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Chichester City Band
During a Council meeting in June 1897, it was suggested that Chichester should have its own band to attend large functions in the city and the surrounding area. What is now known as the Chichester City Band was founded in 1897 by Mr. Robert Bottrill, a well know coal merchant in Chichester and Bognor. To begin with, the band was known as the Chichester Brass Band (South Ward) and rehearsed at the Crown Inn, Whyke Road Chichester. Details of the band's early yars can be seen from a concert programme of the time.
"The newly established Band beg to inform the citizens that it is their intention…to play in and around Chichester...appropriate music. The Committee of the band hope that by this means to justify public support, which is greatly needed to pay off the debt on the instruments, which cost about £60. Donations may be paid to the Treasurer, or properly appointed members of the band, who must produce written authority of their position as collectors."
During the 1914 -1918 war, the band was roped into the Territorial Army, playing as the soldiers marched from the Royal Sussex Barracks to the Railway station, whenever there was a draft of men going to France. No doubt Sussex By the Sea was prominent amongst the Marches played and indeed this remains in the band's repertoire to this day.
Many bands draw their members from family groups and Chichester City is no exception. One extended family within the band provides four cornet players, two horns and a bass player! However, for years service it would be difficult for any current member of the band to match the record of the Tadd family. Eric Tadd, who died in 1998 was one of the band's Tenor Horn players and was with the band for 75 years and had many stories about his time with the band. Eric's father Edward was a member in 1897 and between them, Eric and Edward had 150 years service with the band!
As well as concerts for the public, the band has entered many brass band contests over the past one hundred years. This has led to the band playing at some prestigious venues. Before it burnt down in 1936, the band played at the Brass Band Championships at the Crystal Palace. Much more recently, the band has played at Wembley Conference Centre (1995), Cardiff International arena (1996) and in 1998, Birmingham's magnificent Symphony Hall.
Chichester City Band started the new millennium in the best possible way by qualifying for the Finals of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain. In October 2000, the finals took place at the Royal Albert Hall and it was the first time that the band had played at this world famous venue in its 103 years history.
As well as having around thirty members in Chichester City Band conducted by Lawrence Butchart, Chichester City Training Band exists to bring players of all ages up to the correct standard to play for Chichester City Band. CCTB currently has thirty members.
1897 - The "Chichester City Band" was first formed by Mr Robert Bottrill who owned a coal business in Chichester and Bognor Regis. Initially the band was called the South Ward Band (South Ward of Chichester) and rehearsed at the Crown Inn, Whyke Road, Chichester.
1900 - The Band marched Boer War reservists to the station.
1901 - The Band was registered at Southampton as "The Chichester City Band". The uniform at this time consisted of pill-box hats and dark navy uniform jackets.
1910 - The Portsmouth Evening News sponsored a contest where bands from the Isle of Wight, Sussex, Hampshire, Wiltshire and Dorset competed. The prize was a large shield with the crest of each county designed in enamel and incoporated into the general design. After the City Band won it for the third time the Portsmouth Evening News presented it to Mr E. D. Shepherd, conductor at the time, who accepted it on behalf of the band. The shield to be kept by them permanently. In 1931 the shield was loaned to the Southern Counties Contest Committee to be contested for at Southsea. It would then be held for one year only by the winning band. The shield was won by the Royal Navy Bluejackets Band of Portsmouth. On return it was deposited at Barclays Bank and many years later was transferred to Lloyds Bank, East Street for safe keeping. The shield is now on permanent loan to the Chichester City Council who insured it, and display it in their silver room at the Assembly Rooms, North Street. It was officially handed over to them in the late seventies by Mr Charles Newell, Chairman of the band, and Mr E. W. Tadd who was Band Treasurer at the time.
