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This page is part of an archive of historical details from existing or defunct brass band websites. This is being maintained to provide a record of this information in the event of a band folding, its website disappearing or other loss of the historical record. Where possible, and appropriate, the information cached will be updated from time to time - and any corrections or updates are welcome.

Basingstoke Silver Band

The history of the Basingstoke Band was written by a former Band chairman, Sheila Houston in 1998 to celebrate the Band's Centenary. Sheila has moved and therefore is no longer with the band but does keep up with our activities through our regular newsletter.

The first record of what was to become the Basingstoke Silver Band was in 1898. The Basingstoke Primitive Methodist Church formed part of a circuit of local town and village Methodist groups. They had a small group of men who regularly turned out to march and accompany the singing. The group was referred to as the Primitive Methodist Circuit Brass Band.

The men (no women until well into the 1950's) were mainly drawn from the wage-earning class and therefore there tend to learn the rudiments from family or friends or leaned 'on the job'. The music was, as would be expected, mainly marches or hymns often arranged or composed by the Salvation Army.

Between 1912 and 1914 the band took on more events, all still linked with the Methodist church such as processions and outdoor meetings. It is interesting to note that, in good Methodist tradition, the processions and meetings were always followed by 'tea'.

The band also played for other linked charitable causes such as putting on a concert to raise money for the Mayor's funds after the Titanic sinking. They also began to play other music. There were now more composers for Brass Band music.

In 1937 newspaper records show that the Methodist Circuit Band has become The Sarum Hill Methodist Silver Band (Sarum Hill is an area of Basingstoke). Although still very much linked to the Church, the Sarum Hill band was becoming more and more recognised as the town band and playing for processions such as the local celebrations for the coronation of George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

In 1941 the church and the band officially split. The band had always paid its own way but did not pay rent on the church practice room. The band was also taking in non-Methodist players. At this time the band took on the name of the Basingstoke Silver Band.

The band headed the procession in Basingstoke for the Queen's coronation in 1953.

In the 1950's there is the first record of a woman in the band. Women were still unusual when, in the 1960's, the local paper ran an article about the women in the band. One of those was a young 14 year old girl who has now grown up to become the band's longest serving member.

In 1998 the band celebrated their centenary with a concert in the park in period costume!

Bringing the story up to date:

In 2000 to celebrate the Millennium, five local bands, including Basingstoke Silver Band, joined forces to give a massed bands concert in the Anvil in Basingstoke. This was enjoyed so much by the bands and the audience that it was repeated in 2002 and 2004.

We have moved our practice room a few times and are now settled in Hook, one of the villages on the outskirts of Basingstoke, where we have warmth and storage space. We have also got new uniforms the first since 1973. The old uniforms were sent to Uganda to furnish a local band there and very smart they looked.

From 2004 to 2009 the Band was under the baton of Mr. Steve Perrett as Musical Director. In 2009 the band came under the musical direction of Mr Claudio Nold, an experienced musical director from Switzerland, and is making excellent progress under his leadership. We still have a training band and they too are increasing in numbers under the watchful eye and baton of the assistant Musical Director, Geoff Warmington so our players are still 'learning-on-the-job' in the band tradition. We also still have strong links to the Methodist church in Basingstoke and the first concert of the Christmas season is always in the local Methodist Church.