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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.

Hepworth Band

The village of Hepworth, from which the band takes its name, is situated about two miles from Holmfirth. About 20 years ago a few men joined together and formed a small brass band, each man purchasing his own instrument. This was the foundation of the present band

The first recorded conductors of the band were, in order, William H. Schofield, James Haigh, Hinchliffe Battye and George Wadsworth, but there is no record of how long each one stayed with the band. However, it is known that in 1898 Mr John Belcher was appointed to the post and under his leadership Hepworth began to make a name for themselves in the Brass Band Contest field. In 1900 the band engaged Angus Holden as professional conductor and in 1901 won first prizes in both the Holmfirth March Contest and the Yeadon Waltz Contest.

The first decade of the twentieth century was an important era in the progress of the band. In 1902 they purchased a ' full set of first class silver plated instruments' at a cost of 120 and in the same year Hepworth held the best record of all the Yorkshire bands for contest successes. Another significant investment was the purchase of a new uniform supplied by Huddersfield firm Hodgson & Co, 'tunic, cap, trousers and ornaments complete'

During the 1914-18 war the Band was led by Mr W Coldwell who was succeeded by Allen Kaye, who struggled to keep the band going with only eight or nine players. After the war Hepworth again appointed professional conductors, one of whom was Willie Mallinson who, at a local contest (to quote Lawrence Schofield, a former player and Chairman) "flung away his baton in disgust and stalked off the platform" - but in true Hepworth style the band carried on - and back came the conductor before the end of the piece - "We wer' alreight wi art thee" said one member of the band - "I thowt tha' wer mendin' a bit" was the reply and the band ended up amongst the winners. Allen Kaye was succeeded as conductor by Ernest and Willie Noble, W Beardsell and eventually by his son, Willie Kaye, who was with Hepworth Band from 1929, through the Second World War, becoming the longest serving conductor of the band.

In 1948, after nineteen years as conductor of the band, Willie Kaye handed over the baton, for a short period, to Aner Beardsell, who was then succeeded by Willie's younger brother George Kaye.

The fifties and early sixties was an extremely successful period for the band in the contest field, winning the prestigious Senior Cup at Belle Vue, Manchester in 1959 and gaining first prizes at Holmfirth Contest in 1951, 1960, 1961 and 1963, all under the leadership of George Kaye.

In May 1972 Hepworth Band again won the Senior Cup at Belle Vue and at the 50th Holmfirth Contest in 1976 the band was awarded first prize. This performance was the last under the baton of George Kaye and it seemed fitting to win, thus bringing to an end a very successful partnership.

After short spells with Gordon Pulleyn and Roy Roe another successful era began with the appointment in 1978 of Peter Wadsworth as Musical Director. Many contest successes were recorded, in particular first prize at Belle Vue in the Senior Cup in 1979. At this time the band released its first record 'Marching with Hepworth'

In 1982 the band celebrated its Centenary and many events were organised throughout the year. Another record was released - 'A Century of Brass' featuring many of the band's soloists. The main event was a Celebrity Concert held at the famous Huddersfield Town Hall, with special guests Roy Castle, internationally renowned singers Marietta and Vernon Midgley and virtuoso pianist Keith Swallow. A capacity audience made the concert a resounding success and a very memorable evening was has by all.

On the retirement of Peter Wadsworth the band appointedAlan Jenkins as Musical Director. Alan, formerly a professional tuba player with the London Symphony Orchestra, immediately made his impression on the band and in the 1984 Yorkshire Area Contest Hepworth band were placed second, thus qualifying as Yorkshire Regional Representatives for section 2 of the National Contest. In October 1984 the band competed in the Albert Hall against other regional qualifiers and were awarded a creditable sixth place. As a result of this success the Band were promoted to the Championship Section.

In 1985, David Loukes was appointed Musical Director, maintaining the bands Championship status until his departure in 1987. The bands flirtation with the Championship Section was however all too brief and the late 80s saw a downturn in the bands fortunes.

After a short spell under the direction of Roy Roe and Douglas Taylor, the band appointed Norman Law as Musical Director in 1990. Norman, formerly principal trombone with the Black Dyke Mills Band revived the bands fortunes and under his direction, the 1990s proved to be another successful period in the bands history. There were many highlights on the contest platform, qualifying twice to represent Yorkshire in the finals of the National Brass Band Championships; the band took the title at the Northern Open Championships on three occasions and took first place at the Greater Manchester Police Open Championships, Buxton Festival, Easingwold March Contest and the Holmfirth Contest on no fewer than seven occasions. This consistency on the contest scene was rewarded with promotion back to the Championship Section in 1999, when under Norman's direction the band were rewarded with 5th place.

It was also during this period that the band established its own annual concert series at venues in and around the Huddersfield area and in 1999 the band recorded its first CD 'Carnival'.

Following Norman's departure in 2000, the band appointed Andrew Duncan as Musical Director. Andrew, a professional tuba player with the Halle Orchestra and an arranger and composer for brass band maintained the bands Championship status before moving back to his native Scotland in 2001. This made way for the appointment of Mark Bentham, the bands present Musical Director. Under Marks direction the band have enjoyed notable success, taking the titles at the Northern Open Championships, Brass at the Guild Championships, Brighouse March & Hymn Tune Contest on four successive occasions, JJB March & Hymn Tune Contest and in 2004 being crowned Saddleworth Area Champions at the famous Whit Friday March Contests by taking 4 first prizes, 2 seconds and 2 thirds, as well as a number of soloist awards and also taking the title at the 2004 Scottish Open Brass Band Championships. The band has earned promotion from the British Open Senior Cup into the Grand Shield with the opportunity to compete for a place in the British Open. The bands success has seen it climb to 15th in the British Bandman World Rankings

2004 saw the band secure a 2-year sponsorship with the Leeds based Housebuilder Persimmon Homes West Yorkshire. The sponsorship has enabled the band to fulfil a programme a capital investment, the most pressing being the renewal of instruments.

The band also made its second CD recording 'Pratty Flowers' and recorded for BBC Radio 2s Listen to the Programme.

The band won the Grand Shield in 2005 which gave the band promotion to the British Open Championships. We also recorded another CD with the Trumpet virtuoso Huug Steketee. Titles Shining Waters this shows the bands ability to accompany as well as perform as 'centre band'

In 2006 the Huddersfield based House builder and Property Developers Lanson Homes became the band's primary sponsor. This will enable the band to continue its growth and development. September 2006 will see the Band's 2nd appearance at the British Open.

2007 sees the 125th Anniversary of Hepworth Band. it is also the year of our first qualification for the Championship Section National Finals after a fantastic runners-up position at the Yorkshire Areas. 2007 also sees a new Primary Sponsor for the Band in the Huddersfield based Cookson Homes, as well as the release of 2 further CDs - Portraits and Celebration.