2016: A year in the life of LBB

By: ChrisThompson - 18 December 2016

See what our Beginners got up to in 2016 with their annual review.

As we approach the end of 2016 I felt now was appropriate to reflect on what has been another hugely successful year for our Beginner Band.

The biggest highlight of the year has been the success of our summer recruitment drive. After the usual player movements over the summer the Beginners were left with 23 players, the lowest it been for some time. Due to the hard work of the committee and all people connected to the band we were delighted to welcome 14 new players and we now have 37 eager young musicians attending rehearsals on a Tuesday night.

Another highlight is a knock-on effect that this has on the band. We now have a very balanced band; 16 cornets, 7 tenor horns, 4 euphoniums and baritones, 6 trombones and – perhaps most promisingly – Eb Bass and Percussion sections (2 players in each), sections which have traditionally been quite difficult to attract multiple players to at this stage of their musical development.

I have been impressed with the consistency of performances across the year, despite many player movements and new starters. The band have played on stages across Cheshire and have been well received at every venue. However, without doubt the performance of the year came at the Newcastle Festival. Competing in the Under 14 section the band put in a performance that belied their young age that was richly rewarded with 2nd place.

Another proud moment was when the band completed a hat-trick of 'Band With Most Potential' awards at the National Youth Brass Band Championship Finals in April, having previously won it in 2014 and 2015. 3 very different 'Lions Beginner Bands' have performed in these contests over the years but to see a level of consistency like this gives me great confidence that the way our organisation tries to do things works.

The Beginners is very much a team effort. I might stand at the front on stage but I am always very aware of the impact that my team of tutors have on the children. It is only right to publicly thank Matthew Darlington, Derek Gardener and Charlotte Birch for their tireless work in improving the children who attend rehearsals each week. They are a great team and I enjoy working with them immensely.

Further to that, a huge thanks goes to Jane and her excellent committee. Whatever I ask, they do, as quick as possible. To have that level of support is fantastic and makes our job of developing young musicians that much easier. It's only right to thank Nigel, Tom and Steve too, as always it's been a pleasure. It is also only fair to thank you, the parents, for all the running around you do to get your children to band engagements and for supporting the organisation. Finally, thanks to the players who make up our band. It is a pleasure to welcome each and every one of you every Tuesday night and I'm incredibly proud that, when you walk on to a stage, you wear Lions purple.

So, where do we go in 2017? Well, the future looks bright and I'm already looking forward to dropping the baton at the first rehearsal of the year!

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Chris Thompson
Musical Director
Lions Beginner Band