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Long Eaton Silver Prize Band
Long Eaton Silver Prize band was founded by the members of the former Long Eaton Temperance Prize Band in 1906. From the outset, the band found success in the numerous local contests of the time: in its first 30 years, the band won 27 first prizes, 19 second prizes, and added “Prize” to its name (a common practice in those days). In 1929, the band purchased and converted the Silver Prize Band Club, using the prize money (ca. £700) it had accumulated.
An indication of the status of the band during the 1920’s is that Long Eaton Silver Prize were among the twenty-four bands invited to contest the first annual May Championship contest at Belle Vue in 1922 (not to be confused with then long established September championships dating from 1853). The band has in its possession a newspaper cutting of the time, listing the band membership. As now, Long Eaton was a community band, comprising of players from Long Eaton (10), Ilkeston (5), Sandiacre (4), New Sawley (2), and Stapleford (1), with four players from Derby and one from Beeston making up the numbers. However, in those days, the band formation was a little different: with two soprano cornets, two repiano cornets (in addition to the flugel), five basses, but only one baritone.
The highlight of our glory years was the winning of the Cassell’s Saturday Journal Shield as Second Section Champions at the Old Crystal Palace Building in 1927 under the leadership of Harry Evetts who was to remain as musical director until his death in 1950.
Harry Evetts was succeeded by Arthur Marshall who had joined the band as principal euphonium in 1933, and was to lead the band to further successes, particularly in the 1960s. During the 1960s and 1970s, Mr. Marshall achieved further local fame as the director of a number of successful local choirs and bands.
In the early 1970s, the band consisted of three sections: a novice group, a junior band, and the main concert and contesting band. However, the loss of a number of players in 1974-75, and the resignation of Arthur Marshall as musical director, led to the amalgamation of the junior band with the main band, and the band requesting a regrading fro the second section to the fourth section. Since then success has been restricted to the occasional minor prize in local contests, although the band has trained a number of players who have gone on to achieve considerable success with various Championship and first section bands around the country.
In June 2001, the band achieved its first prize since 1992: taking third prize at the Brass & Trams Entertainment Contest at Crich Tramway Museum, and in February 2002 bettered this by achieving its best result since 1966, in taking second prize and euphonium soloist's prize at the North East Midlands Brass Band Championships. This run of success has continued, with the band achieving its first qualification for the National Championships of Great Britain in 36 years (2002), and in September 2003 achieving its first ever national placing (2nd) at the finals
Harry Evetts was a successful conductor of many bands in the early years of the last century: his first success with Long Eaton Silver Band (the "Prize" was added to the name later) coming within two years of their founding in 1906. Although it was Mr. W. Halliwell that took the band to the first annual May Championship contest at Belle Vue, Manchester in 1922, all of the bands successes in its early years (27 first prizes, and 19 second prizes within thirty years) was under this fine musician: the highlight being the winning of the Cassell’s Saturday Journal Shield as Second Section Champions in 1927.
A later major success was in winning the "Russell" Shield by finishing 2nd in the second section of the 12th Annual Leicester Brass Band Festival at the Lancaster Hall on March 2nd 1935 (the first prize and the "Markham Memorial" Shield were awarded to Rugby Town). The Frank Winfield Archives not only contains the souvenir programme and bandsman's ticket from this contest, but a press cutting reporting the adjudicator's comments, together with a picture of the conductor (below). The test piece, Mercandante arr. H. Rounds, featured in a number of subsequent concerts.
The Frank Winfield Archives contains many concert and contest programmes from the 1920s and 1930s. Many featured the bands principal cornet player Tommy Henton (who is listed as the band's bandmaster conductor in the Long Eaton Year Book of 1938-9) playing solos such as "Selected", "My Dreams" (Tosti), "Because" (Guy d'Hardelot), "! Dry Those Tears" (Del Riego), "I'll Sing Thee Songs of Araby" (Clay) and "The Lost Chord" (Sullivan). Other soloists were Frank Winfield (Trombone) playing "The Trumpeter", W. Wheatley (Euphonium) playing "Selected", "The Village Blacksmith" (Weiss), and "The Diver" (Loder). After the war, Arthur Marshall (Euphonium) featured on "The Cavalier" (Sutton) (now played by today's principal Euphonium player, Carl Ramplin), and J. Arden (Horn) playing "The Rose of Tralee" (Glover).
After the war, the band continued to find some success under Harry Evetts, winning first prize at Loughborough on Eric Ball's Divertimento on July 1st 1948, and second prize in the second section at West Bromwich Horticultural Show's third annual Brass Band Contest on 4th September 1948 (Burselm Co-operative Prize Band won).
