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Beverley Brass Band
The history of a town band dates back to the late 19th century when there were three bands in Beverley.
Their fortunes fluctuated and two were disbanded. The Beverley Unison and the Beverley Silver Band - followed by the original Borough Band which ceased playing in the 1920's.
It was in 1969 that the present day band was founded by J.M.Cater (Mick) who started up the band again after reading an article in The Beverley Guardian written by the editor Arthur Hoggard.
The article was about the old Hodgson Silver Band and Mr. Hoggard said it would be very good if someone was brave enough to start the band up again in the town.
The Hodgson Silver Band used the instruments of the old Beverley Borough Band when the Hodgson band ceased their instruments went to the National Fire Service in Hull and then to the Army Cadet force in Beverley in 1945. The instruments were then passed on to the Cadets at Sutton Airfield and then mysteriously disappeared.
When the band started in 1969 a few of the members had their own instruments but they really needed the old ones for those that did not own their own.
After numerous letters the instruments were tracked down to the East Hull Barracks were they had been stored away. Along with a £500 loan from the town council and a very generous grant of £500 the band managed to get on their feet.
The first meeting was at the British Legion in Beverley and rehearsals were held in the dance hall for a couple of months, but it was very difficult to get set nights because of other social events that were going on there. The band then moved to the ballroom at Hodgson's on Priory Road, but encountered problems with storage, so the council was approached and with the help of Coun. Ted Barrett a room and storage was found at Stepney Contractors in Swinemoor Lane. The problem came on Sunday morning when the neighbours complained about the noise! Yet again a move was forced on the band this time returning to Hodgsons, but this time with storage facilities.
The next episode in the bands history was a move to the Cross Keys Hotel were the landlord was very pro brass, however when the landlord retired the new landlord expanded the premises and the band was uprooted once more. The band found a home at The Beverley Grammar School in the old school gym were they stayed for a number of years until the land was sold for housing development. The St. John Ambulance responded to an article in the Hull Daily Mail newspaper 'Give the band a home' and the band was offered the facilities at the site on the corner of Wilbert and Morton lane and meet for rehearsals on a Monday and Wednesday evening.
The band has a good camaraderie among its members and supports the community by performing at charity events, summer concerts, church services etc. In its early years the band was a formidable unit led for many years by bandmaster Ben Titley ex bandmaster of the Regimental Band of the 13/18 Hussars.
The band have played a number of engagements abroad as a representative of the Borough of Beverley who is twinned with Lemgo in West Germany, the first visit was in 1979. Following the success of one such visit the band were given the honour of playing as guests of the Balenkater Shooting Company at Iserlohn's Shutzenfest. This is an annual festival organised by the local shooting club and covering three days of celebrations and attracting 100,00 visitors in which parades and musical entertainment form an integral part. It is believed that The Beverley Borough Band was the first British civilian band to be given the honour of participating; it is customary that local bands and military bands of the NATO countries provide the musical spectacle. Amongst the bands on record as taking part were the Black Watch, Royal Fusiliers, Royal Tank Regiment, Queen's Dragoon Guards and service bands from France and West Germany.
The last visit abroad by the band was in 1998 again to mark a twinning event this time the twinning of Beverley with the French town Norgent-Sur-Oise. The visit was a shared experience with members of The Beverley Garland Dancers and was organised via the Beverley Anglo-French Society and was made possible with financial assistance by Hodgsons Chemicals ltd. and the White Horse Folk Club.
The Beverley Borough Band was an active member of the Yorkshire & Humberside Brass Band Association and won prizes and still retains their membership today. The Association hold contests were member bands compete for the honour of best musicians at events. In March 1994 the band competed in the North of England Brass Band Championships held at Darlington and finished in third place in their group, one more point and the band would have qualified to play against the top bands in the country at the National Brass Band Championship of Great Britain.
The band has performed at various venues over the years including Peasholm Park Scarborough, Burnby Gardens Pocklington, Burton Constable Hall, Beverley Race Course, the Humber Bridge, Fountains Abbey near Ripon , and other tourist attractions.
In May 2006 the band featured in the Beverley Theatre Company production of Brassed Off staged at The War Memorial Hall, Beverley. The poignant comedy set in a pit community under the threat of closure, was faithfully adapted from the famous screen play which starred Pete Postlewaite. This event is still remembered by the band - some as well as playing had walk on parts to perform, the full band were proud to be involved in the production and be part of ' keeping Theatre live in Beverley'.
In June 2006 the band was privileged to appoint Jim Johnson, a former player as its musical director, such was his inspiration to the players that the secretary thought that we ought to perform a concert at The Beverley Minster with the aim of raising the awareness of the band to the public. The concert was held in June 2007 with special guests the Beverley Male Voice Choir. The accolade received after the event was such that a concert was held again in 2008.
To conclude the history of the band here is a list of people who have conducted the band since it started- a big thank you to you all!
Past Bandmasters though to present:
Beverley Borough Band: October 1969 founded by J.M. Cater
- Sam Williams ex Manchester reg't. 1969 - 1970
- Albert Ashbridge 1970 - 1972
- Henry Crouch 1972 - 1975
- Ben Titley ex B/M 13/18 Hussars 1975 - 1991
- Rowland Smith 1991 - 1995
- Graham Randle 1995 - 03/1996
- Gary Oglesby 04/1996
- Andrew Snell 05-08/1996
Beverley Brass Band:
- Andrew Thorne 09/1996 - 12/1998
- John Robinson 01/1999 - 07/2001
- Alistair Hull 07/2001 - 07/2003
- John Robinson 07/2003 - 06/2005
- Albert Ashbridge 06/2005 - 06/2006
- Jim Johnson 06/2006 - 10/2010
- Phil Biddlecombe 10/2010 -