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East Woodhay Silver Band
The band was founded in 1884, under the name of East Woodhay Mechanics Band but by 1904 the name was changed to St. Martin's Brass Band. It was under the direction of a Mr. Rowden, and the band had been considerably assisted by a Major Ridley, who had presented tunics and instruments. There was an early connection with the Newbury Weekly News, when in 1890 they reported that the Band was making its "usual rounds", which it still does today.
In the early years of this century, the leadership of H. B. Cummings and Major Bowley led the band to join up with the Highclere Band. World War 1 effectively closed the band for the duration when members joined army units and, with the outbreak of the World War 2, the band became a Home Guard band. Shortly afterwards the band became known as it is today.
In 1950, the band joined the Oxford Association and, during this time, the band were successful in the Oxford area contests. Under the enthusiastic leadership of Desmond Webb MBE, the numbers increased, and a "Youth Section" was formed. In fact, his father had joined the band in 1908, which gives the Webb family a 90 year association.
Many other families in the area have a close association with the band, and the people and organisations in the local area still seek the musical entertainment which the band can provide. The range of work includes entertaining at high profile dinners in the City of London, army messes and the many fêtes and shows which need musical entertainment to attract the crowds. During the Christmas period, small sections go out into the local villages in the evenings playing carols in addition to playing at concerts for the disabled and in local village halls.
Most of the players are using instruments which were bought as a result of a National Lottery Award. This was achieved through much hard work from various members of the Band.
With over 100 years behind it, there seems no reason not to envisage another 100 years in the future.