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The Kibworth Band has been in existence for more than 100 years. Players were originally drawn from the villages of Kibworth Beauchamp and Kibworth Harcourt and the surrounding area, but today musicians come from a wide area. Even so, the Band still identifies strongly with its roots in the local community.
Kibworth born, Jack Peberdy is one of the country's top music arrangers and writers. He joined the local band (first from left on back row of the above photo) at the age of eight and under the guidance and tuition of Charles Moore, became leader and band master at the age of 15! This led to a lifelong career as a professional musician as a player, leader, conductor and writer. He worked with various orchestras, military bands, jazz and pop groups, in addition to devoting his talents to the BBC Orchestra. He held the title of BBC arranger of the year and acted as musical director to many famous artists, including Tony Hancock and Jimmy Edwards. Jack supervised his own recording company and supplied bands and artists for shipping companies all over the world and has been guest conductor at many top venues. Since returning to Leicestershire, he and his late wife Betty – the internationally renowned saxophonist Betty Smith – have taken a great interest in the progress of Kibworth Band.
The Band became the 3rd Section Midland Regional Champions in 1964 and, largely thanks to local support, was able to compete in the National Finals in London. As a gesture of thanks for this local help, the Band intensified its normal Christmas activities by playing carols in all the surrounding villages, collecting sufficient funds to buy and deliver festive food parcels for every resident over 70 in the three main parishes – the two Kibworths and Smeeton Westerby. This tradition has continued and in recent years over 200 parcels have been delivered annually.
Following the 1964 success, the band won the second and the first section titles. This put them up with bands like Black Dyke Mills, Fodens and Brighouse and Rastrick. The next significant achievement came in 1972 with the building of a permanent rehearsal hall with kitchen and library facilities. Much of the work was done by craftsmen within the band. Keeping afloat commercially was a continuing struggle and the band found itself re-graded in the second section. But after several years of sustained effort, the Kibworth Band regained championship status and secured a short term sponsorship from the Alliance and Leicester Building Society. This has now come to an end and a new sponsor is being sought. Striving for excellence, the band qualified for the National Finals in London in 1990 and again in 1995, when they gained second place.
Members were delighted to gain National Lottery funding from the Arts Council of England to purchase new instruments which will aid them in their ambition to once again become one of the country's top bands. So far in 1999, the Band moved one stage further towards this ambition by becoming Midlands Region First Section Champions which has earned them promotion to the Championship Section again in 2000.