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Durnovaria Silver Band
The Durnovaria Silver Band, based in Dorchester, Dorset, England, was founded in 1936 by Mr. Edwin Otter and his wife Kay, together with Harold Hawker and Eric Symes. Whilst Edwin and Kay are no longer with us their names will always be associated with the band and the sound foundation they laid.
During the years of the second World war the band managed to continue providing entertainment wherever and whenever possible, with the assistance of those not required for active service, along with service personnel who were posted in the area. Kay Otter had a fine singing voice which was always used to supplement a band concert.
Edwin remained Musical Director until his death in 1983. Under his direction the band won many brass band festivals and contests, reaching the National Finals. He was also interested in the twinning of Dorchester and he took the band to the French twin town of Bayeux on numerous occasions. During these visits to the Normandy town the Band played for major events, leading parades and playing in the cathedral.
It may also be said that the Durnovaria Silver Band was instrumental (forgive the pun) in establishing the twinning of Dorchester with Lübbecke in Germany. During the Summer of 1968 Bayeux was being officially twinned with Lübbecke and both the Durnovaria Silver Band and the Schützen Musik Corps Lübbecke were invited to Bayeux to celebrate the occasion.
When the two bands met there was an immediate rapport and the Schützen Musik Corps Lübbecke were subsequently invited to Dorchester together with a delegation to explore the possibility of a twinning between Dorchester and Lübbecke. Dorchester had been twinned with Bayeux in 1958, and with the twinning of Bayeux with Lübbecke in 1968 it seemed inevitable that Dorchester should be twinned with Lübbecke. The band made a reciprocal visit to Lübbecke in 1969 and on that occasion a visit to Berlin was included. At that time Berlin was a city controlled by the Allies of World War II and the Durnovaria Silver Band had the distinction of being the first foreign civilian band to play in Berlin since the cessation of hostilities in 1945.
And so it was that the two towns were twinned in 1973, with the Durnovaria Silver Band naturally contributing to the official ceremony and celebrations. Many friendships were formed in those early days which remain firm to this day. Many exchange visits between the two bands have taken place, the most recent of which was the visit of the Schützen Musik Corps Lübbecke to play at Dorchester Carnival in July 2001. At that time the Durnovaria Silver Band was invited to visit Lübbecke in 2002.
Following the passing of Edwin Otter, Peter Standing MBE was appointed as his successor. Peter was well qualified, having been a military bandmaster well known and respected throughout the musical world. Peter continued the band's competitive success with high placings in Wessex Brass Band contests. William (Bill) Aird continued the good work before passing the baton to Alan Carcary, who at that time was an instructor at the Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall. Following Alan's departure and until a permanent Musical Director was appointed, Albert Davies accepted the invitation to conduct the band. Albert trained at Nottingham University and Kneller Hall, has played trumpet with the Hallé Orchestra and cornet with the Grimethorpe Colliery Band, and was the Bandmaster of the Bournemouth T.A. Band which won the Wessex Brass Band contest no less than 9 times.
John Pritchard then became Musical Director until 2004, when he was succeeded by Liz Carter, the current Musical Director
The band has had several rehearsal venues including Greys School Hall, The Boys School in Colliton Street, Fordington Methodist Schoolroom, The Gardens House, the Salvation Army Hall in Durngate Street. This means the band had almost come full circle as the founding members of the band were all former members of the Salvation Army band. The band's current rehearsal venue is the Fordington Methodist Church.
At present the Band is a concert band and now seldom accepts marching engagements. We rehearse at 7:30 pm on Friday evenings. New members of all abilities are always welcome and instruction is available. If you would like to join the band please contact us, or just come along on Friday evening.