Visit from Footscray-Yarraville City Band

Footscray-Yarraville City Band

York Railway Institute Band will be hosting the Footscray-Yarraville City Band in November as part of their Silent Anzac tour of Western Europe.

Inspired by an inscription on a WW1-era bass drum made by bandsmen who fought in the Great War, the Footscray-Yarraville City Band will be visiting places in France and Belgium where Australian servicemen fought and died, followed by performances in London, Durham, York and the LBBA contest.

The Silent ANZAC follows four archetypal characters, The Mother, The Soldier, The Girl and The Poet face their sternest test during the dark days of the First World War. Will their courage, resolution and faith stand the test of war and bring them through the conflict? A story of loss, sorrow and, ultimately, the forging of a legend.

The show depicts events from the opening of the Gallipoli campaign to the final months and represents the experiences of many of our WW1 soldiers and their families. The specially commissioned major work The Silent ANZAC recounts the exploits of the Australian submarine HMAS AE2.

You can contribute to Footscray-Yarraville City Band’s tour fundraising by dedicating a poppy to be laid at the Australian National Memorial, Villers Bretoneux, France, on 8th November 2018, by making a general donation on their donations page or by buying their tour CD.

York R I will be performing a Joint concert with Footscray-Yarraville City Band Friday November 16th, 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm, The Chapel, York St John’s University, York YO31 7EX. Tickets available at eventbright.

A Brace of Stunning Concerts!

Ian Scott and Peter Maunder The Band performed at two stunning concerts in April. Firstly at Howden Minster to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the RAF and then at the Church of St Mary the Virgin in Hemingbrough. The Howden concert was packed out with VIPs from the local area, RAF and Air Cadets in attendance. The concert featured music associated with the RAF such as the RAF March Past, Dambusters March, 633 Squadron and many more. Of particular note were the excellent solos played by Flugel Horn player Carolyn Ramsbottom, Solo Horn Gabriel Snowden and Solo Euphonium Richard Lovatt. A particular highlight of the concert was Howard Snell's arrangement of Procession to the Minster which sounded truly magnificent and was reprised by popular acclaim when the we played in Hemingbrough. The concert in Hemingbrough was also a wonderful musical occasion featuring a wide range of repertoire from Lady Gaga to Eric Ball! The occasion was slightly tinged with sadness as the Band marked the service of its star Bass Trombone player Ian Scott who has relocated to south of Lincoln, making it logistically impossible to be a full time playing member of the Band. However, Ian hopes to continue to play with RI on a dep basis as required. The picture features Ian on the left and his good friend Peter Maunder who was across in the UK visiting from New Zealand and played Solo Trombone at the concert.

Here is a recording of the Band playing Procession to the Minster at Hemingbrough

The Year Ahead

After a highly successful and enjoyable season of Christmas concerts the Band is now focusing on the year ahead. The hard work of preparing for the North of England Championships taking place on the 18th March has begun in earnest. The Band is also busy rehearsing completely new programmes of music for our upcoming concert season. There are many musical highlights to look forward to in 2018. In April we will have the huge honour of performing at a high profile concert in Howden Minster to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the RAF. In May we will be performing once again with the stunning Prima Vocal Ensemble at Selby Abbey whilst in June we will showcase the world class talents of Dan Thomas, the Principal Euphonium player of the Black Dyke Band.

Looking further ahead into the Autumn, the Band will perform two concerts at the Riley-Smith Hall in Tadcaster to mark the centenary of the Armistice and we will also welcome to the City of York the Footscray-Yarraville City Band from Australia when we perform a joint concert in November. With an almost full complement of players and a great atmosphere in the bandroom, now would be a great time for a back row cornet player and Bb bass player to join the Band and complete our team.

Lest We Forget

Remembrance Day Parade, York 2017

The Band is deeply honoured to have led the City of York Civic Remembrance Parade to honour all those servicemen and women who have died in the line of duty. We marched from Clifford's Tower to the Memorial Gardens through huge crowds who were very appreciative of our playing and then provided the music during the Service of Remembrance. The Last Post and Reveille were played note perfect by Principal Cornet player Ollie Abbey. After the service the Parade reformed on Lendal Bridge and set off to return to Clifford's Tower. Included in our music was the March 'Old Comrades' in tribute to all the veterans who were taking part in the Parade. Later, Solo Cornet player Jamie Highton departed with the military contingent to play The Last Post and Reveille in a Remembrance Service held at York Minster.

