Archived Histories of Brass Bands 
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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.

Carlton Brass

First the unusual history:

Carlton Brass was effectively born in its current format in 1998, although its associated 'Carlton Band Organisation', has its roots dating back to the old Netherfield Railwayman's silver band formed in 1902 at Colwick locomotive depot part of the Great Northern Railway. With the demise of the locomotive depot in the late 50's the Band had to find new premises an approach was made to the local council at Carlton and premises were found in an old stable block opposite the Fox & Hounds public house in Carlton. A new constitution was drawn up and the band was renamed Carlton Silver. In 1988 the band which had been progressively improving and moving up through the sections managed to obtain sponsorship from Nottingham City Transport and so the band adopted the company name and took on a new identity.

However there was still enough interest to keep a junior Band going under the name of The New Carlton Silver Band. This band with a membership of around 12 - 16 players continued to function in this format for around ten years with the assistance of volunteers and several conductors helping guide this non-contesting band to develop players and offering opportunities for beginners.

Time for Change:

During 1997 a few former players (Steve Mercs and Tony Wilson) from the original Carlton Silver Band came out of retirement and decided to join and assist the junior band. After a sudden unexpected departure of the conductor in the autumn that year, Tony Wilson who was playing soprano for the band at the time agreed to stand in and conduct the band temporarily until a new conductor was found. This new combination of Tony in the middle seemed to spark off something special between band and conductor and the temporary arrangement was soon dismissed.

The band encouraged an influx of yet more new players, some ironically from the original Carlton Silver again - Wink (Paul Watson) on baritone, Brendon Morris on solo cornet, Ray Ward on Eb Bass (also our expert Web Master).

Tony and the band members worked hard on attracting players of all ages and standards and set out to get the band to initially look like a full band.

This was greatly achieved with an attendance at practices of 30 - 35 players.

We had 14/15 cornets, 5/6 basses, 5/6 trombones etc. In fact it nearly got to the stage if you didn't get to band early enough, you might not get a seat.

At this stage we effectively had a main band and another separate training band emerging with around 10 members and other beginners groups / individuals meeting at various times in the week.

In July 1998 the band decided to try and move things forward, they created a new image by changing its name to 'Carlton Brass', invested in new uniforms and set-up a new website to launch the band.

The band also decided that it would consider contests in the future and would set its sights on appearing at the Midlands Area next March.

The start of 1999 the band prepare for its first ever contest, the local contest at Derby organised by NEMBBA followed by the Midlands Area at Burton upon Trent - the test piece for both contests being Indian Summer. We came 4th out of 5 bands at Derby and 21st (a little unlucky, it played reasonably well) in the area out of 27 bands.

We continued to experiment with player's positions and tried to build and strengthen each section of the band throughout the year. We feel the band is now beginning to produce some very remarkable sounds.

We enter another contest in the autumn in Lincolnshire , this time a march, hymn tune and own choice test piece. Carlton Brass were awarded 2nd prize in the hymn tune, 3rd prize in the march and a first prize for our own choice test piece. The bands first ever win, first trophy and prize money of £200 - all in the first year of starting to contest.

The year 2000 saw the band go from strength to strength, we received lots of interest for various engagements and concerts. The band establishes a series of concerts with local schools and churches. We start featuring a couple of soloists now within the band and we continue to have success at contests gaining a few prizes, we also improved our position with a 5th placing at the area.

The band goes up a notch in 2001 and convincingly wins the 4th section area at only its third attempt. With the title of 4th Section Midlands Area Champions and the prospect of competing in the national finals for the first time the confidence within the band is riding high.

The band competes in and wins its firsts entertainments contest together with the best soloist prize (Steve Mercs on Flugel).

The bands puts in a very credible performance at the national finals held in Preston , they are awarded 6th place. We feel a little unlucky again as we felt it deserved better (that's banding). We put it behind us and move on determined to improve on each and every time we perform. We finish the year winning the Leamington contest.

The band had now tasted a few successes and near misses and Tony pushes the band up another gear with a view to encouraging a more positive attitude in the way they play.

The standard of the band is constantly improving with some players thriving whilst others struggle a little. Due to the fortunate high number of band members the time had come to reduce the numbers of the contest and concert band. The decision was made to ask a few members of Carlton Brass to help and encourage some of the players in the training band by joining them. Although a very difficult decision to make, the outcome should benefit both bands. This sees the main start of the build up and injection of players into 'Carlton Brass Training Band' at that time also conducted by Tony Wilson.

An article on training bands appeared in the Bandsman recently and Carlton Brass Training Band were featured.

2002 and the band are promoted into the 3rd Section, It proved to be an excellent year for the band. The band's first attempt in the 3rd section and it earns an impressive second place at the Midlands Area and a second invitation to the national finals.

The band retains its title by winning the Crich Tramway Museums Contest for a second time, organised by NEMBBA and open to 2nd, 3rd and 4th section bands. It ended the year by winning both the Leicester and Leamington contests over consecutive weekends. The contest results for the year 2002 - 3 wins, 3 best soloists, 2 seconds, one 4th and an eighth.

The band also had an excellent concert season throughout the year and a very busy Christmas schedule with no less than 4 full Christmas concerts.

In 2003 - We started the year with great expectations and prepared for the area yet again. We competed in the NEMBBA contest in February with the usual run out for the area test piece. We play well and are awarded first prize, a good start to the year. We played at the Midlands Area and are awarded second place and a third consecutive invitation to the national finals in Dundee .

We receive notification from the area committee that Carlton Brass are at the top of the 3rd section league table by several clear points and the band are to be promoted to the second section in January 2004.