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Eccles in Excelsis!

Surely no other band has done more to keep up the Christmas spirit this year...



If ever there was an example of the true commitment to banding over the Christmas period, then it was certainly shown by the members of Eccles Band this year.


And with bands up and down the country doing their bit to bring festive cheer to shoppers and concerts goers, every one of them will be able to recognise just how incredible Eccles particular commitment to the cause has been.

In the last few weeks the band has been out in the freezing conditions playing carols and undertaking small concert jobs to raise much needed funds—with players making the usual sacrifices of taking time out to do their bit.

Take some beating

However—these players take some beating.

Led by MD Marieka Gray, wife of Fairey (Geneva) MD Russell Gray the Eccles players have gone above and beyond the call of usual banding duty.

For example — the band recently played at the Trafford Centre in Manchester, with a line up of players and supporters which including a principal cornet who had just come out of hospital the day before with a broken arm and leg following a car accident.


Meanwhile, another cornet player performed less than 24 hours after being mugged in Manchester, whilst the flugel horn, stood and played in the freezing cold whilst still recovering from a serious knee operation.

The baritone player came to the job on crutches with a broken ankle, whilst the wife of another player who is wheelchair bound due to severe arthritis, stayed the whole day of over 7 hours in the cold, with her collecting tin!

The prize

However, the undoubted prize for commitment beyond anything anyone could possibly expect, went to the band’s tuba player, Benschi Searle, who had promised to make every rehearsal and band job during the year.

True to his word he turned up to the last carol job to ensure his 100% attendance record—despite the day before—and this takes some beating—his car breaking down, his house catching fire and his mother being taken to hospital!

he turned up despite his car breaking down, his house catching fire and his mother being taken to hospital!4BR


A bemused Russell Gray, who will be playing with Eccles on soprano at the Area contest next year, was left almost speechless by the commitment shown by the players.

"I’ve been associated with bands over the years where even the slightest excuse has been used not to come to practice let alone a freezing cold outside job — so to witness first hand this commitment was simply mind boggling!"

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Howard J Evans

MA (Dist), Mus.B (hons), ARCM (hons), LRAM, LTCL, PGCE
Conductor, composer, arranger, tutor and pianist