Latest News Archive

    • 23rd December 2020


      Our final event of the year was the Kingsmere Carol Service. We have provided the musical accompaniment every year so far, and we were pleased that a few of us were able to support this carefully planned, Covid-secure event.



    • 18th - 21st December 2020


      St Edburg's Church went ahead with their annual Christmas Tree Festival, having changed some of the arrangements in order to ensure that everything was Covid-secure. We were sad that we couldn't plan to have our concert in the trees this year, but we did decorate a tree for the festival.



    • 15th December 2020


      For our last virtual meeting of 2020 Wendy organised a musical quiz. It was well attended (we didn't all fit on the screen at once) and great fun.



    • July 2020


      We've been busy during lockdown. Click here to hear our recording of Sway, played from our own homes! 

      The Oxford Mail and the Bicester Advertiser both published an article about our lockdown project.
      You can click on the link here to see the article.



    • Friday 8th May 2020


      Band members took part in the celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary VE Day.

      Video clips of Steve playing 'We'll Meet Again' and 'The Last Post' were posted on Bicester Town Council website,

      Dave played 'The Last Post' in Oxford,

      Flora and Lily played for their neighbours' socially distanced front garden celebrations,

      and Adrian and Maggie played for their neighbours too.



    • Tuesday 5th May 2020



      Although we aren't able to rehearse together while the UK is under lockdown, we have been using zoom to meet up virtually on Tuesday evenings. It's lovely to see everyone this way and to keep in touch. 

      There is a time lag over the internet, which makes it impossible to play music together. However, we are all recording our parts for a march called Piccoli Amici. We are hoping to be able to put the separate recordings together to make a complete piece. If it all comes together, we'll publish the finished audio on Facebook.



    • Tuesday 17th March 2020


      Tuesday 17th March was the first of our rehearsals to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.




    • Sunday 22nd December 2019


      This was our last engagement of 2019. We played, as we have done for a number of years now, at the carol service for the residents of Kingsmere. It was a lovely and lively service, with many children involved, and it was a privilege for us to be providing the music for the event which is at the heart of the community in which we rehearse.




    • Sunday 22nd December 2019


      This was our last engagement of 2019. We played, as we have done for a number of years now, at the carol service for the residents of Kingsmere. It was a lovely and lively service, with many children involved, and it was a privilege for us to be providing the music for the event which is at the heart of the community in which we rehearse.




    • Friday 13th December 2019


      Members of the band were very lucky to be invited to Southwold School to watch the children's Nativity play. As a thank you, our musicians played some carols for the children and their parents.




    • Saturday 7th December 2019


      Here are some pictures from our Christmas concert at St Edburg's Church, Bicester, which took place during the Christmas Tree Festival.

      The trees decorating the church looked so pretty, and by the time we had performed some Christmas music, played carols for the audience to sing along to, and eaten a mince pie in the interval we were feeling very festive!



    • Saturday 7th December 2019


      Our concert is almost upon us!

      We've been working hard in rehearsals, polishing a perfecting some super music to share with you.

      Do come along. It promises to be a fantastic evening!


    • Thursday November 14th 2019


      Wendy, Jane and Ann paid a visit to Bubbles Pre-school this week. They played some nursery rhymes and Christmas songs to the children who were able to join in, make requests and demonstrate their listening skills. It’s great to have the opportunity to share our music with members of our local community. There are plans afoot to visit Southwold Primary School too.


    • October 22nd 2019


      We are making great progress with the new pieces that we are learning. We have been working hard to perfect them ready for the concert on 7th December that will take place at St Edburg's Church during the Christmas Tree Festival.

      This week we had a break during the rehearsal though to celebrate with Catherine, one of our French horn players, who is getting married. Flora make an amazing cake for Catherine which the rest of us were more than happy to help her to eat!

      Here is a picture of Catherine cutting the cake.

      This is our French horn section; Lily, bride-to-be Catherine, and cake-baker extraordinaire Flora.


    • September 3rd 2019

      It was great to get back to rehearsals after the summer break. We were pleased to meet five players who came along for the first time to swell the flute, clarinet, saxophone and brass sections.

