Constantine Cornwall

2002 – a Golden Year!

With 2020 on hold because of the Coronavirus pandemic, we’ve pulled the one-armed-bandit of time and come up with 2002, perhaps one of Constantine Silver Band’s finest years to look back on.

2002 kicked off in professional style in May with the official launch at Constantine Social Club of the Band’s first ever CD and tape cassette entitled ‘One of The Best’. Recorded by Paul Martyn of PM Sound, this wide-ranging collection of tracks from the Band’s repertoire has since found its way to appreciative audiences as far afield as New York, Sydney, Frankfurt and the Netherlands. On the evening, Band Chairman Dougie Down thanked the then Musical Director Ian Edwards for his hard work in bringing the Band up to recording standard, and Band Secretary Chris Reynolds for securing sponsorship.

Constantine Band and the Nieuwediepervisserkoor

The end of May then saw Constantine Silver Band embark on a concert tour of Holland, the result of a 30-year friendship between Band member Brian Edwards and Bart Kraak, a founder member of the 100-strong Den Helder Fishermans’ Male Voice Choir who kept asking when the Band would cross the North Sea to perform for Dutch audiences. On 28 May, 64 Band members and officers travelled to Den Helder on the northernmost tip of the Dutch mainland where they were officially welcomed by the city’s Mayor during rehearsal at their hotel.

Constantine Band at the Floriade

The Band’s first concert took place two days later at the Floriade, an international horticultural exhibition held every ten years near Amsterdam attracting over 3 million visitors between April and October. Their performance was the first by a British band at this event. Then it was off to the centre of Amsterdam to play at the Heineken Experience, then one of the city’s newest tourist attractions. Playing between the copper vats, the Band ‘refreshed the parts that other bands cannot reach’ by entertaining brewery visitors, again the first time by a British band at the Heineken Experience.

After a day’s rest, sightseeing back in Den Helder, the Band took the stage again that evening at the Nogalweidus Restaurant whose owner provided a free meal for members in appreciation of their performance, which was rounded off with a traditional sing-song.

Marching through Den Helder with standard bearers Dougie Down (Constantine Band banner), David Cotterill (Dutch flag) and Tony Waddington (St Piran’s flag)

On Day 3 of the tour, the Band were up early to play at the official opening of Den Helder’s Day of Music in the city square after which they processed through the city centre led by standard bearers Dougie Down (Constantine Silver Band banner), David Cotterill (Dutch flag) and Tony Waddington (St Piran’s flag). The entire band and supporters were then treated to a lunch at the Visserhall by the Den Helder Fisherman’s Male Voice Choir before an afternoon practice with them in readiness for the evening’s sell-out final concert also featuring the Rejoice 60-strong ladies’ choir. Each gave a 30-minute performance with the Band giving two encores, followed by a massed choir and band rendition of Glory Glory Hallelujah. Solos by Belinda Reynolds on cornet, Aly Smith on flugelhorn, Cecil Bennetts on euphonium, Greg Williams on trombone, and an unforgettable performance on bass drum by Tony Waddington were loudly applauded.

After a farewell get-together and exchange of mementos of the occasion with their Dutch counterparts, the Band returned to Constantine on Sunday 2 June but were back to engagements the very next morning at the Mabe Shindig followed by Constantine’s Jubilee celebrations in the afternoon. The Band’s hectic summer programme continued with sometimes more than one appearance each week at local venues and events including the Princess Pavilion, Constantine Agricultural Show, Poldhu Carolaire, Constantine Garden Show, Brass on Grass, Port Navas Regatta, Lizard Lifeboat Day, Constantine Carnival, Harvest Festival and many more.

But surely the Band’s crowning triumph of its 25th year was to become Fourth Section Southwest Brass Band Association Champions at the SWBBA contest in Torquay for the first time in November 2002. A fitting end to a golden year for Constantine’s Silver Band.