2016 proved to be
a very special year for the Orchestra by starting off with the award in the New
Year's honors list of a British Empire Medal to our long serving chairman
Adrian Botham, for services to education and charity. In May we played at
Liverpool One with a collection for the RMCH Bone Marrow Trust Fund. The amount
raised that day took our overall donations to the fund to a new target of
£50,000. This meant that after 30 years of raising money for this cause, we
have become the largest single contributor. Collections during the rest of the
year then took us over £51,000.
We played at
fifty venues through the year so kept all the players and parents on their toes
through to Christmas with many of our regular venues revisited as well as several
new ones such as The Carrs, Wilmslow, Barlow Carnival and Crewe Cosmopolitan
Food Festival. We enjoyed great weekends for our annual visits to the Cumbria
Steam Gathering at Flookburgh, and the Yesteryear Rally at Malpas, Cheshire. Outside
of our main charity work, we also supported a number of other charity events
during the year including Cancer Research UK and Joining Jack in Wigan.
In September we
released the live recording from our 30th Anniversary Concert held
in 2015. This CD, volume 8, complements the others in the music collection and
provides over seven hours of steel music on the six CDs. They are available wherever
we play or through mail order.
We received a
grant from the Manchester Airport Community Trust Fund in November which we put
towards buying two new larger gazebos. We had our logo printed on two sides so
we can keep everybody dry (or out of the sun) and let everyone know who we are.
As usual there have been a few
changes in the lineup of the Orchestra over the last twelve months as a number
of players have left to concentrate on college and work. We are now twenty four strong and have plenty of players
available, even when some are working or on holiday. It will be good for the
summer's busy schedule, which is kept up to date alongside as we progress
through the year, with more details of times etc. if you click on the locations. This summer we are looking forward to a tour of
Belgium. Based in Bruges we will be playing in Ghent, De Panne, Ypres, Ostend
and Nieuport over five days in the middle of August.
Paul Handley continues with the
majority of our tuition to junior and senior players, supported by Steve Marshall
and other long serving senior players. Ashley Hogg provides drum tuition at
junior practices with training for new young drummers. We have recruited three
young drummers recently and this year two will be supporting the events, with
the other waiting in the wings.
We had a good number of junior players join us
in 2016 and intend to take them out in some of our shopping centre gigs with the
senior Orchestra in the spring. 2017 will find us in most of the counties of
the north of England and Wales. You are always welcome to come and see us at
our many venues and keep in touch through our Facebook page.