The band's final contest with Harry Evetts was to be the Midland Area Qualifying Contest for the Daily Herald National Brass Band Championship on 11th March 1950 (the band was unplaced). Harry Evetts died later that year, being succeeded as musical director by the band's principal Euphonium player, Arthur Marshall.
Arthur Marshall joined the band on euphonium in 1933 before succeeding Harry Evetts as musical director of the Long Eaton Silver Prize Band in 1950. Success was immediate: on 26th March 1951 the band achieved 3rd place and were awarded the Hawkes Shield in Section 3 of the Leicester Brass Band Festival (behind Bedford Trades and Thoresby Colliery Welfare). The test piece, Indian Summer by Eric Ball, was to feature prominently in the band's 1950 summer programme, such as in the 6th August afternoon and evening programmes at Ablington Park, Northampton.
A new institution during the early years of Arthur Marshall's tenure was joint concerts with the Toton (Railway) Male Voice Choir. The first was held on November 15th 1953 in the People's Hall in Long Eaton, and, "By Popular Acclaim", another was held on April 4th 1954.
In 1958 the band applied for re-registration as a third section band, where it was to remain for eight years. On February 11th 1962, the band achieved second place behind Pleasley Colliery in the second section of the North East Midlands Brass Band Association contest, before finishing third and second respectively in the Daily Herald Midland Area Qualifying Finals of 1963 and 1965. Finally, in 1966 the band regained its position in the second section by becoming third section Midland champions: winning by a margin of nine points ahead of Corby Silver and achieving their fifth prize in six contests within a period of six months. The win was reported in the Long Eaton Advertiser, Nottingham Evening Post and Derby Evening Telegraph.
Arthur Marshall resigned as Musical Director in 1975.
Arthur Marshall was to achieve further local fame as the director of a number of successful local choirs and bands during the 1970s.
The End Of An Era
Characteristic of Long Eaton's long continued success in the upper sections was the stability of its band membership and in particular the long tenures of its musical directors. This came to end during 1975, when following a number of player resignations and poor attendance at engagements, Arthur Marshall resigned, after forty-two years service to the band as player and musical director.
At the extraordinary general meeting called on 25th July 1975, Arthur said that he felt that the band was no longer going anywhere, just stagnating, and that his resignation would give the band a chance to see if a new conductor could make a difference. The band made strenuous efforts to dissuade him, both at this meeting and over the next two months, but eventually Ted Bradley, the principal euphonium, band master, and junior teacher, took over.
Regrading to the fourth section had been first discussed in committee in December 1974. During the months following Arthur Marshall's resignation, further senior players also left the band, and at the A.G.M. on 21st November 1975, Long Eaton's long tenure amongst the Northeast Midlands senior brass bands finally ended.
The Long Eaton Silver Prize Band Club
The original band room of the Long Eaton Silver Prize Band was located in Mr. Hallam's blacksmiths shop. Later the band moved to Oxford Street and then Broad Street.
The current bandroom was built in 1900 for the Long Eaton Institute Committee of the YMCA to the designs of architect Ernest Ridgeway of Long Eaton (plan number 996, approved 22 September 1899). The band purchased the premises in 1928 when they were converted by F. Perks & Son into the Long Eaton Silver Prize Band Club, using the substantial (over £700) prize winnings of the previous twenty-two years. Perks also added a games room in 1929.
Later on, financial problems necessitated the sale of the club to the Mansfield Brewery, who later sold it to the club members.
The band continues to receive substantial support from the club in the free provision of the band room and function room, raffle prizes towards our fund raising efforts and cheap (and good) beer for our parties. All members of the band are members of the club, whilst our musical director, Sharon Stansfield has recently (April 2004) been elected a trustee.
The Long Eaton Silver Band, was established in 1906 and soon became an accomplished brass band. After achieving quite a lot of success, they added the title "Prize" to their name. With their prize winnings etc. they bought their own premises, which incorporated a practice room, committee room and a bar etc. for social events.
In 1922 the band was conducted by a Mr. W.Halliwell, and in about 1927, an extremely good conductor called, Harry Evetts took charge of the band, making them a particularly good Second Class band. Around this time the band had a very good Principle Cornet player, called Tommy Henton.
The successful period came to an end, when the new conductor (formerly a solo euphonium player), Arthur Marshall walked out, followed by many of the bands best players. After this the members had to build up the band with new young players. During these hard times the band club was sold to the Brewery, with the agreement that the band could always practice there free of charge.
Latterly the Band was in the Fourth Section, (but become Third section at the start of 2004,) it consisted of about Thirty registered players, and was conducted by Mr. Graham Randle, until just before the end of 1999, when a career move made it impracticable to commute.