Norwegian Visitors

Jernbanens Musikkorps Oslo

We were absolutely delighted to welcome the Jernbanens Musikkorps Oslo on their visit to York from the 5th – 8th October. The band, consisting of 40+ wind, brass and percussion players, was ably led by their charismatic and highly skilled Musical Director, Maria Molund. On Thursday 5th October after a flight from Oslo to Manchester the band arrived mid-afternoon and settled into the Lady Anne Middleton Hotel. Jernbanens Musikkorps Oslo Friday saw the band perform concerts at York Railway Station and the National Railway Museum where their joyous playing made an immediate impact on their audience. With guests Martyn & Dawn Williams the band then enjoyed a wonderful meal at the Olive Tree Restaurant on Friday evening before going on to sampling some of York's finest real ale at the Golden Ball Pub!

Jernbanens Musikkorps Oslo On Saturday the band performed to a large and very enthusiastic audience in Parliament Street where their special brand of musical entertainment left the crowd cheering for more. Later in the evening the band and York RI performed a joint concert at Southlands Methodist Church. A particular highlight was the playing of two joint pieces - firstly a super-charged Lilly the Pink and then a rock version of the traditional Norwegian folk tune Ro ro til Siraland. After the concert the two bands enjoyed a party at York RI Bar and with friendships sealed came an invitation to York RI Band for a reciprocal visit to Oslo which we hope to take up in the not too distant future.

Dawn and Martyn's Wedding

Dawn and Martyn Williams outside the Treasurer's House

The wedding of Martyn Williams and Dawn Groves took place on Saturday, 22nd April 2017 and was conducted in a civil ceremony (followed by a wedding breakfast/reception) in Bedern Hall, York. The venue is a re-constructed mediaeval guild hall and this lent the occasion much style and atmosphere. As the guests assembled, music was played by a brass quintet under the banner of York RI Band, the players being Chris Hirst (bass), Richard Lovatt (euphonium), Sammy Latus (tenor horn), Andy Novell and Sam Lovatt (cornets).

Martyn Williams awaiting his bride Before the ceremony began, despite there being his three sons, Alistair, Angus and Toby, among the guests, the bridegroom took on the role of groomsman and did what he always does best i.e. getting everyone organised and into their places. In a rather fetching mid-blue three-piece suit, delicate pink shirt and complementary tie in rich plum with delicate floral motif, Martyn busied himself with last-minute arrangements, no doubt using this activity to disguise his last-minute nerves. Eventually he settled down to await the entrance of his bride.

And what an entrance it was! On the arm of her supporter, Ray Rochester (taking on the role of 'father of the bride'), Dawn appeared as no one had ever seen her before. With newly re-styled hair, semi-tiara and drop earrings sparkling in the sunlight as it streamed through the paned glass of the windows, Dawn was a picture of beauty in a backless, full length, traditional bridal gown of white and ivory with an impressive train, and clutching a bouquet of red and white roses.

For those guests who have known and loved Dawn over many years, it was a moment and an effect that brought tears of joy and affection to every eye, and it did not go unnoticed that the 'father of the bride' wept copiously as he walked the bride down the aisle.

The new Dr and Mr WilliamsDuring the ceremony, at intervals, there were readings delivered by Alistair Williams, Vicky Hodge (long-standing friend of the bride) and Clive Marshall (Chairman of York RI Band Section). Angus and Toby Williams assisted with the presentation of the rings and Richard and Sharon Lovatt acted as Witnesses to the signing of the Register, whilst a guitar performance and further brass music added to the mood of well-being.

Dawn and Martyn's first dance At the end of the ceremony, the guests moved outside into a small but secluded garden bathed in sunshine, where drinks were served. After photos of the chief guests and the bridal pair had been taken, everyone moved back into the Hall and enjoyed a splendid three course meal with speeches and toasts proposed by Martyn and Ray. Later in the day, guests moved to the Hilton Hotel, York, and were joined by many friends and associates at a party to extend the celebrations - and observe the bride and groom take their first tentative steps as man and wife on the dance floor of the rest of their life together.

Area Contest 2017

Area Contest 2017

Whilst the Band was naturally disappointed with its Area Contest result, the adjudicators' comments were generally very supportive and they certainly don't read like those of a last-placed band; they both seemed to like what we did with the piece and were complimentary about a good deal of our playing. As is always the way with RI, we won't be crying foul - instead, we'll take it on the chin and will try even harder at our next contest.

