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The Cinderford Band was formed in 1879 and is proud to have given a service of music to the community in Cinderford and District for more than one hundred years.
History and traditions of the band very often have shown repeated involvement of families, father and sons, brothers and sisters and also husbands and wives.
The late James Jones and brother Evan, both conductors, worked extremely hard before the 1900s creating the band from its original form as a Drum and Fife Band with assistance from the late Mr. Sirers who also conducted and trained the Band. The band was helped at this time by aid from the Volunteer Service and rehearsals took place in a wooden hut on the Seven Stars Green.
During 1880 - 1890 many local competitions for Brass instruments and voices took place with concerts and public appearances becoming most popular. The Contest and Competitions arena made great progress in the 1880 - 1890s especially in the North of England, which acted as a spur to the band.
The first National Contest took place at 'Crystal Palace', London in the year 1860. Cinderford Band was invited to take part and despite the horrendous transport difficulties, travelled the breadth of the country to achieve an amazing 4th place. The band still retains the engraved certificate which recognises this momentous day. This success started a profusion of brass playing in the Forest of Dean area.
The engagement of Mr. William Rimmer, the well known composer and conductor, to provide professional tuition for the Cinderford Band resulted in many successes, with first prizes being obtained at most contests entered. The First World War made times most difficult. The whole band enlisted for the Volunteer Service, and a few weeks later, were playing in France. Following the 1914-18 war, the Band purchased a complete new set of Besson Class A instruments at the cost of £100. The Depression and two major strikes in the 1920s resulted in many difficulties and the loss of excellent players leaving the area to find employment. Playing standards continued to improve during the 1930's due in large part to the work of George Barnard who trained and developed many young players, and Mr R Buck whose organising skills soon filled the engagement book. Conductors at this time were S Birt and J. Webb, and when the appointment of Mr J. C. Dobbin of the Cory Band as professional coach was made, this stimulated a return to contesting, playing at the National 3rd Division Finals at Crystal Palace. New uniforms were bought with the proceeds from the work of the very active Ladies committee.
Just before the outbreak of World War 2, the legendary march composer Mr T. J. Powell was appointed professional coach. A legacy of his tenure is the Band's signature tune "Cinderford" composed by the master himself. The onset of War resulted in most members being called up for National Service. Mr G Barnard took over as conductor during the war years with Mr Peter Fearnly providing tuition. This period after the war saw the band at its lowest ebb. To address the problem, Mr. W. Bird invited Principal Cornet, Mr. Cecil Chappell, to take over as conductor. First a new band had to be built with new music and instruments before the next twelve months of concerts and competition work commenced. This was achieved due to excellent work by the band membership.
The considerable energy and enthusiasm that Mr Chappell brought to the approach to playing and musical interpretation was soon rewarded with contesting being resumed at the Area Finals at Exeter, and a successful result gave the band good heart to pursue further improvement. By 1950 many concerts had been undertaken and 27 first prizes achieved in one contest season. In 1954 in the National Third section, 1st prize was won in the area contest and subsequently 5th in the London finals. Successes continued for the Band during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. History was made in 1958 when the Cinderford Band became the first Forest of Dean Band to qualify for Championship status, by winning the National area contest second section at Bristol. Within three years the Band had qualified to play at the Albert Hall in London National Finals, and was the first Gloucestershire Band to play in Championship Section at London. This was followed by two further appearances at the Albert Hall in the 1960 and 1970s. The development of young players became a focus for Mr Chappell early in his tenure as Musical Director and his work with the junior band provided a continuing influx of ready made players to the Senior Band, who became part of the Cinderford success story and ensured the ongoing commitment to high standards of performance and behaviour.
First prizes followed at Reading, Oxford, Bristol, Exeter, Cirencester, Fairford, and Ruardean including many hat tricks at the Gloucestershire Association Contest. Gloucestershire GBBA Champions eight years out of ten during 1965 to 1975 included a double hat trick. Music Festival Concerts, in addition to playing to knowledgeable audiences in Gloucester Cathedral, gained the recognition and goodwill of many first class musicians in Gloucestershire. Achievements of this fine Band were unstintingly supported by an excellent Ladies' Committee and their Secretary, Mrs. D. Hanman, whose fund raising expertise has subsequently been recognised nationally through the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Dedication of Members, Committee, and Supporters made all this success possible. One grand gentleman, Mr. W. Pick, gave 60 years of service on Solo Tenor, his son Bill 47 years.
Many players have gained beneficial experience from the Cinderford Band, subsequently furthering their playing career with bands among the top in the country such as Black Dyke Mills, Williams Fairey Engineering and Sun life. In 1979, to mark the centenary of the Band, an LP record entitled "Forest Festival Brass" was released. Following the tremendous success of this initial recording, two further recordings have been made; "Cinderford, Severn Sound Band of the Year 1981" and more recently "Have Brass, Will Travel". The Band was most fortunate in obtaining a sponsorship from Swanbrook Coaches of Cheltenham in 1986. This sponsorship proved rewarding for the Band, providing the opportunity to undertake ventures which would have otherwise been impossible. The sponsorship deal continued for its planned 10 year duration...
