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.

Harwich Royal British Legion Brass Band

The band was formed in 1958 as an adult further education class and was named the Grange Band, after the education centre. From the onset the school authorities provided the practice facilities and instruments, but slowly as the band became ever more popular and successful, it started to raise sufficient funds to purchase it's own instruments. In the early 1970's the band became independent from the education authority to allow younger players to join and was re-named the Harwich Concert Band. With a larger spectrum of players the band now enjoyed greater success, and won many prizes in regional brass band competitions. During this period the band purchased it's familiar blue concert jackets that are still worn today. Unfortunately during the 1980's the popularity of the band started to decline and it struggled to keep many of its players, and by 1989 there were only 6 remaining.

In the latter part of 1992 efforts were made to rejuvenate the band and a vigorous recruiting campaign started. A new musical director was appointed and many new players were recruited, allowing the band to continue playing. During 1994 the band became sponsored by the Harwich branch of the Royal British Legion, and thus adopted the name The Harwich Royal British Legion Brass Band. The sponsorship gave the band much needed stability and yet again it grew in popularity.

During the summer of 2000 the band appointed its current musical director, Mr Antony Sanders. The band is continuing to go from strength to strength. Since 2000 the Band has toured overseas to southern Spain, Holland and three Europeade Festivals in Belgium, France and Denmark. Today the band consists of over 35 players of all ages ranging from 11 years old to mid-sixties. Most of our concerts are performed within the Tendring peninsula and many are given in aid of local charities including the RBL poppy appea


The Grange Band (notes by Charles Corroyer)

The word grange comes from part of the Sir Anthony Deane School (now Harwich School). A mixed range of people formed the band that rehearsed in the school dining room and performed at the old pavilion on the seafront which has now been demolished. The bandmaster was a Royal or Nat Wringe; he was a popular fellow who owned a shop in Harwich.

The band was composed of three teachers, one Irwin Searle who attended Leeds University and played with the Yorkshire Copper Works Band (later renamed The Imperial Metals and Imperial Band who became national champions). It was with Irwin that Jack Quaintance played every Wednesday among an ex army group at a chapel in Colchester. Then there was John Bawden he was from Cornwall and played within the Perthleven Band which his father conducted. Thirdly there was myself, it was only when I brought myself a business and moved that the band realised where the wrong notes had been coming from. I myself came to Dovercourt in 1958 to teach as head of history at the Chafford School at Michaelstower Hall.

Going back to the band there were also two old sweats, Bill Jage and Alf Simpson (uncle of Ben Simpson who plays at both Boxted and the British Legion Band) ex-regular soldiers who had both formally played in army bands. They are both now deceased. Also in the band were three Salvationists. 3 royal marine bandsmen came from the HMS Ganges at Shotley. One of which was Tony Page who married a local girl and on the death of Royal Wringe became bandmaster. He later became conductor of Boxted band and died much too young last year.

Les Henneker also played in the band and did much in the way of teaching youngsters an instrument. A mention must be made to Clive Easter, an S.A.D schoolboy who now plays in Boxted band and works in Dovercourt. He played for 8 years as a regular soldier in the East Anglian Regimental Band. This was just a rough outline to the story of Grange Band.