In the context of where we were at the start of the year with depleted numbers, we see last Sunday as an achievement or at very least something that we can build upon over the coming months - and we will! We are very grateful to all the longstanding and loyal members of RI who have stuck with the Band through thick and thin because they care so much about our future. We will also be eternally grateful to all our guest players, not least our Principal Cornet player, Graham Walker, who when the Band was down stepped up to the plate like any good bandsman would and offered to help his old band out. Graham, as would be expected, played exceptionally well, especially at the start of the third movement which was utterly brilliant, and we’re sorry that we couldn't manage a better result to make his 71st Birthday complete!

We will now turn our attention to rebuilding the Band in those areas where we are still missing a few regular players so that we can return to Durham next year in a much stronger position to compete! If you want to be part of our future success under the excellent musical leadership of our Musical Director David Lancaster, please contact Ian Scott on 07930 165212 or email iscott3@sky.com. We currently have vacancies for Principal Cornet, Back Row Cornet and Flugelhorn players.

Finally, congratulations to our York neighbours the Shepherd Group Brass Band on their fine win in the 1st Section and we look forward to competing against you again next year.

York RI's First Class Return

Graham Walker

York Railway Institute Band is pleased to announce the appointment of Graham Walker as Principal Cornet. Graham returns to the Band 50 years after he first occupied the end chair in 1966, a position he took up after leaving the RMCM to pursue a career in teaching in the area. He joined RI with Margaret, his wife, and was with the Band through until 1969 when he left to take up the position as Principal Cornet of the Yorkshire Imperial Metals Band, establishing himself as one of the all-time greatest cornet players.

Having gone full circle, Graham's return to RI could not be better timed with his birthday coinciding with the North of England Championship Section that is taking place in Durham on Sunday 12th March. Graham is looking forward to the contest, having previously played the test piece Pageantry with great success, first at the British Open in 1970 and then again as the winning band with Yorkshire Imps at the Yorkshire Area Contest in 1977. Graham said "Lots of memories will abound at the Area Contest this year, a lifetime of enjoyable banding, over sixty years. I am grateful to RI for giving me this opportunity to create even more happy memories." Another coincidence will see Graham and Margaret's son Alexander and granddaughter Georgia also playing Pageantry on the 12th March with Newstead Band at the Midlands Area Championships.

Musical Director David Lancaster said "Graham Walker brings a wealth of experience to the Band and it is an enormous pleasure and a great honour to have him leading our cornet section. I look forward to every rehearsal because there are always magical moments when he is involved, particularly in the lyrical cornet solos of the second movement. Graham is an inspirational bandsman and musician and his support in helping to rebuild the playing strength of RI is much appreciated."

David Lancaster appointed as Musical Director

Dr David Lancaster

We are pleased to announce the appointment of David Lancaster as Musical Director. Originally from Wigan, Dr David Lancaster began his musical career on cornet with Pemberton Old Band. He won the Alexander Owen Memorial Scholarship which led to trumpet lessons with Michael Antrobus. David studied music at York and Cambridge universities where his attention shifted to composition, and he subsequently worked as composer and freelance trumpeter in the UK and around Europe.

David's music is performed regularly in concerts and festivals by some of the leading performers of new music all around the world; he has written for theatre, television and contemporary dance. David has won many awards for his work, including the Michael Tippett Prize and the LCM Centenary Award.

David has conducted brass bands at all levels and has adjudicated local contests, regional championships and National Finals. David Lancaster lives in York and works as Director of Music at York St John University, teaching composition and managing the university’s music programmes. David said of his appointment "I was delighted to be invited to become Musical Director of such a prestigious band. There is huge potential here and I can't wait to get started in the New Year. The challenge of consolidating the band's position in the Championship Section is very exciting and I am also looking forward to developing an innovative and attractive concert programme."

Band Chairman Clive Marshall welcomed the appointment saying "David is an excellent musician with an impressive pedigree as composer, player and conductor. York RI is very excited at the prospect of working with David and benefiting from his experience and inspiration in making wonderful music together."

Congratulations Ollie!

Ollie Abbey

We are absolutely overjoyed to hear the brilliant news that our former Principal Cornet player Ollie Abbey has achieved a 2:1 in mathematics at Cambridge University and we send him huge congratulations! Despite all the rigours and demands of a busy academic and student life, Ollie has continued his close association with the Band, playing for RI at every opportunity both in concerts and contests over the last three years he has been at university. Well done Ollie and thank you for being a topo bandsman.

Whit Friday 2016

YRIB at Dobcross

The Band had a brilliant time playing at the world famous Whit Friday Marches across Saddleworth and Oldham District this year despite being soaked through after 8.00pm!

