Thank you to all those who attended yesterdays A.G.M. it was good to see so many faces.

This year, at the end of the summer term, Gareth Brindle came to the end of the two years he’d signed up too, and due to new work commitments sadly he was unable to extend this. In his time with us, Gareth helped us restore a sense of purpose. He raised playing and personal standards by encouraging our young players to take pride in their performances by giving clear direction and positive encouragement… and with the support provided by some amazing mentors from Rainford Band, he helped steady declining numbers and created a firm foundation for growth. Thank you Gareth, we appreciate everything you’ve done and you are welcome to drop in anytime.
During the summer, we held interviews and were delighted to be able to make a landmark appointment. We secured the services of ex youth band member James Hall, who not only came through the ranks of SHYBB, but is also currently teaching brass in St Helens. A perfect and I believe vital combination. So now, someone who was a youth band member has come full circle and is now Musical Director, we’ve been hoping for this for years! Since Jay joined in September, numbers have already enjoyed a significant boost, and we now have a thriving ‘B-Band’ whose members have come on leaps and bounds. ‘C-Band’, (still under the amazing leadership of John Burke) continues to be the main focus for us, because today’s C Band, is the future. The ‘buzz’ up in the C-Band rehearsal room gives us real hope. Thank you John, for all your hard work, encouragement and patience.
James’ first concert last week was with the Ohio based Dublin Silver Band, who literally re-invented the phrase ‘Raising the Roof’. How well placed are we to be able to bring the young people of St Helens such wonderful playing from world rated performers? And how proud were we to be able to respond with such incredible playing of our own! The cherry on the cake was when several of our band members (without being prompted) climbed onto their coach, took the microphone and thanked everybody for such an inspiring and brilliant performance… our guests left feeling very moved. What a thoughtful and timely idea, well done to all concerned – fantastic!
Looking ahead beyond Christmas, next year as our bands grow in numbers, we hope to enter the ‘Music for Youth’ competition, this could very well involve a residential workshop weekend rehearsal. A little later in July we have another continental tour, returning to The Netherlands. This time we have some members of B-Band, with some parents coming to support them!
This year I’ve decided not to stand for re-election as Chairman, but will stay on as an active committee member. Traditionally, the Musical Director has chaired meetings and our new MD has indicated that he would like to reclaim that role, so it’s time for me to move over. I’d like to thank everybody on the committee this year who have all worked hard to manage their individual areas. Sheila Hibberd our secretary has also decided to stand down because her son Chris is no longer in band. Sheila will remain on the committee, but will hand over the reins to someone who currently has a son or daughter in band, because this is how our committee works. Thank you Sheila, you’ve kept SHYBB in good order, and kept parents informed magnificently, for which we are all very grateful.
An organisation like ours depends on volunteers. 2017 will be another great year for SHYBB… where Jay will continue to boost band member numbers. But band members move on, and so sadly do their parents. As your child progresses through band, your help and support is vital. Our committee is made up of parents and we desperately need the next generation of volunteers to come forward to learn how the band operates. If you have organisational, librarian or accounting skills, experience in communication or fundraising, or simply have time to organise a raffle and sell tickets, photocopy, set up chairs or just make a good cup of tea, St Helens Youth Brass Band needs you! Our young people continue to benefit hugely from band, we are an organisation that St Helens is very proud of, so if you can, please put your fair share back into the organisation, because your help would be very much appreciated.
Finally, thank you to all parents, who collectively continue to do a great job getting our young players to where they need to be, dressed appropriately, and on time. Your teamwork, support and help is invaluable!
Jerry Rowlands