Meet the band
Norman has been at the helm of Frodsham Silver Band since 1993. He has the unique ability to play every instrument in the band, but he admits his favourite instrument is the soprano cornet. He studied at the Royal College of Music and has played for the Queen on multiple occasions and has conducted at the Lycium in London.
“My favourite part of the band is seeing children I taught grow into great musicians. I loved playing at the Royal Philharmonic Hall, conducting a military band and a 130 piece male voice choir. Simon Rattle was part of the band. With Frodsham Silver band I like the carol concerts and playing at the Brindley theatre with the Highfield choir. The best piece of music we play Is “les Miserable”. ”
Norman is pictured here with his family (who’s faces you might recognise if your read further!).
Angela started her musical adventures early when she presented the flowers at the Philharmonic Hall when she was only 7 years old. She is now a secret member of Frodsham Silver Band (she doesn’t like to tell her workmates)!
“I love playing happy pieces such as Hootenanny but finds hymns a bit boring! My favourite event is Saddleworth where I enjoy seeing lots of other bands from around the country.
The band is like a big, happy family. Mind you, that’s not difficult, given that lot of my family members are in it!” The funniest time she remembers is when marching Rita fell down a pot hole! No harm done thankfully.
Edward Smith: 2nd Cornet and general Eye Candy (in his own words!)
Edward has many musical talents. He has taught himself to play the guitar and took ballet lessons at the age of 5!! His favourite piece in the band in ‘Games of Thrones’ because he loves the TV show!
Edwards’s favourite things about the band seem to follow a similar theme – the biscuits during practice break and the fish and chips in Saddleworth! He did also say the lovely people you get to meet!
“I love playing most of the pieces in the band, but especially ‘Conquest of Paradise’. It makes me dance and sway!”
The best thing about the band is everyone helping each other and getting on well. I enjoy the fun of events such as Saddleworth, when we all travel together on the coach.”
Rita McGucken: Cornet
Sue loves playing in Frodsham Silver band because she says we are all a big family! Her favourite piece is Orange Juice. “My fellow cornet player Sue Withenshaw plays it so beautifully.”
Like other members Rita has fond memories of Saddleworth. “ An amazing event with many bands all at various levels. The crowds lining the street as you march through the villages is thrilling. It is still my favourite event even though I fell down a pot hole one year!”
Rosie plays the piano and violin as well as the cornet but likes the band best because they accept and encourage players of all abilities. Like many of her school friends, Rosie likes the relaxed and friendly atmosphere (and the biscuits at break time!) She has been playing for 3 years.
Her favourite pieces are the Christmas ones such as ‘Joy of Christmas’ and she likes the Conservative Club concert which is always the last Sunday before Christmas, so it is at a really exciting time.
Pam Burgess: Cornet/ bass drum player
“I love the relaxed atmosphere in Frodsham Silver Band. It is very friendly and we don’t take ourselves too seriously!” When asked for her least favourite piece of music she said “I love them all!” In particular she likes playing ‘Hootenanny’ because it reminds her of when she first started playing 40 years ago!
Her best night of the year is Saddleworth and says “We laugh all the way there on the coach and all the way back”!
“I love being part of the band. The music is fun, especially the pieces where the 2nd cornets get a big part.” She really likes “Lassie” with its upbeat tune, but like many of the band members isn’t so excited by the hymns. In addition to her music Niamh is also a golfer, playing at nearby Delamere golf club. Rumour has it that Niamh has been keen to play 2nd cornet purely because it is the seat closest to the biscuit tin!
Her favourite event of the year is Saddleworth. She says “you get to be with friends all day and have loads of fun”. The band is a great way to focus on something and clear your mind. Her big secret is that she plays in a silver band… well, I guess that secret is out!
Lydia is our furthest flung band member, based in Australia. Lydia was visiting the UK and was looking for a band to practice with. One Tuesday evening later and Lydia was part of the band. Whenever she is back in the country she makes a bee line for the band hut where everyone is always pleased to welcome her back. Whilst away from Frodsham Lydia plays for Northern Brass, a subset of Darebin City Brass in Australia.
