Sometimes referred to as a Concert Band, Military Band, or Symphonic Band, a Wind Band is an ensemble made up of both brass and woodwind instruments. The origins of this type of ensemble can be traced back as far as the 1800’s, when this form of band was mainly seen in a military band format, used for playing marches. However, the format became more popular and as its popularity grew so did its repertoire, with many composers such as Rimsky Korsakov, Holst and Vaughn Williams ,to name a few, writing specifically for the format. Like an orchestra the mixture of instrument types gives a wind band a rich and more interesting sound to ensembles of just one instrument type, which has meant that the music played by a wind band can cross many genres, such as classical, big band, musical theatre and popular music.
Alan was born and brought up in Hinckley, Leicestershire and soon developed his love of music when joining his school brass band as a trombonist and subsequently as a saxophonist when he joined the Army as a professional musician. During his time in the Army, Alan soon enhanced his reputation as both a Saxophonist and Leader within the Big Band world by becoming involved with many bands throughout the UK and Europe. After finally settling in North Yorkshire Alan decided it was the right time to put his reputation on the line and formed his own Big Band. This proved to be an immediate success and now the “Alan Owens Big Band”, along with his Dance Band, Dinner Quartet and other groups, is in great demand throughout the country performing at concerts, weddings, dinner dances and many other events. As well as leading his own band Alan is also a prominent Musical Director with a number of musical societies. Some of the show’s already to Alan’s credit include Oklahoma, Grease, The Wizard of Oz, Scrooge: The Musical, Man of La Mancha, Oliver, Copacabana, Bugsy Malone, Calamity Jane, Camelot, Anything Goes, Crazy for You, Hairspray, Our House, The Addams Family, Sweeney Todd, Seussical: The Musical and a number of Pantomimes. Alan also finds the time to act as a conductor and instructor with North Yorkshire Music Services, which gives him the opportunity to pass on his knowledge both as woodwind specialist, and also his Big Band and Symphonic Wind Band experience that has been gained over many years of playing and leading some great bands.
The flute is a member of the woodwind section on the band and plays on the key of C. Apart from the human voice flutes are the earliest known musical instrument. They are the only member of the woodwind family that are not played by using a reed to create the sound; instead air is blown across the embouchure hole. In a wind band you will see the flute and its smaller relative the piccolo being played. Along with other higher woodwind instruments such as clarinets and oboes the flute often plays the fast, intricate decorative melodic lines that would be played by the violins in an orchestra.
Alison started playing the flute when she was 16 and quickly discovered that she enjoyed playing flute more than playing the violin. After moving back to the area after finishing university, She joined the Silverwood Band. Alison enjoys most of the music we play and likes the challenge of some of the harder pieces. The Silverwood has always been a welcoming and friendly band. She has recently started playing in a flute choir with other members of the section called Flautissimo, and is a Brown Owl and a member of the church choir.
Gabby originally joined Silverwood as she was bringing her son Christian, to band practice to play his Saxophone and it seemed more sensible to stay and play than to spend my evening travelling back and forth in the car! Like a few of our other members Gabby started by learning piano at the age of 6 then moved to violin and finally the flute at the age of 14. Gabby’s musical tastes are wide ranging from playing classical music with local orchestras, singing with Opera Nova and then playing with a flute choir. She says the music we play at the Silverwood is just something different again. As with most flute players who were in the last 3 decades of the 20th century the legend that is James Galway was her inspiration. Had Gabby not settled on the flute she would have loved to play classical guitar but her hands were too small. Her favourite piece of music is Prokoffief's Classical Symphony.
Natalie, as well as being one of our flute players also steps in to play the keyboard part for some pieces. She started playing Piano at age 7 and later picked up the flute at school. Natalie enjoys many different genres of music, from classical to rock. Her musical heroes are John Williams, Gabriel and Bernstein. We met Natalie when she played in a joint concert with the choir she was accompanying, and she enjoyed the range of music we played so much she decided to join the band.
Wendy started to play the flute when she was 12 years old at school, a suggestion from the music teacher as she played the recorder. She achieved grade 5 before leaving school, but has not done any exams since. Band night is her night of relaxations from a hectic family life (3 children , a part time job and a selection of pets keep her busy.)