At this point our present MD Sharon Stansfield LVCM (Hons) took over, and contrary to popular belief, Sharon was one of five applicants for the post of MD. This was another difficult time, as the several members did not care for 'contesting'. Sharon, true to form gained the players respect and 'trust' proving the Band could enjoy all Brass Banding aspects equally. The Band has become an 'all-round entertainment provider', and the players part of 'the' family
Long Eaton is situated in the southeast corner of Derbyshire close to the borders of both Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire. Once famous for its “Nottingham” lace, it also boasts a rich tradition of music, with a number of successful operatic societies, barbershop choirs and the Silver Prize Band.
In the early 1900s, brass banding was thriving in Long Eaton; local bands including the Salvation Army, the Mount Tabor (Methodist) Band, the Town Band, the Temperance Prize Band and just to the south the Sawley Brotherhood. However, it was in 1906 that a new band formed that was to eclipse them all: the Long Eaton Silver Prize Band.
The earliest surviving record of the band is a public notice in the Long Eaton Advertiser of December 7th, 1906 by the Long Eaton Temperance Prize Band:
We beg to inform the public that it is not our intention to amalgamate with any band. Also that we have not yet authorised anyone to receive subscriptions on behalf of the new instrumental fund. We shall not hesitate to take proceedings against any person or persons who unlawfully act in such a manner as would prove detrimental to our progress. On behalf of the band, Wilfred Winfield, A. Flindall, sec.
An article followed this on February 8th, 1907:
We notice that the late Temperance Prize band have ceased to be called by that name, having handed its resignation to the temperance society´s trustees. The members of the band have not disbanded and the band will be carried on under the name of Long Eaton Silver Prize Band. Orders have been placed with Boosey & Co London for a full set of silver instruments to cost £300 and subscription lists are out for funds to help defray this sum. Under the name of Temperance the band did a good deal of charity work and the appeal is made with confidence for help. Subscription lists are out and the smallest donation will be thankfully received. Subscribers are requested to get an authorised receipt for their subscriptions.
with the band making a formal announcement in the press the following week: Little is now known of the Temperance Band, although it may have been of some age at the time of its dissolution. The Silver Prize Band is in possession of handwritten music by John Gladney, one of the early pioneers of brass band arranging, including his 1869 arrangement of Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia for a contest in Bacup that year and Stiffelino (1874). This suggests that the history of brass banding in Long Eaton may extend back to within twenty years of the formation of the first brass bands.
The reasons for the band's resignation from the Temperance Society to form the Silver Prize Band are now lost: the decision can not have been taken lightly, given that all the equipment was to be returned to the Temperance Society and that they now needed to raise £300 to purchase replacement instruments. Further monies would have also been needed to purchase music and cover other expenses. The band also purchased some instruments back from the Temperance Society: in 1927, it was recorded that “two of the original instruments of the Temperance Band are still used by learners”.
Local rivalries may also have played a part, for in 1906 the Town Band received an invitation to the prestigious Crystal Palace contest, whilst the Salvation Army also acquired new instruments. The band may have decided that abandoning the strictures of the Temperance Society, and upgrading from raw brass to the higher quality silver-plated instruments was the only way to remain competitive in attracting the best of the local musical talent.
The newspaper articles and notices leave some ambiguity in the actual founding year of the band. Clearly, the new instrument fund, essential for the future success of the new band, was under discussion, and indeed had become public knowledge in 1906. Thus, it is almost certain that the band by then had made its decision to split from the Temperance Society and reform as the Silver Prize Band. However, the first public announcement of the formation of the new band was not made until 1907. The matter may be simply one of due courtesy to the Temperance Society; the decision to form the new band was made in 1906, but prior notice was given to the Temperance Society before any formal announcement. Certainly, the band's headed notepaper from the 1933 (page 17), at a time when some of its founder members still remained with the band, gives the founding year as 1906.
The driving force for the new band came from R. K. Hallam (the first treasurer and assistant secretary) with the assistance of A. Flindall (secretary), G. Flavell (bandmaster), W. Foster, G. Smith (president), J. Turner (later conductor of the Mount Tabor Band and Stanton Ironworks Band, now Ilkeston Brass), N. Winfield, Wilfred Winfield, Ernest Wood and Fred Yeomans (later conductor of Sawley Excelsior Band). The first conductor, George Hallam from Derby, was the conductor of the former Temperance Band. Having relinquished the facilities provided by the Temperance Society, early rehearsals were in R. K. Hallam's blacksmith shop and later in Oxford Street and Broad Street. The council also gave the band permission to use the Green on Saturday nights, the Green at that time having electrical lighting.
