Initially formed in 1996, the Halton Schools Wind Band is composed of brass, wind and percussion pupils from schools across Halton (and beyond!). Conducted by Paul McGhee (Accent Music Education Hub Ensembles Co-ordinator) and Lyndzi Williams, the band perform a wide range of music and styles to a high standard, including new original music, classical pieces, pop song arrangements and film music. We also encourage soloists to perform with the band and offer as many performance experiences as possible for our players.

Locally, the group regularly perform at the Foundry in Widnes and have also played at venues such as the Brindley Theatre (Runcorn), St. Paul’s and St. Luke’s churches (Widnes).

For many years the band have run ‘Play Days’, where young musicians learning to play instruments in Halton Schools are invited to perform in a concert with the band. During these events, there would be a massed band finale featuring the HSWB, the Halton Rising Stars group and all the invited guests, playing music specially written for the occasion.

A little further from home, in 2019, members of the Halton Band also embarked on a joint tour of Belgium with the Splinters Ensemble, where they performed at the Cloth Hall in Ypres and at the famous bandstand of Ostend. They also visited several other places during the tour, such as Bruges and Ghent.

If you are interested in coming along to a HSWB rehearsal, we would suggest that you need to be the minimum equivalent of grade 3 ABRSM standard, due to the level of pieces the band are currently playing.

The band rehearse during term time from 5.30-7pm. These rehearsals usually take place at Wade Deacon High School in Widnes, however, we are currently running weekly online rehearsals due to the ongoing Covid-19 safety measures.

If you are interested in attending rehearsals, please contact Paul McGhee at: paul.mcghee@accentmusiceducationhub.org

Halton Rising Stars

The Halton Rising Stars were formed in 2015. As the Halton Schools Wind Band was going from strength to strength, we needed to ensure we could still offer less experienced players the opportunity to play in a weekly ensemble, without the music becoming too difficult. In this way, the two ensembles can work at a level and pace that suits the players and still allow them to continue to thrive. There is a close working relationship between the bands and the Rising Stars also act as a feeder ensemble to the senior band, with players ‘graduating’ to the HSWB when they have reached the appropriate playing standard and are confident enough to progress.

The Rising Stars take part in every Halton Band concert, performing pieces on their own in addition to occasionally joining the main band for selected pieces. Conducted by Julia Wells and Lucy Pankhurst, the Rising Stars play a varied mixture of music, including original pieces, as well as arrangements of well-known music and songs.

The Halton Rising Stars rehearse at the same time as HSWB – 5.30-7pm on Wednesdays. We suggest that prospective members are approximately grade 1 standard in order to get the most out of the experience.

Accent Community Ensemble (ACE):

The Accent Community Ensemble is a flexible band of mixed ages (including adults) and varied musical experience. Conducted by Paul McGhee and supported by Lucy Pankhurst, the music played by the band is varied, with differentiated parts in order to cater for as many players as possible. We also encourage members to suggest music to play and, as such, recent pieces include Disney movie selections, song arrangements such as Hooked on a Feelin’ and even movements from Holst’s Planets Suite.

The band regularly perform locally in venues such as the Pyramid and St. Andrew’s church in Orford. For the last few years, they have also been running Play Days twice a year, inviting music pupils from local schools to join them in a concert performance. The Accent Community Ensemble also regularly perform joint concerts with the Halton Schools Wind Band and have played as a massed band at events such as the Mayor’s Charity Concert in St. Elphin’s church in Warrington.

The band rehearse on Thursday evenings from 6.30-8pm at the Smile Centre in Orford, Warrington. Due to the current restrictions cause by Covid-19, all our rehearsals are presently online, but we will be resuming in-person practice as soon as it is safe to do so. Everyone is welcome in the band, although we do suggest prospective members are approximately at grade 1 standard. The band have also been nurturing a new Rising Stars programme for younger players, which we hope to continue with in the future.

If you are interested in attending rehearsals, please contact Paul McGhee at: paul.mcghee@accentmusiceducationhub.org

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