Author Archives: Michael Whitehurst

Congleton Rotary Last Night of the Proms 17th September 2022

Rode Hall Silver Band were delighted once again to be invited to play the Congleton Rotary Last Night of the Proms Concert on Saturday 17th September. The excellent Sarah Anne Francis also performed some great solo numbers and also accompanied us for Land of Hope and Glory, Rule Brittania and God Save the King.

The planned programme was preceded by a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, led by Steve Hodgkinson, followed by the band, Sarah Francis and the audience joining together in a rendition of 'God Save the King'.

We'd like to thank John Gauld Photography for sharing these great images of the evening.

Whit Friday Marching Contest 10th June 2022 – from a player’s perspective

Written by Brian Rogers - 13 June 2022

Rode Hall Silver Band took to the road on Friday 10th June 2022, heading for the fantastic and traditional Whit Friday Marching contests held around Thameside, Oldham and Saddleworth.

Whit Friday meaning White Friday is the name given to the first Friday after Pentecost or Whitsun. The day has a cultural significance in the North West as the day on which the annual Whit Walks are held.

The brass band contest has been held since 1870: and attracts all the big name bands as well as bands from far and wide, young and old.

Each location organises its own contest and it is up to each band to navigate to as many venues as possible. This tests the skills of the coach drivers to their limits as the pressure builds to get to the next one as fast as you can.

When you arrive out jumps a runner to register your entry and then you join the queue to march up the road literally packed with spectators. The band then forms up on a stage, a field a pub car park or wherever the contest is to be held and upon the adjudicators whistle you commence your performance of your chosen piece. When you finish its back onto the bus and off to the next one.

Our first stop was Scouthead. Our musical director and big bass drummer Nigel Butler had chosen True and Trusty to march up to and the tricky and testing ‘Mephistopheles’ by Shipley Douglas as our contest march. It was straight into action and the crowd gave us a warm welcome in the late afternoon sunshine.

Back to the bus and Stephen our fantastic coach driver was ready to whisk us off to Delph, probably one of the favourite locations. The crowd gathers in chairs around a pub forecourt and appear to really know their stuff.

Two down, we scramble back on squeezing onto the coach between drums, basses and trombones. Then as is tradition, we got lost trying to find Dobcross. A few wrong turns, lots of different sat nav opinions and after a few detours, driving back through a bemused crowd at Scouthead we finally arrived at Dobcross. No time to hang around it was straight onto the village green and under the oak tree, surrounded by a great crowd enjoying the warm blustery afternoon sunshine.

RHSB performing at Dobcross

The band were playing well with a great full sound, helped in no small part by the welcome support of some of our friends from the Acceler8 band.

It was now early evening and the crowds had had plenty of time to enjoy the 70 or so bands as they made their way around the contests. They had also had a lot of time to enjoy the beer and wine, as could be seen by the rather leery supporters at Uppermill. We had quite a long wait here, but it gave us time to soak in the carnival atmosphere and look and listen to some other bands and recover our lips ready for the next ones on the list. After a while we played at Uppermill and it was clear that we had done well, you know when its right and it was getting better as the night wore on.

By now it was dark as we made our way to Greenfield, a great venue, under floodlights on an impressive stage. Right in front of us was the Championship band Leyland. Always a bit daunting to follow a top band, but we were not put off and in fact put in our best performance of the night.

Five down, could we get another one in before the events closed down. We managed to sneak into Lydgate as the 2nd to last band to perform there. Brighouse followed us on and closed the night.

We rushed off to see if we could get one more in at Denton. We arrived at 11.15pm only to be told that we had missed final registration but the good news was the bar was still open. A very relieved and tired bunch of players were very thankful to have a celebratory drink after a long hard but thoroughly enjoyable day where everyone had given their very best.

So then the wait for the results to come in:

Rode Hall competes at the 3rd section level so that is who we were in competition with.

We were delighted to hear that we won at Greenfield, we came second at Dobcross and Uppermill and got third at Scouthead. Placed in 4 competitions out of 6 completed, what a night and what a great boost for the band.

