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Bodmin Town Band
Mention brass bands and many will automatically think of the strong holds of Yorkshire and the North West. However , musical talents are equally to be found in areas across the country , none more so than the South West and Cornwall in particular , where bands create a centre of musical activity astonishing for communities so small in size.
One of these leading South West bands is Bodmin Town Band , under the leadership of it's present Musical Director Kevin Mackenzie. Records in the town's museum show the existence of various instrumental groups dating back to the mid 19th century , one perhaps to mention being the 'Bodmin Teetotal Fife and Drum Band' , said to have accompanied the Bodmin Riding in 1852.
However, such groups had all but disappeared by the turn of the century , and it was not until 1927 that the Bodmin Town Band was formed , and which has gone from strength to strength ever since.
Contest successes after the 2nd World War saw the Band develop its status in the area , and these achievements were awarded by the Band being promoted to the Championship Section in 1959 , where it has remained ever since!
A host of experienced conductors , including W.D.Lawton , John Berryman , Alan Jenkins , Leonard Adams , Nick Childs and more recently Russell Gray , led the Band to achieve remarkable results in competitions over the years , including eight appearances at the National Brass Band Championships Finals at London's Royal Albert Hall since 1979.
As well as being keen to travel across the Country to both concerts and contests , the Band also recognises the need to support those closer to home. A regular amongst the prizes at the West of England Bandsman's Festival at Bugle , which they were the Royal Trophy Winners 8 times , However these achievements are shadowed by the Bands amazing record at the South West Brass Band Championships Finals held each November. On taking the title in 1994 , this win took the Band's tally to an amazing twenty victories!
Away from the contest platform , the Band is equally at home playing to it's regular summer audiences throughout Cornwall , whether entertaining locals or visiting tourists from 'up country'. Equally , the Band has appeared at prestigious concerts with artists including Peter Skellern and Cornwall's own Goff Richard's.
The Band has also stepped in to the recording studio over the years, releasing a selection of CDs. Click here to listen to a sample of 'Ravenswood' a track on the band's 1995 album, 'Lets Face The Music' conducted by Howard Taylor.
Recent years have perhaps seen challenging times for the brass band movement, and Bodmin has had more than its fair share of struggles in concentrating the attentions of players. This downturn pales in to insignificance, however, when news broke to the banding world of a raging fire that tore through the Band's rehearsal rooms in December 2009. Arsonists completely destroyed the bandroom, including its entire set of instruments, percussion, uniforms and historic music library.