A little-known fact about Jayne is that she started to learn harp at primary school, perhaps because of her favourite pieces of music is Stairway to Heaven, and everyone knows you can't go to heaven without a harp. She enjoys a large range of musical styles from classical to country or pop music depending on her mood, although we all hope she doesn't get into the country mood to often.
The oboe is a member of the woodwind family and plays in the key of C, it is accredited with being the hardest woodwind instrument to play. It is part of the family of instruments that are played using a double reed, made by binding two shaped pieces of reed together. A common myth is that the oboe takes a lot of breath to play, in actual fact because of the small reed the oboist cannot put a lot of breath through the instrument, the difficulty comes from having air in the lungs that you cannot exhale a bit like holding your breath. It dates back as far as the mid 17th century and until 1770 was known as the hautbois. You may occasionally see another member of its family, the cor-anglais played in a wind band setting. With the other high woodwind it will often play the fast, intricate melodic lines that would be played by the violins in an orchestra.
Judith started playing the oboe at the age of 12 with Tees Valley Music Service, and soon started having private lessons with Monica Haughton where if she had wprked hard in her lesson she was allowed to play either her favourite piece of music, the Arrival of the Queen of Sheeba or play on her teachers Cor Anglais. She enjoyed playing the Cor so much that when she could she bought herself one, which she gets to play with the Teesside Symphony Orchestra where her highlights have been perfoming the Cor-Anglais solo's in Copland's Quiet City with John Bush and Rodrego's Concierto de Aranjuez with Matthew Proctor, and more recently Jonathan Parkin. She enjoys many genres of music from classical to Big band and film and musical.If she had to choose another instrument Judith would like to play the Northumbrian Pipes or the Harp. After a sebatical of a few years she rejoined the band in 2011
Sarah started to play the Piano as a child but when she was 13 she started playing the oboe 13. Sarah loves playing a whole range of music. But her musical hero is John WIlliams as his music for films appeals to a wide range of people. Her favourite pieces of music are Nina Simone - Feeling Good (although the band play Michael Buble's version). Albinoni's oboe Concertos or anything by Andrew LLoyd-Webber (depending on what mood she is in)
If Sarah was to try and learn another instrument it would be the Cello, but the oboe is a lot easier to get in the car.
The clarinet is a member of the woodwind family. It is played using a single reed that is fastened to a mouth piece by a ligature. It dates back to around 1730’s and has a large number of variations in it’s family. In a wind band you will usually see the B flat and bass clarinet’s being played and occasionally and E flat clarinet. As with the other higher woodwind instruments, flutes and oboes, will often play the fast, intricate, decorative melodic lines that would be played by the violin section of an orchestra.
Jean first joined the band I was playing the Alto Sax, then Tenor Sax for a while, but eventually settled in the Clarinet section. I also play in a big band, where I mainly play alto and a dance band. A little-known fact about Jean is that she started to learn Trombone at school, but soon discovered her arms were too short. Jeans favourite style of music is swing and Big Band, her musical hero is Benny Goodman. She enjoys playing with the band as she finds it fun and challenging, especially when the classical music comes out.
Margo started playing clarinet in primary school and continued at Manor Comprehensive improving to Grade seven standard before leaving school. She was a member of the Hartlepool Senior Wind Orchestra and continued to play with them until she got married and family commitments took over. Margo enjoys swing music, as do many clarinettists, and if she had the chance she would have liked to learn to play the piano. Margo finds band practice gives her a chance to relief stress and makes her practice between rehearsals (which we are sure is the truth).
Sarah learned to play the clarinet at Ian Ramsay School where she played in the school bands and orchestras. She didn’t play all through my twenties and started playing again in 2010 after having my children. Sarah loves all types of music, but says her inspirations are Benny Goodman, The Beatles and Amy Winehouse. If given the chance she would like to also play the E flat clarinet or Bass clarinet, so it’s pretty safe to say she loves the clarinet, but someone has too!
Claire started her music making as most of us do on recorder in primary school and moved on to the clarinet in year 4. She enjoys musicals and big band music. Claire has always been intrigued by how the trombone works, (haven't we all, including some trombone players, it’s something to do with the slidey thing as far as we know), and would also like to have learnt to play the drum kit. Her music hero is a local musician, and past member Chris Britland who was a past music teacher, and it was Chris who encouraged her to join the band.
