The 2023 Christmas Season has officially begun for the band! - This afternoon, the band has played their first Christmas concert in St.Edmunds Church in Bearpark, as part of Bearpark Parish Council's light switch on.
We played a small concert in the church before heading out to the Christmas tree for the official switch on. We would like to thank Marion Wilson and the Parish Council for their support along with the wonderful community of Bearpark.
Tonight has seen the band had its yearly presentation night. It was great to see the band come together to celebrate the yearly achievements.
Well done to all of our award winners and a special congratulations to all of our members who received service awards this year:
It was the band's honour, yet again, to be apart of the 2nd largest Remembrance Parade outside of London, in Sunderland today. The band provided the musical accompaniment along with the Royal Signals (Northern) Band. Thank you to our deps today, your help is really appreciated. Photos from this morning can be found below.
We are delighted to welcome the last 2 players to complete the band's lineup.
Jessy Portwood joins the horn section on 1st Horn, and has moved to the area from North West London, and Gillian McMillan joins the percussion section from NASUWT Concert Band. We hope you both have a long and happy time with the band.
As it currently stands, we don't have any vacancies but we always welcome any players that would like to come along and join the team
Following recent events, we find ourselves without a Musical Director going into one of the busiest times of the year, and also for the Area Contest in March 2024. Over the last 7 months, we've had many conductors help us for and many sending over an offer to help if we needed it. We really appreciate everyone's kindness.
We are delighted to announce that we have tempted Will Harrison back out of hiding as he has agreed to take the band through some of our main Christmas concerts, and most importantly - to the Area Contest in March. We are really looking forward to working with him as he puts us through our paces preparing our test piece, Triptych.
Bearpark & Esh Colliery Band would like to announce that our Musical Director, Colin Harris, has made the decision not to continue with the band with immediate effect.
We would to thank him for the hard work and commitment he has shown to the band in the short time he has been with us, and send him our best wishes for the future.
The band had a fantastic day at the Stanley Brass Band Entertainment Contest today, coming a very creditable 3rd place for playing and 5th overall. Our amazing soloist today was Nicola Evans on Flugel playing Children of Sanchez and she did a fantastic job too.
Today's programme was:
A big thank you to our deps today Beth Marston on Soprano Cornet, Jeremy West on 2nd Horn and Karen Snaith on Percussion. You were all amazing and we really appreciate the time you have given for rehearsals. We also welcomed back one of our own. James on Trombone is back up in Durham for the new term at the university and we were pleased to see him back in the band hall.
A big thank you to all our band members for their hard working preparing our set and to Colin for leading the way at his first contest with the band.
Tonight was a very special night for the band. We performed our first joint concert with the wonderful children from West Rainton Primary School. The band and school have made many links together over the years to support each other and it was lovely to join forces with them to provide an amazing evening of music in St Mary's Church, West Rainton.
A big thank you goes to Alan Beaumont for conducting tonight but also for spending many hours arranging three special pieces for the choir to sing with the band and a big thank you goes to David Young for jumping ship from bass to keyboard to accompany the joint pieces.
A special mention goes to our dep, Will Harrison, who joined us tonight on solo cornet. We really appreciate your help.
Thank you also goes to St Mary's Church for hosting us all. It has got to be one of the warmest churches we have played in.
The biggest thanks however, has to go to Alison McDonough - headteacher at West Rainton Primary School, and all the children from the school for all their hard work and preparation for tonight.
We look forward to working with the school again in the future and we are so very proud to have shared the stage with such a talented bunch of children.
After the band rehearsal this morning, the band popped along to our local pub, The Royal Oak at Cornsay Colliery to enjoy a fabulous Sunday lunch social as a welcome to our new MD, Colin. He has survived his first 6 weeks as he gets to know everyone. A big thank you to our lovely band friends Sonia, Ian and all the girls for your wonderful hospitality and your amazing food as always. We really do recommend you give them a try.
We are currently working hard towards our future projects which are keeping us busy for the next couple of months. Keep your eyes peeled for more updates as they come.
Today the sun finally shone for the band, and we were able to play to a very appreciative audience in the gorgeous surroundings of Saltburn Bandstand. A big thank you to David and Karen for helping us out today. We really appreciate your help. We would like to send all the lovely people of Saltburn our best wishes for the rest of the year and we look forward to hopefully performing for you all next summer.