      We started the session by warming up with Pusceddu's 'Mauro', a piece that we know very well, before moving on to some new and some very old music.  'Highlights from Star Wars: The Force Awakens' is a recent purchase. 'Kildonen Overture' and 'Andrew Lloyd Webber: A Concert Collection' on the other hand have been in the band's library for many years. There are only a handful of us that have been with the band for long enough to remember playing them before, though!

      We are looking forward to meeting two more new members next week, and we will also be handing out more new pieces: 'Plaza De Toros' by Sam Rivera and a medley of 'Bert Kaempfert Classics' arranged by Gilbert Tinner.

    • July 6th 2019

      We had a successful concert on Saturday in the beautiful St Edburg's Church. Here are a couple of snaps that were taken on the night.


    • June 25th 2019

      Our summer concert is at 7.30pm on 6th July which is just over a week away, so we have been working really hard in our rehearsals to put the finishing touches to our programme. We will be playing in the beautiful and atmospheric St Edburg's Church. Do come along and have a listen. There will be refreshments available in the interval. Tickets can be purchased on the door. 


    • June 6th 2019

      We loved playing for Bubbles Pre-school's 25th birthday party. It was a super occasion, with lots for the children to do, and with food and drink for the whole family - including a very tasty birthday cake! Our contribution to the event was to play some nursery rhymes and other children's favourites along with some favourites of our own. The children sang along to the songs that they knew, and everybody joined in when we played Happy Birthday.


    • May 14th 2019

      We are busy preparing for our summer gigs. We are working on some pieces for our 6th July summer concert that are quite a challenge for us; Overture to Candide by Leonard Bernstein, Highlights from Les Miserables by Claude-Michel Schonberg and The Best of Henry Mancini among others. We are also tidying up some easier pieces that we'll be able to play without a conductor at the Bubbles Preschool fete on Saturday June 8th, and at the Shelswell History Festival on Saturday 13th July.

      We have a busy summer ahead!

    • January 8th 2019

      It was great to get back to band after the Christmas break. We spent the first half of our rehearsal playing through some pieces that we know well as an informal performance for Bicester's mayor, Cllr Sean Gaul. He visited us to hear our playing and to learn a bit about the band. We were pleased that he stayed for a cuppa and a chat - and a photo call - in the half-time break. It was lovely to meet him and it's great that he has shown an interest in the band.

      After the break, when the mayor had left, we settled down to working on some new music. We played through 633 Squadron, Final Countdown and Highlights from Les Miserables. We do have work to do, but they didn't sound too bad for a first run through!

    • December 23rd 2018

      Our final gig of 2018 was at a Christingle service for the residents of Kingsmere, held at St Edburg's School, where we rehearse, on Sunday December 23rd. We played to the congregation as they arrived, accompanied the carols during the service and played a few last numbers as people went on their way. It was a priviledge to play our part in this community event.


    • December 8th 2018

      We loved performing our Christmas concert in the magical setting of St Edburg's Christmas Tree Festival. Thank you to Peter Greenway for these stunning photos of us playing.

    • December 4th 2018

      What a rehearsal! We played through the programme for our concert on Saturday, and our hard work is paying off - it's all sounding pretty good! We've got lots of festive music with added sleigh bells, as well as other great pieces ready to share with our audience. Roll on Saturday!

    • November 24th 2018

      We are very excited about our Christmas Concert. We are performing in St Edburg's Church on Saturday 8th December. This is during their Christmas Tree Festival so we will be playing surrounded by 60 decorated Christmas trees - a magical setting for our festive music. Do come along and join us!

    • September 18th 2018

      Another brilliant rehearsal working on our new music. And we welcomed another three new members!
      Here are a couple of snaps that I took of our expanding band.

    • September 11th 2018

      It was FANTASTIC to get back to band this evening. We enjoyed tackling some of our new music, and we were excited to welcome two brand new players, and also to welcome back two players who are rejoining after a break.

    • September 4th 2018

      There was no Wendy this week, but a few of us met anyway to play our recorders. It was a good session!

    • August 2018

      Our new music has been arriving. The parts are being stamped and numbered so that it will be ready to play at our first full rehearsal of the new term on Tuesday 11th September. How exciting!

