There is certainly no rest for the wicked in Helston, as band members now get down to some serious practice ahead of the West of England Bandsmans Festival, at Bugle, in June. However, at least they can do so knowing that Flora Day 2015 will go down in the band’s history as one of the most successful and enjoyable in recent times.
On behalf of everyone associated with Helston Town Band, thank you to all those who helped to make the day such a memorable occasion for us all.
Special congratulations to the undisputed star of the show, our Deputy Musical Director, Kevin Johns, who walked in front of the band for the first time. Thank you to Kevin’s “Chief Fashion Advisor,” Jennifer Johns, for helping him to look so resplendent in his three piece suit! Kevin - you made us all very proud.
Thank you to Kevin’s “Glamorous (?) Assistants.” Well done to Russell Harvey (7 o’ clock Dance), Martin Pascoe and Ian Harvey (Childrens’ Dance and Midday Dance) and Ian Edwards (5 o’ clock Dance). Ok - they won’t be winning any beauty contests, but they ably guided the band around the dance routes and we thank them very much!
A big pat on the back to Dan Jeffery, the man this year responsible for beating the bass drum and also to his percussion colleague, Simon Wills, who sported the biggest smile of the day and entertained fellow band members well into the evening, with his bar- top drumming and (special Radnor version of) singing!
Congratulations to Claire Ely, the clear winner of the early morning “Spingo Initiation Challenge,” who put her superior Young Farmers training to good use and proved that she is more than a match for any of our aspiring male drinkers! Well done, too, to Nick Phillips, Bethany Noall, Marika Charleston, Susan Johnson and our Professional Conductor, David Johnson, who were all taking part in their first Flora Day and “associated activities” (i.e. drinking)!
A big thank you to the numerous guest players, (many of whom took time off work) who joined us for the Children’s Dance and Midday Dance; Beccy Noall, Aly Smith, Tamsin Benner, Stephen Clapton, Denis Floyd, Gillian Allen, Steve Allen, Mary Louise Combellack, Roger Gluyas, Suzanne Ely, Mark Christophers, Cecil Bennetts, Barry Skinner, Ernie Reynolds, Viv Collins, Martin Nicholls, Kevin Dower, Tom Bassett, Robert Wilton, John Adams, Ethan Bray, Robbie Brokenshire, Matthew Bennetts, Ben Vleminckx and Tim Vleminckx.
Special thanks to our guest side drummers, Trevelyan Worth, who hot- footed it back from Cardiff for the day, at short notice, and Bobby Combellack, who was also drafted in, quite literally at the eleventh hour.
It was reassuring to see some familiar faces from the last few years back in the fold, too! Thank you to regular helpers Louise Williams and Andrew Annear and also to Kathryn Stinton, Tegen Davis, Andy Wingham, Adrian Ball, Felicity Blight, Graham Christophers, Royston Dower and Mike Hocking. Believe it or not, that special thanks also extends to two former Helston bass players… Chris Warrington (complete with entertaining shoe troubles in Cross Street) and the one and only Kevin Meagor!
Well done to Helston Concert Brass for their sterling efforts; particularly to Mark Beard, Colin Heatley, Bridget Rustell, Linda Frew and Sarah Ferris, who all took on extra playing duties!
What a fantastic turnout from all 27 members of the Training Band, some of whom were taking part for the very first time. Well done to you all and to Marika Charleston for her excellent work in tutoring you over the past few months.
Thank you to Helston photographer Allan McLaren for turning up at 6.30am to capture the band in all their glory. Watch this space for the end result, which is bound to become a Halloween best- seller!
Thanks also to the Ladies of the Godolphin Club, for providing band members with the usual, much- welcomed cooked breakfast.
Thank you for the generous collections that were gathered by our numerous helpers on the day; our Chairman Alan Trewhella, Tracey Robinson, Colin Retallack, Brian Dale, Fred Angove, David and Jenny Wingham, Lionel Endean, Danny and Sarah Reed and Amy and Helen McGroary, Claire Salter, Danielle Trathen, Dave Ensink, Emma and Georgina Roberts, Jamie King, John Boase, Laurence Penrose, Michelle Pascoe and Rosemary Jenkin and a number of the players from the concert band among them. Thanks to our Secretary, Graham Carter, for his administrative work behind the scenes and also to Ann Williams, our hard- working Treasurer.
Apologies if we have missed any names… but above all, a massive thank you toeveryone in Helston and beyond for their continuing support of the band, on Flora Day and throughout the year.
Thank you One and All!