The Band have undertaken 4 concert tours of Europe, visiting Germany and Holland where most recently it was placed 4th in the National Brass Band Contest of Holland, and have appeared on HTV's Highway with Sir Harry Secombe, which was another first for Bands in the Gloucestershire area. Mr Chappell was assisted in the 1990's by professional tuition for the band being provided by variously, Major Peter Parkes, John Berryman, Major Arthur Kenney, Nigel Taken, Alan Morrison and Lyndon Baglin. Contest successes include being placed 1st out of 26 Bands at the 1989 Reading Contest, 4th at the Area Qualifying round for the 1990 National Brass Band Contest and first prizes at Leamington, Weston, Stroud, and The GBBA annual contest. Cecil Chappell went into semi-retirement in 1997 after 50 years as conductor, becoming Music Adviser to the Resident conductor. Gwynne Price, a former Musical Director of the Royal Tank Regiment, took over as resident conductor, a position he held until 1999. During his tenure the band added performances at St James Park for the Royal Parks Commission to their regular engagements list – another first for bands from the Forest of Dean.
Gwynne began his playing career with Drybrook and District Band in 1950, conducted by the late J.A. Greenwood. He joined the Staff Band (Alamein) Royal Tank Regiment on cornet and trumpet in 1954 and progressed to Kneller Hall where he studied with the great Jack Mackintosh. After leaving the forces in 1963 he became a professional trumpet and cornet player spending the majority of his playing career performing with London Orchestras, the Joe Loss Band and in the pit at numerous West End shows. He continued his brass band connections by playing with, and sometimes conducting, the Watney's Silver Band and regularly featured with them playing Edrich Siebert's 'The Lazy Trumpeter'.
In 1964 Gwynne co-founded the PM School of Music in Twickenham with his long-time friend and business partner, Albert Meek and went on to tutor brass instrument pupils at Tiffin Boys School (Kingston-upon-Thames), Wandsworth Boys School and Thames Valley Grammar School. His pupils went on to win at the National Youth Finals on no less than four occasions. Illness forced Gwynne to retire to the West Country in 1974 but he continued to stay involved with the brass band movement, taking Glastonbury Town from the fourth section to the Championship section in the 1980's. In the early 1990's Gwynne became conductor of the St. Dennis Band in Cornwall which saw them quickly return to their former glory of the Eddie Williams era; they successfully regained the Royal Trophy at the West of England Bugle Brass Band Festival in 1994 playing Eric Ball's 'Journey into Freedom', and were also promoted back to the Championship.
In the late 1990's and through the turn of the century Gwynne returned to his brass band routes in the Forest of Dean and became resident conductor with the Cinderford (Swanbrook) Band. The band was grateful for his services and the progress made under his leadership over the years. Unfortunately Gwynne had passed away quite recently and he will be sadly missed by those who had known him. He was a great ambassador for the brass band movement.
The band went into the first section of National Grading in 1999 and appointed Lyndon Baglin to the position of Musical Director. Lyndon had previously both played and provided professional tuition for the band and had ambition to return the glory days to Cinderford Band. The original plan for success was to consolidate in the First Section, achieve results at contests, start a series of quality concerts, attract the few players required to achieve a full compliment, and work consistently to achieve the potential of best possible performance by each individual and thus the ensemble. The three year plan was brought forward following the achievement of winning Gloucestershire Champion Band on two consecutive occasions, being in the winning frame at the Regional Qualifying contest which resulted in an appearance at the Finals in Preston in 2000 and immediate promotion back to the Championship section nationally, one year ahead of schedule.
The Band currently has 28 members covering a wide age group, ranging from 16 to over 60 years old, the average age being 30. This provides the solid foundation for the band with the older members offering the benefits of their experience. Many of the members have been in the Band for over 20 years, being brought up with the Cinderford Band through the thriving youth band system under the experienced guidance of Cecil Chappell. The younger members of the Band are still at school or college, the working sector being engaged in a variety of professions including; Insurance, Accountancy, Engineering, Industry and Transport. The Band appears at approximately 25 engagements per year all over the country, most of these being return visits due to the bands popularity with audiences, and of course the standard of music being played. These concerts range from the traditional Brass Band concert to an evening of popular music at local Social Clubs. On many occasions, particularly in the clubs, the Band uses resident vocalists Christine Turner and Des Yeates for added audience enjoyment and participation. The bands music strategy of melding traditional with modern, classical with popular, allied to a mindfulness of the need to choreograph the experience of the presentation, has found favour with all of their audiences.
2001 saw the introduction of a learner's class under the experienced tuition of life members Stan Jones and band president Clive Bevan which has already delivered two young players into the senior band with a third knocking on the door. It is a testament to the dedication of the older generation that the future of the band is being prepared so far in advance. The band parted company with Mr. Lyndon Baglin after a successful period, and the band was grateful for his service and the progress made under his leadership.
