It has been three years since Wantage hosted their annual packed weekend of music making with something for all members to be a part of.

The return of this was simply awesome!

This year Besson sponsored the band and enabled them to secure the expertise of Besson Cornet Artist and Principal Cornet of Tredegar Town Band, Dewi Griffiths.

It just so happens that the ‘man in the middle’ was also free for some of the weekend and came along to join the fun.

Wantage Academy Brass were the first to benefit with a workshop on their fourth section area test piece, Hungerford Town with Ian Porthouse giving them insight, tips and built further confidence around the stands.

After this, the impressive band hall facility was transformed into a small auditorium which welcomed lots of people along (both from members and the public) to participate in a masterclass with Dewi.

Six cornet players, ranging from Beginner Band to their championship band, performed to Dewi and received critique, accompanied by the talented Sally Goodworth on piano.

The main event of the weekend, on Saturday evening, saw Dewi join forces with Ian to give the most fantastic concert at Cornerstone Arts Centre in Didcot, just down the road from the daytime activity.

A varied programme kept the audience entertained, but the highlight, for both audience and band, was hearing the virtuosity and musicianship demonstrated by Dewi in his chosen solo items.

Tico-Tico, Over The Rainbow, Don’t Doubt Him Now and The Paragon saw Dewi play trumpet, flugel horn and cornet and each one was played to the very highest level.

He was also joined by Richard Selvidge, Russell Jackson and Kat Hawkins to give an energetic performance of the classic, Buglers Holiday.

As with any successful band concert, and selected by Ian, the band gave a contrasting encore – a new atmospheric arrangement by Gavin Higgins of Ar Lan Y Mor which concluded the concert in style.

Clair Donnelly from BBE came along to the concert and tweeted on behalf of BBE

“We really enjoyed meeting and chatting to members from the organisation’s various different bands – all catering to players with different levels of experience – all supporting in the audience.

Many people were already planning their next opportunity to hear the band as they left the venue.”

After a few hours of rest, WSB were ready to go again with a Sunday full of solos, duets, quartets and ensembles in their Inner Band Festival.

With thanks to Susan Norman and Brian Thomas (accompanists for the day) and Dewi Griffiths (adjudicator) the day was a massive success.

Results from the day:

Solo (Year 6 and under)

  1. Alice Rendell
  2. Ed Pollard

Solo (Year 7-9)

  1. Joseph Hindson
  2. Holly Boote 

Slow Melody (Year 7-9)

  1. Tabitha Greenhalgh

Solo (Year 10-13)

  1. Arro Farquhar

Youth Percussion Solo

  1. Joseph Cockburn

Open Percussion Solo

  1. Joseph Cockburn
  2. Julia Trinder

Solo (Members of Concert Brass/Wantage Band)

  1. Brian Thomas
  2. Karen Burton 

Solo (Members of Academy/Community Brass)

  1. Simon Gregory
  2. David Farquhar

Slow Melody (Members of Concert Brass/Wantage Band)

  1. Karen Burton
  2. Ed Clark 

Slow Melody (Members of Academy/Community Brass)

  1. Rosie Pickerill
  2. Joy Hindson

Sightreading Challenge

  1. Brian Thomas
  2. Richard Overton

Family Duet

  1. Georgios and Kat Melidis
  2. Alice and Ellie Hylton

Duet (Members of Training/Academy/Communtiy Brass)

  1. Alan and Eileen Sykes

Duet (Members of Concert Brass/Wantage Band)

  1. Ed Clark and Karen Burton
  2. Ian and Pauline Davies

Youth Hymn Tune Quartet

  1. Tabitha Greenhalgh, Ed Pollard, Olivia Moss, Emma Pintat
  2. Olivia Moss, Holly Hancock, Bonnie Rogers, Alice Rendell

Open Hymn Tune Quartet

  1. Eileen, Alan, Chris Sykes and Judith Chapman

Open Quartet

  1. Joy and Joseph Hindson, Sara Wallbridge, Brian Stovold
  2. Eileen, Alan, Chris Sykes and Judith Chapman


  1. Community Brass Tuesday Daytime Group
  2. Bryony Hubbard and members of Wantage Beginner Band

Outstanding performance of the day

Joseph Hindson

Most promising player of the day

Alice Rendell

The whole day was hugely popular and saw much support come the organisations way in the form of sponsorship to put purchase prizes for the youth categories including gift vouchers for Dawkes Music and a goody bag from ABRSM featuring their new brass books.

One member also donated new trophies to keep up with the events demand.

As well as all of this, main organisers Judith Atkins and Sam Wyne were keen to meet some sustainable goals in the brass band movement.

In an effort to reduce waste, all adjudicator copies were scanned and viewed on a screen as well as all programmes for the weekend published on the bands website for spectators to view by scanning a QR code displayed around the two venues.

Four of the younger players will also be given the opportunity to perform a solo with Wantage Band and Wantage Concert Brass this summer – this just further cements the opportunities that WSB provides for the next generation of brass players!

Summing up a great weekend Dewi Griffiths says

“The setup that Wantage Silver Band have built over years is truly incredible!

From the Saturday afternoon masterclass, to then teaming up with my boss from Tredegar, Ian Porthouse, to play a few solos in the evening concert, to finishing the weekend adjudicating the organisation’s infernal solo contest, I had a fantastic time!

All of this was made possible by the generous support of Besson!

The future of Wantage Silver Band is looking very bright indeed!”


 Founded 50 years ago in 1972, Wantage Silver Band is recognised as one of the largest brass band organisations in the United Kingdom.

The organisation currently consists of nine bands including three contesting bands (fourth, second – rising to first section in 2023 and championship section), a non-contesting community band, a beginner/trainer/youth band, a big band, a percussion academy and even an oompah band!

The entire membership work with talented musical directors to rehearse and perform music all over the country in concerts, events and competitions.

Please visit for more information and the band’s Facebook page for regular updates  


Sam Wyne – Personnel Manager/Trustee

Tel: 07842 779 617




Social Share Buttons and Icons powered by Ultimatelysocial
Skip to content