Of the original instruments of the band, only the Hawkes & Co (not Boosey) G-trombone has survived. As described in the public notice, it is silver-plated and is engraved “Long Eaton Silver Prize Band”. It remained in regular use until the mid 1970s.
An early concert by the band was on May 19th 1907 in the Market Place (by permission of the council). Starting with Rimmer's march, “The Cossack” (still a favourite today) and also featuring a cornet solo by Wilfred Winfield (cosignatory to the 1906 announcement, page 3), the concert concluded with a collection in aid of the “new instrument fund”. By now, the band had dropped the “Prize”, which it had inherited from the Temperance Prize Band, from its name, becoming the Long Eaton Silver Band.
Little else is known of these formative years other than that the band played to a high standard from the outset, coming second at a local contest in Shirebrook before winning in Bulwell in 1907 ahead of eighteen other bands. However, George Hallam's death in 1907 or 1908 meant that the band, within two years of its founding, was already seeking a new conductor.
Following the death of George Hallam, the band engaged Harry Evetts, a successful conductor and trainer of many bands in the early years of the last century, who was to remain with the band until his death in 1950.
The early success established under George Hallam continued, with contest wins at Belper River Gardens (1908), Selly Oak (Birmingham), Derby Agricultural Show, Castle Donington (all 1909) and Codnor (1910). At some time between 1911 and 1915, the band followed the tradition of the day and publicised its successes by reverting to its original name: the Long Eaton Silver Prize Band.
The highlights of these pre-war years were the invitations to the July Belle Vue contests in 1909 and 1914 (the band still retains copies of the test pieces for these contests, Zampa and Die Vestalinn). These contests were the forerunners of today's Grand Shield contest and, as now, the qualifier for the British Open, Britain's premier brass band competition. The band played particularly well in 1914, with the Long Eaton Advertiser reporting:
“The failure of the band to secure a prize at Belle Vue on Saturday was disappointing, but there is no need for discouragement. The competitors at Belle Vue include the finest brass bands in the country, and any combination of musicians accepted for this annual event are not to be despised. The Silver Band, according to information to hand, played remarkably well, and critics anticipated the band being among the winners, but it was not to be.”
Few details of the band's concerts during this era have survived, although they will have played an important role in the life of the band as a means of raising revenue for paying the debt on the original purchase of the silver instruments (the “new instrument fund”), further new instruments and music, and for Harry Evetts' services.
The pre-war months of 1914 were particularly busy (and the following are just the known engagements):
17th January - Long Eaton Silver Prize Band Annual Dance in the People's Hall
18th and 25th January - Sacred Concerts in the Picture House (in aid of band funds)
February - The Quartet are 2nd at Ecclesfield
12th April - Easter Sunday Open Air Sacred Concert in Broad Street
3rd May - A second Open Air Sacred Concert in Broad Street
early June - Won the Coalville Urban District Charity Parade and Gala Brass Band Contest Cup ahead of eight other bands
12th June - Contest on West Park (test piece Songs of the Sea)
14th June - Long Eaton Annual Parade (with Sawley Brotherhood, Mount Tabor Mission Silver and the Salvation Army bands)
11th July - Belle Vue contest
12th July - Concert on West Park
1st and 2nd August - Concerts in Albert Road (2d entry and collection)
4th August - War declared
The Sacred Concerts (in aid of band funds) were particularly controversial, since pre-war Sunday entertainment was almost unheard of, particularly in the venue for the January concerts: the Picture House! The horrified letters to the Long Eaton Advertiser make for interesting reading, with the attempt to circumvent Sabbath austerity with a sacred concert failing to pacify many readers. Nevertheless, the concept gained acceptance, as evidenced by the Easter Sunday concert in the April. Sawley Brotherhood band also presented a “Sacred Concert” during May 1914.
At this time, the band also had a highly successful quartet comprising F. Parker and Harry Evetts on cornet, J.H. Smith on tenor horn and Wilfred Winfield on euphonium. One major success was winning the inaugural “Grand Brass Instrumental Quartette Contest” in the Council Schools, New Sawley ahead of 13 other quartets, including Fodens (one of the top bands in the country, then and now).
At Coalville, the band received a fulsome tribute from the adjudicator, Lieut. J. Ord Hume, a noted composer of brass band music, who stated that:
“Long Eaton was an easy first, their performance being almost faultless.”
