Band News


Newsletter by Martin Humphries

April 2017

Ocean Brass have been incredibly busy so far during the 2016/17 academic year. This all began with their first gig under new MD Martin Humphries on a beautifully sunny day for the Bosham Fete. Hot on the heels of this fantastic gig, the band locked themselves away for a few weeks, getting used to the new MD, and the new MD getting used to the band.

The result of this time in the band room was another brilliant performance, this time at the Chandlers Ford Methodist Church for our annual charity concert, which this year was in aid of the MS Society and raised £502.70 for the charity. Musically, the concert saw a departure from recent repertoire with a whole host of new pieces selected by Musical Director Martin Humphries, as well as suggestions and favourites from the players in the band. Highlights included Eurovision’s ‘Rise Like a Phoenix’, the theme to the superhero film Iron Man 3 ‘Can You Dig It?’, and wonderful solos from our very own Mary Teague (solo cornet), Kaz Valentine (flugel) John Warner (solo horn), and Ed Shackleton (bass trombone). A fun-filled musical evening was had by all.

The autumn saw preparations begin for the Wychavon Festival of Brass. This was the first time in a number of years Ocean Brass have entered an entertainment contest, so a huge amount of hard work was put into realising our chosen pieces. Our programme was themed around dragons, and featured lots of new and recent compositions, including the theme from ‘How to Train Your Dragon’, the finale to Philip Harper’s test piece ‘Kingdom of Dragons’, and an equally haunting and funky euphonium solo titled ‘Red Flame’, performed with flare and enthusiasm by our principal euphonium and band manager, Shawn Blaker. Unfortunately, due to poor entry numbers, the 2nd section of the contest did not run and so we competed in the 1st section. This didn’t throw us and we held our own, delivering a performance we were very proud of. This was the perfect way for the band to settle in to their new MD and lay the groundwork for the months ahead.

In November the band performed a Remembrance Day Service at Colbury Memorial Hall. This annual date in our calendar was as moving as ever and featured some beautiful playing from the band of traditional repertoire, as well as some new additions which lifted the spirits of all in the room. This was a beautiful service, which was as much about optimism for the future as it was about reflecting on the past.

Christmas came and went as ever with numerous carolling gigs raising the much-needed funds to keep a band like Ocean thriving. Our big winter concert saw the band arrive on stage in Christmas jumpers for a fantastically light-hearted family concert that was full of surprises. Not only did we have pass-the-parcel, audience participation in the ‘12 days of Christmas’, but we also invited our very own trombonist Paul Mathieson’s young son to the podium to conduct the band – I’m not sure who was having more fun! It was another brilliant concert filled to capacity, which is exactly what our soloists deserved performing Christmas favourites such as ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ (Kaz Valentine, flugel and Ed March, trombone), and our principal E-flat Bass Nick Valleley giving an unforgettable rendition of Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas’.

From January work began on this year’s Areas test piece, ‘Rhapsody in Brass’. It was a real challenge for the band to jump back 60 years to one of the classics of the brass band repertoire after spending the previous months focussing on mainly modern music. The piece is in three movements, showcasing light and jovial dance-like music, followed by a sentimental slow movement featuring exposed and extended passages for solo horn and soprano cornet; the finale is a fierce and demanding end to the piece. We worked our socks off, including an open rehearsal to our friends and family, and we arrived in Torquay feeling as prepared as we could be. Unfortunately, a few too many slips and blips, and some wobbly intonation caused us to miss out on the result we hoped for, and the band were unfortunately placed last on the day. This didn’t dampen our spirits though, as we all knew that in the months leading up to the areas, and in our performance that day, we cemented all the hard work we’d been putting in, and that our performance was one we could all be very proud of. We will be dropping down to the third section from 2018, but the groundwork has most certainly been laid for a band which is full of energy, optimism, and most definitely on the up once again!