    • August 2018

      We may not be rehearsing together during the summer break, but we are still busy behind the scenes. We have been working on articles and posters for circulation, to encourage new members to join, and we have also been buying quite a lot of new music. It's going to be great to get going again in September with new members and with new music to play.

    • Tuesday 10th July 2018

      We spent this week sorting and tiding our library of music. It was a huge task, but many hands make light work, and it was great to be able to file everything away knowing it was in good order.

    • Saturday 30th June 2018

      Playing at the Fringford Beer Festival. Wow, it was hot!

    • Sunday 3rd June 2018

      We very much enjoyed playing in glorious sunshine at the Garth Park. The park is such a lovely place to be, and it's great to be using the bandstand. We were especially grateful for the shade it afforded us as we played!

    • Sunday 17th June 2018

      Playing for the Kite Festival at a windy Whitelands Farm today.

13th May 2018

Here are a couple of photos that were taken of the band at our concert last night. It was lovely to have so many of our friends and family as well as ex-members in the audience. We hope you enjoyed the evening as much as we did!


Amy Sapwell, who attended the concert,  reviewed our performance:

On Saturday 12th May, Bicester Concert Band performed their first concert under the baton of Wendy Marks.  A brave choice of date, as they competed for audience against the Eurovision Song Contest!  

But there was no competition.  The audience were serenaded with a wide variety of musical genres ranging from Mozart's elegant Magic Flute to the zany Looney Tunes. From the world of musicals we heard Carmen, My Fair Lady, Grease and Fiddler on the Roof.  It was a struggle for the audience to stop themselves clapping, singing and dancing along to the lively tunes.

An excellent performance and hopefully the first of many as the band grows from strength to strength.

Thank you for your kind words, Amy!


May 2018

We are busy rehearsing for our first concert this year - and our first concert since Wendy had taken over as conductor. It will take place in St Edburg's School, at 8pm on Saturday 12th May. Tickets cost £5 for adults (children are free) and can be bought from band members, or on the door.

We have been improving and growing week by week since Wendy joined us, and at our rehearsal on Tuesday we were sounding pretty good. It's going to be great to share the fruits of our labour with an audience.  


April 2018

Here is a photo that I took of our growing band at Tuesday's rehearsal. We now have well over twenty members, and we're still attracting new players.


March 2018

A few of our members visited Bubbles Preschool. The children were amazed to hear the instruments
and they loved singing along to some nursery rhymes. We enjoyed sharing our music with them too.

Here are some pictures of the growing band taken a couple of weeks ago:

You can see Wendy, our fabulous conductor; our bari sax and bass clarinet section; our clarinet and oboe players; the extensive flute section; our brass players and all of us playing to a box of music!


January 2018

We are pleased to announce that Wendy Marks has agreed to become our new musical director. All the members of the band were thrilled with the rehearsals that she led in December and we lost no time in offering her the job. We are looking forward to moving forward under her direction, to attracting more players and to becoming bigger and better!

We are also excited to have established links with Stewart Drummond. The rehearsals that he conducted were pacy, challenging and thoroughly enjoyable. Stewart spends time in Africa working for the charity ‘Brass for Africa’, so he isn’t able to commit to conducting us all year round. He will, however, be happy to help us out in the future if Wendy is away, and if he is available.

During December we played a couple of festive gigs. We played carols for shoppers in Sainsbury’s on Sunday 3rd, and we played for the Christingle Service that was held at St Edburg’s School on Sunday 17th December for the people of Kingsmere. We were planning to play carols for shoppers at Tesco too, on Sunday 10th December, but the snowy weather put paid to those plans – it caused a power cut that closed the store!

We ended the term with a Christmas meal out at the White Horse in Bicester where we said farewell to Philip. We will miss him, but we will stay in touch, and we wish him all the best for the future.


November 2017

Towards the end of October Philip, our conductor of 10 years, decided to step down from the position. While we are missing his leadership, we are pleased to hear that his Tuesdays have become more relaxed, and he is enjoying being able to devote more time to family commitments.

