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Heroes and Villains - Summer Concert Series 2024 Success!

Our Summer concert series for 2024 centred on an exciting theme of Heroes and Villains which we performed right across South Devon including a debut performance at The Litlle Theatre, Torquay on the Friday 25th May and what a wonderful venue it is! We just about squeezed ourselves onto the small stage and thoroughly enjoyed playing here for a fantastic audience and theatre staff. Our special thanks go to the wonderful Anna Reynolds, the Theatre Director for allowing us to perform here. The following day, Saturday 25th May, saw us return to The Watermark at Ivybridge where we were welcomed back by the very organised Theatre Director, Jackie Drew. Thank you to you and to your staff Jackie for looking after us. As ever, our Ivybridge audience was on top form and even included former band member and RMBS Musician, Kevin Vickers, great to see you Kevin. The following weekend on Saturday 1st June we played on home turf at the Flavel Arts Centre, Dartmouth. Here we must thank the amazing Tara Ely the Centre's Programming and Marketing Manager who always looks after us so well and does so with a smile and spring in her step, along with her lovely team at the Centre. Thank you Tara and Team.

Since I'm in a thanking mood, I must thank our wonderful Deps who supported us throughout the concert series. Firstly, Leuitenant Commander Darren Walton, Royal Navy (and former RM Musician) on Trombone, Former RM Band Sergeant Taff Liley on French Horn, former RM Band Cpl Steve Herbert on French Horn and Musician Eleanor Eastman currently serving with The Band of His Majesty's Royal Marines, The Commando Training Centre, Royal Marines, Lympstone. Former RM Band Colour Sergeant Rich Tilley, on First Trumpet, Dave Hankin on Trombone and finally Alex Care from HMS Drake Royal Naval Volunteer Band on Tuba. Thank you one and all for your help and support, you are very welcome and you made all the difference.

Now to the concerts themselves. With an abundance of heroic and villainous characters to choose from, we carefully selected a varied an interesting programme which would please, excite and scare our our audience and sometimes even the band too. Our interpid Conductor, Former Royal Marines Band Sergeant and Volunteer Band Instructor, Colin Crossman lead the band through the programme which included themes from Batman the Dark Knight, Superman, Raiders of the Lost Ark - Indiana Jones, Skyfall - James Bond, Morse, The Dambusters March, Dr Who (everyone tried to hide behind their seats!) William Tell - The Lone Ranger, Stingray, Thunderbirds, Pink Panther, The A-Team, Porridge, Lucy Long and the Band of Brothers. So, quite the programme of thrilling music!

The Flute section was ably lead by our principal flute, Rose Sage with Heather Sprowell, Hannah Jordan and Beth Boobyer making up the rest of the team, played a wonderfully light rendition of the tunes from Harry Potter that entranced our audiences with the beautiful clear sounds of the flutes resonating across the comfortable seats of all three theatres.

Our soloists included Mick Jones playing the Tenor Sax in Skyfall, the evocative chart hitting Bond theme made famous by pop singer Adele. Actually, our Conductor, Colin Crossman played this wonderful solo at The Little Theatre, standing in for Mick, well done Colin. Nick Jones (no relation to Mick Jones) played that fun Bassoon solo, Lucy Long. According to our Conductor, she is a distant, but not widely written about, relative to Harry Potter.

As ever, we had a couple of surprises in the programme, literally, including a Where's Wally? style competition which required the audience to find Fletch (aka Ronnie Barker) from that loved 70s TV series Porridge who was hiding in the bottom right hand corner but was not actually included in the list of pieces being played. The other surpise was the Flute Quartet and themes from Harry Potter which was also not listed in the actual programme. Our stage technician Bill Hunt prepared an exciting montage of movies and images for the entire concert, which is no mean feat. The inclusion of imagery always adds to the flavour of our performances and brings it to life in a sort of second dimension. We like to keep our audiences engaged.

The Band is made up of a mixture of people including Teachers, Doctors, Dentists, Students, Royal Naval Officers, Retail Managers, Army Personnel, Retirees and many other professions and occupations. But we are very proud that the Band is now made up of an equal complement of male and female musicians and that the youngest is Tenor Sax player, 15 year old Charlotte Wilde who joined us very recently and the oldest is 88 year old Trombone player Bill Hersey who joined us nearly 15 years ago! Charlotte missed the first two concerts because of a very important national rowing competition at which her team came third. She also won her race at a different rowing competition on the same day as our last concert, the following weekend. So, Charlotte is a winner and our very own Hero, well done Charlotte!

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