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Christchurch U3A Vintage Brass Band

Vintage Brass has developed into a Musical Group that we feel is unique among its peers in the area. From an idea of Jeff Bloom to start in September of 2004 a Brass Instrument Group within Christchurch U3A with a small ensemble of four players, the Band has grown to the size it is today under the direction of our Musical Director for ten years - Peter Guntrip. In September 2016 Peter passed the baton to our current Musical Director Steve Chislett.

Vintage Brass comprises an eclectic group of musicians, some could not read music and had never played an instrument before joining us and being taught by Band members. The less experienced players start in the Training Band before moving into the Main Band. Other Band members have a wealth and depth of experience that comes from playing for most of their lifetime. This they willingly share with those just beginning to enjoy making music.

As a group we make significant contributions to the community through concert performances and “carolling” in which we help raise funds for local and national charities e.g. Richard Ely Trust for Young Musicians, Bournemouth Hospital Trust, Cystic Fibrosis for Kids, Dorset Air Ambulance, Julia's House, Cancer Research and Macmillan Caring Locally. It is estimated that we have now raised over £20,000 for charity.

A large proportion of the finances for the Band derives from the “out of music time” activities of Band and Committee members; Band members act as Marshals for running events in the area and carry out a variety of other fund raising activities.

In the past we have organised events to inspire people to take an interest in Brass Band Music. In 2010 Steven Mead, a Euphonium player of international reputation, ran a weekend series of workshops and rehearsals attended by Brass Band players from the Western Region, culminating in an evening Concert.

In 2011 a Brass “Taster” day at Oakmead School was organised, with a view to encourage people who had never played a brass instrument to have a go. This was particularly well supported and as a result of this our beginners class increased overnight and one or two experienced musicians, who had given up playing upon retirement had their interest revived.

In 2014 we held a concert to celebrate ten years of making music. This included a super cream tea for the audience and the band provided by our excellent catering team.

Each year our principal concerts are in the Spring, Autumn and at Christmas. Also the Band performs at many other events and concerts throughout the year including lunchtime recitals at Wimborne Minster and Christchurch Priory. For a full list of all our activities please see the “What's On” page of our website.

Experienced players who wish to join Vintage Brass are always welcome as are those players that want to take up their instruments again after having a “lay off”. If you want to read more about the Band and its activities or to join the Band, please go to our web site on:

or our Facebook page

Christchurch U3A Training Band

From the early formation of Christchurch U3A Brass Ensemble, later to be called Vintage Brass, it was felt that a facility to encourage members to learn to play a brass instrument should be put in place. From this idea it was decided to create a group, within Christchurch U3A, to teach the art of brass playing, and to encourage those who had previously played to renew their interest. It was called the Beginners Group. It was then decided that those who had advanced within the Beginners Group, should have some facility to advance their knowledge and expertise gained in the beginners group and to further encourage those who wished to progress into Vintage Brass. Consequently a group within Christchurch U3A was formed and called the Intermediate Group. Slowly this group grew in size, as did the ability of those involved. The group became more and more interested in playing as a band, rather than having individual lessons, so music was obtained to fulfil that desire. It became obvious that this group was performing as a small band and the title Training Band slowly came into existence.

The Training Band continues to improve and has performed at several Vintage Brass concerts.

Any member of Christchurch U3A who has played a brass instrument in the past, and would like to take up the art again, is very welcome to join the Training Band, with a view, hopefully, of joining Vintage Brass. Anyone not in Christchurch U3A and in the same situation of being a past player can join the Training Band by simply joining Christchurch U3A. 

Protocol for moving from Vintage Brass Training Band (TB) to Main Band (MB)

1.	The TB leader and the MB Musical Director agree that a particular TB player has the potential to flourish in the Main Band.  Evidence of this would be shown by the player being able to play a range of music:

Vintage Training - Brass Scale Sheet 1
Vintage Training - Rhythm Sheet 1
Vintage Training - Lip Flexibility Exercises Sheet 1

Plus all of the tunes in the 'New Horizons for the Young Brass Player ' book by John Ridgeon.

If possible, the MB Musical Director assesses all potential new members of MB prior to their acceptance in MB, with regard to their ability to meet the above minimum requirements.

2.	The potential MB player then is invited to sit in with MB rehearsals for a free 'trial' period of 4 weeks.  After this both the player and the MB Musical Director would need to decide if it's right for them and the band.

3.	If a transfer to MB is agreed the player, must then start paying membership subscriptions to both Vintage Brass and Christchurch U3A within 4 weeks.  Otherwise the  player reverts to TB.
These arrangements would also set a minimum standard of playing for any player to be able to sit in on MB rehearsals, whether from TB or from outside or to join MB from outside.  Any exceptions to this would be at the discretion of the MB Musical Director.

Vintage Brass Management Team

Chairman & Training Band Leader *Peter Guntrip
Musical Director *Steve Chislett
Band Secretary and Traning Band Representative *Tony Hartle
Treasurer and Membership Secretary *Janice Miller
Concert Organizer *Tony Kent
Main Band Representative *David Cornford
Publicity *Bob Chatfield
LibrarianRichard Pugh
UniformsIsabel Broom
WebsiteGeorge Watts
 * = Committee Member

The Support Team

Our support team works behind the scenes to make the group a success. Husbands, wives and their friends sell tickets; serve refreshments; work front of house as ushers and ticket collectors; set up and takedown chairs before and after concerts, etc, etc. They ensure that our concerts run smoothly. Their contribution doesn't end there, most are involved in fund raising one way or the other.

Examples of direct fund raising activities Include a Car Boot Sale (£70), a picnic with a competition to guess the weight of a Marrow, sale of surplus allotment vegetables and sale of home made Pavlovas (£61). homemade Jam sale (£88); skittles evening (£158) sale of hand made quilts (£80)

You name it, the support team have done il. Bring & buy sales A sponsored walk from Salisbury to Christchurch. Sundays spent manning a water station for the New Forest 10mile run, and marshalling their 1/2 and full Marathons plus the Bournemouth Bay 1/2 Marathon etc. etc. These money raising activities, plus surpluses from concerts, have enabled us to make significant capital purchases; music stand banners, E & B flat basses; Timpani and a Glockenspiel: Flugel Horn and additional Uniform Jackets, as well as covering the cost of music and the day to day expenses incurred in running Vintage Brass.

Some of the Group have made indirect personal contributions by repairing instruments in return for a donation to Band funds or by purchasing music and donating it to the Band. Thanks to all of you for your generosity.

If your contribution has not been mentioned we are sorry, it does not mean that you are unappreciated, it is just that we have run out of space. Whoever you are and whatever you have done to support Vintage Brass a very big THANK YOU from the Committee. All of us enjoy making music, it gives us a lot of pleasure which we are delighted to share with you too

Vacancies in our band

We welcome approaches from players of any brass band instrument but currently especially from players of:

Where we practice & how to join us

The band practices on a Monday from 1:45 to 3:45 pm at the St James Institute, Stourfield Road, Southbourne, BH5 2AR. If you are interested in joining us or coming to a practice session, please get in touch via the 'Contact Us' button on the 'Home Page'.