Aldbourne Band

Fact is Stranger Than Fiction

Aldbourne Parish News April 1979

On 1 April each year, the social media channels are packed with silly season articles and messages. A friend of mine commented that it’s the one day a year that users can almost be relied upon to digest information before accepting it as true. This year I particularly liked a story from the official Tower of London account; renaming the Raven Master ‘Pigeon Master’ in advance of a new exchange programme with the Trafalgar Square pigeons. ‘Latest News’ for Stonehenge and other archaeological sites appeared to such an extent that the Council for British Archaeology was moved to post:

Today our sympathies are with the archaeologists who uncover amazing finds and have to work really hard to convince colleagues and the public that they are genuine…

Some time ago, the late Trish Rushen and I were looking at Tony Gilligan’s Parish News and spotted this ‘Happenings of Yesteryear’ piece. I couldn’t believe the description of Pushball, and we suspected that it was Tony having a bit of fun (it was the April 1979 edition, after all!). However a few local enquiries proved otherwise. Pushball really was a thing in Aldbourne and further afield. There wasn’t a great deal of information, apart from Wiki, on the internet when we were researching the subject. However yesterday when I looked again more background to the sport in Aldbourne and further afield came to light. Here are some examples from the Aldbourne Community Heritage Group Website and MovieTone/Pathé

In 1923 a comic pushball match was held in the field behind Mt Pleasant and our [Aldbourne] band as always led the procession there, in aid of the hospital fund, this game involved the use of extremely large balls. A similar event in 1930 was well reported on and was a very humorous affair indeed. Band members dressed as ladies and village ladies dressed as men. Fred Jerram, the referee, dressed as a member of both sexes so as “to show impartiality”. Apparently the match consisted of the men frequently stopping in order to powder their noses or to issue complaints of “rough play” by the ladies as they were “clever with their handling of not only the ball but of the mens skirts as well”. Fred Barnes was advised to put a tuck into his skirt after expressing concern about his lower garments and the general consensus of opinion on both sides was that the ref should be reported to the football authorities for gross misconduct. The score? 11-5 to the ladies of course.

Chapter 7 Aldbourne Band – A History by Graham Palmer
http://aldbourneheritage.org.uk

Early Call from Aldbourne Band

Band on Church

Aldbourne Band were out and about this morning, following their time honoured tradition to herald Christmas Day.  For those of us who partake of social media, it was fun to watch the comments appearing as the group of stalwart players made progress through the streets and of course to hear the soft notes (we’re not near a streetlamp these days) of ‘Silent Night’.

Read the account of a ‘new American friend’ who visited the village in 1985 to explore the custom (with thanks to Graham Smith for the copy of the article).  Brass Caroling with Aldbourne Band – Douglas Smith (pdf opens in new window).  For lots more information, please visit Aldbourne Band – A History by Graham Palmer on the Aldbourne Heritage Centre website – particularly chapter 13, Christians Awake!

Perhaps shy of being in Bethlehem itself the experience of responding to the musical strains of ‘O Come, Let us Adore him, Christ the Lord,’ played beautifully from atop the church tower on that snowy Christmas morning, will linger in my memory as no other. The band did not sing, they did not have to.  Their playing, the dedication which motivated it, said to their American observer everything that needed to be said about the good news of Christmas.

Dr Douglas Smith, professor of church music at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, writing for the British Notebook in The Church Musician September 1985

 

Aldbourne Remembers: Armistice 100

Our village is moving towards a weekend of commemoration and the culmination of months, in some cases years, of hard work by individuals and groups alike.  Stunning displays of poppies have appeared on St Michael’s Church and the Green (thanks to Lorraine Kimber for the photos below).  There will be a concert with Aldbourne Band and the Community Choir on Friday evening 9 November; exhibitions on both days but sadly, due to poor ticket sales, the celebratory dance on Saturday 10 November has been cancelled.

Click on the posters above for a nice clear view of all the information you need!

The United Remembrance Service will take place at the Memorial Hall from 10.45am on Sunday morning, 11 November.  See www.whittonteam.org.uk.  St Michael’s Church bells will ring prior to the service and again at 12.30pm, for the national event Ringing Remembers. There’s one amendment to the poster above: the bells won’t be ringing again on Sunday evening at 7.05pm – if that changes, I’ll update this post.

I’m contributing to the exhibition in the Memorial Hall on Saturday 10 November and Sunday 11 November, joining Phil Comley with his collection of WW1 artefacts, photographs and stories from Aldbourne.  Phil will also be giving illustrated talks during the weekend.  I’ll be bringing along photos from the opening of the Memorial Hall in 1922 and the 90th Anniversary in 2012.  I’m also hoping to bring along some of the information I’ve gathered by using social media  – the Aldbourne Archive on Facebook has produced some surprises over the past few years.  I’ve also had some chance encounters with visitors to the village looking up their relatives; it’s amazing who you bump into whilst walking a dog!

Phil’s talks will be at 11am & 3pm on Saturday 10 November and 3pm on Sunday 11 November.  Afternoon refreshments will be served in the Memorial Hall, including Trench Cake and Anzac Biscuits. (Personally, I’m very much looking forward to sitting down with a cuppa and biscuit – huge heart-felt thank you in advance to the refreshment team!).

The Aldbourne Community Heritage Group have an exhibition in the Methodist Church Hall  with static displays and unveiling their new interactive digital displays which will showcase: The Aldbourne Roll of Honour, Aldbourne in the First World War and After, Stories of Aldbourne Men and their Families.

Exhibitions at both venues:  10am – 4pm Saturday 10 November & 2pm – 5pm Sunday 11 November. Admission free.

Aldbourne Memorial Hall Committee have received support from donations from within our community, Aldbourne Parish Council and a grant from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust.  This grant under the Armistice and Armed Forces Communities programme has provided There But Not There silhouettes that will feature as an installation in the Memorial Hall over the weekend.

The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise by the nation ensuring that those who serve or who have served in the armed forces, and their families, are treated fairly. For more information on the Armed Forces Covenant please visit www.armedforcescovenant.gov.uk

Christmas Morning 2014

The Band were out and about this Christmas Morn’ – but sadly I didn’t hear them myself. On Facebook this morning I read that a neighbour heard ‘Silent Night’ in Farm Lane! A wonderful village, and family, tradition. It’s been an honour to help secure and preserve the history of the Aldbourne Band. The Heritage Project was launched at the Upham Road concert in 2013 – the Golden Anniversary at that venue and it seems very fitting that a further celebratory concert will be held there at the end of January 2015.  An American visitor wrote an account of his Christmas morning with the Band during the 1980s – a village tradition at it’s best! Church Musican British Notebook September 1985

Happy Christmas to all!
Christmas Band for Facebook 2014

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