25th Anniversary 2008

In 2008, Werneth Concert Band celebrated 25 years of music-making

This article is reproduced, with amendments, from the sleeve notes of band's 25th anniversary CD, a Werneth Celebration, and from the programme of the 25th anniversary concert, held at the Romiley Forum on the 17th May 2008

Click here to download the 25th anniversary programme/booklet

From The Podium

"...and they said it would never last!"

This is a quote from our 10th Anniversary Celebratory Brochure, produced in 1993; fifteen years on, celebrating our 25th anniversary, then band continues to go from strength to strength.

In April 1983, I recognised a gap in the local amateur music-making scene, namely a band catering for woodwind, brass and percussion players. With the help of friends and neighbours I set about canvassing for potential players. Over 40 enthusiastic local musicians attended a meeting, held at Hatherlow Church Hall on the 19th April 1983, and there was unanimous agreement to proceed with starting a new band. There was no time to lose and I set about "acquiring" the necessary music and music stands from anywhere and everywhere before the band's first rehearsal, just one week later, on 26th April 1983 at the same venue. I apologise if I have not yet returned all of thee things back to their rightful owners. The first and the subsequent rehearsals went to well, just 2 months later, on the 26th June, Werneth Concert Band gave its first concert at the Romiley Foum with guests, Cheshire Police Band, when a full and enthusiastic house contributed to a very special occasion.

WCB performing at the Romiley Forum, 16 June 2007
WCB performing at the Romiley Forum, 16 June 2007

Since those early days, the band has built up a reputation as one of the outstanding community wind bands in the country, borne out by its successes in the National Concert Band Festival, where it has achieved 2 Gold Awards and numerous Silver Awards. The band has performed, each year, at the prestigious Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, and, more locally, in an around the Stockport area including Stockport Town Hall, St George's Church, St Joseph's RC church, Plaza Theatre and our "home base", the Romiley Forum. It has also performed regular outdoor concerts including special events at the Bluebell Centre, Gee Cross, Tatton Park, Lyme Park and Romiley Cricket Club. Every other year the band ventures further afield and undertakes concert tours, which have included vists to North Wales (3 times), Germany, Portugal, Ireland and Spain (3 times). I has also hosted music groups from other countries.

In this, its 25th year, the band has planned a wide range of events to celebrate our silver jubilee. In March, the band gave its annual concert at the prestigious Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, followed by a special 25th Anniversary Concert at the Romiley Forum on the 17th May. Just seven days later we flew to Jersey for our seventh major concert tour, which included performances at the Jersey Opera House, St James Arts Centre, Durrell's Wildlife Centre and Howard Davis Park. Following our return, present and past members, together with friends and supporters attended a 25th anniversary dinner held at the Alma Lodge Hotel, Stockport, on Saturday 21st June, when a part of the entertainment was provided by the newly formed Werneth Swing Band, made up of players from the main band.

The band has now recorded its third CD; hopefully, there is something on it that will appeal to everyone. It is appropriate that we should include Vaughan Williams' Folk Song Suite as, this year, we commemorate 50 years since his death. Shostakovich is represented by the second movement of his Piano Concerto No. 2, performed by band member Roger Pearce, and accompanied by a small ensemble from the band, also, by the Waltz No. 2 from his second Jazz Suite. Original works for wind band include Variations on Scarborough Fair, Convergence and On the Wings of Swallows. Most pleasingly, two new works, both commissioned by Werneth Concert Band, have been included in this recording. Darrol Barry was commissioned to write the march, Werneth Celebration, most kindly funded by Sandra McRoberts, a local supporter of the band and, a five-movement suite, Werneth Suite for Concert Band, was composed by Terence Greaves, ex-principal at the Royal Northern College of Music. Funds for this project were made available by the Ida Carroll Trust. A traditional march, March of the Belgian Paratroopers, a beautiful setting of the hymn "O Lord What A Mourning (When The Stars Begin To Fall)" and a selection of John Williams film themes, Symphonic Soundtrack, make up Werneth Concert Band's contribution. The final three pieces are samples of the growing repetoire of Werneth Swing Band. We do hope you enjoy.

Twenty-five years is a long time, but it has been a pleasure and an honour to be associated with such a marvellous organisation, one which continues to offer its members and opportunity to come together to make music and, at the same time, contributing to the cultural life of the local community through its public performances. I am very proud of the band's achievements over the last twenty-five years; long may they continue.

On behalf of Werneth Concert Band may I take every opportunity to thank everyone who has helped contribute to 24 successful years; we value the support you have given us and hope you will continue to enjoy many more years associated with the band.

Allan Jones - Founder/Musical Director, Werneth Concert Band