Paula started to learn music on the piano (but don't worry Paula we won't say how long ago that was) She then moved on to the clarinet, it was much easier to get on the bus to school with. Paula enjoys music from films, Broadway shows and Jazz/ Big Band.
Paula's musical heroes and inspiration are her 3 daughters who all play woodwind instruments and she has spent many a long evening doing the school concert rounds.
Christine now semi-retired after more than 45 years working in music education, so now has the time to return to playing the clarinet, the instrument that was my way in to music as a teenager. Christine’s musical hero is Jack Brymer and was lucky enough to take part on a masterclass with him in her youth. Christine’s favourite piece of wind band music is Vaughn Williams English Folk Songs suite a true classic piece of wind band repertoire.
Like a lot of us Dawn started by playing recorder at school, and then graduated on to clarinet, where she is very content as she would not want to play any other instrument. If you ask Dawn why she plays, she will tell you it’s just because she enjoys it and it helps her relax, even if the Trumpet section are behind her.
Dawns favourite pieces of music are Jerusalem, Unchained Melody, Top Gun Anthem to name a few.
Being brought up in the Salvation Army, Sam learnt to play a brass instrument at an early age. She played Euphonium for a number of years in both the Salvation Army band and the school band. She then had a break from playing any music for quite a while until, inspired by a TV show about celebrities learning to play instruments she took up the piano which she has been playing ever since. In 2012 she took up the clarinet which she had always wanted to play and once she had learnt enough joined the Cobwebs Community Orchestra (which she also still plays with) she met Sarah Batty who suggested that she come along to the Silverwood band, she thoroughly enjoys playing with the band and look forward to practices on a Thursday evening and playing in concerts put on by the band.
The bassoon is a member of the woodwind family and plays in the key of C. Sound is produced using a double reed like the oboe. There is some debate to its early origins but Martin Hotteterre is widely accredited with developing the bassoon in today’s recognisable form in 1712. Although there is also a contra bassoon in its family you will usually only see the bassoon played in a wind band. It will play either bass lines or tenor lines depending on the composition.
Carol started by playing recorded in school , but quickly decided that they were not big enough so moved on to Bassoon. She enjoys all genres of music although her favourite piece of music is Holst's Planet Suite (guess is has a good bassoon part). Carol also plays with local orchestras and quartets, as well as being a mum and Primary School Teacher. If Carol was to pick a different instrument to play it would be the Baritone Sax, another big instrument which gets to play all the low notes.
David started playing the bassoon at the age of 13 at Grammar School. His favourite types of music are classical and Jazz, which makes sense as he also plays the tenor sax, as you don't see many Jazz bassoonists. Having mastered two instruments he doesn't have a burning ambition to learn another, which is probably a good job as there wouldn't be much room left in the boot with the two instruments he currently plays. His musical heroes are Bryn Terfel and Harry Christophers.
The alto saxophone is a member of the woodwind family and plays in the key of E flat, sound is produced using a single reed attached to a mouth piece with a ligature. A relatively new member of the woodwind section it was developed by Adolphe Sax in 1841. It as a member of the saxophone family, all of which you will see playing in a wind band. More noted for its use in big bands and jazz, it will play the alto line of music adding weight and colour to the middle section of the band.
Anne-Marie joined the band in 1985 at the age of 14. She originally played clarinet, then for a short time played the bass clarinet before returning to clarinet. She then convinced her grandparents to but her an alto saxophone, which I have been playing for over 20 years. I have served on the committee for a number of years, as treasurer and currently as the chairman of the band, where she is a force to be reckoned with.
Dave has been playing music since he was 7, first piano and latterly sax. Dave says his reason for joining to give him the opportunity to play music with other people which he says is the best way to improve and advance. Outside of the band he works as an IT manager and he also leads the worship team at South Bank Baptist Church. Through the church he met the bands former musical director Stuart Shields who invited him to come along and join the Silverwood Band.
Caroline worked at the Kings Academy school, along with some of the other members of the band including our former Musical Director, Stuart. She had been playing the sax for about 3 years before joining the band and says playing with the band has definitely helped her to improve. She also enjoys Irish Dancing, Cycling and pub quizzes and spending time with her young family.