We managed to play at seven contests and achieved good results including 7th at Delph (80 bands), 9th at Greenfield (72 bands), 12th at Lees (46 bands), 16th at Diggle (59 bands) and 18th at Lydgate (71 bands). Our road march was Royal Trophy and our contest march Roll Away Bet. Special thanks go to our dep players Sam Lovatt, Anna Marshall, Sam Kind & Daniel Wilson.

This is our performance in the pouring rain at Greenfield - we hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

North of England Brass Band Championships

North of England Regional Contest 2016

Photo by Keith Meadley Photography

After three months of hard work in preparation for the contest the Band came 6th from the dreaded No.1 draw, a result which secures the Band's Championship status right through to 2018! Playing the hugely challenging Cambridge Variations by Philip Sparke, the Band's soloists Bridget Scott (Flugel Horn) and Andy Novell (Principal Cornet) made excellent contributions and a huge thank you goes to Musical Director Chris Hirst for all his hard work in preparing us for the contest. If you would like to hear the Band's performance click on this link

With the area contest out of the way, we can look forward to a packed calendar of concerts starting with the first concert of the new season taking place at St Mary's Church in Hemingbrough at 7.30pm on Saturday 16th April (tickets available on the door). Other highlights in 2016 will include a concert featuring Michael Dodd, the Principal Euphonium of the world famous Grimethorpe Colliery Band, and the Band's third annual performance with the acclaimed Chapter House Choir in York Minster in December. In addition to our concert work, the Band will once again compete at the Whit Friday Marches on Friday 20th May and at the Dr Martin Contest on Sunday 11th September.

Congratulations Ian Bruce

Ian Bruce

The Band performed to a sell-out audience at Howden Minster on Saturday 5th December with the Minster and St Helen's, Welton Church Choirs. The concert, organised by Howden Rotary Club, was to raise funds for Marie Curie and other supported causes. The Band's performance was exemplary from start to finish with notable solo contributions from Andy Novell (Principal Cornet), Kevin Moxon (Soprano Cornet), James West (Solo Horn) and Richard Lovatt (Principal Euphonium). We also accompanied the wonderful singer Deb Henderson in a rendition of the timeless classic Evergreen.

The absolute highlight of the evening, however, was the presentation to Ian Bruce of a fine glass sculpture to mark his election to the role of Honorary President of YRIB. Ian Bruce comes from a famous York brass banding family. His grandfather, Noah Bruce, had founded the Chaucer Street Mission Band in 1883 and when Ian, at the age of eleven, took up banding in 1946, he joined his father and his uncles in what had become York Home Guard Band. That name soon changed to Ebor Excelsior Brass Band, and Ian became a permanent member as an Eb Bass player. By 1952 the Band had become the York Railway Institute Band and Ian had established himself as the leading bass player in the city and earned a place in the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain in its inaugural year. For the next fifty nine years Ian Bruce was the beating heart of the York RI Band, not only as a fine instrumentalist but as an industrious committee man and, for ten years, a most conscientious Secretary, helping to found the Junior Band which eventually became the Golden Rail Band. Ian and his wife Linda, also a stalwart member of the Band for 40+ years, are much loved and respected and it was wonderful to have them in the audience with family to celebrate Ian's lifetime contribution to YRIB.

Congratulations Dawn and Martyn!

Dawn and Martyn

We are absolutely thrilled to announce the engagement of baritone players Dawn Groves and Martyn Williams. Huge congratulations to you both!

The Armed Man

The Armed Man concert

The Band recently collaborated with Prima Vocal Ensemble to perform the moving Sir Karl Jenkins' 'The Armed Man' to a large and appreciative audience at the Central Hall at York University. The Band's soloists Kevin Moxon, Andy Novell, Jamie Highton and Richard Lovatt all excelled. A very special mention goes to guest flugel horn player Paul Stamp who played 'Benedictus' so beautifully.

This is the second time RI have collaborated with Ewa Salecka and her choir in recent years and we look forward to more exciting collaborations in the future.

Musical Foundations Strengthened

Paul Jones

Following hot on the heels of other excellent recent signings, we are absolutely delighted to welcome Paul Jones into our ranks on Bb Bass in the run up to our first appearance at the Dr Martin Contest in September.

Paul has enjoyed a distinguished record of service with the Armed Forces as Principal Tuba player with the Grenadier Guards. His playing pedigree also includes appearances with the likes of Heart of England, Desford, Flowers, Faireys, Foden's, Jaguar and Brighouse & Rastrick, as well as with professional orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic.