The Areas is also the time of year when we honour the enormous talent in the band. Bravo to the winners of the various prizes and awards for 2016/17 which were:

Mary Teague for Player of the Year (chosen by the band)

Jo Baldwin for Services to the Band (chosen by the band)

Paul Mathieson for Most Improved Player (chosen by the MD)

As we now move into our spring and summer engagements the band are working hard on a revitalised programme for fetes and bandstands which hopes to be huge fun for band and audience alike. We’re also preparing a musicals themed concert shared with the Thornden Community Wind Band, and beginning rehearsals for a CD recording later this year. Watch this space.

All in all it’s been a thoroughly enjoyable few months, with some rocky results, but a real sense of momentum musically and socially within the band. Bring on next year!


Charity Concert in aid of Multiple Sclerosis

September 2016

Just a quick update to our loyal and new followers alike to let you know how our Annual Charity Concert went!

This has to have been one of the best concerts we’ve ever done for raffle prizes! The following people donated prizes to whom we are most grateful!

Sea City Museum, Southampton

Bay Leaves Larder, Hiltingbury

King Rufus Pub, Chandlers Ford

Fotogenix Photography, Chandlers Ford

Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth

Picador Vauxhall, Chandlers Ford

Ringwood Brewery, Ringwood

Independent Car Sales and Servicing, Chandlers Ford

Grove Butchers in Chandlers Ford

Hair at Monroes, Chandlers Ford

First Call Heating, Chandlers Ford

Laura Green Yoga, Chilworth

Leightons Opticians, Chandlers Ford

Explosion Museum, Portsmouth

The Crown Pub, Bishops Waltham

Owen Hedicker

Angela Lloyd

Sally Arnold

The players of Ocean Brass Band

The event was also supported by David Nichols of AECL

The concert was not as well attended as previous years, but it was great to see some new faces in the audience as the new MD Martin Humphries had brought what looked like his entire family to support him at what turned out to be an extremely well received first major concert program. In total we managed to raise £502.70 profit for the Southampton branch of the MS society!


The band is now preparing for the Wychavon Entertainments Contest on the 29th October in Evesham! The program is Dragon themed and Martin has chosen a very ambitious set for the band who will be competing against 1st section bands from across the country!



Newsletter by Ed March

August 2016

Concerts and Contests

The New Year started with preparations for the West of England Area Contest at Torquay and the band worked extremely hard rehearsing a fabulous piece entitled The Mermaid of Zennor by Philip Harper.

The test piece paints a musical picture of the sea and work on the fishing boats, followed by a service of thanksgiving in the local church which is where the mermaid hears the hero of the tale singing. She sneaks into the church and when their eyes meet they fall instantly in love… She gets spotted and after a chase back to the sea the pair disappear into the waves never to be seen again, but they say you can still hear his voice on the air on a stormy day. It was a great piece to play and we have used parts of it in concerts since as it was too good to only play at a contest!

On the day of the contest we overcame the usual pre-contest nerves and gave it our all. However, despite the band performing extremely well and feeling like it might gain a podium place…the adjudicators personal taste was sadly not aligned with our Musical Directors and as sometimes happens on these occasions we walked away feeling a little robbed! BUT! As always the attitude and ethos of the band is to look on the bright side and we were happy with the way we played even if our 11th place was disappointing. We look forward to returning next March, and playing our socks off once again with the hope of winning the Adjudicator lottery!

As usual a lot of the band spent an extra morning in Torquay to take part in the now traditional Ocean Brass pitch and putt and lawn bowling competition. By far the best way to get over the indulgences of the night before and with much hilarity as always! Edd Shackleton was on usual fine form in the golf, and Ed March and Jo Baldwin trounced the other pairs at lawn bowls.