Christine played the oboe at school, but always fancied the saxophone and has finally taken the plunge, with no regrets. Christine’s three children are also much accomplished musicians and this has given her something to ai for. The Silverwood Band is a great way to spend my Thursday evenings
The tenor and baritone saxophone’s are members of the woodwind family, the tenor plays in B flat and the baritone in E flat, the sound is produced using a single reed attached to a mouthpiece with a ligature. Relatively new members of the woodwind family they belong to te group of 14 instruments patented by AdolpheSax in the 1840’s. More noted for their use in big bands and jazz the tenor will play the tenor/ baritone lines in the band adding weight and colour in the lower section of the band, while the baritone sax plays the bass lines.
We were surprised to find out that Jim used to play cornet and Tenor horn in Deaf Hill Brass Band, before seeing the light and becoming a woodwind player, when he started to learn the Tenor Sax at the age of 15. He has not looked back since and from the age of 16 was playing semi-professionally in dance bands.
There is no surprise his favourite types of music are Jazz and Big Band, although he has been seen at the Sage attending classical concerts as well.
His musical heroes depend on the genre you are asking about, for Jazz and Big band its Count Basie, but classical music is Shostakovich.
One other little known fact that surprised us is that had Jim had the chance he would have loved to have been a classical violinist. We did not see that one coming!
Janet as most people do, started by playing the recorder in primary school, and then started playing the clarinet at the age of 9. \Finding the clarinet quite difficult, she gave it up after about 18 months. At the age of 13, she decided she would quite like to play the saxophone (because they are cool) and took up the tenor sax (before Lisa Simpson made it even cooler), which she played for 3 years until I left school. 25 years later, her husband persuaded her to buy a sax, so she contacted her old teacher for a few lessons to get me back up to speed.
Janet likes swing music, musicals and film scores and her favourite piece of music is Come What May from Moulin Rouge.
Born into a family with a piano. Both my mother and maternal grandmother, who lived with us play, could play. There was a lot of music in the home. I had piano lesions for 2 years. Found it boring but learned the fundamentals of music which served me though my life. In my twenties I sang in a number of choirs both male and mixed voices. Interested in folk and popular music and like many people I owned a guitar but was never an accomplished player. I played bass guitar in a church-based band for worship and performed around the district. I have broad musical tastes and am a friend of the Northern Sinfonia. Pet hates are country and western and some modern jazz. On retirement I followed the ambition of learning to play the saxophone. I took lessons for 4 years prior to joining the Silverwood Band. I very much enjoy the experience of playing on a large band.
Paul played a lot of music as a kid until his life became to busy to fit it in. When my children began to have a lot of fun playing in bands, I hankered after it again and joined the Silverwood on clarinet. Since then the instruments have steadily increased in size. Alto Sax gave way to bass clarinet and now baritone sax. Where will it end?
Simon is the bands resident prankster, and has been known to use the tuba as a basket ball net and play hide the drum stool. He is also does a decent impression of the bands sound technician.
Simon started playing clarinet ages 6 at home and eventually managed to persuade them to teach him it at school. As he got older though he realised the small case of the clarinet didn't make him look very manly so he progressed on to saxophone. Now in his middle age needing all the help he can get to look manly Simon has moved on to playing the biggest of the Sax family, the bass saxophone.
The Trumpet is a member of the brass family and plays in the key of B flat in the band, however they can also be found in the key of F, C, D, E flat E and A but these are usually used in orchestral work. Originally dating back around 3000 years to China when it was a straight instrument without valves it was seen in a form something similar to its current one in around the 1300 when its tubing was bent to produce a shorter instrument. It wasn’t until the 1700 when valves were introduces to allow players to pitch different notes without having to use the embouchure to produce the sound. In the band the trumpet will usually play the melodic line when it requires a fuller heavier sound and will be used for fanfare type melodies.
Karen started playing music as a teenager ,and before having her children played with brass bands further south. She started playing again after moving to the area with her young family. Karen also plays with the Teesside Symphony Orchestra and Middlesbrough Jazz and Blues Orchestra, however she will willingly tell you she doesn't swing. In her day job Karen in an A & E nurse, which is really handy as she is one of the most accident prone members of the band.
