Walking on air

Redbridge Brass Band at the Royal Albert HallRedbridge Brass Band at the Royal Albert Hall

Ahead of a performance of The Snowman soundtrack to accompany a local screening of the festive film this month, Redbridge Brass Band member Dave Wallace celebrates their recent and past successes.

Performing the live soundtrack to screenings of The Snowman film – wow! Well, I've not done that before, but that's exactly what I will be doing this month with my brass band, Redbridge Brass, here in Wanstead.

Back in 1967, music in Redbridge was given a tremendous boost with the formation of the Redbridge Music School and I was one of the thousands of lucky children who benefited from this fine organisation. I attended during the 1970s and played trombone in the school's four orchestras and four brass bands as I progressed through my grades. The top brass band began entering adult band contests and, against all odds, won several nationwide competitions. This was mightily impressive for a youth band. The band also made an LP called The Redbridge Phenomenon.

When the band's members became too old to remain in the music school, it reformed as a separate entity and Redbridge Brass was born. I joined this band in 1979 on trombone and have been a member ever since, steadily working our way up the band league tables into the top championship section, where we remain today. It has been a successful band over the years, winning the London and Southern Counties Area contest 14 times.

Along with the other fine musicians in the band, I enjoy both our concerts and contests, and even though we are an amateur group we produce an excellent sound. What I find interesting is the varied musical projects we embark on. We've been film extras, appearing in two productions. We've been on the telly and radio and even been pre-match entertainment to warm up the crowd at an England rugby international at Twickenham.

Recently, in October, we played at the Royal Albert Hall as we competed in the finals of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain. Yep, just like in the film Brassed Off – in fact, I played with the band 'treading the boards' at the National Theatre for their production of this play complete with miners' helmets. We were the lowest ranked of all the 20 bands in the finals this year, competing with such world-famous bands as Black Dyke and Brighouse & Rastrick. We were not expected to challenge any of the other bands in the contest, but to our great delight, we achieved eighth place, a magnificent result.

So, next up for myself and the band is The Snowman screening. We'll be playing all the film music with the support of a boy soprano chorister for the beautiful song Walking in the Air. There'll be Christmas music too, creating a magical atmosphere for what promises to be a great family experience.

Redbridge Brass Band will be performing The Snowman soundtrack alongside a screening of the film at St Gabriel's Church in Aldersbrook on 9 December at 3pm, 5pm and 7pm (adults: £12; under-15s: £6; under-3s: free). Visit wavidi.co/snowman


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