May brought an augmented Food and Countryside festival at Sparsholt college. A new combined version of what has in the past been two separate occasions and some soggy weather found the band a little out of the way and performing to only a handful of brave, damp but ultimately very satisfied listeners, and we have been assured that the old format that puts us back in the middle of the food and drink stalls will be returned to on the next festival! Not only does that mean we get literally hundreds of happy listeners, but also means the band don't have to walk so far to get interval beers! You can see pictures of our concerts here. We are working on making our Instagram pictures more accessible too!

On a sunny Sunday in May, the band played for a Queen’s Jubilee Tea Party in Hedge End. The guests enjoyed delicious cakes and meringues and joined in with lots of patriotic flag waving.

July saw us return to Jubilee hall in Bishops Waltham playing a fundraising concert for the village minibus. This was Ed March’s last engagement as Musical Director, and it was, as always, very well received and an emotional and lovely concert to mark the end of another era in Ocean Brass history.

Shortly afterwards, we returned to Bosham Fete, the first engagement for our new MD, Martin Humphries, and a roasting hot day where everybody really enjoyed being sat in such a pretty setting playing to such a lively and appreciative audience!

Another new tradition is band camp… no rehearsing, just an excuse to get all the families of the band together for a social event. This year we were at Cedar Valley in East Meon and the backdrop of golden wheat fields and glorious sunshine was beautiful! We were even treated to a bit of crooning from band Chairman and front row cornet player Matt Poole with his guitar round the campfire! All enjoyed a variety of games and water fights and bbq fayre as usual, so we'll definitely be keeping this going next year!

Upcoming Concerts and Contests in 2016

We would love to welcome friends,supporters and newcomers alike to our coming concerts on the following dates:

Saturday 10th September Annual Charity Concert at Chandlers Ford Methodist Church 7:30pm

This year's concert is in aid of the Multiple Sclerosis charity, we already have some amazingly generous raffle prizes to be won, but if your or anyone you know would like to contribute more prizes please contact us by email and we will happily arrange to collect or just bring them along with you when you come to enjoy the concert!

Saturday 29th October Wychavon Entertainments Contest – Festival of Brass at Demontfort School, Evesham

Yes it's a bit of a trek away, and so we are getting a coach! If you would like to come and support us or have friends or family that live nearby that would enjoy listening, the program theme from Ocean Brass will be dragon orientated so should be a Roaaaaring Success!

Sunday 13th November, Festival of Remembrance at Colbury Memorial Hall, 7pm

Our usual entertaining concert precedes the traditional service and this year we are hoping to have a famous guest compere!

Saturday 17th December – Christmas Concert at Swanmore Village Hall time tbc (possibly 3pm)

Last year we trialled a new format of tabled seating with mince pies and seasonal refreshments during the performance and everybody had so much fun that we have decided to keep it! Quite possibly the finest array of Christmas jumpers we have ever seen! Guaranteed merriment and seasonal cheer!

Keep an eye out for updates on 2017 dates in the next Newsletter and on our Website at www.oceanbrass.com or on Facebook, Twitter and now Instagram!

New Faces, New Musical Director, New Era!

Ed March stood down in July due to increasing shift-work commitments and after a set of talented auditionees had been put through their paces, the band chose Martin Humphries as the new Musical Director. Ed will continue to be part of the Ocean Brass family and is staying to play trombone for the band. 27 yr old Martin is a rising star in the British music scene and is continuing his PhD studies in composition at Southampton, Bath and Cardiff. He has already had compositions performed by prestigious groups such as the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and BBC NOW, and we are looking forward to benefitting from his blossoming talent! You can find out much more about him at www.martin-humphries.co.uk

The band has seen some tactical seat changes in 2016, with our talented and flexible members willingly moving chairs and instruments to make the band sound it's best whilst accommodating new friends. We said goodbye to a few members who have emigrated to Asia, America and Spain and welcomed some more from over the water on the Isle of Wight and closer to home in the Southampton area. With keen interest shown as always from some of the new students at Southampton University we are now only in need of an E flat bass, a drummer and a couple of (ideally) back row cornet players to have a full line up! So please do keep your eyes peeled and noses to the ground for anyone that is interested in joining our happy crew!