Andrew started playing the cornet at the age of 12 and moved on to trumpet has he got taller. He is one of the longest serving members of the band. He enjoys most styles of music and is a regular supporter of the Teesside Symphony Orchestra where his wife plays, as he dare not miss a concert, but it is swing music that really floats he boat, typical trumpeter, loud and brash!!.
His musical hero is Wayne Bergeron who, he tells us, is a modern day American big band trumpeter. When asked would he play any other instrument (usually by his wife) he says no the trumpet is king.
Nick is one of the most experinced players in the band, and also works in music education. He could be described as shy and retiring, but thats not a phase you generally hear associated with a trumpeter. He also plays with the Teesside Symphony Orchestra and having teenage children spends a lot of time acting as chauffer.
Josh is another of our musicians that can turn his hand to playing an array of musical instruments, starting off as a saxophone player, he also plays flute, clarinet but for some reason only he knows he has settled on trumpet with us. He works in music education and is very busy in various big bands around the area.
Karen is one of our resident Scottish members who has moved south of the boarder. She joined the band on the recommendation of a work colleague, but thankfully they are still friends.
Austin started playing on the bugle with the church lads brigade. He quickly moved on from the valve less instrument to the more complicated cornet and trumpet with 3 valves. He plays with the Silverwood band on trumpet and Bilsdale Silver Band on cornet.
Austin’s favourite piece of music is the 1812 overture, which unfortunately we can't play as the band have been unable to find anyone with their own Cannon.
John started to learn music by learning the piano with his teacher Mrs Twiddle (great name for a pianist). However he later decised to drop the 88 keys for an instrument with much less (3). His musc interests reange from New Orleans Jazz through Country and Western, Film Sound Tracks and some classical music for the 1970's and 80's. His musical heros are the Jeff Wayne and John Barry. If he hadn't taken up the trumpet he would have liked to play the saxophone.
The French Horn and Tenor Horn are members of the brass family. The French horn plays in F and the Tenor horn in E flat.
The French Horn originates from the Scandinavian horns used during battles where it was used to scare the enemy. It made its way into orchestral works in the mid 1600’s from which point it has developed into a much more complex instrument and has the distinction of being the hardest brass instrument to play, partly due to its small mouth piece.
The Tenor Horn is more specific to brass and military style bands. It has a less penetrating sound than the resonant French Horn tone but plays similar parts to the French Horn. Both instruments play the alto melodic lines adding weight and texture to the centre of the band.
Allison started her musical life by learning recorded at primary school, she then moved on to cornet. In secondary school she learnt tenor horn with Malvern Brass band and Flute and Piano at school. No one actually knows at what point she got her hands on a French Horn but we are glad she did. Allison enjoys classical and choral music and was head chorister at Cambridge. Her musical hero is Rev. Reg Legg who made her head chorister and inspired her love of music. If she were to learn another instrument Allison’s says it would be the guitar. Which would mean she could sing along while playing her favourite song Golden Brown by the Stranglers.
John's first introduction to playing an instrument was in 1982 when he started to learn on an instrument called a “Melophone” which is played like a trumpet but is pitched the same as a French Horn. John Played with the Shrewsbury Orchestra and Concert band where he moved on to French Horn. He enjoys the more traditional music but particularly show music, his favourite being Miss Siagon. John says at one time he would have considered playing the Trombone, but it was just a fleeting thought and he soon saw the light. Johns favourite piece of music is 633 squadron which the band some times plays.
Tommy is the youngest member of the band (at the moment) and has been a support of the band for a long time as his Grandad is also one of our horn players.
Tommy is a member of the Tees Valley Youth Orchestra and although he started playing the cornet at junior school he quickly moved on to Tenor and then French Horn. Tommy's favourite piece of music is Chopin's Ballade No 1. When asked who his musical hero is Tommy will answer, my fellow students, teachers and my mum who is a woodwind teacher for TVMS.
The Trombone is a member of the brass family and usually plays in C. It is distinctly different from the other brass instruments in the band as it uses a telescopic slide system to change pitch rather than valves, this makes the Trombone one of the few instruments that can produce a true glissando. Used in orchestral playing, brass band and military band the trombone will play the tenor or baritone melodic line adding weight to the lower section of the band.
