Eastern Daily Press 10th August 2001
Town & Country News September 2001

Stalham's music man celebrated

For 50 years veteran conductor Gerald Thirst was the driving force behind the Stalham Brass Band.
Now to honour the memory of the 84-year-old bandleader, who died last year, the band has produced a tribute CD and cassette.
ĎCelebrationí is a collection of 17 hymns specially recorded at St. Maryís Church in Stalham.
A booklet detailing the history of each hymn accompanies the music, which also has a foreword written by the Bishop of Norwich the Rt. Rev. Graham James.
The CD and cassette also contain a 10-minute recording of the worldís longest serving bandleader, who was awarded the MBE. for his services to music, talking about his life.
His son, Dr. Tim Thirst, who took over as director of music when his father stood down in 1998, said the band had pressed ahead with the recordings, which began shortly before his fatherís death, as a tribute to his achievements.
His father first joined the band as a boy and was appointed its ninth bandmaster in 1948.
"Itís a celebration of his time with the band, his MBE. and his life," he said.
"We have had quite a few people waiting for it, not only supporters, but also those who like church music.
"The recordings have been produced in-house using digital technology and a second CD and cassette is due out in the autumn.
There are also plans to produce a Christmas Lessons and Carols Service CD.
"Itís not only the music," Dr. Thirst said. "Some of the intention is to produce a CD for people who canít get out and we are trying to make it so they can sing along."
And he said that if the CDís proved a commercial success, it could finance a collection of secular tracks.
"Hopefully this will make some money for the band so that we can produce more CDís of non-church music, where we have to get a performance licence for everything." he said.

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