Special mentions go to Kaz Valentine who not only won the Most Improved Musician award this year, but also the band members choice of Player of the Year! Having stepped into the breach as principal cornet last year, Kaz has now made the flugelhorn her instrument of choice and continues to impress with her fine sound! Also voted by the band is the Services to the Band award which went to Jake Povall for his excellent efforts both as librarian and contest secretary on the committee, he’s also another flexible member of the band moving from bass to trombone to baritone all in the aid of completeness!

Coda

Please do come and support our main charitable event this year at Chandlers Ford and as mentioned earlier, help finding additional raffle prizes to raise even more money for this great cause would be much appreciated. See you soon!


Newsletter by Fiona Dickinson

January 2016

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM OCEAN BRASS!

Welcome to our first newsletter of 2016. 2015 was a busy year for us and has seen a lot of changes in the band. Here’s a quick round up of some of the highlights and a look forward to events during 2016.

Ocean Brass raises £320 for Children in Need

On 18th October 2015 Ocean Brass hosted our annual charity concert at Colbury Memorial Hall. This year our chosen charity was Children in Need and so our programme of music focussed on music for children such as highlights from the Disney movie Frozen.

Aside from some great music one of the highlights of the concert was our cake tombola. It turns out that the members of Ocean Brass (or possibly their partners) are quite good bakers and not one cake was left on the table from the small mountain that made up the tombola prizes! Many thanks to all who attended and to the supporter who donated the funds for us to hire the hall – this enabled us to give all of the proceeds to Children in Need.

We are still looking for a charity to support during 2016, as well as continuing our support of the Bishops’s Waltham Minibus fund through our Christmas concert and concerts in Bishops Waltham each year.

Band Camp at Hayling Island

At Ocean Brass we enjoy making music together and sharing it with our audiences, but we’re also a very sociable bunch! After concerts we’re often found in a nearby establishment for a meal or a refreshing beverage, but once a year we also go camping. 2015 was the 3rd year of band camp and we chose to visit Hayling Island, where we could take advantage of the seaside and borrow a beach hut from a generous member of the extended band family. The brave amongst us ventured into the waves with kayaks, body-boards etc. whilst others referred the lure of mini-golf, ice-cream, the miniature railway and the funfair. A great time was had by all and the plans for Band Camp 2016 are already in the works.

A great festive season

Ocean Brass had a great time, out and about throughout December. Our Christmas concert at Swanmore Village Hall was a fantastic success, with standing room only and a great party atmosphere. We could also be spotted on Winchester high street, outside Sainsburys and M&S in Hedge End and playing carols around the Christmas tree in Swaythling! We will release details of our 2016 Christmas concert in due course and hope it will be just as popular this year!

Upcoming Events

13th March 2016 – Torquay Regional Contest

Ocean Brass will be playing ‘The Mermaid of Zennor’ at the West of England Regional Contest at the Riviera Centre, Torquay. We are currently in a strong position in the 2nd section and look forward to putting on an impressive performance on stage. We’ll let you know the result in our next newsletter.

Saturday 16th July 2016 – Bosham Village Fete

Ocean Brass will be travelling a little further afield during the summer to Bosham to enjoy their traditional village fete. We’re hoping for better weather than two years ago when we could be found huddled in a small marquee. If you’re in the area why not come and enjoy the fete with us?

OCEAN BRASS NEED YOUR HELP!

Do you or anyone you know play a brass instrument or percussion? Ocean Brass are in need of new players to boost our numbers. We are currently looking for;

Cornets

Trombones

Percussion

Eb Bass

All players are welcome to join us for a rehearsal. We rehearse 8-10pm on Thursdays at St Mary’s College, Midanbury Lane, Southampton, SO18 4DJ.

