Every Tuesday evening a group of wonderful people gather in the Penkhull Village Hall to practice musical melodies.
It’s on these evenings that this group of chemists, teachers, and school kids, all get together to share in one passion. The musical passion.
Penkhull Village Brass is a group of people that hold two sessions a week. One session is for the main band, of who play gigs such as Octobeerfest and Christmas events. The other group is the training band.
On these Tuesday evenings the trainees come down to learn how to play brass instruments such as the tuba, the trombone, and all kinds of other big shiny things.
Penkhull village Brass plays every Tuesday evening for practice, at 7:30 until 9pm, to teach everyone and anyone that has a passion for brass music.
Band manager Glynn Lewis, alongside Gary Standeven, Band chairman and Lou Cooper, the treasurer, work together to pull off this group to help people get in touch with their musical side. The band brings people of all ages together, from the youngest aged 12 to the oldest aged 77. People from all walks of life get involved, it doesn’t matter who you are as long as you have a good set of lungs on you!
Glynn Lewis spoke to me about the band and some of the wonderful people who are involved in it.
He said: “People that come to training band are people that last played 20-30 years ago.
“Edward is 70 and he’s not played for 40 years!”
For the past two years, the Penkhull Village Brass band has brought people in from Leek and Cheadle, as these two places don’t have their own brass band in the area.
The main band, which meets on Fridays, consists of 18 members. The training band was founded on January 17 of this year, and they focus on picking up players of all kinds of skill levels to play fond tunes such as Beauty and the Beast.
The main band is big, and some of you probably have seen play at events such as the Lord Mayors Inaugural dinner, Remembrance Service and Parade, and Christmas Concerts. It’s hard to believe they started with only 7 players, and have now expanded to the brilliant 18.
Gary Standevan said: “We are distributing back the bid pens and pin badges that tourism at Hanley Town hall have given me. Also offered our musical support for any events that are set up to promote the bid and completed the online form as a supporting community group. There is a very rich and diverse mixture of music, theatre, award winning museums and arts here in Stoke and we should be recognised for offering this.”
Awarded funding of £1000 in December last year by Seedbed, Penkhull Village Brass were able to buy some new instruments for their training band. This helps them to practice when they gain members that cannot afford their own instruments, or those that might just forget sometimes.
Some of the people involved in this training band are the every day men and women you meet on the streets. They have Glynn the builder, Gary who registers births, deaths and marriages, Lou who is an accountant, David is a chemist, Al is a lorry driver, Chris is a teacher, Edward is a professor and so many other people.
When speaking with the youngest member of the training band, Isabel Hawkins aged 12 from Newcastle-under-Lyme, I found out just how fun the training band is.
She described the best part of playing trombone in the training band is playing tunes and being part of a group. She also said her favourite piece to play was Surprise Symphony by Joseph Haydn as well as Beauty and the Beast.
When Isabel was in year 5 someone came to her school with lots of instruments, and she was immediately drawn to the trombone. She says when she’s older she wants to continue playing music.
From the youngest member to the oldest member, I got the chance to speak with Chris Latham, a 77-year-old trombone player from Blythe Bridge.
Chris plays in the main band and also helps out with the trombone section in the training band. He also spoke about how he loves to get dressed up when they perform for Octobeerfest.
He said: “I’ll have a go at anything really!”
The Penkhull Village Brass is just another example of the culture that Stoke-on-Trent holds. They are backing the bid for Stoke-on-Trent to be awarded City of Culture 2021, and will continue to help get the name of the six towns into the history books. Take a look at the City of Culture 2021 website here for more information on how you can help to show off just how awesome Stoke-on-Trent really is.
Check out the Penkhull Village Brass Facebook page for more information, or their website here.
Image my own.