Subsequent to this, the band appointed former Chairman Bill Jarret to the position of Musical Director with immediate effect. Before moving to the West of England, Bill was the Musical Director of the Romford Band and the Red Triangle Operatic Society, as well as the founder Conductor of the Havering Youth Band, and one of the tutors to the London and Home Counties Youth Band when it was first formed by the Brass Band Regional Association. Bill conducted the Romford Band for over 10 years during which time they achieved many successes including that of Championship status for the first time in their 60 year history. Cinderford Band Musical Director, Bill Jarret, has had a lifelong involvement with music making as an instrumentalist, singer, and Conductor. In his native Scotland he was recognised as a talented boy soprano, winning many awards at Festivals and other competitions, which led to his being in demand for oratorio and secular music performances throughout the North East Region, and later as a principal in musical theatre, having developed a strong baritone voice an experience which was to lead to a new conducting career in that medium in later life.
However it was his early involvement in Brass Band circles which provided the bedrock on which his love of bands and the style of music was born. He was taught to play cornet by his uncle who was the solo euphonium of the Arbroath Instrumental Band which Bill joined at age seven to have a common hobby with his father who had returned home at the end of the second world war. Very quickly the notion to play trombone became very strong and Bill studied the instrument initially with John Boyle, then with the legendary John Faulds who conducted the trombones of Barry, Ostler, and Shepherd Band to world champion status in quartet competitions. By the age of eleven Bill had become principal trombone and the band entered a purple patch becoming Scottish Champions through the sections and reaching Championship Section. A three year spell with Charlton Athletic as a professional footballer interrupted the serious business of brass banding but this resumed immediately on return to Scotland.
Bill moved to London with his wife and young daughter to take up a position with Ford Motor Company in furtherance of his career. This led to his joining the Romford band to play solo trombone for fellow Scot John Anderson. During his time there, Bill founded and conducted the Havering Youth band as a feeder organisation for the senior band and within four years took over as Musical Director of the band which was then in the second section. Concert and Contest successes followed with many of the younger members becoming age-range solo champions. The band gained Championship section status in 1984. Later that year, Bill moved to the West of England in another career move. During his time in Romford, Bill also took on the Musical Directors role for the Operatic Society, following many years of collaboration in joint concerts with that organisation.
The move to the west saw the start of Bill's association with Cinderford Band firstly as a trombone player , later becoming involved with the band management as contest secretary, then many years as Chairman. Bill's playing career came to an abrupt end following the after affects of laser surgery on his left eye, and for a year he took no part in any musical activity. In late 2002 the Cinderford Band developed a new strategy to restart the previous replacement programme for instruments. Bill was invited to take over the Musical Director's position, which he took to with his trademark enthusiasm, and set about a policy of injecting new music into concert programmes, as well as visiting the vast library of music to unearth previously unplayed gems for contrast and vitality. In addition, many of Bill's own arrangements for band have found their way into the repertoire, building on the previous husbandry of Musical Adviser Cecil Chappell who has been the guardian of the band's musical reputation for over fifty years. Due to other commitments Bill moved on to pastures new at the end 2005. Bill sadly passed away in 2009 and he will be sadly missed by all who knew him.
Clive started playing the cornet with Coleford Town Band at the age of 8, under the late Evan Jones. Two years later he moved to the Bream Silver Band and became principal cornet by the age of 12. At the age of 18, he also became principal cornet with the Royal Engineers TA Band in Monmouth. In 1970, Clive moved up to the Championship section, joining Yorkley Onward Band under Graham Watkins and Brian Howard. During this time, Clive helped form, and conducted the training band "Yorkley Concert Band". The band had a large number of engagements and typically averaged 35 members. In 1982, Clive joined the Cinderford Band as a front row cornet player and has been a dedicated member ever since. At the same time he decided to progress his conducting career, moving to Drybrook Band as musical director which turned out to be a successful era, with the Band competing in the National Championships.
In 1985, Clive moved nearer to home to conduct the Pillowell Silver Band, adopting the same principles of youth training as he had done at Yorkley. In 2004, the Band were West of England Champions, and went on to gain runner-up at the National Championships. Clive is noted for his numerous musical arrangements, several of which have been published by Wright & Round of Gloucester. He has also played in dance bands for many years, arranging much of the music. An Engineer by trade, Clive has spent most of his leisure time tutoring young people for music examinations with the Victoria College, and the Associated Board of the Royal Colleges of Music.
Clive is very much involved in the re-introduction of the Academy Band (Previously the Junior Band) and is bringing on both band's from strength to strength, with also winning at Weston-Super-Mare in 2009 with the senior band in the second section a highlight and also coming third in two years in a row with the Academy Band at the Gwent Music Festival. This is there 3rd year at competing. A great achievement in a very small time scale.