Quiz Night & Raffle – Joint fundraising event in aid of Caudwell Children and RHSB

On Saturday 31st August 2019 the band will be holding a Quiz Night and Raffle at St. Mary's Parish Centre in Congleton. Proceeds from the event will be split between the band, to help cover costs associated with competing at this year's National Finals, and the Caudwell Children Charity.

Image result for caudwell children png

Caudwell Children transforms the lives of disabled children across the UK. This amazing organisation acts as a safety net for families who are unable to gain the help they need.

Event organiser and band percussionist, Katharine Slater is seeking donations of raffle prizes. Anyone with prizes to donate can contact

The Band would like to thank the following organisations who have already supported our event with raffle prizes:

RHSB win 1st Prize at Buxton

Rode Hall Silver Band took part in the NWABBA Buxton Brass Band Festival on the 28th April 2019.   The event was an own choice test piece contest and was held in the newly refurbished Octagon Theatre which provided a fantastic acoustic for the event. The order of play for the bands had been pre-drawn and Rode Hall Silver opened proceedings at 10:30am by playing the National Anthem as is traditional at all brass band contests in the UK. The band then went on to play it's chosen test piece for the 4th Section, 'Music for a Festival' by Philip Sparke. Competition from the other bands was strong and adjudicator Mike Kilroy commented on the quality and ambition of all the performances. The band were delighted to be placed 1st overall and also won the prize for the highest placed NWABBA band.

Rode Hall Silver Band reach National Finals and acheive promotion to Third Section

Rode Hall Silver Band marked a significant milestone in its 182 year history this weekend at the North West Area Regional Brass Band Contest in Blackpool. The band travelled to the Winter Gardens confident that the hours of preparation under conductor Nigel Butler would secure the result required to push the band into the third section.

12 bands in total performed Ray Steadman-Allen's 'Stantonbury Festival' with Rode Hall being awarded second place by adjudicators Jim Davies and Andrew Warriner who also commented that the band had produced 'A really fine show'.

For the first time ever, the band will promoted into the third section and the second place prize also secures an invitation to the National Finals to be held at Cheltenham Racecourse on the 14th September 2019.

The committee would sincerely like to thank our conductor, Nigel Butler and all the players for the hard work and committment over recent months that has enabled such great progress.

Wychavon Festival of Brass 2018

The band returned to the De Montfort School on the 3rd of November after 4th Section success last year. This year the band entered both the 3rd and 4th section competitions and our results are as follows:

4th Section

Second Prize

Best Entertainment Prize

Best Soloist: Mark Leigh - Trombone

Adjudicator: Nicholas Garman

3rd Section

Third Prize

Best Soloist: Mark Leigh - Trombone

Adjudicator: Ian Porthouse


Double fourth section success for Rode Hall Silver Band at Whit Friday 2018

The band traveled to Saddleworth once again this year to take part in the Whit Friday contests on the 25th May. Heavy Bank Holiday traffic coupled with extensive roadworks meant that the journey took a little longer than usual. However, the band arrived for their first contest at Scouthead at just before 5pm. The weather was wet and windy and the players thought that the first performance went well considering the conditions. So well in fact that the band achieved the top placing for a fourth section band!

Moving on from Scouthead, the band then played at Delph and Dobcross, putting in solid performances under steady rainfall. On leaving Dobcross to head to the next contest at Uppermill, band members at the rear of the coach noticed the smell of smoke. The driver pulled over (conveniently outside The Commercial pub) as he entered Uppermill. It was fairly clear on inspection that this was the final stop that this particular coach would be making! Fortunately, the band were well within walking distance of the contest at Uppermill and so were able to register and compete in what could have been, and turned out to be, the last contest. As such, the band focused hard and made its last performance count, resulting in another top fourth section placing.

Although players had fingers crossed that a replacement bus would arrive in time to make another contest or two, it wasn't to be, and the band enjoyed the opportunity to socialise, take refreshments and absorb the... rather lively... Uppermill atmosphere!

Even though the day's playing was curtailed, the band are delighted with the performances and results achieved and would like to thank MD Nigel Butler for all the hard work preparing the band for this year's event. 

Photographs from the night can be found in our Gallery.