Bardi Wind Christmas Festival the perfect festive treat!

18th December 2023

Bardi Wind Orchestra’s annual Christmas Festival was a big success at the weekend!

Holy Trinity Leicester, was beautifully dressed in a great array of Christmas Trees and lights, and made a wonderful setting for the concert. Once Conductor David Calow’s baton was raised for the title piece, Leroy Anderson’s evergreen ‘A Christmas Festival’, and the BWO sounded the first chords, the audience (many of who have been coming since the series started over 20 years ago) knew that Christmas 2023 was underway.  

A programme of seasonal favourites, serious and more light-hearted, followed. These were interspersed with readings by Leicester’s own John Florance. Amongst other items, John read the perennial favourite ‘Christmas at Lewis’s’ and John Betjeman’s 1954 poem ‘Christmas’. He confessed to the audience that he once left the poem out of a BWO Christmas programme and was told in no uncertain terms by audience members afterwards that he should not do that again.  

In a colourful array of Christmas outfits for the second half the BWO players ended by commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the 1973 Slade Christmas hit ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’ which had the audience singing lustily with some enthusiastically waving arms in the air.

Merry Christmas all from the Bardi!

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Bardi Wind’s Festive Tradition Returns to Holy Trinity on Saturday

11th December 2023

Christmas gets off to a flying start on Saturday 16th December with the Bardi Wind Orchestra’s annual Christmas blockbuster at Holy Trinity Church!

Many in Leicester now say that their Christmas starts when they hear the Bardi Wind sound the first notes of Leroy Anderson’s A Christmas Festival!

The programme contains all the best loved Christmas music from festive songs like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and The Little Drummer Boy, through carols such as In the Bleak Midwinter and the Carol of the Bells to film music from Frozen and The Polar Express

Seasonal readings are once again provided by popular local presenter John Florance, formerly of BBC Radio Leicester, and the concert is hosted by Colin Blackler. And there are, of course, items for the audience to sing along to – and last but not least in the traditional finale we’ll all join in, raise the roof, and celebrate the 50th anniversary this year of Slade’s greatest Christmas hit, Merry Christmas Everybody

The concert proves to be a popular one each year, so be sure to book your tickets online in advance to avoid disappointment.

Bardi Wind Christmas Festival

Saturday 16 December at 7.30pm – Holy Trinity Church, Regent Road, Leicester

It’s not quite Christmas until this annual Bardi festive tradition!

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Bardi Wind at DMH a great success for heroes of the RNLI

12th June 2023

The Bardi Wind Orchestra rounded off their 30th anniversary season with their annual charity gala concert at De Montfort Hall on Sunday, this year fundraising in aid of the RNLI.

Well known in recent times from the BBCs programme ‘Saving Lives at Sea’ the Royal National Lifeboat Institution was the chosen charity for the Bardi Wind Orchestra’s annual charity gala in association with the Oadby and Wigston Lions Club. The charity receives no government funding but for almost 200 years has been saving lives from water in the most challenging conditions. Conductor David Calow chose a range of music appropriate to the invaluable work of the RNLI volunteers with the title ‘Heroes! Action and adventure from the Movies’. 

The BWO were joined by vocal soloists David Morris and Rebecca Temple who featured in each half and the programme was compered adeptly by  Colin Blackler with informative introductions to each piece (allowing the players to get their collective breath back). After the interval Colin had the opportunity to interview RNLI volunteers Brad and Alex who had travelled all the way from RNLI Skegness to be at the event. On stage, on probably the hottest afternoon of the summer so far, volunteer Alex wore his RNLI yellow crew equipment, of which the life jacket on it’s own weighed more than a heavy weekly shop. Launch authority Brad told us that he had come off a volunteer shift at 6am that morning! 