We look forward to seeing you at our upcoming concerts so make sure you put us in your diary!

Want to help us raise money for free????? Then just click here for more information



Sparsholt College Countryside Day blog by Fiona Dickinson

17 May 2014

The 17th of May saw Ocean Brass return to Sparsholt College, near Winchester, for their annual Countryside Day. Ocean Brass were among the acres of attractions including clay pigeon shooting, cow milking, tree climbing, tractor displays and much more than can be seen in just one day.

Our first set was a collection of brass band fete favourites interspersed with the challenge of Star Wars. The highlight of the first set was the baritone solo, I Know Why, played by Sarah Urch, which was certainly at least as lovely as Dr Dan's euphonium version in previous weeks.

Our first break was a great opportunity to sample Upham Brewery's fine selection of real ales. My personal favourite has to be the "Tipster" - also the drink of choice for an unnamed band member who may have offended the bar staff for the beer "most like lager".

The second set continued to feature some fantastic soloists, with lots of dirt in Edd's bass trombone solo Minnie the Moocher, impressive playing from Amelia on flugel in Festival Arrangement - Lightwalk and the first time we'd heard Amelia's dad, Steve, play Sugar Blues.

The second break was lunchtime and a huge choice of mouth watering treats, which are already whetting my appetite for Sparsholt's food festival in a few weeks time. The band enjoyed local pheasant, hog roast, paella or even deep fried audience members who sat out in midday sun to enjoy the music.

Our third set included a selection of lively numbers such as Tritsch-Tratsch Polka and Hot Toddy, contrasted with the bro-romance of the duet Perhaps Love from our euphonium section.

By the third break, the band were melting and the only thing for it was to join the queue for ice-cream.

The highlight of the final set, at least for our conductor, Ed, was the finale - The Stripper. The invitation for the audience to dance had numerous band members' hearts in their mouths, especially as one audience member began to stand up part way through the piece.

The band would like to thank Sparsholt College for another great day out and are looking forward, hungrily, to our next visit.




Spring 2014 Concert at Jubilee Hall, Bishops Waltham

29 March 2014

Spring was welcomed with open arms with Ocean Brass' concert in the Jubilee Hall, Bishops Waltham. There was a great turn out to this event and a buzz of anticipation and excitement filled the air as more chairs had to found to accomodate the growing crowd. And this concert definitely didn't disappoint!

The concert programme, put together by the newly appointed Musical Director, Edward March, was entertaining and varied, creating a brilliant platform for the various soloists around the band.

One highlight of the evening was the euphonium duet Perhaps Love written by John Denver. Unbeknown to Principal Euphonium, Shawn Blaker and the rest of the band, this duet was to be played alongside his wife, Hilary. This came as a complete surprise to Shawn as Hilary had not played her baritone for many years! The Blaker's duet was beautiful and brought a tear to many people's eye. Throughout the past year Shawn has been completing 50 challenges set by his family to be completed before his 50th birthday in May. As well as the duet he also baked and decorated a cake for the raffle. To date Shawn has raised an incredible £1580 for the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund.

In the second half of the concert the band was proud to perform the test piece, "Chaucer's Tunes", which secured them Third place in the Second Section at the recent West of England Regional Championships in Torquay. This excellent result secured the bands continued place in the Second Section.




Christmas 2013 Concert

14 December 2013

The 2013 Ocean Brass Christmas concert did not fail to create a jovial start to the merriment of the festive season. A programme full of well known classics and less familiar gems was well received by a capacity audience at Colbury Memorial Hall

This brilliant concert was topped off by a humorous poem about how "A Man Lost his Embouchure", especially written for the evening, that left both the audience and band in stitches - definitely a had to be there moment!




Charity Concert in aid of Meningitis Now and Friends of PICU

2 November 2013

Ocean Brass held their annual charity concert at Chandlers Ford Methodist Church on 2nd November 2013. This year they were raising money for two charities - Meningitis Now and Friends of PICU (Paediatric Intensive Care Unit).

