British band brings the house down at R-S Central

Smithills makes fourth visit here
Jul. 24, 2014 @ 08:36 AM

Playing tunes from the Glenn Miller Band, the soundtrack from "Beauty and the Beast" and soundtracks from other major movies, the Smithills School Senior Brass Band brought the house down at R-S Central High School Tuesday night.

The British and World Champion band from Bolton, England made their fourth appearance in Rutherfordton over the past several years, at the invitation of Bill and Ellie Miller and the First United Methodist Church.

The auditorium's lower section was full for the free performance that included conversation from the band's director Chris Wormald to the audience.

The audience responded to the sounds of the band with loud applause, cheers and standing ovations.

They played almost two hours, concluding with the "God Save the Queen" and The Star Spangled Banner."

When they arrived in Rutherford County on Tuesday — the fifth stop of the 2014 United States tour — they traveled to Lake Lure and Chimney Rock for a day of relaxation and enjoyed the tourist spots.

"This is best day of the tour," Wormald said.

The students and chaperones had lake tours, went swimming at Rumbling Bald resort, played tennis and visited Chimney Rock.

They arrived at the First Methodist Church in Rutherfordton for a dinner of homemade lasagna, salad, bread and desserts at about 5 p.m. 

After the meal, they left to change into their concert attire and at 7 p.m. were sitting on the stage at R-S Central.

"This is my second year to travel," said Dom Patel, 16. "My sister is here with me this year and that make it special. I feel more comfortable talking to Americans this time," Patel said.

Helen Gleaves, who has been on every tour with the band, said she has enjoyed everything about America.

"Especially the accents," Gleaves said.

Wormald said the band has been planning and raising money for the trip for the past two years.

They raised about $75,000 and still have some debt when they return.

Each student had to pay $450 for all the fundraising.

For some of the students, it was their first time away from home.

There were 14 students under age 13 on the tour.

"They really haven't been homesick," Wormald said.

"They bought souvenirs today and are beginning to run out of money," he said. 

Wormald believes he'll be back to Rutherford County one more time before he retires in three to four years.

"I think there is one more trip," he said.

Wormald said the concerts, audiences and the reaction of the communities have been awesome.

"The weather was cooler this year than before, but it is still warm," he said.

There are 45 members in the band that has earned four World Championships, 12 British National Championships, the French Open Brass Band Championship and six-time winner of the BBC Brass Band of the Year Award.

Rutherford County among among stops on the 10-day, eight-city concert tour that will include other concerts in Shelby, Raleigh, Kernersville, High Point, Winston-Salem, Thomasville and Gastonia.

While in Rutherford County, they stayed in the homes of host families.