Danielle started playing again after a 5 year break , while studying maths at university and becoming a teacher. She started playing the trombone when in secondary school and went on to play in both Egglescliffe schools brass band and orchestra. She did the whole youth band circuit, which gave her opportunities to play in prestigious venues in both England and abroad. She first branched out into senior bands when she played bass trombone for Hartlepool Silver Band. Following this she went on to play for Musicians Unlimited and was the principle trombone seat at Billingham Silver Band in 2008.
Danielle is also a published author, and speaks at many teachers conferences about her subject, Maths. Thankfully she does not teach geography as she has been voted the band member most likely to get lost on the way to a concert.
A lifelong pursuit of cool: an unfinished journey! Though Alan learnt both the piano and French horn when he was 11, he gave them up at 14 because at his school it just wasn't cool to be a musician. He will tell you it was the stupidest thing he ever did, 'cause he wasn't even cool in the first place! Moving to London in the '80s he realised how wrong he'd been, and that to be a musician was actually really rather the coolest thing after all. Luckily he owned a second-hand black tuxedo, and so whilst all he could do with a piano was pulverise Cole Porter, he could at least affect the right vibe beforehand, which could sometimes last right up to the moment when he began to play, and sometimes for several bars of the song! Some years later he took up the accordion, and there was indeed a degree of cool to be had playing gypsy/punk stuff with a band called "Benito Montenegro and The Trollops of Despair", but there were also too many frightening outbreaks of Morris dancing with deeply uncool consequences. So then he learnt jazz saxophone, and discovered he didn’t even need to play it to look cool, so he just hung one round his neck and lounged about in a pair of shades! He then turned to the trombone as a source of coolness, and discovered that nonchalantly posing with one looking as if you know which end to blow through can look very cool indeed (especially if you transfer the shades from the saxophone) and so that's what he does a lot of!
The Euphonium is a member of the brass family and plays in B flat. It is larger than a Tenor Horn but smaller than a Tuba. The Euphonium can trace its history back to the Ophicleide . It is reported to have been invented by Ferdinand Sommer in 1843 its name is taken from the Greek word Euphonos meaning well sounding or sweet voiced. It is more often seen in brass and military bands, and will take the tenor or baritone melodic lines adding weight to the lower section of the band.
Sue started to learn music by learning the Piano at her Grans. She then moved on to brass instruments and after playing cornet for a while she moved down( as in pitch) the the euphonium where she has settled today. Her Euphonium here is David Childs (the Young Musician of the year in 2000). Sue's favourite type of music is Rock music, including Queen, Bon Jovi, Meatloaf and Guns and Roses, which is probably why if she had to pick another instrument to play it would be the guitar or drums.
The Tuba is a member of the brass family and can be found in either E flat or B flat. It holds the prestigious position of being the largest wind instrument in the band. Developed in the mid 19th century it is a relatively new addition to the orchestral family and is used a lot in brass and military style bands. It plays the bass melodic line adding weight and grounding to the bass section of the band..
We are currently looking to recruit a tube player. If you know anyone of grade 5 standard you think will be interested please direct them to the vacancies section of this site.
The percussion section of the band covers those musical instruments that can be either struck or brushed using a beater. Part of the oldest family of instruments the bands percussion section can be split into two parts. Un-tuned percussion covers those instruments that do not have the ability to change pitch such as the drum kit or cymbals. Tuned percussion are those instruments that can change pitch such as Timpani and the Glockenspiel. They add a rhythmic backing to the band that helps to bind the music together, or can add effect by the different sound they make from a wind instrument.
Gary started playing the violin at school, but gave up playing as work commitments and family life took up the majority of my time. When he started playing again, he joined a local string orchestra which he played in for several years. As he was aging Gary decided he needed an instrument that would also help keep him fit so he bought a drum kit. He had musical workouts from a local drummer Kel Dennis, who suggested that he join a band and have fun playing along with other musicians. He heard about the Silverwood Band through a friend, so came along to a rehearsal and was bitten by the bug and has played there ever since. After a while with the Silverwood, he also joined a brass band and has competed with them at the national finals on a number of occasions. in 2016 he proposed to his fiance while away on tour with the Band in the Lake Distict, much to the surprise of the whole band including Anne-Marie.