As the town clock strikes 7am, veteran bandsman Russell Harvey will have the special honour of leading Helston Town Band away from the Guildhall and into Meneage Street, beginning Flora Day 2015.
As the band’s longest- serving member, 80 year old Russell will be taking part in his 69th Flora Day and last year received national recognition from Brass Band England, to mark his 70 years of continuous service with the band. Only National Service has stopped him from playing on Flora Day. However, Russell is delighted to inform us that he will not be the oldest player on the day! That honour falls to 81 year old Ernie Reynolds, from Saltash, who will return to Helston, as usual, for the big day.
Walking alongside Russell and leading all four dances, for the first time, will be Deputy Musical Director, Kevin Johns. Better known as the band’s Solo Euphonium player, Porthleven-born Kevin has been a mainstay of the group for 30 years and is delighted to have the honour of leading them. Taking his place, on Euphonium, will be Helston’s Professional Conductor, David Johnson, originally from Sennen and now a serving Marine, based at Portsmouth. It will be David’s first experience of Flora Day.
As the band split into 2, and approximately 120 musicians form up in Wendron Street, for the Childrens’ Dance and Midday Dance, the familiar figure of Martin Pascoe, playing for the 51st time, will be seen heading out to the front of the band, as he takes charge of the second group and shepherds them through the town.
At 5pm, Ian Edwards takes up the baton. The Musical Director of Helston Town Concert Brass since 2013, Ian is well- known locally for his wide- ranging involvement with local musical groups, from brass and accordion bands, to country pop groups and male voice choirs.
All 27 members of Marika Charleston’s Student Brass Group have been practicing hard for the big day; for some it will be their first time, as they have been playing for less than a year. Of Marika’s students, two are adults and three are just 6 years old!
What a fantastic day for the band. We had hoped to get a top 6 result and we achieved it. This is down to the hard work and determination of all concerned. A massive thank you goes to Mr David Johnson for putting the band through their paces and leading them to a superb performance.
Our thanks also go to Clare, Louise Richard and Andrew for stepping in and especially to Kevin for all of the hard work he put into bringing the band together.
We would also like to congratulate all of the other cornish bands on their successes again this year
Less than 2 weeks to go and the band are busy preparing for the day itself. We start by visiting RNAS Culdrose on Tuesday 28th for the officers and families with more rehearsals at the Epworth Hall over the next few days. Don't forget to come and support the band onMay Day. Better than just coming, why not bring your family and friends and have your rehearsal of the big day?
Helston Town Band are pleased to extend a warm welcome to Mr David Johnson who will take the band to Torquay for the first time in March.
Born and raised in Sennen Cove near Lands End in Cornwall, David began his playing career on baritone with Penzance Silver Band before moving to Solo Euphonium at Lanner and District Silver Band, playing until he joined the Royal Marines Band Service in 1990. During his 24 years as a professional musician in the Royal Marines, his career has taken him all over the world, performing as a soloist in the USA, Canada, Russia, Ethiopia, Japan and Australia.
In addition to his talents as a performer, David is also prolific arranger for wind and brass bands. For the past nine years his music has been featured at the Mountbatten Festival of Music at the Royal Albert Hall and his more recent works include arrangements performed at the world premiere of the James Bond film ‘Skyfall’ and for Classic FM chart-topping saxophonist, Amy Dixon. In recognition of his achievements in this area, in 2013 he was awarded the prestigious Herbert Lott Award for Innovation and Invention in Orchestration.
David started his conducting career with Torbay Brass and in 2006 moved to Verwood Concert Brass where, over the course of three years, the band was promoted from Third to First Section. In 2010 David took up the position of Musical Director at Aldbourne Band and in 2011 steered the band to victories at the West of England First Section Regional Championships, Senior Trophy at the Spring Festival and the National Finals in Cheltenham. As recognition of his achievements with the band, he was nominated as ‘Conductor of the Year’ in the 4BarsRest Awards in 2011. Since Aldbourne’s meteoric rise to the Championship Section, David has achieved 3rd placings with the band at the Regional Championships in 2013 and 2014 respectively. These successes were also mirrored at the Spring Festival with promotion into the British Open’s Grand Shield in 2013.
Having spent most of 2014 in the euphonium section of Cory Band, ranked number one in the world, David has picked up his baton once again and is returning to his home-county to work with Helston Town Band in their preparations for the West of England Regionals in March.
We are looking forward to success at Torquay under his directorship.
If you would like to hear the band play under David's leadership, they will be holding an rehearsal at the Masonic Hall, Cross Street, Helston on Wednesday March 11th at 7:45pm.