All posts by Heather Allard

Autumn Concert at St Thomas’s Church, Wells

Midsomer Norton and Radstock Silver Band thrilled listeners at their Autumn Concert in Wells.

The Midsomer Norton & Radstock Silver Band held their Autumn concert at St Thomas’s Church in Wells on Saturday 6th October. After a very busy summer season St Thomas’ is an exciting new venue for the band in 2018. Musical Director, Joanne Sykes conducted a varied programme centred around the theme of ‘Reflect and Celebrate’ to commemorate not only the centenary year of the end of the Great War but also of the formation of the Royal Air Force. Blockbusters included 633 Squadron, Dambusters March and a thrilling performance of Peter Graham’s epic work ‘Cry of the Celts’ each movement featuring the bands talented soloists.

Compere for this special evening concert was none other than BBC Radio Somerset’s Claire Carter, no stranger to the Brass concert circuit in Wells. Perhaps more surprising on the night was the appearance a of BBC television cameraman recording for the Monday’s Points West bulletin. No pressure for the band then!

Guest soloists featured highly in the cleverly crafted programme. Stephen Sykes masterfully performed his feature solo of the night ‘Stardust’ in front of a spellbound audience. Less than two years ago Stephen was critically ill with late stage Hodgkins Lymphoma and barely able to lift his trombone let alone play it. A rallying cry was put out to the world wide brass band community and vital funds were raised to pay for the special treatment needed to save his life. Saturday’s concert was a milestone occasion, his first public performance since his illness struck and it did not disappoint.

The musical variety did not stop there. Siona Stockel, Soprano together with Nicola Bracey, Piano both professional musicians resident in Wells brought a touch of nostalgia to the evening with a selection of songs made famous by Forces Sweetheart, the legendary Vera Lynn. The concert was rounded off in fine style with an encore that raised the roof. Finlay Bradley, the band’s talented percussionist literally blew a stunned audience to the evening’s close with his virtuosic drum solo in Louis Prima’s ‘Sing Sing Sing’. What a finish by this fine ensemble, The Midsomer Norton & Radstock Silver Band.

Special mention should be made of the evenings venue and the support given by our hosts at St Thomas Church. This is a magical place to hold a concert and with first class facilities to match the band hope to perform there on a regular basis in future. A ‘must’ date for your diary in the run up to Christmas is Saturday 8th December. The band will again perform in St Thomas Church, with their own take on popular seasonal favourites. One not to miss!

For more information about the bands forthcoming events check their website:

Band News August 2018

The band have had a busy start to 2018 attending a variety of events.

In April the band were invited to play at the Man Engine event in Radstock, we were thrilled to be part of such an usual local event and we were very lucky to have ring-side seats to watch the show once we had played. Later in April we marched through Wells with the Somerset County Federation of WIs to celebrate their Centenary, we processed from Wells Cathedral to St Cuthbert’s Church where we played Jerusalem whilst the WI members sang.

May opened with Priston May Day where we played our summer programme for the first time on a lovely sunny afternoon. We played at Hampset Cricket Club the following weekend for a fundraising event organised by Andrew Stammers. A highlight in May was being invited to play at the Radstock Co-op 150th Anniversary celebration evening at the Bath Pavilion. A couple of our members were able to stay and enjoy the celebrations after we had played together with many members of other local organisations.

At the beginning of June The Natural Theatre Company asked us to perform at an arts event in Radstock. A couple of band members had to join in the acting, I think we were all agreed that they should stick to playing! We played at the opening of Westfield Funday and we were lucky enough to get our photo taken with Michael Eavis. We finished June with a Sunday afternoon concert in Keynsham Bandstand which is always fun as it is very well supported by the local residents.

We played in Parade Gardens in Bath at the beginning of July on a scorching hot afternoon, which required the consumption of many ice creams in the interval. A couple of week ago we performed at M Fest in Midsomer Norton, it is always a pleasure to be able to play for our local community.

We will be spending August working on our concert programme for our autumn concert at St Thomas’ Church in Wells on 6th October. Our next engagement will be at Double Hills in Paulton at the beginning of September.

Concert at Wells Band Stand on 16th July

The Band recently played in the Wells Band Stand and after an enjoyable afternoon we were really pleased to receive the following comments from members of the audience:

Comments from Phil Wilby, Musical Associate,
Black Dyke Brass Band:

“I had the occasion to visit Wells Cathedral two weekends ago and walked with the organist Matthew Owens and his family down towards the bandstand.

We were delighted to hear some of the band’s concert (Matthew is an ex cornet player from Stockport!) and I wanted to write and thank you all for the great work that the band do to keep the flame alive in the South West…… in particular, we were delighted to hear a solo from Aidan aged 10 …… great sound and splendid self assurance. Mathew’s two boys were entranced to hear someone of their own age play so beautifully……. so let’s hope that Aidan has lit a flame for the future.

Every Good Wish to MN and Radstock and best wishes for Cheltenham”

Comments from Sue Bibby a professional musician and teacher

“Just wanted to say how much I thoroughly enjoyed your performance on Sunday July 16th in Wells Recreation ground.

I was visiting the area that weekend. I studied at Birmingham Conservatoire and in my schooldays played with Skelmersdale Brass Band who were 2nd section back then.

Congratulations and well done on such a fantastic listening experience. I loved it!

God bless you all and keep up the good work”.

Double Celebrations

Jubilation reigned amongst the members of the Midsomer Norton and Radstock Silver Band after the band were awarded third place at the West of England National Brass Band Third Section qualifier at Torquay on Sunday 12th March 2017.  With the top three bands qualifying for the finals, the band earned the right to compete at the National Brass Band Championship finals for the second successive year at Cheltenham in September.

Competing against eighteen bands from across the West of England, the bands performance of the Test Piece ‘Darkwood’ received excellent remarks from both adjudicators and was just reward for the hard work and dedication put in by the bands musical director Joanne Sykes and band members leading up to the contest.

The day was further celebrated with the news that the band had accrued the league table points required to earn promotion to the Second Section and achieve the highest national ranking in the bands history. This is a significant achievement for the band and shows how much the band has progressed.

Looking forward, the band will be preparing a new repertoire of concert music for the coming season with summer concerts featuring both Senior and Brass Academy bands.

35th Anniversary Concert

The Band are holding a 35th Anniversary Concert on Saturday 3rd October, commencing at 7.30 pm at the Midsomer Norton Methodist Church, with Guest Soloist Carlton Sykes

Tickets can be purchased from the Church,  Band members or by emailing and cost £5.50 in advance or £7.50 on the door

Bideford – June 2014

On the 24th June, a group of youngsters and adults set out on a trip to take part in the Annual Bideford Solo and Ensemble contest.

We’re proud to say that we entered no less than 45 classes within Bideford, with a group of around 25 people doing a mixture of solos, duets and quartets.

Continue reading Bideford – June 2014

Band News March 2014

On Saturday 22nd February 2014 the band held their annual dinner and awards evening. This was well attended by members of all bands, all the members of the main band voted for who they thought should be acknowledged as the ‘player’s player’. This was proudly presented by Jo to Finlay, also presented on the night was the madam secretary’s cup, awarded by Heather to Thomas. The final award was awarded by Mark to Louise.

Report on Launceston Brass Band Solo and Quartet Contest

On Saturday 19th October, 13 members of the Brass Academy, accompanied by their parents and Jo Sykes travelled to Launceston to take part in the Launceston 8th Annual  Solo and Quartet Contest.

Continue reading Report on Launceston Brass Band Solo and Quartet Contest