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Great Horwood Silver Band
Great Horwood is a small village located approximately 4 miles from Buckingham and just outside the boundary of Milton Keynes. The Band was founded in 1888 when a house to house collection was taken up and the proceeds used to purchase the first instruments. What is thought to be the original bass drum is still in the band's possession and is at present undergoing restoration. With the exception of breaks during the two World Wars, when like so many other bands, they were forced to cease operation when members were called to the colours or sent elsewhere to work, the band has been in continuous operation since it's formation.
The Band is very much a part of village life, rehearsing in the Village Hall, in the building of which the band took an active part. They take part in various activities in the village throughout the year. Traditionally the band tours the village playing carols on Christmas Eve, starting on the outskirts at 4 p.m. and finishing, where else, but in the Swan, one of the two village pubs at about 7 p.m. On the way it is not unusual for the band to be "waylaid" and forced, however unwillingly, into partaking of refreshment, both liquid and solid! On Christmas Morning some members again tour the village, this time on the march.
The Band does not enter contests, preferring instead to concentrate on concerts and other engagements. All money raised goes towards the upkeep of the band and to various Charities. Over the years we have donated considerable sums to both local and national charities. We have a large repertoire of music for all occassions and play for private functions such as weddings and birthday parties in addition to the more usual Fetes and garden Parties etc..
In 1995 the band received a grant of £1000 from the Aylesbury Vale District Council towards the cost of a new cornet and tenor horn. The grant also resulted in the start of the "Perfect Village Sunday" series of concerts given by the band and sponsored by AVDC every summer. Also in that year the band paid their first six day visit to Traben Trarbach on the river Mosel in germany, playing for the crowning of the Mittel Mosel Wine Queen in the Kues Wine Museum before the all the local and regional Mayors and other civic dignitaries. They also performed in Trarbach and Manderscheid.
In 1997 the Band was awarded sponsorship from Southern Arts to commision a piece of music from Alan Fernie, who provided us with the beautiful "Horwood Reflections" which is now published by Rosehill Music. In the same year we made a successful bid for a National Lottery grant which enabled us to purchase a complete set of new instruments. The other instruments were then passed on to our Junior Band.
We paid our second visit to Traben Trarbach, playing in the Bernkastel market square as part of the famous Bernkastel wine festival. We again performed in Manderscheid Kur Klinik and the Moselufer Band Stand on the banks of the Mosel in Trarbach.
In 1999 the band visited Germany for a third six day visit, this time staying in Weidenbach in the Vulkaneifel mountains. They performed concerts in the Forum Theatre, Daun, the Kues wine festival and at the Saubrennerkirmes (literaly Pig Burners Fair) in the streets of Wittlich. Wittlich is the centre of a large pork producing area and the fair occupies the whole centre of the town with Pig roasts, Wine and beer stalls, live music and other amusements.
The band is extremely busy, especially during the summer when there is rarely a free weekend. It has always been very much a family affair with many sons and daughters following in their parent's footsteps. There are at the moment three families with three generations playing in the band and other such instances in the past. Some of our current members have completed fifty years unbroken service. In fact, Bob Hart has now completed over sixty years, being for many of them, Chairman and Principal Cornet. He relinquished both of these posts a few years ago and now plays in the Tenor Horn section.
We also have a Junior Band which trains both young and not so young in the art of brass playing. These players eventually find their way into the senior band to maintain our numbers