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Wingates Band

The Great Shindig

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Local Author, Tony Smith's Book Inspires a Musical Show

When I started writing my first book (actually, it was my second but that’s another story) it was initiated after a conversation with Lucy Pankhurst, composer in residence with Wingates Band. I was at that time, and still am, part of the Bands backroom team. Having listened to some of Lucy’s compositions I had an urge to ask her to compose some music based on a few short stories that I had written for a little Dutch girl in 1985. From this chance encounter I returned to those early stories and decided to build on them and ended up with a manuscript titled Making Rain and Other Things Is Our Business which is a humorous account of man-made weather.

Because I am getting on a bit, (73), I did not have neither the patience nor possibly the time left to enter in to a protracted search for a publisher and eventually I decided to go down the 'self publish' route. Making Rain and Other Things Is Our Business was published by Lulu.com in the USA in late 2013. Self-publishing is a chancy business and without any form of professional marketing support it is difficult to recover your costs. Whilst I worked hard to promote my book I found the results most depressing but from it sprang two ideas which I have exploited.

Wingates Band performing musical work inspired by Making Rain and Other Things Is Our Business (Tony Smith)

First, I decided to try and create a musical show built around the book which mentions a brass band, (not Wingates, but that’s another story), a pipe-band, highland dancers and a choir and a number of pieces of music, including those composed by Lucy Pankhurst. The theme throughout the show is a journey through the book, led by a host equipped with a suitable script, and the use of digital imagery to accompany the music. The 'Great Shindig' has attracted funding from The Arts Council and is currently being created. The show takes its name from the last story in the book. Participants include, Wingates Band, Warrington Pipe-Band, Highland Dancers, The Brixi Singers from Bolton, and an aspiring young vocalist from Atherton called Caitlin Wineyard. The digital imagery is being created by students from Wigan & Leigh College working in collaboration with the professional company Draw & Code Ltd based in Liverpool. The show will be staged at The Brindley Theatre, Runcorn on September 25th, 2016.

A Cloud's Life - book by Wingates Band's Tony Smith Second, I had so much fun writing about man-made weather solutions that I went on to write three more books which expand on my fantasy weather world. Throughout the series readers follow the adventures of two loveable characters – Cirrus Cumulus and Percival White – who carry out an amazing array of weather jobs, using their cloud machine – Nimbus. As members of The Guild of Cloud Owners they operate out of Wythenshawe Weather Centre using a machine manufactured in Salford – centre of all cloud machine manufacture. My next book A Cloud’s Life is now available in soft-cover and ebook from Lulu.com and will be available from Barnes & Noble and Amazon from early 2016.

The final two books in the series - Weather to Order and It's Not Just About Rain – will both be published in 2016.

I'm not counting on substantial sales, I'm simply satisfying an ambition but if I can write of our weather and bring a few chuckles to a long and dismal winter's day, it will all have been worthwhile. Apart from anything else it will give me bragging rights which I can exercise on my grandchildren – now where on earth have they got to?

You can keep up to date with progress, and book tickets for the show at the Great Shindig website.

Press Release by Tony Smith, 9th February 2016.


Contact Information

Band Manager - Sue MacDonald: 07966 364530and Assistant Band Manager - Kirsty Jacques: 07969 385623 | Email

The Band's Musical Director is Paul Andrews: 07810 712992 | Email

Visit Wingates Band website for latest news and concert information.

Registered Charity No. 1097122

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