The programme for the concert included appropriate titles such as The Magnificent Seven, Band of Brothers, the Superman March and The Great Escape but perhaps the most appropriate piece had to be The Padstow Lifeboat, a march by English composer Malcolm Arnold complete with fog horn effects (thanks to a very good imitation by BWO lower brass).  Scene stealer for this number was David Calow who strode on to the stage and conducted in a fetching pair of borrowed bright yellow RNLI wellies!  The only thing missing was a lifeboat and even one of those (well, a model) was parked outside De Montfort Hall in the sunshine. Another great BWO concert to launch summer for the enthusiastic audience.

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Bardi Wind present Heroes!, in support of the RNLI

5th June 2023

The Bardi Wind Orchestra players are now once again rehearsing enthusiastically for their annual charity concert at De Montfort Hall which is being presented in association with the Oadby and Wigston Lions Club.  

The chosen charity for 2023 is the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) which may seem a little unusual for a city located 100 miles away from the sea, but we have all seen the bright orange and navy rescue boats when we’ve been on seaside holidays.  Those same boats often appear in TV news items and, who knows, any of us or our families and friends could have need of their help at some point. The RNLI is a charity and is independent of the government – less than 1% of their funding comes from government sources, their lifesaving service depends on the generosity of their supporters.  The interest created by the BBCs ‘Saving Lives at Sea’ programmes has done a great deal to promote the excellent work done by the RNLI – real unsung heroes.

The title of the Bardi Wind concert is, appropriately,  ‘Heroes’  with a programme of music taken from a range of superhero movies including  Superman, The Avengers, The Incredibles, Star Wars and more.  Conductor David Calow will be joined by guest singers David Morris and Rebecca Temple as well as regular compere Colin Blackler. A great afternoon of memorable music is guaranteed!

David Calow conducting the Bardi Wind Orchestra, David Morris, Rebecca Temple, Colin Blackler.



The Avengers, Superman, Star Wars, The Incredibles, The Great Escape, Thunderbirds and more

Sunday 11 June 3pm

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Bardi Wind Orchestra makes a triumphant Christmas return

20th December 2022

It was three years since the last Bardi Wind Orchestra Christmas concert in December 2019 so a return to the Holy Trinity Church stage was an eagerly anticipated event.

In the 30 years that BWO have existed there have been 21 Christmas concerts and it has often been said that ‘Christmas begins properly with the Bardi Wind Christmas concert’. The 2022 Christmas concert had a fresh new look about it with the theme ‘Christmas at the Movies’ but a glance at the programme revealed that lots of old favourites were there with seasonal readings by John Florance and a finale with the enthusiastic singing of ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’ almost bringing down  the roof of a beautifully decorated (a forest of Christmas trees)  Holy Trinity church. 

Film favourites with a Christmas flavour like ‘The Nightmare before Christmas’ and ‘The Polar Express’ were sprinkled through the programme.  In line with the whole refresh of Bardi branding this autumn the programmes and publicity had a really festive flavour. But the real joy was seeing familiar faces who have attended previous concerts, some since the first one, appearing at the ticket desk.

It was good to see new faces in the Orchestra too, alongside long-serving members there were a number of up-and-coming younger players who were relishing the opportunity to play with this high profile group. Received opinion in the foyer after the concert and since was that the sound has never been better. Christmas has properly begun!

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Bardi Wind Christmas at the Movies concludes a busy 30th anniversary year

13th December 2022

The Bardi Wind Orchestra has had a busy 30th Anniversary year. With the Jubilee Proms in the Park, attended by over 5,000 people, and the De Montfort Hall Jubilee celebrations the Orchestra are concluding their 30th year with a much anticipated return of the Bardi Wind Christmas Festival.

After two years away, the Orchestra are excited to return to Holy Trinity Church, on Regent Road, for their traditional festive celebration. For many, it’s not quite Christmas until the Bardi Wind announce the season with Leroy Anderson’s A Christmas Festival, a pot pourri of carol tunes setting the tone for the evening ahead.

