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Breckland Brass Band
The band was conceived over a Christmas drink in the directors' office of Messrs. Green Bros. Ltd. in 1950 and in the following month - 21st January 1951 - the band had its first rehearsal in the works canteen.
The instruments and music were provided by Messrs Tom and Frank Green and Mr Harold Bowes was appointed bandmaster. At that time all members were employees of the company and numbered some thirty inexperienced but very keen men and boys. In fact, only three had any experience of brass banding. The keenness of all concerned was shown by the fact that the band was able to give its first public performance on the occasion of the Armistice Day Parade and service in the same year - just under ten months from the first rehearsal.
Over the years the band has achieved many successes in the contesting field, including the title of Suffolk County Champions on no fewer than three different occasions.
In addition, the band has played all over the Eastern Counties at both parades and concerts and has rarely missed providing festive music in the town and surrounding area at Christmas.
No doubt, as with other bands, there have been many amusing incidents, like the occasion when a certain horn player dropped his music while on parade and the bass drummer fell over the top of him when he committed the fatal error of bending down to retrieve it. Again, when on church parade in the village of Feltwell the band came to a fork in the road and, for a reason that has never been determined, half the band went one way, the other half and the parade the other, but both halves still got to the church on time!
The band owes a great deal to the first band master, Harold Bowes, a hard task master and one who maintained such a high standard in the band. It was a sad loss when he passed on in 1968. The baton was now handed on to Peter Bowes, son of Harold Bowes, who had been with the band from the beginning as a trombone player.
In November 1971 the band left the company and adopted the name 'Breckland Brass Band'. This independence gave the band a new zest and revitalised spirit and also allowed ladies to join and partake for the first time. After a very successful first year in 1972 the band were able to have all the instruments overhauled for the first time in the band's history and at the same time all the instruments were converted to low pitch. It was hoped at the same time the band would be able to invest in a new set of instruments but at a cost then of £4,000/5000 this was not to be.
Over the following years the band, like all bands, has had its ups and downs and by the end of 1980 had shrunk to ten members. Peter Bowes, the conductor, had also decided that, after about 15 years playing and then another 15 years conducting, the time had come for him to hang up his baton and instrument. Losing the band's guiding light was a big loss to the band as, like his father before him, Peter had maintained such high standards in the band. It was a bit of a shock to the remaining members of the band to suddenly become leaderless and rather short of players. However, in the nick of time one of the original trombone players returned to the fold and, as he worked as a camera man for Anglia TV, informed us that one of the company presenters, Christine Webber, would like to take on the task of conducting the band. On the first rehearsal with her in charge the band membership almost doubled! With a well known personality up front many players returned to the band, people flocked to hear us (or see her maybe) but since that time the band has never looked back. She stayed with the band for two years before passing the baton to Malcolm Allerton who passed the baton to Dave Goodwin then to Richard Lake and back again to Dave Goodwin. Our current band master is Dave Goodwin who spent many years playing solo cornet in the Fleet Air Arm Volunteer Band, a highly successful brass band of the late 60's and early 70's, under the baton of the legendary Prof Walter Hargreaves.
Currently there are 27 members on the band books, two of whom have been in the band from the very beginning, namely John Field, Bb Bass player and current chairman and Peter Zipfell, 2nd euphonium. However, we are actively searching for new members of all disciplines to boost and improve the band as we enter 2010. If you are interested in joining us please click on our contact below or any page of our site. We will be very pleased to hear from you.