We are pleased to announce that the incredibly talented, Owen Yarrow, has joined the GUS band.
Owen is no stranger to the world of brass bands, with both of his parents having played in brass bands for most of their lives, there was little chance that Owen wouldn’t be joining the movement.
Owen started playing the tenor horn in 2013 for the Tilbury Youth Band, where under the guidance of Charlotte Treadaway he was introduced to the concept of hitting rather than blowing an instrument. A few years later Owen moved onto cornet at the Aveley and Newham band, but continued to play percussion to a high standard, and joined the National Children’s Brass Band of Great Britain in 2018, having passed both cornet and percussion auditions.
In 2019, and after a relocation to the Midlands, Owen’s increasingly dominant percussive tendencies led him to switch to percussion and in 2020 he passed his audition for the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain and has recently completed his first course.
Since moving to the Midlands, Owen has also joined Youth Brass 2000 under the baton of Chris Jeans who subsequently introduced him to GUS. Chris commented “The relationship between the GUS Band and YB2K is stronger than ever, at only 15 years old, Owen has become the youngest member of the band, but plays to a standard well beyond his years on both tuned percussion and kit.”
Owen’s first competition with the band will be none other than the National Brass Band Championships at the Royal Albert Hall next month, not a bad one to start off with!
Photo Credit: Youth Brass 2000
GUS Bb Bass player, Mark, and his fiancée, Mel, have recently been part of the world’s first 5G shirt signing!
As well as being brass band enthusiasts, Mark and Mel are huge rugby fans, so much so that the pair were due to attend the 2021 British and Irish Lions Rugby tour in South Africa this year as part of their honeymoon.
Unfortunately, Covid-19 had other plans and due to the pandemic, their dream wedding and honeymoon were both put on hold. However, thanks to Vodafone UK, they were still able to make some special memories by chatting to their Lions heroes in South Africa and having their Lions’ jersey autographed by Gloucester rugby star, Chris Harris, despite him being on tour 8,000 miles away – all thanks to the power of 5G!
Speaking to the band after the signing, Mark said: “It was surreal, to watch the autograph happening right in front us, it was as if we were right there with them in South Africa! ”
Together, Mark and Mel are an integral part of the GUS community; Mark, a player and hard-working committee member, and Mel, video editor of many of the virtual recordings the band has done in the past 18 months.
Having postponed their wedding last year, Mark and Mel are now to be married later this month, and The GUS Band wish them the most amazing day, and every happiness for the future!
We are back!
The last 18 months have been tough for so many people in so many ways. In the music community, it has meant that musicians have been unable to rehearse or perform together. For professional musicians that’s meant little or no income, while amateur performance organisations have also lost the valuable income that they need to function.
For the GUS Band, COVID has meant the cancellation of many concerts and contest appearances, much to the disappointment of both our players and supporters. The last time the band performed together was at the Midlands Area National Championship qualifiers in Bedworth way back in March 2020. We came off stage that day having played a winning performance but with no idea that this was to be the last time that we would play together as a band for another 15 months!
We’ve enjoyed putting together some online performances throughout our time away from the bandroom, including the Cory Online Entertainment Contests and the Foden’s Online Whit Friday contest. Although lots of fun to do, recording your part at home on your own is certainly not the same as rehearsing together, so the news that the band would be starting up again on Monday 21st June 2021 was met with a wealth of excitement and anticipation!
It’s taken a near-military operation and a lot of hard work to get our rehearsals back up and running; with risk assessments, COVID policies, a new seating plan in the bandroom, bubbles and even one section sat up in the bandroom’s viewing gallery. Like many bands, our rehearsal space is only adequate to accommodate 30 players plus instruments and a full percussion section; it certainly doesn’t lend itself to social distancing and it has taken a lot of thought, rearrangement of equipment, and the prodigious use of a tape measure to seat all the players so that they are adequately distanced in order to keep everyone safe.
We meet in the car park and then each section of the band, who are grouped together in bubbles take it in turns to enter the bandroom with their instruments, so that we can safely enter the building in an orderly fashion. Finally, with our MD, Chris, safely positioned behind plastic screens, windows and doors all open, (luckily the band doesn’t practise in a residential area) all players seated, deep breath in and off we go…
It was fantastic to be playing together again and although surreal at first, a couple of notes into the first hymn tune, it was like we’d never been away. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported us throughout this difficult time and to those who have worked tirelessly to get our rehearsals started up again. Now we are really looking forward to getting back onto the stage and entertaining our audiences around the country again, which is after all, what the GUS Band is all about.
We hope to see you all very soon!
The GUS band are delighted to announce that, after a hard-fought tussle with regular rivals Desford and Ratby, they were crowned the Midlands Area Champions for 2020!
From time to time all leading brass bands have to refresh their player pool, and GUS have hit the jackpot with the two most recent additions to the cornet section.
The GUS band have fingers, toes and everything else crossed in the hope of staging a triumphant return to the Royal Albert Hall for the national Brass Band Championships in October 2021.