Under the baton of Edward March the band began the concert with the lively Clog Dance, followed by Overture to Mack and Mabel. The first half also included the cornet solo Concorde which was played by Principal Cornet Tracey Bennett and concluded with The Dam Busters March.

Following refreshments and the raffle the second half took on a swing theme with Hot Toddy and Satin Doll. The band then accompanied vocalist Eliza Young who sang Undecided and Orange Coloured Sky. Bass soloist James Butler donned diving suit and flippers to play Forty Fathoms before the concert ended with Beauty and the Beast and A Big Band Explosion.

The concert raised £980 for the two charities.

Meningitis Now (formerly Trust)

Meningitis Now is a new charity with almost 30 years experience. Formed in 2013 by bringing together The Meningitis Trust and Meningitis UK - founders of the meningitis movement in the UK, we save lives and rebuild futures, through research, awareness and support.

On average, around 3,400 people contract bacterial meningitis and septicaemia in the UK each year. It can affect anyone, of any age, but babies, children under 5, young people aged 14-24 and the elderly are most at risk.

The charities vision is a future where no one in the UK loses their life to meningitis and everyone affected gets the support they need to rebuild their lives. We provide a powerful and united voice for individuals, families, communities, experts and professionals who know just how devastating meningitis (and septicaemia) can be. We save lives by funding research into vaccines and prevention. We reduce the impact of the disease by raising awareness, empowering people with the knowledge and information they need to get urgent medical attention if they suspect meningitis (and septicaemia). We rebuild futures by providing dedicated support to people living with the impact of meningitis (and septicaemia). We raise the funds we need to deliver our vision, inspired by the individuals and families at the heart of our organisation.

We are dependent on voluntary donations to continue our work. By attending this concert you are making a difference to our fight against meningitis in the UK. Every week 6 families face the traumatic loss of a loved one to meningitis THANKYOU for your attendance the funds raise will make a real difference to our work.

Find out more at www.meningitisnow.org

Friends of PICU (Paediatric Intensive Care Unit)

Friends of PICU is a registered charity that was set up in 2006 by nursing staff on the unit at Southampton General Hospital and the parents of children who have been cared for on PICU. The charity is run by the Trustees who are helped by volunteers.

Friends of PICU aim to support the children and their families by providing vital equipment and services that are not normally provided by the statutory authorities. The charity maintains the family accommodation on the unit which has recently undergone a major refurbishment programme.

The charity is also funding a psychologist for a period of 3 years to provide help to children and their families. The psychologist provides support for patients, families and staff on the Unit. Many people find that the experience of time on PICU can be traumatic. Our psychologist can help people to discuss their feelings and help them to reconcile these feelings.

Find out more at www.friendsofpicu.org.uk




Bosham Village Fête

14 July 2013

What are the key ingredients for a successful fête? Somewhere pleasant and green perhaps, with plentiful sunshine. Those boxes were ticked with certainty on the 14th of July, when Bosham fête took place in the picturesque grounds of the Bosham Manor house with a perhaps over-enthusiastic sun. A third vital ingredient is also needed, which is of course, a brass band.

What an extraordinary coincidence it was then that Ocean Brass played at that very fête!

The band opened the fête with the rousing Welsh march Castell Coch as the public entered, followed by How d'ya like your eggs in the morning, and the restful Pavanne. Other crowd pleasers were played including Shawn Blaker's solo of Believe Me, if all those Endearing Young charms and the first half was drawn to a close with A Big Band Explosion.

The interval allowed time for band members to wander through the stands, in particular the tombola for a chance to win something fortifying. Some band members took away Gin or Bourbon, others like myself... not a sausage. Refreshment was provided via the Pimms tent, erudition via the extensive book stall, and there was wealth of variety in the brick-a-brack, and others too numerous to mention. The offer of a grand prize draw to win a trip to a London west end show, in aid of the Datum Foundation was a temptation that also had many entrants.