This year’s concert has an added treat with a particular focus on music from favourite festive films including Home Alone, Harry Potter, Frozen, The Polar Express, The Snowman, The Nightmare Before Christmas, White Christmas and more.

Familiar traditions will also return though with readings from former BBC Radio Leicester presenter John Florance, and carols and Christmas hits featuring vocals from soprano Nicky Bingham and compère Colin Blackler. Truly a fantastic evening to look forward to for all the family!

Highlights of the Bardi Wind Orchestra’s 30th anniversary year so far

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Bardi Wind a triumph at De Montfort Hall

13th June 2022

For the second time in just over a week the Bardi Wind assembled to provide an exciting concert in celebration of the Platinum Jubilee in this, the Wind Orchestra’s 30th year!

Following their appearance at Hinckley’s Hollycroft Park, where an audience of thousands celebrated the Platinum Jubilee in the sunshine with picnics, they appeared this time on the concert platform at Leicester’s De Montfort Hall giving their annual charity concert in association with the Oadby & Wigston Lions Club on Sunday 12 June.

A large contingent of civic dignitaries attended in support of this year’s nominated charity, Your Local Air Ambulance. The specially devised programme celebrated the Platinum Jubilee with 70 years of popular music associated with Her Majesty the Queen. It was presented by popular local compere Martin Ballard. Jenny Saunders and David Morris provided vocal items and the programme ended with a rousing ‘Last Night of the Proms’ finale which left the audience shouting for encores.

Photos: Neville Chadwick Photography

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Bardi Wind celebrate the Jubilee in style at Hollycroft Park

5th June 2022

The Bardi Wind Orchestra got the Queen‘s Platinum Jubilee celebrations off to a fine start in Hinckley at the beginning of the long Bank Holiday weekend. 

After a highly successful appearance at the town’s Hollycroft Park last summer, the BWO were invited to return for this special concert. Joined by popular vocal soloists Jenny Saunders and David Morris, and conducted by BWO’s conductor David Calow, the Orchestra held the attention of the picnicking audience until late in the evening. The weather was very kind and players eyes widened as more and more audience poured into the park before the concert – last year’s audience was large but this year exceeded all expectations. Those who could get a spot in front of the Orchestra happily sat under the trees at the side (where the view was limited) with their picnics and sang along anyway! As this was a free event it was not possible to get an accurate count of the audience, but it was thought to be several thousand (possibly ten thousand) and certainly the BWO’s biggest audience ever!

If you missed the concert, don’t worry the Orchestra will be doing it all over again at De Montfort Hall in Leicester on Sunday 12 June at 3pm. 

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Bardi Wind visit Air Ambulance HQ ahead of charity concert

25th May 2022

Bardi Wind Orchestra Conductor David Calow, Orchestra Manager Robert Calow and Oboist Janet Hopkins along David Swanson and Jenny Fyfe, Chair of Oadby & Wigston Lions Club recently visited the Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance HQ at Coventry Airport. 

The Bardi Wind Orchestra, in conjunction with Oadby and Wigston Lions Club, have presented a major charity fundraising concert each year since 2009 at De Montfort Hall delighting audiences and raising many thousands of pounds for good causes over the succeeding years. The concert supports a different charity each year and this year is the turn of the local Air Ambulance.

At the airport BWO members and the Lions met Air Ambulance Paramedic Paul Mullins and Paramedic/Airbase Manager Pippa Gibbs who showed them around. They were able learn more about the vital life-saving work of the organisation which receives no public funding and is dependent on private fundraising.

During the visit they were also able to see some of the equipment in use which includes ambulance cars for difficult to reach incidents when helicopter landings are not possible in the immediate vicinity of an incident, the perfect backdrop for a photoshoot to promote the 2022 Charity Concert.

The 2022 concert supporting our local Air Ambulance takes place at De Montfort Hall in Leicester on Sunday 12th June at 3pm. 

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