long-established community brass band based in South Cheshire and linked to
Winterley Methodist Church, the band is very active and
frequently performs concerts for a wide variety of church and community
an ‘open’ band we are always pleased to welcome new
members. It is not all work,
either. Several social events are held throughout the year, including the
Christmas party, garden parties (summertime only!) and treasure
hunts. Also, as an interested
of the band have been involved in the current disussions on how
Winterley Methodist church will evolve and adapt to suit the needs of
email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
You can find our YouTube video channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2g-5OvOWO_Vcpm9K2impTg/featured
Please note that all rehearsals and events have been suspended due to the coronavirus situation.
The funeral service for our friend and band member, Brian Birchall took place on Thursday 28th May 2020 at St Michael and All Angels Church, Crewe Green.
Brian was born at Red Bull, Church Lawton in 1935 and had a twin sister, Betty. He was fortunate enough to gain a mathematics scholarship which allowed him to attend Sandbach Grammar School. After leaving school Brian went into National Service, where he served in the Army Pay Corps during service in Japan. Upon his return he trained as a tailor, whilst also having spent time working in a variety of roles including the pot banks of Stoke and also at Rolls Royce. Brian then moved to Fodens, where he became a machinist. Given his mathematical ability and knowledge, it is not surprising to learn that two of Brian’s favourite pastimes were Sudoku and Chess!
However, Brian’s other great interest was music. As a result of family inspiration - notably jazz, Brian had a keen interest in learning to read music. He was indeed able to play guitar; teaching his daughter Adele to play as well. As Adele was starting to play a brass instrument, both father and daughter found themselves joining Winterley just over thirty years ago.
It would be an understatement to say that Brian enjoyed playing the cornet - he loved it and it became a huge part of his life. Alongside Winterley, Brian was able to contribute to the music ensembles which included Audley Brass Band, Stone Town Brass Band, Mereside Brass, Tarporley Brass Band, Rode Hall Silver Band, Florence Brass, Whitchurch Town Band and South Cheshire Orchestra. Aside from his love of playing, Adele recalls that Brian had quite varied tastes, with a particular favourite being Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes!
In his service to Winterley, Brian was unstinting in his approach. Even in times of ill health, Brian was always keen to return and get on with playing - rarely missing a rehearsal. He was gentle and well-respected and generous in his support and encouragement for the younger players with whom he enjoyed an excellent rapport. Brian certainly loved a march, with his favourite being Eric Ball’s ‘Starlake.’
Brian’s memory will live on with the members of Winterley Methodist Brass Band, from the laughs and tears we shared over the thirty years of him being part of our band family, to the repertoire which he loved playing - from Rule Britannia to Sir Duke, Gaelforce to The Young in Heart and Indian Summer to Lightwalk. We thank you for your dedication and friendship. You will be greatly missed.
Richard N Birchenough
Winterley Methodist Brass Band
Photograph taken outside the Haslington Coop during the 'Payout Event' for the Coop Local Community Fund. The total amount received was £3351.
The instrument featured in the photo is one we purchased in the Autumn using some of the money received from the fund.
Thank you to everyone who selected the band as the local cause they wished to support during 2018 - 2019.
A service to celebrate the life of band Geoff Hall was held at Crewe Crematorium on Friday 1 February 2019. The service was conducted by Rev’d Mike Turnbull and the hymns were Jerusalem and The Day Thou Gavest Lord Is Ended.
Winterley Band owes Geoff a huge debt of gratitude for all the time and practical support he gave in order to enable the band to flourish. Geoff was an experienced musician and bandsman who played 1st Baritone all the time he was a member of the band.
Geoff was a fantastic servant of the band and 100% reliable when it came to undertaking all sorts of tasks. He was usually one of the first people to respond to requests for help with transporting instruments to concert venues, he gave numerous lifts to players and would willingly go out of his way to act as the chauffeur for guest players.
In the years preceding the start of the building project at Winterley, Geoff was often a member of the working parties. One vivid memory is of Geoff at the top of a tall ladder cutting branches off the tree at the entrance to the church premises. The work was to prepare for the arrival of the annexe building which now houses the pre-school. Geoff was undoubtedly someone who went the ‘extra mile’ for the band and the community of Winterley.
Geoff’s last concert was at Whitchurch on 6 October, but he also played carols at the end of November and the beginning of December 2018. It was typical of Geoff that even when he was ill and not allowed to mix with large groups of people, he still insisted on helping to transport band equipment to the Christmas concert at Wheelock Church in December, and then immediately going back home.
Geoff was a member of the band for over twenty years. According to the band records he and Janet joined the band in 1997 and attended their first AGM in 1998. At the time of the formation of the present Trainer Band in 2006 it was Geoff who used his professional skills to help create our Child Protection Policy and the relevant documentation.
For many years, any player who has performed in one of our concerts will have been told how to line up and given clear instructions by Geoff regarding how to go on stage. In his role as Bandmaster, Geoff always received the respect of those present. Players would never argue with his clear instructions, as he would have carefully planned exactly how it would work smoothly and safely.
Our memories of Geoff are personal snapshots of a man with a generous heart, and someone who always spoke honestly and sincerely about things.
‘Thank you Geoff – you have been a true servant of the band, often working behind the scenes to help make things happen. We will miss your smile and your special sense of humour’.
Winterley Methodist Brass Band
from left) is seen holding
the score of his compostion “To
Thy Name”. It is one of two pieces the band has commissioned
mark its 75 Years Celebrations. The
title of the work
is the second line of the hymn Sweet Is The Work (Deep Harmony). Kevin states ‘I wanted to write a piece that encapsulated a
typical morning out on the band."
was born in
1960 in Congleton (Cheshire). As a result of his father's interest in
following the Foden’s Motor Works Band, Kevin used to go and
listen to rehearsals at the bandroom in Elworth. It was the Foden
connection which led to his involvement with Brass Bands. He joined the
Middlewich Band (now Roberts Bakery Band) on Second Baritone and
progressed through Solo Baritone to the Solo Euphonium. Following a
short break he joined the United Co-op Crewe Band.
he was at
Roberts Bakery he started to arrange and compose music for brass bands.
His conducting experience started with Tarporley Band and in 1994 he
became Musical Director at Audley Brass. In 2007 he was honoured to
accept the position of Composer in Residence of the United Co-op Crewe
Band. At the end of 2011 he followed in his
when he was appointed as Organist & Director of Music at St. Marys Parish Church, Sandbach.
The photogaph shows (l. to r.) Richard Birchenough, Kevin Birch, Brenda
O’Dowd, and Neil Barnett. (Photo
courtesy Seamus O’Dowd)