Christmas Dinner 2021

On Wednesday night the band held a Christmas pot luck dinner to mark the end of a successful year and to recognize the outstanding contribution of three of our members.

Brass Band Association of New Zealand Secretary and President of the Canterbury Provincial Brass Band Association, Helen Lee, was on hand to present a 75 years Long Service award to Errol Miller and a 55 years award to Allan Lilley

For Errol, brass bands were a family interest. His father and two uncles were all keen bandsmen. When his father returned from the war in 1946 young Errol was taken with his Dad to join the Ashburton Silver Band where he began playing cornet. He showed a lot of promise and was soon playing soprano in the main band. Later he moved onto tenor horn, an instrument he is still playing more than 60 years later.

In 1968 Errol and wife Margaret moved to New Brighton. A caroling band was playing nearby and Errol happened to mention he was a horn player. Geoff Butler was not slow in snapping him up and the rest is history.

Errol is a fine musician and up until recently, to fill in, would often play the soprano part on horn.

Errol is our Band Patron, a Trustee and a Life Member. He is very active in all aspects of our band both as a player and a committee member. Errol’s wife Margaret, also a stalwart of the band, has served as secretary to the Supporters Club since its inception 40 years ago. Together, Errol and Margaret provide commitment and a wealth of knowledge to the band which is greatly valued

Alan started as a young boy on a tenor horn and 55 years later he is still a key member of the horn section. Alan comes from a band family, his two sisters joined the band drum corps and his brother played euphonium. But that’s not all. Alan’s eye was taken by a young lass in the band and soon the sound of brass was replaced by wedding bells. Since then his wife Wendy has continued playing in the band. They were extremely proud when their daughter Sharon joined the band and became a very competent trombone player.

Alan is a fine musician, a band Trustee, a Life Member and a man who has all the qualities that, as fellow bandsmen, we hold dear.

We are so fortunate to have such talent and experience in our horn section. Alan and Errol have played together for many years and together can boast 130 years of happy banding.

Band President Brent Andrews also made a presentation to Craig Williamson who is resigning, after 10 years, as musical director.

Craig’s Banding career began when, as a small boy, he joined the Napier Technical Memorial Band learning to play cornet. Over the years Craig played several different instruments before settling on trombone.

He moved to Christchurch to attend University in 2004 and heard the band playing carols at Eastgate Mall in 2009 and joined the New Brighton Silver band playing trombone in 2010.

While out caroling one evening a fellow bandsman asked him how a particular piece of music should be played. Craig’s response so moved him that he suggested Craig should take the vacant role of conductor. Now, after ten years as Musical Director, Craig is moving from the front of the Band to the back row to play a BB bass alongside wife Nadine.

During his time as conductor Craig has taken the Band to three National Contests and all Provincial Contests bar two. He has developed a varied repertoire and kept the band active in a wide range of community playouts. A feature being regular Christmas and ANZAC concerts with the St Albans Choir

Craig has also taken a strong interest in teaching young players and it is heartening that some of those students are a strength of the current band

When asked what the highlights of his years conducting were he replied ‘Everything! I have grown with the job and learnt so much’.

Craig’s commitment to the band has been immense. His love of music is apparent and he has built a band that is in good heart. We have enjoyed his easy style of leadership and excellent communications and welcome him into our ranks as a player

**Thank You **Grant Newby for the write up and Ruth Stamler for the photo.

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