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Becontree Brass Band
Becontree Brass Band was formed in 1981 by former members of the Barking and Dagenham Playleaders Band and initial rehearsals were held in an old park keepers hut in Dagenham. Several players had also been members of the Barking Concert Band and it's predecessor the Dagenham Silver Band. They wanted to choose a name for the band, which reflected both the band's and their own "home area" but at the same time avoided reference to any of these former entities - hence " Becontree Brass Band"
The band was then forced into a nomadic existence and rehearsals were held at various locations, including Kingsley Hall, Dagenham and Barking Park (cricket pavillion). Rehearsals were at times a struggle, with only 5-6 players attending, but the hardy few, determined to succeed perservered and fortunes took a turn for the better when the Band took up residence at Eastbury manor House in Barking.
Membership gradually increased and the standard of the Band improved. In october 1988, the Band visited Witten in Germany, the twin town of Barking and Dagenham, a visit that was repeated in October 1991, when the band played in Cologne Cathedral. In addition, in 1991, Becontree Brass Band appeared on the television programme "The Help Squad" with Michael Parkingson, when we were presented with a set of dinner jackets to use as our uniforms.
At the 1992 Dagenham Town Show, the band had the honour to accompany the Musical Ride of the Household Cavalry, who performed with state trumpeters, mounted kettle drummer et al. Becontree Brass Band played in local parks, gardens and concert halls and at numerous South East Venues, including Barking Abbey, Greenwich Park, Hamstead Heath, Hatfield House, Hertford Castle, Hyde Park and South Band University.
In 1996 the Band had to leave Eastbury Manor House and after another nomadic period which included rehearsals in the former Romford Band headquarters, we relocated to the Newham Academy of Music with Mr Bill Rumford as our Musical Director. Finally in 1999, moved to Barnardos in Barkingside, which remains our "home" to this day.
The Band entered their first brass band competition in 1989, winning 4th prize at the Milton Keynes Brass Band Festival. In 1996, they entered the London & Southern Counties Regional Championships for the first time and exceeded all expectations by winning 2nd prize! This qualified them for the National Brass Band Championship Finals, held at Cardiff International Arena, for the first time, so began an impressive contesting record, which has seen us qualify for the National Finals in 1997 (Birmingham Symphony Hall), 1998 (Harrogate International Centre), 2001 (Preston Guild Hall) and 2002 (Torquay Riviera Centre).
The Band has also won numerous prizes at local brass band competitions, competing against (and beating) bands from as far as Belgium and Germany who were currently graded as Second Section, both locally and nationally.
In October 2000, the Band were delighted to be awarded the prestigious title of "Southern Counties Amateur band of the Year - 2000"