1914 - During the 1914-18 War the Band had a few woodwind instruments and owing to the loos of several players through call-up for the forces the instrumentation was augmented with fife and drums. No doubt some of the players were from the old "Somerstown Fife and Drum Band". During this time the Band was roped into the Territorial Army so that they were able to play the soldiers from the Royal Sussex Barracks to the station whenever there was a draft of men going to France. The band also went on Marches on Sunday mornings. Mr Bottrill (Bandmaster) held the rank of an officer. In return for services rendered by the Band during these years they were allowed free use of the Drill Hall for as long as they wished for rehearsals twice a week. Also a dry and warm lock-up cellar room for music etc.
1920 - Two coaches were engaged from Lewis and Co. to take members and friends of the Band to the Brass Band Championships at Crystal Palace. These yearly outings continued until December 1936 when the Crystal Palace was burned down. During the last few years of the Palace the Band contested in the 7th and 8th sections. All sections competed on the same day, either in different halls or in parts of the grounds. Most sections, excepts the Championship, had about 33 bands in them and Chichester were usually between 14th and 20th in the results. Promotion like ours was based on our previous results throughout the year at other contests. These trips to the Palace each year were a bit hectic at times. The Band would leave Chichester at 6:00 am and would arrive back between 2:00 and 4:00 am as usually, either going or coming back the driver would lose his way. After the Crystal Palace contests the next two or three National Contests were held at the Alexandra Palace. During the 1920's it was decided by the City Council to build a bandstand in the Jubilee Park in New Park Road. Unfortunately it was of bad design and the whole structure was made of concrete and was haxagonal in shape with six concrete pillars topped with electric lights. It had no sides or roof and consequently the tone of the band was deadened. Throughout the summer on alternate Sundays concerts were held, these were well attended. On every Wednesday evening dancing was held on the grass. After a few years the local "Stonehenge" as it was sometimes called, stayed unused for several years and was eventually demolished in the 1950's.
1922 - Mr Bottrill took up the paid post of conductor of the Bognor Town Band. After a while he was not allowed to run both bands so the Bandmastership of the Chichester City Band was handed over to Mr E. D. Shepherd. This did not satisfy all the members of the City Band and there was a bad undercurrent which finally came to a head one Thursday evening resulting in about eight members, including the Secretary, leaving the Band. This was only a temporary setback because at the time there were about twelve beginners with several months experience behind them and with some concentrated practice the Band was soon back to normal. Mr Bottrill acted in the background as musical advisor and a member of the governing body until about 1936. When Bognor Town Band played on the promenade bandstand on several Sunday afternoons and evening during the summer months several members of the City Band were paid 4/- (20p) a programme plus 1/- (5p) bus fare to augment the Bognor Band.
1927 - The City Band won the Southern Counties 2nd Section Contest and also did well throughout the year. At the following Annual General Meeting Mr Shepherd read out a letter stating that the band had been promoted to the 1st Section. In the minutes of a committee meeting of March 1927 it was proposed and seconded that an appeal for money should be inserted in the Chichester Observer and Chichester Post. It stated that the Band has been in existance for thirty years and done a lot of charitable and entertaining work in and around the City.
1929 - On 3rd July 1929 a sports day and fete was held at Tangmere Airfield from 2pm - midnight. Air Force lorries came to the bandroom and transported the Band to Tangmere. Unfortunately, whilt unloading, the young flugel player tripped and fell onto his instrument, flattening it. The spare one was quickly sent for and the Band played from 2:00-5:00 pm and 6:15-7:00 pm on the sports field, and in the evening in a larger hanger for dancing.
1939 - During part of World War II the ranks of the band were slightly depleted but they managed to pull up again and at the end of the war they took part in a victory parade through the city.
1991 - The Chichester City Band, having completed a very successful and satisfactory 1991, saw the band competing in five brass band contests with very pleasing results, which included a 2nd place result at Brighton and also taking part in the Boosey & Hawkes National Regional Contest at Watford for the first time since the early 1970's.
1992 - started well for the band as they have gained promotion within SCABA to the 2nd Section and are looking forward to a happy and busy year ahead. They have already competed in the Regional finals at Watford as well as Brighton and the Entertainment Contest at Crawley.