The second half began with Clog Dance and somewhat ironically, Singing in the Rain. This half saw solos performed by Amelia Young on Flugel who gave a stylish rendition - as ever - of the George Michael hit Faith, followed by James Butler on Eb bass playing Forty Fathoms with gusto, giving the rest of the bass section a rest. The band then played Sinatra in Concert to much audience appreciation and the afternoon was drawn to a close with the announcements for the Grand Prize Draw Winners! I didn't win that either...

Many thanks to the people who listened and to the organisers for making Ocean Brass part of the wonderful fête!



East Hampshire Caravan Club

22 June 2013

Ocean Brass returned to Royal Victoria Country Park on a blustery June evening to entertain members of the East Hampshire Caravan Club. The first half contained the first airing of Nabucodonosor played to celebrate 200 years since the birth of Giuseppe Verdi in 1813.The two first half soloists were Shawn Blaker playing 'Believe Me, If All Those Endearing Young Charms' on Euphonium and George Michael's 'Faith, played on flugel by Amelia Young.

After a second half including 'Seventy Six Trombones', 'Singin' in the Rain' and 'Keep Smiling Through' the concert ended with the audience waving union jack flags along to Last Night of the Proms favourites 'Jerusalem' and 'Pomp and Circumstance'. With enthusiastic audience participation the band finished an enjoyable evening with 'Orpheus in the Underworld'.


Royal Victoria Park 150th Military Hospital Anniversary

9th June 2013

Ocean Brass were kindly asked to celebrate a special birthday on Sunday 9th June, marking the 150th anniversary of the sites former military hospital admitting its first patients. From 1863 until 1966 the site was home to the Royal Victoria Hospital, the British Army's first purpose-built hospital caring for sick and wounded soldiers across the world. During her lifetime Queen Victoria visited the site over 20 times. The Army demolished most of the building in 1966 except for the former Chapel to the hospital. The Park was opened to the public in 1980.

Ocean Brass opened the celebrations with 'Carnival Day' on a sunny but very windy day! The first set comprised of a variety of light popular music drawing passing visitors to sit and enjoy a first set featuring the Horn section in 'Greensleeves'. The first set concluded with 'Can-Can' from Orpheus in the Underworld. Taking a break to enjoy the military enactments, exhibitions and workshops. Councillor Peter Edgar and 'Queen Vicoria' buried a Time Capsule comprising 2013 minted stamps, a poster and programme to mark the celebrations and a HCC tie! During the second set Ocean Brass attracted quite a crowd for their performances including 'A Big Band Explosion', 'Arioso','Singing in the Rain', and 'Sinatra in Concert'. During these performances a Mulberry tree was planted and a special plaque unveiled next to the Chapel to mark the day.

Ocean Brass would like to thank the organisers of this event for inviting them to take part, and hope to be asked to perform again in the near future.




Sparsholt College Open Day

18 May 2013

On the 18th of May, the band played at Sparsholt College's countryside day. Sparsholt is a quintessential English village just outside Winchester and has a well-regarded agricultural college set in the rolling Hampshire countryside. This was the second year the band had played had the open day - clearly, the organisers have impeccable musical taste.

The band opened our first half with Carnival Day, which certainly blew away any cobwebs. A number of crowd-pleasers followed, including a nuanced solo, Believe me, if all those Enduring young Charms played ably on Euphonium by Shawn Blaker. As the crowds gathered, our allotted time drew to a close - and in tribute to the wearing of hair-nets on the cheese stall - the band played You Can Leave Your Hat On.