Today, the band entertained the crowds in Wharton Park, Durham. We were so lucky with the weather despite tempting fate by playing Singin' in the Rain.
Our soloists today were David Thomas on Euphonium, Lindsey Rowell on Solo Horn and Nicola Evans on Flugel. All three did an amazing job despite battling with the wind and music stands.
A big thank you to Carley and Karen for helping us out today. We really appreciate your time.
The band performed in the wonderful Emmanuel Church in Saltburn this afternoon for our first trip to Saltburn. Today also saw the debut for our new conductor Colin, who did an amazing job at leading the band and comparing to our audience.
We featured two soloists, David Thomas on Euphonium and Nicola Evans on Flugel. A big thank you to David on Soprano and Carley on Horn who both helped us out today. We really appreciate it.
We will see you all again in two weeks time with a completely different programme for you to enjoy hopefully at the bandstand, weather dependant.
The band has had a fabulous day playing at Durham Miners Gala today - taking in the Esh Winning, Adventure and UCU Banners. We managed to dodge a lot of the showers and enjoyed playing outside the County Hotel.
The day is a great opportunity to catch up with our friends from other bands and join forces to entertain the crowds.
A big thank you to all the players that joined us to help us out. We really appreciate your time.Roll on next year when we will do it all again.
We were hugely saddened to learn last week of the death of legendary cornet player and bandleader James Shepherd.
Jim was a good friend to our band as well as a personal friend to many band members, having played with us as guest soloist on several occasions and conducted the band in a contest. He will be greatly missed by our band and by the brass band world.
In his honour, alongside bands across the world, we have recorded our own version of the hymn 'How Great Thou Art', led by our assistant conductor Michael Evans, who has played alongside Jim on many occasions.
After a busy period of auditions the band are delighted to announce the appointment of Colin Harris as the new Musical Director of Bearpark & Esh Colliery Band.
Colin brings a wealth of over 30 years brass band experience, along with him graduating from Newcastle University where he studied music, and his main experience has been conducting Backworth Colliery Band on and off.
During this time, he has also held conducting positions with other bands in the North East. Colin has a wide range of musical experience ranging from orchestral to contemporary music. As well as playing various instruments.
On accepting our invitation Colin stated:
"I am overjoyed to accept the position of Musical Director for the incredibly talented Bearpark & Esh Colliery band. Being back in the middle of a band is an absolute thrill, and I am eagerly looking forward to collaborating with such a gifted and inspiring group of musicians."
The band look forward to a bright and exciting future ahead of us.
All of us at Bearpark & Esh, with heavy hearts, and shared grief across the brass band world, say goodbye to the fantastic James Shepherd.
He was one of the all time greats of the brass band movement, a hero and inspiration to so many and no doubt generations to come. He has left a legacy unlike any other.
RIP Jim 🖤💛🖤💛🖤💛
Today the band played to a magnificent audience at South Shield's Amphitheatre. Before we set up the heavens opened so we dived for cover and set up.
For the rest of the afternoon, it stayed fine and we could have stayed out in the open, but never mind.
Throughout the course of our programme we featured 4 soloists, Leila Davison on Cornet, Lindsey Rowell on Horn, Nicola Evans on Flugel Horn and David Thomas on Euphonium.
We would like to say a massive thank you to Alan Beaumont, who is our Kit player, who stepped in last minute to conduct the band, Marion for doing a great job comparing and to Lewis West for helping us out on kit. Thanks must also go to our good friend David Scott, who helped us out on Sop coming straight from playing with his own band at the Beamish Contest. We really appreciate you and the help you've given us.
Our next outing will be at Durham Miners Gala on Saturday 8th July where we will be marching with Esh Winning and West Rainton's banners.
Today has seen the band perform at it's first public summer concert of the year, in the wonderful grounds of Ushaw Historic House, Chapels and Gardens. We played to a very appreciative audience who sat around the band in the colourful rose garden. We featured solos from Lindsey Rowell on Solo Horn, Nicola Evans on Flugel and David Thomas on Solo Euphonium. It was an honour to play at a local venue to us and we hope we will be back again soon.
Photo credits (for the majority of them): L Thornber