New Players Come On Board

Kevin Moxon, Jayne Moxon, Tara Appleyard and Joe Bradford

York Railway Institute Band is pleased to welcome the signing of four new players who will greatly enhance the quality of the Band in the run up to our first appearance at the Dr Martin Contest in September. Bringing huge amounts of playing experience and real musical pedigree are the highly regarded Soprano Cornet Player Kevin Moxon and his wife Jayne who has taken up the Repiano Cornet seat. Kevin and Jayne are well known banding personalities, having played for a number of bands across the UK, and we are delighted they have chosen to join RI as the Band cements its Championship status credentials. On joining, Kevin said "We are looking forward very much to playing in the Band and working with Musical Director Chris Hirst." Also joining RI are young rising stars Tara Appleyard and Joe Bradford on back row cornet, having been developed through the excellent Otley and Tewit Youth Band structures.

Of the new signings, Musical Director Chris Hirst said "It's great to have youngsters with the quality of Tara and Joe so keen to join the Band. They have both shown great commitment so far, which is so important at York RI where we rarely sit down with less than 100% attendance. They join a band with many other teenagers, all completely focused on moving the Band forward, all with massive potential for the future and the desire to succeed. At the other end of the spectrum we are truly overjoyed to sign Kevin Moxon on Soprano Cornet along with his wife Jayne on Repiano Cornet. Both players bring a wealth of talent and experience to York RI and have really given the Band a boost in the realisation that we are now in a position to attract such quality players who would be welcomed with open arms by any band!"

Joan Sadler Memorial Concert

Joan Sadler Memorial Concert

Playing to an almost capacity audience, the Band was honoured to perform a joint concert with Shepherd Group Concert Band to celebrate the life of Joan Sadler. The first half featured the hugely entertaining Concert Band under their energetic MD, former RI player Mike Pratt. After the interval, RI took centre stage and was on sparkling form with featured soloists Andy Novell (Principal Cornet), Ian Scott (Bass Trombone), Richard Lovatt (Principal Euphonium) and Kevin Moxon (Soprano Cornet) all impressing the audience with their musical skill and poise. The concert finished with the Concert Band joining RI on stage to perform the rip roaring Tom Jones classic, Delilah. And so ended a wonderful night of music making to remember Joan, that will have raised a substantial amount of money for the nominated charities.

Congratulations Dawn!

Dawn Groves

Dr Groves PhD, MSc (Med Eng),
BSc Hons (Physio), AMIMechE

We are overjoyed that baritone player Dawn Groves is to be conferred a Doctorate by the Institute of Medical & Biological Engineering part of Leeds University in December. Dawn has worked her socks off to achieve this whilst still meeting all her commitments to the Band. Of course with her PhD out of the way there will be even more time for home practice!

Whit Friday

Lydgate, Whit Friday 2015

Photo copyright © Bob Hindley 2015

The Band enjoyed a great time playing at the world famous Whit Friday Marches across Saddleworth and Oldham District villages including Delph, Diggle, Dobcross, Scouthead, Denshaw and Lydgate on Friday 29th May. Playing the road march 'The Royal Trophy' and the contest march 'Roll Away Bet', the Band turned in excellent performances and some notable results including Lydgate 6th (74 bands), Dobcross 13th (69 bands), Diggle 16th and Delph 19th (77 bands).

Thanks go to our guest players from the East Riding of Yorkshire, Shepherd Group, Carlton Main, Ferryhill and Skelmanthorpe Bands, Bb Bass player Paul Jones and Tenor Horn player Dennis Stamp. You can see and hear a short clip of the Band playing its road march here

Regionals 2015

The Band in Christ Church Stockton Lane York

The Band was promoted to the Championship Section in January, the first time it has competed at this level since 1991. We all worked hard in preparation for the North of England Championships and enjoyed an incredibly successful concert at a packed Christ Church the week before. The audience of almost 150 heard the Band play the Area test piece, Peter Graham's "The Torchbearer", and we were all in good heart going to the Area Contest that took place in Durham on Sunday 15th March. Playing 5th, the Band was placed 8th out of a field of 9 bands and were just pipped by local rivals the Shepherd Building Group Band placed 7th. York RI soloists and featured players Andy Novell, Jamie Highton, James West, Richard Lovatt, Sarah Smith, Malcolm Watson, Pearce Abbey, Dawn Groves and Nathan Coope all excelled and we can now look forward with confidence to the year ahead and competing again in the Championship Section at the Area Contest in March 2016. Huge congratulations to the Reg Vardy Band who were crowned North of England Champions and to NASUWT Riverside Band who picked up the second qualifying place for the National Finals in October.