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Killamarsh Silver Band
Killamarsh Silver Band was formed in 1887 by a local Church Minister, Father Metcalf, who came to the village from Clay Cross in 1887 and almost immediately brought a Mr. Burnham to Killamarsh to be his gardener. Mr. Burnham, as well as a player, was also the conductor for over 60 years. Killamarsh Silver Band was an amalgamation of two rival Bands in the village, one being Killamarsh Old Band, formed during the 1890's. For many years the band was the main form of entertainment and hobby for the local village. At its Peak it provided an outlet for many amateur musicians and won prizes in competitions around the country.
From then until the mid 1920's all was well and the band competed in local competitions against the many other bands in the area. At that time, every village had a band, and the larger villages had several. Most of the bands either were attached to an industry (e.g. coal mine), or had many miners in the band as the whole of South Yorkshire, North East Derbyshire and North Nottinghamshire was renowned for the number of pits which existed.
Killamarsh Silver Band was reasonably successful until 1926 when they almost disbanded as a result of the General and Coalminers strikes. As many of the players were miners, there was a great deal of acrimony between those miners on strike and the "scabs" who continued to work. Committee minutes at the time reported verbal and physical violence and the two factions ignoring each other in rehearsals. How the musical director coped is unknown, but eventually peace reigned and the band became successful again, winning local, regional and national competitions. The most prestigious were those at Crystal Palace (before the fire) and Belle Vue, Manchester.
The Second World War took its toll and the band began to fade in the early 50's so by 1960, the band was down to approximately 10 players and going nowhere. An influx of young players during the latter part of the 1960's, a change of musical director and a change in philosophy changed the bands fortunes, and by 1985 they had 35 members and were very active in the local area. The change in fortunes is attributed to a decision to stop competing and concentrate upon entertaining, playing mainly concerts, fayres and fetes.
The current band is made up of both male and female players with an age range of 10 years to 75 years and most of them live in Killamarsh or the many villages around the area. They are all amateur musicians who play for the love of it and it costs them money in subscriptions and for other expenses such as the cost of travel and accommodation for our regular tours in England and the Continent. The band rehearse at St Giles Church Hall, Sheepcote Road, Killamarsh on Wednesdays at 7.30pm to 9.00pm, and Sundays 5.00pm to 6.45pm. We have approximately 40 members of various standards of playing, some who play for competition bands as well, and are always happy to welcome new players or those who fancy dropping in for a blow!
The Band is totally self-supporting and receives no money from any outside body. All its finances come from its members and their playing efforts at the various engagements that we perform at during the year. In recent years we have received 2 lottery grants totalling around £43,000, much of which has been used to buy new instruments.