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Copthorne Silver Band
Copthorne has a famous Silver Band (at one time Brass, but hey, we're going up in the world!). In 1902, a Mr Gladman, a bandsman from Chichester moved to Copthorne to take up employment as a gardener. With the help of Mr Vigar, a local builder, and Mr John Cleeves, the Band's first President, they were able to buy £300 pounds worth of instruments, and the Copthorne Silver Band started rehearsals in the village school. Older members insist that in the early years, practices were taken all standing in a ring. Sitting down for rehearsals did not happen until 1936!
There were ups and downs during the WW I, but by 1927 and the years following, the Copthorne Band took many prizes at the much heralded Crystal Palace competitions. Stories abound - like the first bandmaster, 'Twitcher' Snelling, who used to drive from Crawley for the rehearsals, and stable his pony and trap at the Price Albert Pub, and stay there overnight after rehearsals before returning to 'distant' Crawley the next day - or one of the players who lost a finger in a chainsaw accident: he simply re-learned a different fingering to make up for his lack of digits, and played on for a number of years.
The Band continues as strong as ever in the modern era with the main rehearsal night firmly established as Thursday at the Delmar Morgan Centre. A beginners class is held before the main Band practise.
Shows, fetes and public bandstand appearances are the main source of the Band's income - vital to maintain and replace instruments as well as the purchase of music and uniforms. There has always been much more to Copthorne Silver Band than simply playing music and this sentiment still holds true today. They remain at the very heart of Copthorne life, providing fun and entertainment for both bandsman and listener.