Sue is our stalwart on the Last Post for Remembrance Sunday. She plays it faultlessly every year. She was principal cornet for the Cheshire Youth Brass Band.
She has been taught by Norman since she was a little tot and has played in the band since she was 8 years old. “The band is like a second family to me. Whilst I now live far from Frodsham I don’t think I will ever leave the band. ”
My favourite piece of music is Hootenanny… It’s really lively and always gets the audience clapping along. Ironically my least favourite music is Orange Juice (insert proper name…!). People always request it, but I think it’s so depressing!
A little know fact … Sue has a PhD in infectious disease ecology from the University of Liverpool.
Fasten your seatbelts and fold away your tray table. Air Stewardess by day, band member by night. Chloe’s favourite piece of music is the Spanish Gyspy dance. As Norman’s Grandaughter, she is the youngest band member in the Denaro dynasty; the backbone of the band.
Ruth Martindale:2nd E flat Horn
Ruth joined the band in 2014 after a long break! She previously played until she was 15 years old but started to play again when her daughter, Heather, joined Frodsham Silver band as a trombonist.
Ruth’s favourite piece is ‘Best of Bassey’, because in her own words “Shirley is the best!” Her least favourite piece is ‘Game of Thrones’ because she runs out of puff by the end!!
Her favourite thing about the band is that everyone is welcome, from all ages and abilities. She particularly loves Saddleworth, marching through the crowds and hearing all the other bands.
Jenny Weston: 1st Horn
Jenny started playing the horn when she was 38 and now takes the place of first horn in her section. She loves the relaxed atmosphere at practices.
Jenny’s favourite piece is ‘March of the Cobblers’ because it is from her favourite film ‘Brassed Off’. She can’t stand ‘Les Mis’, and says it sounds awful!!
Jenny looks forward to playing at Whitley carnival every year as it like being in the cast of ‘Vicar of Dibley’!
In addition to playing horn, John has looked after the website for the band and was the kick start behind getting this new website up and running.
“How many of these photos show us wrapped up in big coats? Well that’s the British weather for you”
Whilst Tom has been a serving band member for over 45 years, he was once denied membership. Apparently the flugelhorn that he was his eyes on had been promised to another! He started his musical career some 70 years ago as the scout band bugler and has moved through most of the instruments within the brass band. He now enjoys the relative comfort of the bass section.
Tom loves the hospitality and camaraderie of the band, especially the involvement of the youngsters. With those attributes, he says that the band provides an ideal leisure pursuit for mature bands people. Tom loves the Saddleworth band contest. It is a great opportunity for young and old alike to get together and compete against many bands from all over Europe. His favourite piece of music is Indian summer by Eric Ball. The range and flexibility of most instruments are tested, producing a lovely melody and rich harmony.
As Bandmaster, Norman thinks he is the boss, but we know different! His wife Audrey is the lynch pin of the band. She loves playing in the band, as she gets to spend time with her family and friends!
Like everyone, Saddleworth is one of her favourite events, but she also loves playing at Whitley carnival. It’s a very traditional, local summer fair.
Audrey’s favourite piece is La Reve, with its deep harmonies. It reminds her of her parents who followed the band at all their engagements.
Simon is a very accomplished musician with his biggest claim to fame being part of Barry Manilow’s backing choir for 14 concerts! He loves playing in the band because of its vast range of ages and playing abilities.
Simon’s favourite piece is ‘Dear Lord and Father of Mankind’. The arrangement is beautiful and he loves it because of his church music background. Like some of the other players, he least likes ‘Game of Thrones’ as there aren’t many rest bars for the bass section.
The best part of playing in the band for Simon is sitting down with a cup of tea and a chat during the interval!
Baritones and Euphoniums
Carolyn Denaro: solo Euphonium and Deputy Conductor
Carolyn is an accomplished musician. She has played brass from an early age, and represented Great Britain in Switzerland when in Merseyside Youth Orchestra.
Carolyn’s favourite piece is ‘Conquest of Paradise’. It is a dramatic and moving piece. She loves good fun events such as Saddleworth and playing solo pieces such as ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ at St.George’s hall in Liverpool.
Carolyn really enjoys being in the band with her family and friends. The teamwork from all ages makes it a special place to be.