The musical entertainment was then provided by the Military wives, which allowed band members to peruse the college and the various stalls overflowing with tasty goodies before returning for the second half (and allowing the stall holders to replenish their displays). The second half opened with the energetic Seventy Six Trombones (only figuratively) and two further solos. Amelia Young on Flugel gave a stylish rendition of the 1987 George Michael hit Faith, with the band providing some finger-clicking rhythms, and Ocean's youngest player, James Butler conclusively proved the EEb bass is not just for um-paring' by playing Forty Fathoms with much panache. The lively Can-Can from Orpheus in the Underworld then brought the second half to close and the band again handed over to the Military wives and went off to buy some more cheese and fudge.

The third half (which raised questions about fractions) started with Clog Dance, a piece known from the film Brassed Off, followed by Keep Smilin Through and When I'm 64 to which the audience were almost singing along. Principal baritone player Chantal Pye provided a stirring rendition of I Know Why as our final soloist before we finished our set with Frank Sinatra, or more accurately, Ocean's playing of his music, to much audience applause and gratitude.

Our many thanks to the people who listened and to Sparsholt College for asking us to play!


Christmas Busking

December 2012

Ocean Brass has had a busy Christmas period spending most weekends out during December in Winchester City Centre, Hedge End or Chandlers ford. With smaller groups of player (5 to 15) playing at a time.

The band was raising money in order to buy an Ebb Bass and the money raised will go a substantial way towards the full ammount of a new bass. Many people commented while we were out on how nice it was to hear a brass band especially over the Christmas period.

We would like to thank the entire band for all their had work over December and hope they enjoyed it as much as we did, I know that I especially enjoyed making my way around all the different instruments in the band. I'm sure the hard work will pay off over the next few weeks.



Wessex Winter Contest

01 December 2012

The weekend started early, on a cold dark December morning the 28 members of Ocean Brass Band headed for Weymouth Pavilion to take part in the Wessex Winter Contest. Being an own choice test piece contest little did we know what was to come.

Having to arrive at 9:40 due to our 3rd band on draw it was a bleary eyed band that showed up but half an hour in the rehearsal room this was all sorted out and a very alert band walked onto the stage 45 minutes later and sat down to a near capacity audience (at least 30 people).

We started with our march "Bombasto" and after a fantastic performance it was time to start our test piece "An Epic Symphony". Nearly as soon as it began it was over and we were wandering off the stage with smiles on our face having performed EPICALLY.

With our playing done we made way backstage for the obligatory photos and then hit the bar! We willed away the hours until the results in a number of ways some of us listened to the bands others had a paper airplane and a fair few made sure the bar didn't fall over, some better than others. Before we knew it it was time for the last band of the day, Woodfalls.

With Woodfalls finishing with a short concert it was time for the results we listened and applauded as we heard the fourth and third sections pass us by with Andover Town Band and Gillingham Imperial winning respectively. Then it was our turn. We were awarded a close second to Otterbourne Band. Then after the Otterbourne's cheers subsided it was time for the results of the march competition. Best March from a lower section band, OCEAN BRASS! With a defining cheer from the remaining Ocean crowd our trophy was collected and it was time for the first and championship section with Hyde winning first and a shock victory for Woodfalls in the championship section.

We left the hall to inform our less sober members of our success only to find out that we had received 2nd best march of the day only losing out to a dominant Woodfalls Band. You can see adjudicators remarks here.



Band Bowling Social

23 November 2012

Ocean Brass had a Band meal and skittle evening on 23rd December 2012 to celebrate recet great performances for both rememberance Sunday as well as to raise money for MIND and to allow us all to relax before the area wessex contest.

The evening started at the King's head in Wickham with some ends of sighters to allow people to get their aim in before we started. Before the arranged team, named after the Lush-Camps (Team Katy and Team Jonathon) started their bowling. We had 3 turns each on the main game the ends being punctuated by our meal and games of killer.

By the end of the night we had a clear winning team, Team Jonathon. In addition we had an award for the winning individual bowler, Edd picking up that prize. Many thanks to Maryanne for her hard work organising our bowling evening, we are all looking forward to the wessex contest and the next band social.




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