Abbey Brass will be giving three Christmas concerts in December and all full of festive cheer. We'll be playing some recognisable Christmas songs (Let it Snow!, All I Want For Christmas and Santa Baby) alongside some beautiful arrangements of some choral classics including Lauridsen's O Magnum Mysterium (a Classic Fm favourite) and John Rutter's A Candlelight Carol.
You will also find yourself called upon to belt out a few Christmas carols as it wouldn't Christmas without a few of those!
Our Christmas concerts are in Newport (Wednesday 7th), Wootton (Sunday 17th and Binstead (Wednesday 20th). Check out the Engagements section for venues and start times.
Abbey Brass had a busy last weekend of November by pulling a double shift.
On Saturday 25th November the band gave the last of their Autumn concert series at Newport Methodist Church. Despite the significant drop in temperature outside, a large audience ventured out to hear the band deliver a programme that featured pop hits, classical repertoire, musicals and movie themes, including a dazzling medley of Disney themes to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the iconic film studio.
The following day, Sunday 26th November, the band opened the 2023 Medina Tattoo, hosted by White Hot Pipes. This year's event raised money for the charity, Aspire Ryde. Providing a short programme of 20 minutes, the band was able to make the most of their time with both traditional brass band music alongside hits by The Rolling Stones and The Beatles.
Abbey Brass are delighted that Tracey Bennett has taken up the position of Principal Cornet.
Tracey, a graduate of the London College of Music and Media, learnt to play cornet aged seven and achieved grade eight at the tender age of 13. She was principal cornet with Ocean Brass for several years and currently occupies the Principal Chair at Gosport Solent Brass, helping them towards four lower section National Finals qualifications in recent years.
Tracey's first public appearance on 'the end chair' will be during ou series of Christmas concerts in December.
On Saturday 8th July, Abbey Brass gave their first performance at Trinity Theatre, Cowes as part of the Theatre's "Raise the Roof" Campaign.
Dinah Bowman, secretary of Cowes Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society which owns the theatre, said, “We were delighted that Abbey Brass came to support our roof appeal with their first-ever concert at Trinity Theatre. I was very much looking forward to the auditorium coming alive to the wonderful sounds of a brass band.... and they certainly did not disappoint!”
The 90-minute programme included a wide variety of music from film (Shrek, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Saturday Night Fever), musicals (Oklahoma, Oh Kay!, Mamma Mia) and the pop charts (including music from The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Leonard Cohen).
The band's next outing with be at the Rylstone Bandstand, Shanklin on Thursday 31st August at 8pm.
Abbey Brass helped celebrate Armed Forces Day with incidental music prior to a prestigious dinner at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club on Saturday 24th June.
The band's varied programme featured a number of popular titles including a selection of wartime music among them 633 Squadron, The Dambusters, Vera Lynn hits, war time musical numbers and a varied selection of British seas songs.
Guests were played into dinner by Abbey Brass principal cornet Andy Croucher.
Abbey Brass will be performing at the Trinity Theatre in Cowes on Saturday 8th July, at 7.30pm, to give a concert in aid of the Theatre's 'Raise The Roof' Appeal.
Music to suit all tastes
Abbey Brass will be putting on a varied programmes where music from ABBA, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones will sit alongside music from the musicals Shrek and Oklahoma! alongside music from films such as Breakfast at Tiffany's and Saturday Night Fever.
The concert itself is FREE, although patrons are asked to contribute to a retiring collection which will go towards the Appeal Fund. There is a raffle, with some exciting prizes, and the theatre has a licensed bar.
Opened in 1914, Trinity Theatre in Cowes has been at the centre of the community for more than 100 years. The theatre, home to Cowes Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society [CAODS], one of the longest running amateur dramatic theatre companies in the UK, is a beautiful Victorian building which is now in need of considerable work for roof repair, new changing facilities and improved disability access.
Trinity Theatre, The Grove (off Bath Road), Cowes PO31 7QR
Abbey Brass sported their new black and gold uniforms at a concert at Wootton Methodist Church on 19th April.
The concert also saw the debut of new musical director, Phillip Littlemore, who started with the band at the beginning of 2023. The concert featured music for all tastes including pop classics and songs from stage and screen. Several of the pieces were arranged by Phillip, an experienced brass band arranger and composer.
“The band really enjoyed the concert, especially showing off the new uniforms for the first time.
“We have been working hard in rehearsals towards this concert since Phillip took over and he put together such a varied programme, which the audience really enjoyed.”
Abbey Brass has appointed Phillip Littlemore as its new Musical Director. He will take up the baton in the New Year.
Phillip moved to the Island from Hertfordshire in 2017. Originally from Cheshire, Phillip played with the world-famous Foden’s Motor Works Band before heading to London to study trumpet, composition and conducting at the Guildhall School of Music. After graduating, he undertook freelance trumpet work before pursuing a career in marketing, firstly with music publishers Boosey & Hawkes, then with the Guinness Book of World Records, before taking the position of
Sales & Marketing Director with Faber Music. Phillip left Faber in 2011 and set up his own marketing and publishing company.
Since moving to the Island, Phillip has been playing trumpet with the Isle of Wight Symphony Orchestra, while keeping strong ties with the brass band world as both a conductor and adjudicator. In this capacity he has been associated with brass bands across London and the South. In April 2022 Phillip became Musical Director of Gosport Solent Brass, taking them to the Finals of the National Brass Band Championships in September last year.
Accepting his new role with Abbey Brass Phillip commented: “Abbey Brass has only been going since 2021 and has already achieved some great things. I look forward to working with these talented and committed musicians”. Band Chairman and founder Anthony Hebditch added: “Phillip has known the band from its early days, having played with us on several occasions and donated some of his arrangements and transcriptions to us. Phillip is a
gifted musician whose talents and experience – including administrative abilities – put him head and shoulders above many contemporaries. Abbey Brass is exceptionally lucky to have secured his services in the next stage of our journey, building on the excellent foundations established by Tony Smallwood.”
The band has another musician of note in Steve Parker. Steve plays soprano in the band and has acted as interim Musical Director during the busy Christmas period. Steve has accepted the key role of deputy Musical Director from January.
Tony Smallwood, who became the Musical Director of the band in March 2022 has had to reluctantly stand down after just six months in the role for family reasons.
Tony, formally Director of Music with the Band of the Royal Marines, led the band at some remarkable concerts in a short period of time most notably a concert for Ukraine, a very successful concert marking the Queen's Platinum Jubilee and the band's first outing at Rylstone Gardens.
Tony (left) is receiving a small presentation gift from former Chairman Tony Hebditch.
© Copyright 2024. All rights reserved.
We need your consent to load the translations
We use a third-party service to translate the website content that may collect data about your activity. Please review the details and accept the service to view the translations.