So, for the first two rehearsals of November we changed our format slightly to be able to manage without Philip. We set up in a circle, and worked hard on listening to each other even more carefully than normal to be able to play together well. We were lucky that Sue, one of our flautists, did a great job of bringing us in and keeping time for us, and we really enjoyed the challenge of working out for ourselves what we should play and how we should play it.

We are now in the process of looking for a new Musical Director - someone with experience of conducting community bands who can take Bicester Concert Band from strength to strength.

Last week we were pleased to welcome Wendy Marks along to lead our rehearsal. It was great to work hard on improving pieces that we thought we knew quite well. By the time we went home, we were making a much nicer sound than we had at the start of the session.

Wendy will be leading the next two sessions, and then in December we will be welcoming Stewart Drummond into the hot seat; he will conduct us on 5th and 12th December.


July 2017

We played two gigs in July, both in glorious sunshine.

The first gig was in The Garth Park on Sunday 2nd July on the refurbished band stand. We always enjoy making use of this elegant structure and we were very comfortable playing in the shade that it affords. Our audience, however, felt the heat and took shelter from the sunshine under the branches of a huge old cypress tree just behind us. It didn't feel right to have our backs to the audience so, in our half-time break we shuffled the band around by 90° so that we could keep the audience in our sights!

On Saturday 7th July we played at the Fritwell History Festival. As we were setting up, the sound of musket shots and cannon fire was ringing in our ears as the Sealed Knot were putting on an amazing display in the main arena. Once they had finished we settled down to play some of the repertoire that we have been rehearsing lately, stopping for an all important half-time break which allowed us to invade the tea-tent and devour some of the delicious cakes that were on sale!

We were very lucky that the talented photographer Peter Greenway was at the Festival and was able to take some photographs of us to record the event.




May 2017

The band was asked to take part in the Healthy Bicester Launch in Sheep Street. We enjoyed playing for local residents who came along to find out more about this new initiative. Here are two of the pictures that were posted by the Healthy Bicester team on their facebook page.




April 2017

Bicester Concert Band has members of all ages. One of our younger members, Caitlin, is currently working towards a BTEC level three extended diploma in music. We were very pleased when Caitlin asked us if we would be able to accompany her playing as a soloist for one of the modules on her course. We spent a few weeks preparing for this with her, and spent a final session recording her performance. She played the slow movement of Mozart’s clarinet concerto (a beautiful arrangement by Philip Burditt, our musical director), Cruella De Vil by Mel Levin and arranged by John Moss, and an arrangement by Alan Fernie of the traditional song Joshua Fought The Battle Of Jericho.


We are now preparing for our summer gigs.


On 13th May we will be playing in Bicester Town Centre at an event staged by The Health Towns initiative. We will play in the morning to keep runners and their supporters entertained as they prepare for a fun run.


On Sunday 2nd July we will be playing on the band stand in Garth Park. The bandstand is in the process of being refurbished; the floor is about to be repaired and it has already been repainted. We always enjoy playing on this lovely bandstand in such a picturesque park and we can’t wait to celebrate the bandstand’s smart new look.


On Saturday 8th July we are playng at Shelswell History Festival which is taking place just north of Fringford and Hethe on the Shelswell Estate. As well as listening to Bicester Concert Band, you will be able to see a variety of other attractions including military vehicles from two world wars, Saxon and civil war re-enactments, demonstrations of stone walling, talks on local and world history, and plenty more besides!


January 2017

What a busy end to 2016 we had!

Our website was redesigned by the talented Sam Isaacs. We hope you like the new-look site and find it interesting and informative.

In the run-up to Christmas we got into the festive spirit by playing carols for shoppers in Bicester Avenue and at Tesco’s. We also performed and informal Christmas concert for family and friends at our last rehearsal of the term, and had coffee and cake to finish the evening. Our last engagement of the year was to provide the music for a Christingle service that was held at St Edburg’s School for the residents of Kingsmere.

After a well-earned break, we are now enjoying a return to our Tuesday evening rehearsals and we are working on new and challenging music for our spring engagements.

Do contact us if you would like more information about booking the band (we are available for bookings all year round) or about joining - come along and try us out for a month to see if we are what you are looking for. You'll find us friendly and welcoming.

Happy New Year from all in the band!