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Yeovil Town Band
In December 1859 a group of Yeovil men met to consider forming the Yeovil Rifle Corps; a public meeting was called in January 1860 at which 64 men joined the Corps, although it was April before it was officially formed. it is not on record how the band was formed although it is known that a Mr J Hoaring organist, music and singing teacher appeared on the scene in May and a drum and fife band became attached to the Corps which was renamed the 16th S.V.R.
At some point and for some obscure reason, Mr Hoaring stepped aside for a Sergeant Pandy who remained as bandmaster until 1870 when Alfred Beare appeared and Sergeant Pandy was reported as having the option of resigning or of retaining his rank as Sergeant of the band.
Then an oddity occurred; the bandsmen signed an agreement at the beginning of each year which bound them to play under none other than Mr Pandy. Because of this agreement eight bandsmen were struck off the roll and handed in their instruments and uniforms,. In fact Alfred Beare possessed a degree of musical expertise because he wrote 11 of the 13 pieces which the band played during its first recorded public performance at Montacute House in September 1870. He retired after a good innings in 1896 but the band continued very much in a military vein until around 1936, when it regrouped (spearheaded by a T E Carey) as the Pettres Works Military Bank, which continued for a few years until sometime between the 1st and 2nd World Wars, the Yeovil Corporation Band was formed.
Then in 1949 some dissent within the band saw a splinter group break away and form the Yeovil Working Men's Band, and the community of Yeovil touted two bands which amalgamated into the present band in 1967. For most of our history Yeovil has languished in the lower sections, so our belated success in the contest arena has come as something of a shock to us. We have made seven appearances in the National Brass Band Championships (the first was in the 70s, the second in the 80s and the next 5 have run consecutively from 1994).
The band attributes its uplift directly to Ray Hunt, who signed as their MD in 1994, after which we have never looked back. It is something of a testament Ray that in 1996 he realised that he had taken the band as far as he could musically and encouraged them to sign the talented Steve Sykes as their new professional which promptly contributed to us winning the 2nd Section Finals title and the West of England Regional Championships in 1997.
In 1999 Steve decided to move on to other projects and we engaged the services of Philip Bailey (Young Conductor of the Year), under Phil we moved into the Championship Section for the first time in the bands history, our first outing saw us gain a respectable 4th placing in the areas.
Our second outing with Phil saw us take a 6th position. In August 2002 Yeovil parted company with Phil as we auditioned for a new conductor it became apparent that the band really needed to appoint a resident and professional working closely which would give us the flexibility and professionalism we needed to keep our sights set on being the best in Somerset. In early 2003 we appointed our current duo, Dave Hayward as Resident conductor along with Ian McElligott as associate conductor under this combination we achieved our highest accolade ever with a 3rd placing at the Area contest 2003 just one point short of a placing at The National Brass band Championships (Championship Section) which took place in the Royal Albert Hall.
Due to work commitments we found ourselves looking again for both a Musical Director and an Associate Conductor, luckily we have been able to secure the services of both Kevin Robbins as Musical Director and Dave Barringer as Associate.