Band Raises Funds with Christmas Concert
The sounds of the season were merry and bright as the Chinnor Silver Band rang in the holidays with their Brass & a Glass Christmas Concert at St. Andrews Church on 30th November. Their event featured performances from both the senior and training bands and a raffle draw, along with wine and mince pies for refreshment.
Established in 1850, the band calls the village of Chinnor in South Oxfordshire home. They play everything from traditional brass tunes to classical music, as well as modern rock and pop. Roughly 25 instrumentalists make up Chinnor Silver, with several members of long standing playing for them. Many family groups play in the band and provide support for their activities throughout the year.
Chinnor Silver provides entertainment for a variety of fetes, fundraisers, garden parties, and concerts during the year, and has also performed for advertisements and on television programs. The outfit is a contesting band currently in the National Third Section. They will be taking part in the London & Southern Counties Regional Qualifiers at Stevenage in March, where they hope to gain promotion to the second section.
Traditionally the term ‘silver band’ referred to a more successful group, because they could afford the more costly silver plated instruments. Now, however, the term is synonymous with ‘brass band’, with the main difference being that most brass bands are in the north and most silver bands are in the south. These bands gained popularity in the mid-1800s as a response to industrialism and were likely a show of local solidarity in new or rapidly growing communities.
Event organiser Richard Higgs says they hold the annual concert to raise money for the running costs of the band, such as new instruments, uniforms, and their practice facility, and “managed to raise a considerable amount through ticket sales, the raffle and sponsorship.” They advertised in village magazine the Parish Pump, put posters up around the village, and posted the concert on social media and their own web site.
Higgs adds that the benefits of having a yearly event are two-fold. “To be honest, the concert has become so popular that we don’t need to do too much to sell tickets! People come back year after year, and word soon gets around when the tickets start to go on sale.”
“As we’ve held this concert for the past 10 years or so, everybody pretty much knows what they’re doing by now. Specific jobs are allocated to committee members, or family members thereof, and everything usually goes like clockwork,” Higgs states.
“My advice for someone planning a similar event would be to keep it as simple as possible and enlist the help of as many people as you can so that everything goes smoothly and you can actually enjoy the event instead of feeling stressed!”