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Reddish Prize Band
Reddish Prize Band was originally formed in 1897. They had been the Boys Brigade band at the local church, St Elizabeth's but were thrown out for not attending church parade! The players formed the Reddish Independent Band which very quickly became the Reddish Prize Band after their first success in a competition. From then on the band grew and prospered playing for all the local events, doing concerts and some contesting. They did not have much success in the contesting, but they did enjoy the activity.
Generations of Reddish families played and supported the band until the 1960's when disenchantment set in once again. The result of this was that players went to other bands, most of the records were destroyed so that by 1991 nothing, apparently, remained except memories.
In August 1991 the band was revived. The first steps were accomplished with the aid of Mrs Pat Read the owner and editor of the Reddish Reporter who kindly printed the posters and advertised the proposed reformation of the band in the paper, all free of charge.
The billposter, John Sellers, then went around all the shops, pubs, churches, public halls and anywhere a poster could be hung. Whilst hanging a poster in the Union pub and chatting to the clientele an old pensioner, Bill Jones, said "starting the band again? that's great! I used to drive the bus for the old band when they went out so let me be the first to donate". With that he gave me a pound. That was the first of many donations that helped to get us started.
One day the foot-sore bill poster was at a loss as to what to do next More information was required; where to get information - the Library. The footsore bill poster went into the Library and said to the lady behind the counter "1 say Carol, do you happen to know anyone who knows about brass bands?" "As a matter of fact I do", was the reply. So it was that John Sellers and Frank Cork met up and a public meeting was arranged. This was done with more posters and the cooperation of the Christ Church Committee, which resulted in another meeting and the reformation of Reddish Prize Rand in October1991.
We started with six Players, mainly borrowed instruments, a few sheets of music and the good will of more people than can be named.
One name I will mention is Mrs. Brown, the wife of the old bands treasurer, she had an old post office bank book that she had been keeping for sentimental reasons, never thinking it would be of use again. The small amount left in it since the 1960's had grown to eighteen pounds, which she was happy to hand over to the new band - continuity of thought and support from the community which is essential for an enterprise of this nature.
Thursday evening was rehearsal night m the vestry at St Elizabeth's church, our cornet player was Richard Adamson the curate of the church. Over the winter with borrowed players and the band progressed, doing concerts wherever we could. We also gained our first junior member, Clair Thompson, at this time. Throughout the winter the band lived up to its traditional nickname 'The Wet Weather Band'.
Over the years the bands progress has been a streamlined movement alternating with the gait of a three-legged horse. We played at church fetes, garden parties, our own set concerts, the town square and the Christmas pub crawl. One job we did on a summers evening was to play for an old bandsman's birthday. The arrangement was for the gentleman's son and the rest of the family to take him to the pub for a birthday drink until nine o'clock, when they all came back home, apart from the son, none of the others suspected the band was hiding round the corner. On cue the band assembled outside the front door, as Frank's baton came down and the band played, faces appeared at all the windows in the street and the astonished guest of honour appeared at his front door. The birthday party now included all the neighbours. One old chap drink in hand, came up to me and said "This is better than bloody telly lad", The band closed with Deep Harmony which brought tears to the old man's eyes. It was one of those jobs that gives such pleasure to all concerned and makes all the hard work worthwhile.
It was one of those jobs that gives such pleasure to all concerned and makes all the hard work worthwhile.
After two years at St Elizabeth's we had to leave and commenced rehearsals at Reddish Conservative Club, where we rehearse to this day, thanks to Mr. Colin Wilson and the committee. It is a friendly band room and people are welcome to come along for a blow.
Sadly in 1996 the Gorton Silver Band ceased to exist, after long discussion with their few remaining members and the trustees it was agreed that, in exchange for a portion of their assets, we would keep the name of Gorton Silver alive by incorporating it into our own name. Thus our full name is Reddish Prize Gorton Silver Band.
Mr. Steve Shawcross accepted the position of M.D. upon Frank's retirement. When Steve had the baton he worked really hard to bring out the sound of the band. Thanks to their previous training they can now respond to the more exacting standards required of them. There is still humour in the band room and a lot of hard work that was bringing the skills to a point where they decided to try their hand at contesting again. Steve took the band to two contests, which meant even more hard work and dedication from the players. Steve retired after the contests and Frank returned as M.D. for a further two years, after which he retired (again) to take up other interests. They were followed as M.D. by Bob Dixon and Delphine Evans.