Eve joined the band in 2013 as a complete novice. After watching her 4 daughters play in the band it was just too tempting to join in with them!”
Eve loves Christmas time with the band; playing pieces such as: Joy of Christmas, Traditional carols and All I want for Christmas is you! It is a busy time of year for the band, playing at local concerts and events. Eve particularly loves playing on the Christmas float at Frodsham Christmas Festival.
Jim first played with Frodsham Silver band in 1970, and returned in 2013 after a 40 year break! He says that the best things about the band are the individual expert players and their willingness to help others. He has enjoyed many engagements, especially playing at St. George’s hall in Liverpool, but is particularly proud to play at the Runcorn and Widnes Remembrance Services each year.
Jim’s favourite piece is ‘Dear Lord and Father of Mankind’ as it was the first solo he played in church. He doesn’t like playing the piece ‘Hootenanny’ as he finds it hard to get the hang of the sections of the band standing up for their solos!
“The band is great fun. Seeing so many people of different ages talking and getting on so well is really nice. I was a reluctant new start. Norman tried to convince me to join, after my Sisters had all started to play. However, after one Saddleworth trip, I was hooked.
The Saddleworth event is great fun. “A grand day out” you might say. There are lots of VERY serious bands at the event, and whilst we practice hard for it, our focus is on having fun and enjoying the experience.” Ailish has now moved onto University at Bangor, to study Geography. “Whilst I cant come to band practise, I hope I can make it to an occasional performance. “
Heather loves playing in the band, as it’s like one big family. She joined in 2014, and has a great laugh with some of her school friends, who are also in the band.
Her favourite piece is ‘Best of Bassey’, which is great for the trombones because there are slides. She has also starting practicing her solo, ‘The Acrobat’, with the band.
She loves performing and in particular the atmosphere at Saddleworth.
Tiny but loud! Meet Dot our 2nd trombone
Daisy joined the band when she was 9 years old and is currently the youngest member of the band. Never has so much sound come out of a body so small!
Daisy had never played the trombone before but within a few months was a proud member of her section. Daisy’s favourite piece is Hootenanny, because the trombones have a big part and get to stand up at the end. She loves playing at Saddleworth. “We all go there on the bus, have a big day out, eat lots of chocolate and have loads of fun. It is a little bit serious, but everyone is together and it feels like we are all working together in a big team. It was really scary the first time I tried to march. Its really difficult, but everyone has been really kind and helpful.”
“Norman is so cool; he is great with the junior members of the band and knows how to give us confidence. He has really helped me to become a better player. Fred is my favorite member of the band because when we talk it feels like I am at home and we all belong there.”
Megan Murphy, 1st Trombone
Megan’s talents know no bounds. Not only does she play trombone in the band, but she has grade 5 piano, grade 4 Modern dance and grade 5 ballet. Her favourite piece of music is Les Miserables, mainly because she loves the stage show.
She is not such a big fan of Conquest of Paradise, which despite it’s name is a bit boring and repetitive. Megan said “I love the Saddleworth band contest. The whole day is fun; from the coach ride to the marching. But the best bit has to be the pancake van….it is fantastic!”
James has many musical achievements. When he was a member of Dinnington Colliery band he qualified for the National Championships coming 7th against the Country’s best; Stars of ‘A band for Britain’; 2nd place and Best Trombone section at Holmfirth Open Contest; and Sky 1’s Champions.
His weekly musical achievement in Frodsham Silver band is keeping the 3 young trombonists, Heather, Megan and Daisy in order!!
James’ favourite piece is ‘Caliph of Baghdad. He says it has everything! “It has a nice slow start then a rousing ending. Quiet and mellow in parts but with a few surprises here and there.” His all-time favourite is Stardust with the Trombone solo Windows of the world.
The supporting cast
Marie Blythe: Past Librarian
Marie is a long- time supporter of the band who regularly attends practices and helps out with administration. Her enthusiasm and encouragement always makes everyone blow a little stronger!
Marie loves listening to the marches that the band plays, especially La Reve and Radesky. She doesn’t like the slow pieces likes ‘Amadeus’.
Marie enjoys all the band’s events but in particular the camaraderie that pulls the band together.