Sunday, 31 December 2017 19:18

A look back at 2017

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The GuildAs another busy year comes to an end, a year in which between Castletown and Balley Cashtal, we have performed 46 concerts (not counting December!), we thought we’d have a quick look back at what the band has been involved in over the last 12 months.



First of all we must thank all those members of the band who have been out during December bringing festive cheer around Castletown. Between the 2 bands, Castletown and Balley Cashtal, we have been out 23 times during the month, either playing carols around the streets of Castletown or playing at coffee mornings to help raise money for good causes, culminating in our joint Christmas concert on the 22nd December at the Castletown Civic Centre.

The year started with a couple of our regular concerts for Abbots Wood residential home and the Peel OAP’s club. However we were also pleased to be asked to take part in the Farewell Concert for All Saints Church in Douglas. We have regularly played at All Saints over the years and will miss the unique acoustics of the church and warm welcome from the congregation.Guild Rehearsal

The early part of the year also saw the band rehearsing for a return to competition in the Manx Music Festival (The Guild) after an absence of 35 years. A successful return as the band won the inaugural Gordon Astill Trophy for Entertainment with an operatic based programme.

This took us into May, a busy month with 9 concerts, including a visit to Castle Rushen (a stone’s throw from the band room) where we entertained members of the Rushen Rotary Club.

Although June is usually a quiet month as the island is invaded by thousand’s of motorbikes and fans for the TT Races, between the 2 bands we undertook 7 concerts including the annual Armed Forces Day parade and concert, an event the band look forward to supporting every year, and the annual Laa Columb Killey village fete in Arbory, an event the band have been involved in for over 100 years!

During July we were honoured to be asked to perform at the annual Tynwald Day Garden Party held at Government House in Onchan, as well as our usual spot at the Tynwald Day celebrations in St Johns. Thankfully the sun shone on both occasions. We also had our annual visits to the World Tin Bath Championships and the Southern Agricultural Show.

Castletown SquareAugust started with a strange event which probably gave the band it’s biggest publicity for a long time, as we took part in the annual Castletown Festival culminating in the carnival parade. However, this year due to licencing issues, it had to be a silent parade, with only the sound of the bass drum being allowed to be played. Hopefully things will be sorted out so that in 2018 we can return to playing during the carnival parade. August also saw us performing one evening in Castletown Square, a night which brought over 100 people out into the summer sunshine to enjoy an open air concert. Hopefully we’ll be able to do this again, weather permitting. August also saw us parting ways with our Musical Director Ken Mitchell and the return of John Collings to ‘take the stick’.

Thankfully September was a quiet month, the only event being our annual concert for the Wings Appeal on the Friday before the Battle of Britain commemoration parade and service, which was held in St Georges Church for the first time following the closure of All Saints Church. This also gave the band time to get ready for our Last Night of the Proms concert in October, a night on which we were pleased to welcome Gloria Balakrishna who performed a number of solos and led the communal singing.

As with most bands, in November we were pleased to be able to help the Royal British Legion raise funds during the annual Poppy Appeal with a concert in Victoria Road School in Castletown, which was followed by the band leading the parades for Remembrance Day in Castletown and Peel.

And that brings us up to December, which as I’ve said has been an extremely busy time for the band.

Looking to 2018, we hope that we will again take part in the Manx Music Festival and try and defend the Gordon Astill Trophy, as well as performing at venues around the island. If you see us at any please come and say hello.

To finish may we wish everyone, but especially our supporters and friends, a very happy new year, as blein vie noe.


Read 1839 times Last modified on Sunday, 31 December 2017 22:51
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