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Kineton Brass Band

For many years it was necessary for the organizers of Kineton events to hire a brass or silver band from distant towns and villages. Then, for a brief period in the 1880s, Kineton had its own brass band. Comments recorded during the relatively short life of this band, and of its successor the Kineton Drum and Fife Band, suggest that it was noted more for its enthusiasm than for its musical achievement. This enthusiasm, however, gained them the support of the local nobility, gentry and tradesmen, who subscribed towards the band's uniforms.

The first reports are of the band playing at various entertainments during the Whitsun week in 1883. Here the Parish Magazine observed that “as perseverance deserves success, we heartily give the members our best wishes.” A year later the band “played through the town to display their new uniform, which they have obtained by subscription, the order for supplying it being given to Mr. W. H. Wilkins, tailor, of Kineton, who has given great satisfaction in the execution of the order. The uniform is composed of dark blue serge, braided with yellow. It is effective, but neat.” The Parish Magazine considered that “the old uniform was decidedly too showy in appearance, and we think the Band have this time shewn better discretion in selecting a more neat and less conspicuous facings and colour.” At the same time, the correspondent noted that “the band has certainly a great difficulty to contend with, namely, the want of an efficient instructor” and advised them to “get someone to have the perfect control of the whole arrangements of the band, whose word shall be law.” The Stratford Herald, however, felt that “the band has improved very much in their playing.”

In December 1884 the Parish Magazine noted that “There are those who with no small show of disapprobation exclaim 'Kineton needs no band'” and conceded that “Kineton could exist and flourish without possessing a band.” It then went on to stress that “if in a small town like this only one or two young men are benefited either in moral or intellectual advancement or in being preserved from any kind of temptation, surely a good work has then been done by providing them with pleasant occupation or amusement for their leisure. For these reasons we are gratified at the Kineton band still existing.”

The Kineton Brass Band was indeed still in existence in June 1887 when it took part in the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria's reign and headed the procession from the parish church to the grounds of Kineton House (now Norton Grange), “where nearly 400 of the male inhabitants of the parish sat down to a substantial dinner of cold meats, salads, and hot plum puddings.” Six months later, its place in people's affections had been taken by the Kineton Drum and Fife Band, and the Parish Magazine was hoping that “this new band will continue, and not suddenly fall away as the brass band has done.” The new band played at the Combroke Village Wake in July 1888 to such success that the villagers there “very much wish we saw our way to starting a Drum and Fife Band in Combroke.”


Citations:

1883
There is a rumour of the probability of a speedy breaking up of the Band. We trust the rumour will prove, like many others of our village rumours, incorrect.
Parish Magazine, February 1883

We are glad to hear that the Kineton Bands were engaged to play at various entertainments during a part of Whitsun-week. We trust the Band will prosper, and will give satisfaction where-ever it goes; and as perseverance deserves success, we heartily give the members our best wishes.
Parish Magazine, June 1883

1884
We understand that the Band are asking for subscriptions towards procuring new uniforms. The old uniform was decidedly too showy in appearance, and we think the Band have this time shewn better discretion in selecting a more neat and less conspicuous facings and colour. If we are rightly informed, we hear that the new uniform is to be dark blue with yellow facings. While speaking about the Band, we should like to throw out a friendly hint to its members. The advice we would give to them is this - “Make the new uniform the property of the Band, and not the property of each member. Get someone to have the perfect control of the whole arrangements of the Band, whose word shall be law.” We wish the Band every success, and we trust it will gain the support of everyone in Kineton.
Parish Magazine, May 1884

Brass Band - On Saturday afternoon last the members of the Kineton Brass Band played through the town to display their new uniform, which they have obtained by subscription, the order for supplying it being given to Mr. W. H. Wilkins, tailor, of Kineton, who has given great satisfaction in the execution of the order. The uniform is composed of dark blue serge, braided with yellow. It is effective, but neat. The band has improved very much in their playing.
Stratford Herald, 6 June 1884, p.3

The members of the Kineton Brass Band desire through the pages of our Magazine, to respectfully express their thanks to the following persons, who have so kindly given their assistance towards procuring new uniforms:- Lord and Lady Willoughby de Broke; The Dowager Lady Willoughby de Broke; A. A. Brand, Esq.; Rev. J. C. Gardner; Rev. E. Prince Shelley; J. Jessop, Esq.; J. G. Hutchinson, Esq.; Messrs. John Griffin, Josiah Woodley, W. Wilson, T. Griffin, J. Castle, J. Bartlett, T. Watkins, G. Berry, G. Coles, C. Duckett, E. Chandler, R. T. Urvin, W. Rushbrook, H. Gulliver, Mrs. Court, Mrs. Webb.
It is with pleasure that we notice the support given to the Kineton Brass Band. The Band has certainly a great difficulty to contend with, namely, the want of an efficient instructor. We are told that the charges for such instruction would be very high. However, we give the Band our best wishes, and hope that their musical endeavours will also be progressive, and that they will prove themselves in every way worthy of the support that has been given them.
Parish Magazine, June 1884

Strangers staying in Kineton who have heard the brass band playing along our streets have expressed their approbation at the energy of a few young men having undertaken the formation of a band. High commendation is due to the members of the band for their spirit of enterprise and perseverance. There are those who with no small show of disapprobation exclaim “Kineton needs no band”; decidedly Kineton could exist and flourish without possessing a band, but surely any innocent occupation which trains the character to the exercise of patience and perseverance, and finds for leisure hours pleasant employ, ought in some measure to be supported by all as being a movement towards mental and moral progress. In town or village the formation of a band, where possible, is a step in the right direction. Men in large towns are exposed to the most temptations during their leisure time, and in order to shield men from these various evils, clubs, reading rooms, guilds, gymnasiums, night schools, bands, and various entertainments are started and supported and found to be of inestimable value, and may they not be in some degree of like service in small towns and villages; and even if in a small town like this, only one or two young men are benefited either in moral or intellectual advancement or in being preserved from any kind of temptation, surely a good work has then been done by providing them with pleasant occupation or amusement for their leisure. For these reasons we are gratified at the Kineton band still existing, and we trust it will find general support, and that members will always prove themselves worthy of the support that is given them.
Parish Magazine, December 1884

1885
The Dowager Lady Willoughby de Broke gave a Tea to over 200 of the parishioners of Kineton on Saturday, June 27th. It was a very bright pleasant afternoon, and the Kineton band discoursed sweet music on the lawn.
Parish Magazine, July 1885