The band first played in West Park in 1913, inaugurating a series of concerts that has now lasted 94 years, the latest having been on 4thJune this year (2006). Over 3,000 attended the contest on 12th June 1914, whilst at the concert on the return from Belle Vue the following month:
The Silver Band surpassed all previous performances on Sunday, and gave one of the best concerts yet on West Park, and the vast concourse of people (it was a record attendance) were delighted. The programme included the Belle Vue test piece, “Die Vestalinn” and the selection was finely interpreted. The other items were also played with taste and precision, while the attack and volume was maintained throughout. Mr. F. Parker gave an admirable cornet solo, “The Better Land”.
This attendance, in excess of 3,000 (some reports state 5,000), is almost certainly the band's record audience and is one that is unlikely to ever be challenged. The teams playing on the cricket pitch now adjacent to the bandstand will certainly be hoping so! Today, the band is delighted that the audiences at our West Park concerts increased from ca. 30 in 2000 to over 150 in 2006; we have a long way to go!
Unlike many bands, Long Eaton Silver Prize managed to remain active (albeit on a reduced scale) during the First World War, even winning the Coalville Urban District Charity Parade and Gala Brass Band Contest Cup outright in 1915. This cup is now in the possession of the North East Midlands Brass Band Association (NEMBBA) where it features amongst the trophies awarded in its annual February contest.
The band was also present at the inauguration ceremony of the Long Eaton war memorial outside St. Laurence Church on 23rd October 1921, playing Chopin's Funeral March at the conclusion of the dedication.
During the early 1920s, the band staged a number of joint concerts with choirs and singers, such as with the Stapleford and Sandiacre Harmonic Society in the Victoria Cinema on Sunday 29th January 1922. Other concerts included one in the Long Eaton People's Hall for the N.U.R. Orphans Fund with Misses D. Napier and A. Clark (soprano) and Mr. E. Wright (baritone and a member of the band), and a Sullivan concert in the Empire Cinema on Sunday February 26th. Sunday concerts were now fully accepted! All three concerts received extensive coverage in the Long Eaton Advertiser.
Following the war, the band's status had declined a little, with the next invitation to Belle Vue (in May 1922) not being to the Grand Shield, but to the newly inaugurated Junior Section contest (now the Senior Trophy), two sections below.
As now, the band membership comprised mainly of players living within a few miles of Long Eaton. Unusually for the band, William Halliwell (of Black Dyke Mills fame) conducted rather than Harry Evetts. The band was unplaced, and did not repeat this experiment five years later, when Harry Evetts was to conduct to the band to its greatest success
A more successful outing was to the annual contest organised by Spondon Grange Brass Band in 1926, the band finishing second in both the march and test piece contests. Of the bands that entered the contest, only Long Eaton Silver Prize Band, Dove Holes Public Prize Band andPleasley Colliery Band survive; the other entrants were Heanor Miners Welfare Band, Middleton Victoria Silver Band, Sandiacre Brass Band, Stapleford Silver Band, Sawley Brotherhood Band, Swadlincote Town Silver Prize Band and Ripley United Silver Prize Band (later known as the Riddings Band).
The highlight of the 1920s was winning the Cassell's Saturday Journal Shield as Second Section Champions at Crystal Palace on September 24th, 1927. This success was extensively reported in the local newspapers:
“By securing the Junior Shield (“A” contest) in the National Brass Band Festival at the Crystal Palace on Saturday, the Long Eaton Silver Prize Band has taken a prominent place in the musical world. It is estimated that no less than 3,500 bandsmen took part in the festival, and Long Eaton had to contest with 31 bands in the particular section for which they were awarded the trophy. The contestants were drawn from all parts of the country and their success is more noteworthy by reason of the fact that all the members are drawn from a radius of six miles of Long Eaton. Many of the other competing bands had professional players in their ranks, while the local band was composed of local talent. The test piece was “Don Giovanni” and Long Eaton were drawn sixteenth to compete. Even at that time the members were confident that they would be among the prizes and were not really surprised that they landed the premier trophy.
There is no need for any analysis of the virtues of the band; their work was uniformly brilliant. Unquestionably they had the inspiration in the conducting of Mr. Harry Evetts, which must have been wholly admirable alike in its structural grasp and its entire freedom from applause-catching flourishes and other devices.
To the conductor, Mr. Evetts, and the bandmaster, Mr. G. Flavell, great credit is due, and also to the members for their attention to practice which has brought its due reward. Long Eaton folk learned of their success with feelings of pride, and the town generally will join with us in offering heartiest congratulations.
In all, the Silver Band have secured about fifty prizes, which include a challenge cup at Birmingham, challenge cup at Coalville on two occasions, a cup at Ibstock and, now the premier award in London.
This magnificent triumph was to feature on the band's headed paper for many years