Lions Youth Brass Band
Location: Sandbach, Cheshire
Member: Musical Director: Nigel Birch
The organisation was formed in 1989 as the Crewe & District Brass Band, by a group of parents whose children played brass band instruments. At the beginning of the year there were 29 players in the Youth Band and 18 in the training band. The membership quickly increased and the organisation began to receive financial support from the local Lions clubs of South Cheshire and North Staffordshire and which continues to this day. The band changed its name to Lions Youth Brass, and is believed to be one of only two organisations of its kind in the world to operate in the name of Lions Youth.
The Youth Band entered its first contest The Action Research Entertainment Contest 1989, Spurley Hey Manchester, and since then has had many contest successes, including winners of the National Youth Brass Band Championships of Great Britain. The Youth Band has been runners up three times over the last four years in the Championship Section of the competition, and in 2014 the Beginner Band were delighted to receive the “Band Showing Most Potential Award”. In 2014 the Junior Band came 1st in the under 14 section of the Newcastle Under Lyme Festival of Music, and 1st overall in the Whiston Festival of Brass Training Band Section.
The band has over the years taught hundreds of children to play a brass instrument, has raised thousands of pounds for charities, and won many competitions. Some of the key dates and events of the organisation are.
1990 Ron Yarwood was appointed Musical Director of the Youth Band. Lions Junior Brass formed and directed by Nigel Birch. Lions Beginner Band formed and directed by Derek Gardener.
1991 Nigel Birch appointed Musical Director of Youth Band. Junior Band directed by Kevin Birch.
1995 Junior Band directed by Kevin Mowbray. Played for the Queen and obtained Lottery Grant for £25,000 to buy instruments.
1996 Shaun Roache appointed Musical Director of the Youth Band.
1997 Paul Andrews appointed Musical Director of the Youth Band. Rachel Woollam appointed Musical Director for the Youth Band. Derek Gardener appointed Musical Director for the Junior Band. Vicky Gardener appointed Musical Director for the Beginner Band.
1999 Dave Woollam appointed Musical Director of the Youth Band and Jane Stubbs takes over as Chairperson.
2001 Nigel Birch re-appointed Musical Director of the Youth Band and Stewart Thompson appointed Musical Director of the Junior Band. Derek Gardener Musical Co-ordinator of Beginner & Junior Bands.
2003 Ian Raisbeck appointed Composer In Residence.
2005 Vicky Gardener appointed as Musical Director of the Junior Band. Andrew Felton, Hayley Scott and Chris Thompson were appointed Musical Directors for the Beginner Band.
2005 Katie Smallwood appointed as Junior Band Musical Director.
2007 Sarah Raisbeck appointed as Junior Band Musical Director. David Thornton appointed Associate Musician.
2008 Tom Hancock appointed as tutor for Junior Band.
2009 Ian Raisbeck appointed as Junior Band Musical Director. Matthew Darlington appointed as tutor for the expanding Beginner Band.
2011 Ashley Taylor replaces Matthew Darlington as tutor for the Beginner Band.
2012 Tom Hancock appointed as the Junior Band Musical Director. Matthew Darlington returns from University to tutor both Beginner and Junior Bands. Chris Thompson appointed as sole Musical Director for the Beginner Band.
2013 The organisation became a registered Charity.
Throughout the Bands history many of our players have qualified to play in the following Children / Youth bands; Cheshire County Youth Brass Band, National Youth Brass Band, National Children’s Brass Band of Great Britain, Fodens Youth Band.
The bands have taken part in many contests and has won the following during its history.
Newcastle Music Festival Overall winners. 1991, 1992, 1993, 2001, 2003, and 2005
Newcastle Music Festival Youth Band Winners. 1991, 1992, 1993, 2002, and 2004
Newcastle Music Festival Junior Band Winners. 1991, 1992,1993, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2014 (Beginner Band 3rd in 2014)
Quartet Winners. 1992, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2008. In addition, many individual results including “The Most Promising Player” five times.
North Wales Entertainment Championship Youth Section 3 1991
North Wales Rally Hymn Tune Winners 1991, 1992, Youth Champions, 1992, 1994
Bangor Contest Quartet Winners 1992
NW Area Youth Champions Qualified for National Championship 1992
North Wales Champions Youth 1993
Manchester and District Youth Champions 1993, 1999, 3rd place 2001
Rhyl Festival of Brass. 1st place 2002, 2nd place 2003, 1st place 2004. Ian Raisbeck won best soloist on cornet in 2002 and Greg Holsgrove won best soloist on Trombone 2004
Huddersfield Youth in Brass Festival 1st place 2005, 2nd place 2006
Sarah Raisbeck won best soloist Cornet 2005
Torquay Brass Festival 3rd place 2005, Junior Section 1st place 2006
Tameside Youth Festival 2nd place 2006, Alex Holsgrove won best Soloist
Gwent Music Festival 1st place 2008, Alex Holsgrove won Best Soloist, 2nd place in 2009.
Butlins Mineworkers Youth Brass Competition, 2nd place 2010 and 2011. 5th 2012.
National Youth Brass Band Championships 1st 1994 & 1995, 3rd place 2002, 3rd place 2004, 2nd place 2005, 3rd place 2009, 2nd place 2011. 2nd place (Championship Section) 2012. 3rd place (Championship Section) 2013 2nd place (Championship Section) 2014 and Beginner Band awarded Most Promising Band in 2014
Preston in The Guild - Open Youth Section - 3rd place 2014
Music for Youth Regional Finalist 2014.
Whiston Festival of Brass. Junior Band 1st in training band section 2014.
The band has made a number of recordings over the years. The band first featured on a cassette Tape “Christmas in Sandbach” 1990 and since then has published the following recordings in their own right.
1. Pride of the Lions I 1994, cassette tape (no longer available)
2. Pride of the Lions II 1996, cassette tape (no longer available)
3. Sounds of Youth 2003, CD (no longer available)
4. True & Trusty 2005, CD (no longer available)
5. Loyal and True 2006, CD
6. Entertain You 2008, CD
7. Celebration 2010, CD
8. Lions Youth Brass at Christmas 2010, CD
9. Conquest 2013, CD
10. Twenty Five 2015, CD to be released Spring of 2015 to celebrate 25 years of Lions Youth Brass.