1995 - one of the best and most memorable years in the Chichester City Bands 98 year existence. The band competed at the Watford Regional Contest in February and finished third, which qualified them for the Wembley finals for the first time ever. Earlier in the year at the A.G.M the Progress Cup vas awarded to Don Webb. Very good news arrived in August when the band won an award of £15,000 from the Foundation for Sports & Arts. This was followed in November with the fantastic news of an award from the National Lottery of just over £62,000. This money is solely for the purchase of new instruments and cannot be used for any other purpose. A big vote of thanks to Dr Fred Burrows, trombone player in the band, for his work on the form filling that led to the financial success. A good result was achieved at Wembley when the band reached 7th place out of 18 bands in the section.
1996 - a very memorable year for the city band. For the second year running, we qualified for the national finals. Having qualified at the regional contest at the Watford Town Hall in the spring, where we put in a good performance of the test piece "Mexican Fiesta" by Ronald Hammer. We achieved a third place, much to the delight of the band and our Musical Director Nigel McDonald. This meant Nigel would be taking his band back to the country of his birth place Wales. The National Brass Band Championships Finals this year were being held at Cardiff International Arena in September. The test piece from this year was the "Malvern Suite" and quite a different challenging piece to the previous year's piece. The band prepared for the contest with extra rehearsals at the same time keeping up with concert engagements. The reward for all this hard work was that sufficient funds had been raised for the band to be kitted out with a new sky blue uniform which became available the weekend before the finals. On the Friday afternoon we travelled down by coach to Wales and stayed two nights in Cardiff, on the Saturday morning we made our way down to the Cardiff International Arena and we drew number 4 in order of play. Performing for the first time in our new blue uniforms, we had qualified for the final for the second time. We were pleased with our performance and had good adjudicator's remarks and to our delight we finished in the frame in third place. The prize we received was a cheque for £500 (our biggest ever cash win), plus the Boosey&Hawkes embroidered blue banner. After a Saturday night of celebration. It was back to a concert performance on the Sunday as it had been arranged for us to visit Nigel's home town of Merthyr Tydfil. Where he had grown up and had played with the Salvation Army band. On the Sunday afternoon we played a joint concert with Nigel's old band in front of his Mother, Father and many relatives of which he was very proud to have the city band perform in his home town. We believe that this contest result was the best result ever achieved even though the band had some fine results in the 1920's and 1930's. But we do not have any contest records for this period or surviving band members.
1997 - Chichester City Band had a good 1997 as the band celebrated its centenary year. Now aged 101, the band look set for continued success and growth. 1998 has seen musical director John Williams take the band to new heights of musical achievement. The band's competition success started with an Outstanding classification for their performance in the Chichester Music Festival, and the band's ten piece were awarded the Mayor of Chichester's Trophy for the most outstanding performance in the orchestra and band classes of the festival. In March, the band participated in the qualifying contest for the Brass Band Championships of Great Britain, at the Towngate Theatre, Basildon. Due to our creditable performance at Basildon and a run of consistently good results, the band was promoted to the second section This promotion represents a rapid growth in the bands fortunes as only two years ago the band was still in the fourth section. Now the step to championship section does not seem as remote a possibility as once it was! In April, the band's run of success continued in the second section of the Southern Counties Amateur Bands Association Spring Contest, at the Brighton Dome. The band came away with a hat-trick of prizes. The band was awarded first prize for a performance of Goff Richards suite, Three Saints. Musical director John Williams was awarded the conductor's trophy. The band was also presented with the Bob Ayling Memorial Trophy for the best trombone section. The award for the best trombone section was particularly poignant for the band. This trophy was being presented for the first time in memory of Bob Ayling, who was a trombonist with the Chichester City Band for fifty years. The trophy was presented to trombonists Kevin Webb, Fred Burrows, Ian Kingshott and Don Webb by Mrs. Barbara Ayling. At the SCABA Entertainment Contest at the Hawth Theatre Crawley in May, the band scooped another hat-trick of awards. The band were awarded first prize, the trombones secured the award for the best trombone section with the Ted Heath number "Hot Toddy and musical director John Williams came away with the compere's trophy. Adjudicator Gordon Higgingbottom praised the band for "putting on a good show" and felt they "played with conviction".
