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Marsden Silver Prize Band
The band was formed in 1889. Earliest records talk of a 'Holme Mills Brass Band', which was later to become the Marsden Musical Institute Brass Band. The band had several locations around the village of Marsden before moving to their current headquarters on Marsden Lane in 1931. In 1961 the band won first prize in the Senior Trophy at the Belle Vue contest which gave the band the right to use the title 'Silver Prize' in their name.
In 1996 under the expert tutelage of MD Alan Widdop the band began its rise through the sections. In 1997 they were 4th in the National 3rd section finals, leading to promotion to the 2nd section. Advancement to the 1st section followed quickly, and in the 2002 and 2003 the band competed at the highest level in the Yorkshire Championship section. There were also other contest successes, including Ripon, Wychavon and Malton Entertainment contests.
Other features of this period were appearances in the TV series 'Songs of Praise', and 'Where the Heart is' which were filmed locally. Further afield, the band started to make its annual trip up the A1 to the New Herrington Miners for the Durham Miners Gala, where they were the first Yorkshire band to play inside the cathedral for the dedication of a banner. And they also began their association with the Ilkley Summer Festival, where every year the band leads the rousing finale of 'pomp and fireworks'.
Whit Friday has always featured heavily in the band calendar, and this period was no exception with a wealth of prizes in the Saddleworth area. Marsden were Best Local band in 2000, and went onto retain their title in 2001 which was helped by an outstanding 1st at Delph. The band went onto repeat their success in Delph in 2002 together with a 1st at Scouthead which led to them attaining 3rd position overall in Saddleworth.
In 2004, after moving back down to the 1st section, the band consolidated and then embarked on a new and exciting period of their history when Glyn Williams was appointed as MD. Contest success followed quickly with 3rd and 2nd places at the 1st section areas and wins of the 1st section at Pontins and the French Open Championships.
Under Glyn's direction, the band continued to be March Contest Champions, maintaining and improving their Whit Friday successes and taking the local march contest scene by storm, claiming first prizes almost everywhere they competed.
The band returned to the Championship section in 2007. After a slow start to the year, the band went on to deliver an amazing performance of Phillip Sparke's 'Partita' after being drawn to play 1st out of 20 bands - rewarding the band with a 2nd place. On the concert platform, the band played its most prestigious concert yet when it appeared at the Great Northern Arts Festival in Bridgewater Hall.
The band was to continue to take on the best bands in 2008 when it gained 6th place in the Yorkshire regionals. A feat it was to repeat in 2010. The 2008 run of success continued at the Senior Trophy with a 3rd place gaining promotion into the Senior Cup for 2009.
The Whit Friday march contests have also brought the band success. In 2008, 2009 and 2010 the band won the Saddleworth prize for the best local band. In 2010 they won the Delph contest and were placed 2nd at both Greenacres and Uppermill.
The band has gone from strength to strength, competing at the Scottish Open and the All England Masters International Contest in 2009 and finishing a creditable 5th at Pontins at the end of the year.
The Pontins contest has continued to be a favourite with the band and in 2010 just 6 years after becoming 1st Section winners, they were awarded 1st Prize in the Championship Section on the fiendishly difficult Les Preludes.
Marsden Band is looking forward to making its debut in the Championship Section of the Butlins Contest in January 2011 and of course to the tightly fought Yorkshire Area in March 2011!