BBC Countryfile Live at Castle Howard

A bright and breezy day, playing on "The Village Green" to large crowds!

(Click on an image for a larger version...)

Thanks to Django for the photos, and to Adam Henson for guest-conducting!

Peter Woodhouse

We were saddened to hear of the passing of Peter Woodhouse, a former member of Bilsdale Silver Band.

Although his principal instrument had been the violin, he had a dual existence with us: in addition to playing tenor trombone, he would conduct the Band when necessary! Click to enlarge...


Click here for an image of a very young Peter, already showing his conducting skills!

We are most grateful for the generous donation of his personal trombone to the Band...

In Memory of Raymond Wood

It is with sadness that we heard of the death of former band member Raymond Wood, aged 89 years, who passed away on 2nd March 2018.

Ray was a loyal player and supporter of Bilsdale Silver Band for over 70 years. He started with the band as a young lad, playing 2nd cornet, and moved around various instruments and positions before settling on Eb Bass.

In 2009 Ray was presented with a Long Service Award from Bilsdale Silver Band by the then-Director of Music, Richard 'Dick' Blackford. This recognised Ray's 70 years as a valued member of the Band.

Ray will be fondly remembered by Band Members and followers alike. A true gentleman and Bilsdale character....

Phew! 'What a Scorcher'...... Father's Day at Nunnington Hall

More than 700 people passed through the gates of Nunnington Hall to celebrate Father's Day. Croquet on the lawn of the magnificent gardens, a barbecue, and the hottest day of the year were topped off by music of all genres, played by Bilsdale Silver Band.

Click for larger image...

Click for a larger image...

Bilsdale Silver Band Appoints New Musical Director

Bilsdale Silver Band are pleased to announce that Christine Britland is our new Musical Director.

Chris brings us her wealth of experience with various local bands such as: Billingham Silver Band, Cleveland Police Community Band, Middlesbrough Jazz & Blues Orchestra, The Silverwood Band, North Skelton Band, South Bank Brass Band and - more recently - Cockerton Prize Silver Band.

She is a fully-qualified music teacher, and runs Teesside Music.

Welcome, Chris - and thank you for devoting your time to Bilsdale Silver Band!

Chris Britland

Christmas Carolling, Stokesley - 2016

The Band was pleased to be invited to play around the Christmas Tree at West Green Stokesley; there was a large, appreciative audience - and the weather was fine!

Our grateful thanks go to Paul D Hunter for the following, excellent set of images:

Click on the collage to launch Flickr, where you can browse and page through each thumbnail (or click to enlarge).

Christmas Concert - 2015

Our 2015 Christmas Concert took place at Chop Gate Village Hall on Tuesday 8th December - and was attended by an enthusiastic audience. The mixture of music - including festive numbers, and carols sung by the audience - was well-received.

A highlight of the evening was a performance by youngsters from Bilsdale Midcable Chop Gate and Carlton and Faceby Confederated Schools, under the expert baton of their tutor Richard Walter. These were the children who, last year, benefited from The Les Featherstone Bequest; it is wonderful to see how they have progressed...

Thanks are due to Helen Robinson and Robin Atkinson for their catering and organising help during the evening - and to all those donating refreshments, and raffle items.

The sum of £100 from the proceeds of the evening will be donated to The Yorkshire Air Ambulance Charity.

Click here to download this poster to place in your window, school, place of work etc!

Emma Excels!


Our youngest player, Emma Hampshire, has recently passed her Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music Grade 5 Practical Examination - with Merit.

Emma has now been with Bilsdale Silver Band for two years, and plays Second Cornet. Her next examination will be Grade 5 Music Theory - which is a prerequisite for further practical examinations. Get this one, Emma, and you can then go all the way to Grade 8...

The Band extends its congratulations to Emma on her well-deserved success!

"Bilsdale Fantasia" - a New Composition for Brass Band


Dick Blackford - past Musical Director of Bilsdale Silver Band, and its long-term supporter - has written a new piece for Brass Band, entitled "Bilsdale Fantasia". It is based on a Hymn Tune "Ewecote" by William Garbutt - who was Bilsdale bandmaster for 25 years.


The piece is dedicated to the memory of Les Featherstone (below), in gratitude of his generous bequest.


"Bilsdale Fantasia" was premiered by Bilsdale Silver Band at the Bilsdale Show on Saturday 30th August, 2014.

Click to look at Page 1 of  18...

Kirkbymoorside Town Brass Band followed this with a great performance at their traditional Christmas Concert at Kirkbymoorside Memorial Hall on Sunday 21st December 2014.

The 'Les Featherstone Bequest'

Mr Leslie Featherstone (1920 - 2012) was born in Fangdale Beck before moving to High Ellermire Farm, Chop Gate - "his favourite place in the world". He was a true Bilsdale man and farmer, preferring the old traditional ways over modern machinery.

He was a wholehearted supporter of Bilsdale Silver Band, rarely missing a performance.

