability
wishing to join then please contact:-
enquiries @ verwoodconcertbrass.co.uk
All the ladies of Verwood Concert Brass recently formed an all
Blushing Brass, to hold a special fund raising concert in 2013.
raised for Breakthrough Breast Cancer
Jan Tiller, the driving force behind the initiative commented “I was
inspired by the fund raising activity of another all female band
“Boobs & Brass” and thought we have more than enough ladies in
Verwood Concert Brass to do something similar.”
Jean Murray accepted the cheque on behalf of Breakthrough Breast
Cancer for £1000. She said "this money will allow us to
continue fighting breast cancer by finding the cause of breast cancer,
improving detection, diagnosis, treatment and services.”