Welcome to the official website of Helston Town Band, the band of the Helston Flora Dance. Helston is situated in Cornwall and is the most southerly town in the UK.
Helston Town Band is proud of its rich heritage, yet also looks forward to a successful future, in further contributing to the local community and in competing at the highest level both locally and nationally.
Helston Town Band once again played an integral part in another successful Flora Day. As always thousands of people descended on the town for this famous day. The band, resplendent in their new uniforms, performed brilliantly throughout the day, even through the heavy rain showers which dampened proceedings part way through the children's dance and part way into the midday dance. Fortunately by the five o'clock the rain had stopped and the sun came out. The senior band were ably assisted by the youth and B band during the middle two dances, some younger members playing for the very first time. The band would like to thank those players who came to help during the children's and midday dances. Also, they would like to sincerely thank all the collectors who worked so hard during the day, walking just as far as the band and getting just as wet in the process!!
The band once again received a massive cheer from the hundreds of people waiting for the finale of the five o'clock. John Hitchens was visibly moved by the huge ovation and the dozens of complimentary comments he received at the end of what was his final flora day as Musical Director of the band.
After more than ten hugely successful years in charge, John Hitchens, the well- known Musical Director of Helston Town Band, is to take a well-earned break from the world of brass banding.
Following the retirement of Edward Ashton, John Hitchens was appointed as the new Musical Director in November 2002. Under his direction, the band continued to flourish: in 2003, they were crowned Cornish First Section Champions and in 2004 they gained promotion to the National First Section.
2006 saw the band crowned West of England First Section Champions and receive an invitation to compete in the National First Section Championships of Great Britain. They went on to achieve third place at the West of England First Section Championships in 2007 and regained the title West of England First Section Champions once again in 2008, followed by another appearance at the national finals that year.
These excellent results meant that under John, Helston Town Band earned promotion to the Championship Section in 2009 for the first time in its history. The band enjoyed the challenge of competing within the Championship Section until their return to the National First Section in 2012.
In total the band has competed in 31 contests during John’s tenure, earning 10 victories, an additional 8 podium finishes and a further 12 top 5 placings. On top of this, the band also earned 4th and 7th place finishes at the aforementioned First Section National Championships.
John was also responsible for coming up with the original idea and concept of the now popular‘Lismore Proms,’ an annual ‘Last Night of the Proms’ themed event, held in Band President Michael Jay’s beautiful gardens and attended by hundreds. As well as this, under John’s leadership, the band has also enjoyed multiple high profile concerts and appearances both in Cornwall and further afield.
Band Chairman Alan Trewhella commented 'I have been involved with Helston Town Band for many years, latterly as Chairman. The last 10 years with John Hitchens at the helm have been exciting and very positive with the band enjoying many prestigious contest results and performing a vast array of excellent concerts. John has become a good friend and I am proud to have had the opportunity to work with him. I would like to thank him for all he has done and wish him good luck with his musical career in the future'
John Hitchens commented ‘It has been an honour and a privilege to conduct Helston Band over the last 10 years. Over that time the band have put on some truly wonderful performances, and to be part of the band when we competed in the Championship section for the first time is something that will stay with me for a long time. I’d like to say a massive thanks to all the members of the band; the players, the committee and the ladies committee for all their hard work and commitment over the last decade, it’s been remarkable. They are the reason this band is, and has been so successful and long may that continue.‘
Everyone involved with Helston Town Band would like to express their heartfelt thanks to John for everything he has accomplished during his decade with the band and wish him well for the future. It will surely go down in the band’s history as one of the most memorable eras.
John will finish with the band at the end of June, but fittingly his final official engagement at the helm will take place on the day which is perhaps most synonymous with the band… Flora day.
Helston Town Band competed in the West of England championships on Saturday 9th March held at the Riviera Centre, Torquay. The band put up an excellent performance of the test piece ‘Brass Triumphant’ and was placed 5th out of the 13 competing bands. It was a new piece of music and particularly showed off the band’s fine array of soloists. The contest was won by Filton Band from Bristol, with Lanner and District coming second.
Two of Helston Town Band’s young stars were recognised at the Cornwall Youth Brass Band (CYBB) annual course over the Easter weekend where they were presented with special awards. Sean Sjoholm (Soprano) was awarded ‘Most Promising Player’ and Justin Strike (Percussion) was awarded ‘Most Improved Player’.
CYBB is made up of the county’s most talented young players and performs to an extremely high standard. Helston Town Band is very proud that a number of its young players are members of CYBB – as well as Sean and Justin, other members are Caitlin Strike, Kirsty Anderson, Andrew Wingham and Matthew Wingham.
Helston Band held its 54th annual solo contest on Saturday 17th November. The adjudicator this year was the world famous cornetist Alan Morrison who gave all the competitors the benefit of his vast experience and knowledge. It was another hugely successful day and the audience was treated to a wide selection of music performed from the young through to the not so young! A large number of performers came from a number of local bands including a contingent all the way from Okehampton. Once again the band are very grateful to Philip Davey, who again performed brilliantly as the official accompanist. The committee and band would like to thank Lionel Endean for all his hard work in organising this year's solo contest and to Kitchen & Brown of Helston as the main sponsors of the day.
Class 1 Solo any instrument (9 years and under)
1st Harrison Farbrace 2nd Hanna Viant 3rd Amelia Thomas
Class 2 Solo any instrument (12 years and under)
1st Immy Timmins 2nd Sarah Wilton 3rd Skylar Kirby
Class 3 Solo any instrument (15 years and under)
1st Chloe George 2nd Andy Wingham 3rd Edward Hosken
Class 4 Solo any instrument (15 years and under 18 years)
1st Matt Rowe 2nd Chloe George 3rd Andy Wingham
Class 5 Junior Duet
1st Sean Sjoholm and Caitlin Strike 2nd Jason Wilton and Sarah Wilton 3rd Tom Isaacs and Jessica Alexander
Class 7 Solo Slow Melody
1st Jack Curnow 2nd Nathan Toothill 3rd Matt Rowe
Class 8 Solo Air Varie
1st John Hitchens 2nd Nathan Toothill 3rd Kate Doran
Class 9 Over 40 Anything Goes
1st Kevin Johns 2nd Phillip Bennett 3rd Denzil Boundy
Class 10 Duet
1st Sean Sjoholm and Caitlin Strike 2nd Jack Curnow and Matt Rowe
Class 11 Championship of Cornwall Quartet
1st St Keverne A 2nd St Keverne B 3rd Illogan