The Band was pleased to have played for his 90th Birthday celebration, and was honoured to be invited to play at his funeral on 10th December 2012 at St. John's Church in Bilsdale.

Les most generously remembered Bilsdale Silver Band with a bequest in his will to ensure its prosperity and long-term survival.

Leslie 'Les' Featherstone (1920 - 2012)

After extensive discussions, it has now been agreed that the Band will sponsor brass tuition at Bilsdale Midcable Chop Gate and Carlton and Faceby Schools - in the belief that teaching local youngsters to play brass instruments is a valuable skill for life, and will ultimately help perpetuate Bilsdale Silver Band.

The Band would also like to involve these youngsters in our Chop Gate Christmas Concert, and - within a short time - would like to re-establish the Bilsdale Training Band at Chop Gate Village Hall in which they could regularly participate.

Easingwold Workshop for Young Brass Players

On Sunday 15th June 2014, Easingwold Town Band ran a 'Workshop for Young Brass Players' at the Galtres Centre, tutored by Richard Marshall, principal cornet of Black Dyke Band.

Click to enlarge

Emma attended on behalf of Bilsdale Silver Band; also present is the past Teacher / Conductor of our Training Band...

Damian Dunphy Takes a Final Bow with Bilsdale

Our concert at Saltburn Bandstand on Sunday 1st June 2014 was very successful - well-attended, and with splendid sunny weather; however, it marked our final concert under the direction of Damian Dunphy.

We have been fortunate to have Damian's expert guidance for the last six years and, during that time, the Band has improved in all aspects of its performance.

Damian takes a final bow with Bilsdale Silver Band at Saltburn Bandstand - click for a larger image

To express the thanks and appreciation of the Band, Damian was presented with a suitably-inscribed baton case.

Damian receiving his baton case from Chairman, Neil Robinson
Baton case inscribed "Presented To Damian Dunphy,  Musical Director - Bilsdale Silver Band,  2008 - 2014"

We wish Damian every success in the future, and send our best wishes to his wife Laura, and son Harry.

What an Evening!

Tuesday 17th December saw our annual Christmas Concert at Chop Gate Village Hall; what an successful evening! The audience numbered more than 50, and they had a great time - singing carols, and enjoying the Band's festive music.

The Band's thanks go to all the audience, those donating prizes to the raffle, our willing team of lady helpers (we know who you are - for next year :-) - and to our Musical Director who has worked so hard.

From the proceeds of the Concert, the Band is making a donation of £140 to Alzheimer's Society.

Welcome to Bilsdale Silver Band!

The Band is delighted to welcome two new Members to its ranks: Tim Hampshire returns to playing tenor trombone after a lengthy break, accompanied by daughter, Emma, on cornet.

Tim Hampshire (tenor trombone) and Emma Hampshire (cornet)

Emma has already achieved Grade 3 on trumpet - congratulations! Here they are both seen at a recent Concert...

** STOP PRESS: July 2014 - Emma has now achieved Grade 4 on cornet. Well done, Emma!

Amongst others, the Band now also includes sixteen Members from seven different families!

Can you help us increase these numbers? If you would like to play with a friendly, non-competing band - we still have vacancies for established or returning musicians - or confident beginners!

See here for more details!

Charitable Donations

From its Trading Surplus for the year Sept 2011 - August 2012, Bilsdale Silver Band has made charitable donations totalling £530 to seven different oranisations, including The Great Northern Air Ambulance, Asthma UK, and Macmillan Cancer Support.

We are grateful to "our customers" who have engaged, booked and supported us over the year - and who have made this possible...

William George Ainsley (1929 - 2012) &
Marjorie (Madge) Ainsley (née Collier, 1933 - 2013)

Bilsdale Silver Band was saddened to hear of the passing of both William George Ainsley and his wife Marjorie (Madge), with four weeks of each other...

For sixty-odd years, William was also Secretary of Spout House Cricket Club - famed for its vertiginous pitch. A splendid tribute - "William draws stumps" - has appeared in The Northern Echo.

The Band has always been heartily welcomed - and enjoyed - its sessions at Spout House; a most memorable occasion - in 2007 - was the celebration of William and Madge's 50th wedding anniversary. This photo is how many of us will remember Madge and William, outside The Sun Inn...

An excellent page on the genealogy of the Ainsleys - dedicated to the memory of William and Madge Ainsley of the Sun Inn - appears here...


Why not take a look at this video of Bilsdale Silver Band playing carols at Rievaulx Abbey last year! With grateful thanks to Dr Kajetan Erdinger...

The event was Number One in the Guardian list of Carol Services a few years ago...

The video is 46 minutes long - we suggest you get a beer, sit back and get singing...

Cricket Match, and Joint Concert with The Shepherd Group Concert Band

Sunday 4th July 2010 saw Bilsdale Silver Band beat The Shepherd Group Concert Band at the Cricket Match, held at The Sun Inn, Spout House, Bilsdale; no expense has been spared to bring you this report from our Cricket Correspondent:

Shepherd's travelled to Bilsdale in search of a victory to extend their unbeaten run to two games in the 'Battle of the Bands'.

