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Stourport-on-Severn Brass Band
The band originally developed out of the Stourport High School Band and was set up as Stourport Youth Band under the leadership of George Jackson in 1969. Eventually, as the age of the members increased and the loyalties to the band were maintained the word 'youth' was dropped from the title. The band now has players from the age of fifteen and upwards and still includes some of the founder members.
In 1981 George Jackson retired and was replaced by Colin Farlow, one of the Worcestershire county brass teaching staff. Colin stayed with the band for fourteen years and during this period took the band into the Second section in 1995, having won the third section qualifiers in 1985 and qualifying again for the National Finals in 1991.
Colin stood down in 1995 to concentrate on his county teaching commitments and Stourport Band's youth band, the North Worcestershire Youth Brass Band, formally know as the Mitton Band after Stourport's twin town. This band aims to develop the playing skills of younger musicians in the area whilst maintaining links between the county music service and Stourport Band. Colin was made the band President and his wife Christine, who also played with the band for many years, was made Vice President in appreciation for the years they dovoted to the band.
Colin's position was filled by David Bishop-Rowe, a well known musician in the West Midlands who was our conductor until March 1999. The band returned to the Third Section in 1997 where we have built on the contesting experience gained over the last few years.
In 1997 the band gained a National Lottery Grant with which they purchased a new set of instruments and commissioned a specially written piece of music. It then, in 1999, secured the services of David Maplestone as conductor. David has conducted many Championship bands and is an excellent cornet player in his own right; playing in the famous Grimethorpe Colliery Band for many years. It is to him that the band attributes its recent successes.
The band participates in contests to ensure a high standard of playing. Good results in the Midland Regional Championship, which determine the section grading, over the period 1999 - 2001, saw the band promoted to the 2nd Section for 2002. In its final year in the 3rd Section, the band emphasised its consistency by winning at the Rhyl Entertainment contest (and also the best soloist prize) and retaining its win from 2000 in the Leamington contest. The band continued its success even after promotion to the 2nd section, winning at the Wychavon contest in September 2002. In March of 2003 the band gained its best result to date, qualifying for the National Finals in the 2nd section and it represented the Midlands Area in Dundee. This amazing feat was repeated in 2005 when the band again qualified for the National FInals in the 2nd Section in Harrogate. This ensured the band were promoted to the 1st Section for the first time in its existence.
Steve Gittens took over leading the band for a short while in 2005 and then the band secured the services of Barry Pope, who had previously conducted the famous Sunlife Band. The band were helped out from summer 2006 by David Morgan who is a former player with the band. Dave left the band in Jan 2008 and the band had many guest conductors including Colin Farlow who took the band to the Regionals. Mike West was appointed MD in August 2008
The band also enjoys playing in many concerts throughout the year, both for private and public functions. It still remembers the pleasure in 1999 when it became the chosen Midland band to play in the stage version of 'Brassed Off' at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre and then were thrilled to be further involved in the exciting production at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre in May and June 2003 and received some excellent reviews.
The band continues its long-standing policy of promoting the musical development of people in the area and it always welcomes interest from good players. It rehearses twice a week (Tuesday and Thursday evenings) at the Old School in Areley Kings near Stourport on Severn which is the band's permanent base now after a few yaers of uncertainty and an appeal on midlands Today in 2005.