Ashbourne Telegraph review by Carol Frost
For the second time in as many months, Ashbourne Town Band joined forces with the Ashbourne Singers to entertain the public. Following the success of the Ashbourne Festival of Remembrance, the two voluntary groups came together for the annual Christmas concert. Held at St John’s Church, Ashbourne, the band was conducted by Eric Lee, and Ashbourne Singers were directed by Linda Perry Smith.
Christmas music dominated and included a number of entertaining pieces including The Elephant Act from Stuart Johnson’s Circus Suite, which featured band president Sam Ede and Graham Lee on EEflat basses and Stephen Carr on BBflat bass. To the delight of the audience each of those players wore an elephant mask while conductor Eric Lee donned a black top hat as the ringmaster.
Other soloists featured in When a Child was Born, Margaret Carr playing solo cornet, Chris Sweeney flugel horn and David Lee soprano cornet. During the playing of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Santa arrived to distribute sweets and chocolate to the children. Other items were: Christmas Peace, The Dancing Snowman, The Christmas song, White Christmas and Sleigh Ride, also Schneewalzer; Mistletoe and Wine; The Snowman and the Twelve Days of Christmas, arranged by Keith Lever which saw the singers gathering around to accompany the band. During the playing of an encore piece, Savoy Christmas Medley, band committee members Sue Lee, Sue Hoptroff, June Harrison and Jean Irwin were entrusted with 72 party poppers which were let off during Auld Lang Syne to end a great evening.
The concert also included the band’s annual awards. The Young Musician of the Year, awarded for dress, ability and attendance went to Charlotte Higton, 14, of The Green Road, Ashbourne, who joined the band in May of this year and plays the cornet. The Barry Lee Memorial Cup given for the player or committee member who has given outstanding service to the band went to Eric Lee, who is currently holding the band together with the baton as it continues its search for a new musical director. Graham Lee was presented with an engraved toasting goblet to mark his 40 years with the band.
President Sam Ede voiced his thanks to the public for their continued support, by attending concerts and donating generously to their collections, especially over the Christmas period. He thanked the players too and explained that members of the band give their service voluntarily, with all money collected and donated ploughed back into the band to meet expenses and help fund instruments and uniforms.