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Phoenix WM Brass
Phoenix West Midlands Brass formed in September 2000 and consists of members of all ages from all areas of the West Midlands. From the outset the band has prided itself on having a friendly atmosphere in and out of the bandroom which is reflected in the popularity of the band in the local community. From humble beginnings the band has risen to have success nationally, and now internationally.
The band began life with seven members yet by the time the band performed their debut concert at the Overend Methodist Church the number of players had risen to twenty four. The profile of the band was elevated during the next few months as they played park and church concerts in West Bromwich , Blackheath, Old Hill and Cradley Heath.
Phoenix place a large emphasis on entertaining the local community and each year play a substantial amount of park and church concerts in Old Hill, Cradley Heath, West Bromwich, Blackheath and the surrounding areas. The last few years hves seen the band spread its wings to play to audiences in Solihull, Willenhall, Birmingham and Stratford-Upon-Avon . Good causes are always supported by the band, and some of the most memorable events in their history have come at such functions. The band has regularly supported the Mayor of Sandwell's charity as well as being proud contributors to a number of Remembrance Day and St George's Day concerts each year.
In December 2002 SAGA 105.7fm broadcast their annual carol concert live throughout the West Midlands, the music being provided by Phoenix . The band have supported the Wyre Forrest First Schools Christmas concert in Worcester Cathedral, joined by pupils from 15 schools. Phoenix have also established their Annual concert, held each year at Brierley Hill Civic Hall, involving special guests such as the Gentlemen Songsters Male Voice Choir and Lizzie Wiggins. Proceeds from these concerts have gone to the Acorns and Mary Stevens Hospices.
Support from the local community is vital for the continued existence of the band. In the last few years several grants have been generously given to the band, including substantial donations from the Rowley Town Committee. These donations have enabled the band to purchase much-needed instruments and their distinctive uniform. The band recognises the help and support and gives their thanks.
Contesting forms an integral part of the band's year. The band have won a hat-trick of Midland Area Regional Championship titles – 4 th section 2003; 3 rd section 2005; 2 nd section 2007. This year will see the band make their third trip to the National Finals, hoping to improve on their fourth place finish last time in Harrogate .
The band have also found success at entertainment contests, in the early days of the band they won the Rhyl Festival of Brass 4 th section competition in consecutive years, also winning Best Percussion and Best Soloist prizes both years (Dave Jenks, Percussion; Emma Taylor, Flugel) Wychavon and Buxton have also provided success and the band competes every year at the Pontins Brass Band Championships, they won the 4 th section in 2003 and finished runners-up in the second section in 2006. The band always competes in the WMBBA contest in Leamington , to show their support for the valuable work their local association does throughout the year. Phoenix have won the contest at Leamington twice in their history.
In May 2007 the band were honoured to be invited to represent England at the European Brass Band Championships, held at Symphony Hall, Birmingham . Despite a late invitation the band rose to the challenge and achieved second place – a fantastic honour for band so young.
What does the future have in store? 2007-8 offers challenges in contesting, as the band make their debut in the First section and a trip back to the National Finals in September. Return visits to Leamington , Wychavon and Pontins mean the band is busy, but not too busy to continue our commitment to entertaining our audiences at concerts. The Phoenix is rising…