1998 - Members of the training band were to the fore during the Solo classes of the Chichester Music Festival. Alex Barron (age 8) was the winner of the beginner class on his Tenor Horn, Ruth Hartley (age 10) came first in the grade one class on cornet and Rebecca Williams (age 9) was given special mention for her tenor horn playing in the grade two class. In the band and ensemble classes, the training band gained first prize in the Brass Band Youth Section, this was the first competition the band had ever entered.
1999 - a very good year for contesting, producing creditable results for both the main and training bands. At the National Qualifying Contest, we came fifth out of fifteen bands. This was a very creditable performance, especially as this was our first year following promotion to the second section. Once again we were successful at the Chichester Music Festival in February. Both the senior and training bands came out winners. In the solo classes, adjudicator Leighton Rich (the conductor of the Hampshire Youth Brass Band) awarded no less than nine first prizes to members of the training band. At the Crawley Entertainment Contest, the prize for the best soloist went to principal trombonist Kevin Webb. Kevin was joined by fellow trombonists Ian Kingshott and Bob Ainsworth, scooping the award for the best Trombone section. Kevin, Ian and Bob played a special arrangement of "I Will Follow Him" from the Whoopi Goldberg film "Sister Act". To make the performance even more authentic all three trombonists dressed as Nuns. Musical Director John Williams once again came away with the conductors award. At the Southern Counties Autumn Contest in Folkestone the band gained first prize in the hymn tune category with a performance of Holy, Holy, Holy. With our interpretation of Goff Richards "Three Saints" we were placed third overall and John Williams securing the conductor's prize. Peter Hughes, Peter McGovern, Irene Boyle and John's wife Mary Williams brought home the prize for the best horn section. Along with our winning performances at the Spring Contest in Brighton and Entertainment Contest in Crawley, this means that the band has walked away with 11 trophies this year alone. This was the band's most successful year of competition ever. The highlight of our summer season came with our concert in the Chichester Festivities International Arts Festival, at St. Paul's Church, Northgate on Friday 9 July. There was something for everyone in the concert including music from our recent appearance in BRASSED OFF, music from the big band scene and a very exciting arrangement of Festival Overture by Dmitri Shostakovich. Some of the repertoire that brought the band eight trophies this year was also on display. For the first time ever this year, the band performed at the Chichester Festival Theatre. The band were delighted to take part in the stage version of the hit film BRASSED OFF. The show ran from Tuesday April 13 to Saturday April 17. Our performance was judged a great success from press notices and audience reaction. The show generated a lot of publicity and we were featured in the Observer Magazine.
2000 - The big news for the band this year was that we qualified for the finals of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday 21st October. We won our place at the qualifying contest at the Gordon Craig Theatre Stevenage on Saturday 18th March. This is the first time in the band's 103 year history that we have qualified to play at the Royal Albert Hall. After qualifying for the finals of the National Brass Band Championships, we notched up one win and a second place. At the Southern Counties Entertainment contest we came second, this was the first time that we had competed against championship section bands. At the Southern Counties Spring Contest we not only won but came away with the march prize and a further three trophies. Our musical director John Williams was awarded the conductor's trophy, John Kidby, Irene Boyle and Mary Williams won the best horn section and our bass trombonist Mike Saville walked off with the prize for the best trombonist. We emerged as one of the top bands in our section in the country after finishing eighth in the National Brass Band Championships. The band was competing in the final against sixteen other bands that had qualified from eight different local area qualifying contests giving a total of one hundred and eleven bands across the country. Musical Director John Williams was happy with the way we played and all band members thoroughly enjoyed the fantastic experience of playing in such a famous venue. Adjudicators Alan Hope and Tony Swainson gave some very positive comments on the band's performance, giving particular credit to John Williams for his stylistic interpretation of the set work Abstractions by the Norwegian composer Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen. Soloists within the band were also complimented and both adjudicators felt we created a good atmosphere in our performance.
