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Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Band Marches on at Ponteland

PONTELAND musicians of all ages have come together to strike up a community band.
The group has gone from strength to strength since it was formed a year ago and a concert was held at Ponteland High School to celebrate its one-year anniversary.The idea to start the band came from the school's Head Teacher, Stephen Prandle, and Madeline Garside from the Northumberland County Music Service.When the project began, Ponteland Extended Services — which covers the nine schools in the Ponteland Partnership — came on board to promote it and get more people involved. And from nine original members, there are now 38, who have all achieved Grade Three or above. Assistant Extended Services Coordinator Margaret McCormick said: "The Ponteland Community Band was formed because there's a lot of musical talent here and we wanted to bring people of all ages together."It is growing all the time and there is a good mix of people, from the youngest member aged ten to others in their 50s and 60s."We have put posters up along with other advertising for the band, some have joined through word of mouth and some adult members, who have not played an instrument for a while, have come on board after watching a performance and being inspired to start up again."The band has had an excellent first year and the Sage Gateshead, Ponteland Party in the Park, Alnwick Garden and the local Dobbies store are among the venues where it has performed."Funding mainly comes from donations at each performance, although money has recently been secured from the Community Foundation for music stands and a set of drums.Of the anniversary concert, Mrs McCormick said: "Everyone really enjoyed the brilliant performances, which included film music, jazz tunes and solo pieces."Members of the Ponteland Lions attended and asked the band to play at the Concert in the Park event in July."She added that a band Committee has been set up by parents of the younger members and she has been asked to become its Chairman.