A pitch inspection confirmed that Spout House continued to lived up to its reputation - a rabbit hole in the crease and an outfield with plenty of grass and evidence of sheep on it. Neil "The Boss" Robinson came back into the pavilion and declared "it could be a bit tricky to bat on out there and we should have the first use of it".

Openers Jonathan and Matthew strode out to the middle of the crease for the first battle of the day, hoping to reignite their successful opening partnership and to regain the 'Ashes'. The vision was that of a sunny afternoon at Lord's, soft and slow.

Both capitalised on some wayward bowling from the opening Shepherd bowlers and the runs started to flow. Neil and Andrew then made some key breakthroughs.

Then came the return of John "Fuzzy Whiskers" MacKay - Bilsdale's talismanic all-rounder and in a 'flick of the wrist', or was it a 'blink of the eye', and by a cruel twist of fate, the stumps flew out the ground and the umpire's crooked finger was aloft. Even before Don had chance to put on both pads, John was on his way back to the pavilion, "out by a whisker".

Half dressed for the job, Don gave his all, but succumbed to a "Yorker", and gave his wicket away with a shot that he'll still be talking about this time next year.

Bilsdale were all out for 67.

Shepherds started their reply off well with Sue "The Scorer" clocking the steady chase. The visitors were soon on track to make the total without losing a wicket.

"The Boss" knew they had to take wickets if the home team were to stand any chance of victory. Bilsdale had to remove Tom 'The Sri Lankan', sharpish, if they were to have a fighting chance.

Alison bowled manfully in her second spell which made amends for dropping a sitter in the slips. Ivan ' The Silver Fox' just failed to snare a good catch at mid-off.

Wickets started to tumble when Matthew 'Freddie Flintoff' Williams decided that his tea was getting cold and quickly upped the pace to bag a handful of wickets.

Chris said that Doug was 'magnificent behind the stumps' and my ears are still ringing with the sound of Doug's voice "pitch it up, it's starting to turn" or was it "pack it up it's starting to rain".

Sian threw one in to take a superb run out and the Shepherd's batsmen (and women) were suddenly in disarray - the last catch being taken by Andrew to seal the match.

The scenes among the Bilsdale fielders could only be described as "jubilant". The sound of "England's coming home" could be heard all the way to 'The Buck', and not a vuvuzela in sight…….

Click here to see how cricket-playing Band Members looked in 1896....

In the evening, 37 Members of the two Bands gave a lively concert, the proceeds (£67) from which went to Chop Gate Village Hall funds.

Members of Bilsdale Silver Band and The Shepherd Group Concert Band join forces!

Our thanks to all our colleagues at Shepherd's - and particularly to Mike Pratt for his enthusiastic conducting!

Sesquicentenary of a Notable Performance by Bilsdale Band!


It's 150 years since Bilsdale Band took part in the Lofthouse Grand Village Band Contest (t'Band was obviously formed before that date, but none of the present Members can quite remember when!).


This article, titled "Musical Prize Fight" about a brass band contest in Lofthouse, appeared in "All The Year Round" - a weekly periodical dated 12 November 1859 and edited by Charles Dickens.


It was unsigned and in the style of Dickens and people assumed it was written by the great man himself.


Click here to read the full article!

Welcome to The Williams Family!

Bilsdale Silver Band welcomes four members of the Williams family who live at Castleton - a village on the North York Moors located between Danby and Westerdale.

Jonathan commutes to Teesside University, and is in the second year of a Law degree. His brother Matthew travels to Whitby 6th Form College, and amongst his subjects are Law and Psychology.

Susan retired from British Telecom when the boys were born, and now works part-time in the village Co-operative store where she is the in-store baker. Andrew is a manager with Corus, and lives in Lincoln during the week.

The family has a passion for brass banding, and are established players. They enjoy the music and the new friendships found at Bilsdale, and are looking forward to supporting the Band for many years to come.

Bilsdale Silver Band Appoints Musical Director

We are pleased to announce that our new Musical Director is Damian Dunphy of the The Heavy Cavalry and Cambrai Band, Catterick.

Damian Dunphy conducting Bilsdale Silver Band at the 2008 Ryedale Festival (photo courtesy of Steve Hailey)

Bilsdale Silver Band wins Grants

In December 2006, the Bilsdale Silver Band gained an Award of £10,000 from Awards for All (adminstered by the Big Lottery Fund). This Award is being used to encourage more people of all generations to play a brass instrument and to join the Band. This has involved purchasing more brass instruments, introducing a training band, and publicising the Band.

A second grant for £6,770 was received from the Local Network Fund of York and North Yorkshire Community Council (a Department of Education Grant).

In addition, in October 2006 we received an Award of £2,500 from the Ryedale Community Investment Panel to extend our activities to the local community.