2001 - Chichester City Band started 2001 as a First Section Band. To climb the final step, we travelled to Stevenage on March 18th to the Regional Qualifying Contest for the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain. Although we were not successful in gaining a place at the finals this year, we have consolidated our position in this highly competitive section. We were on winning form at Hove Town Hall for the Southern Counties Spring Contest. We won almost every prize on offer, best march, best bass trombonist (Mike Saville), best horn section (John Kidby, Jo Eddy, Irene Boyall, Jane Bourne), best bass section (Bob Ainsworth, Dawn Sturgess, Ian Frost, Colin Bourne) and best conductor (John Williams). Once again, members of the training band were to the fore at this year's Chichester Music Festival. Six CCTB members won their respective solo classes; Ruth Hartley (flugel horn), Rebecca Williams (tenor horn), Nicholas Bishop (euphonium), Gary Booley (tuba) Jonathan Pett (trombone), and Ashley Bill (trombone). In collaboration with the Selsey Operatic Society, we recorded a CD of Christmas Music in aid of St. Wilfrid's Hospice. All proceeds from the sale of the CD went directly to the Hospice. John Williams' service to Chichester City Band was recognised by Chichester City Council at a special ceremony at Chichester College of Arts, Science and Technology on Wednesday 6th February. John was pre- sented with a Civic Award in recognition of the contribution he has made to the life of the City.
2003 - was a mixed year in many respects. The band performed a variety of different concerts, continued their fine contesting performances and also saw some comings and goings in the band's personnel. The Area qualifying contest at Stevenage for the National Championships were disappointing for the band as they thought that their performance of "Passacaglia" deserved a higher placing. However, their 9th place in the competition cemented their standing in the 1st Section and provides a realistic chance of promotion to the Championship section in 2004. It was an unusually quiet year for the band in terms of contesting as the only other contest in which the band competed was the Crawley Entertainment Contest. The band were the highest placed 1st Section band for the third year running, however the band had hoped to improve on 4th place which they had also achieved the year before. The contest was notable for the band performing in a "big band" formation with snazzy shirts to match! This style of concert was repeated during the year at concerts and proved to be very popular with audiences. New faces to Chichester City band this year have been Simon Saville (brother of Mike who plays trombone) on Solo cornet. Jo Causer on Repiano Cornet. Roy and Linda Taylor who are husband and wife have joined on Solo Cornet and Second Baritone respectively. John Bailey and David Tutty have come in on EEb and BBb bass and at the end of 2003 father and son Euphonium team Jeff and Gez Penfold joined. While these changes to the personnel may have been unsettling at times it is generally thought that the band is now in a very strong position to make the next step up to the Championship section.
2006 - 20 AUGUST 2006 - JOHN WILLIAMS IS BACK - The band are pleased to announce that John Williams is back as musical director of the band. He has already taken the band to play at fetes and concerts and the audiences have welcomed him back and enjoyed listing to his choice of music and his unique sense of humour!! 30 MARCH 2006 - DISAPPONTING RESULT AT THE AREAS
Our first contest together produced a rather disappointing result however there were some positives to take from the performance. This is the first contest the band has taken part in for quite a while and for a few it was their first ever contest, with this in mind it was not a bad showing. 15 JANUARY 2006 - INTRODUCING LAWRENCE BUTCHART - Lawrence Butchart has taken over as the new conductor of Chichester City Band. Lawrence started playing euphonium at the tender age of 8. It was not long before he discovered a real liking for all things brass and eventually, when he left school, he joined the regimental band of the Scots Guards under Major Duncan Beat. After leaving the Guards, Lawrence went seeking fame in the coalfields of Yorkshire where he spent time as principle Euphonium at Markham Main Colliery Band. Since moving to the South Coast, Lawrence spent almost 10 years as principal Euphonium at Bournemouth Concert Brass, following which he was heavily involved in the reforming of Poole Borough Band, before joining the SWT Woodfalls Band. He spent 15 years at SWT Woodfalls, the last five years as Bandmaster and 9 years as MD of the Woodfalls Junior Band.