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.
The first mention of a band in Melton Mowbray was in 1814 when the Town Band played for the Prince Regent and the Duke of Rutland, who the report states were in the town together. It is assumed that the majority of the instruments were of the reed variety with little or no brass.
To celebrate the coronation of Queen Victoria on 28th June 1838 a very formidable procession marched through the Town with many bands participating. At this time Melton Mowbray was an important aristocratic playground with the surrounding hunts at Quorn, Belvoir and Cottesmore being the main attraction. The celebrations reflected this and a bill-board from that time shows that included in the march were, among others, Manchester Unity Band, Notts. Temperance Band, The Keyworth Band and the Melton Town Band. At this time brass instruments were known to be available and as the bands marched this is acknowledged as the earliest evidence of a brass band in Melton Mowbray.
The band still exists today and following a sponsorship deal with the Melton Mowbray Building Society in Jan 2007 is now called The Melton Band. Transitional names have included The Melton Town Silver Band, The Melton Borough Band.
The earliest photograph of the band is of a procession through Melton Mowbray following a policeman on a white horse the venue being the 1910 Whit Fair. In this photograph the bandsmen are dressed in ordinary street wear.
Another photograph has recently appeared from about the same time, showing the band in uniforms these were navy blue with silver braiding and naval style trims. These had changed by 1937 when the band turned out in chocolate brown uniforms with a 1'' red trouser stripe, gold braid and brass buttons in groups of three. A maroon blazer was then used until early 1970s when a set of blue and black mess jacket style uniforms were purchased from the Kibworth Band. These were superseded by royal blue blazers and navy blue ties. In 2007 Navy blue fleeces with the Building Society Logo, worn with Building Society ties were used for walking out; and in 2008 a set of royal blue jackets with black lapels and cuff decoration were purchased from the South Leicester Band.
Musical Directors can be traced back to 1856 when Mr. Pym held the post and later in 1898 Mr. Jos. Brewin. At this time brass banding was becoming very popular and many surrounding villages such as Scalford and Wymondham had their own bands. In 1919 the band led the first Armistice parade in Melton and it is recorded that the band were conducted by Malcolm Sergeant, who was a young organist in the local Parish Church.
In 1937 the Musical Director was Mr H V Dyson, a dye master in the local wool mills. He was a strict disciplinarian and under his leadership the band probably reached their highest musical standard. They frequently appeared on the radio, quite an accomplishment in pre. TV and local radio days. On the day the second World war broke out, they were booked to play at Mark Eaton Park in Derby but had to cancel the engagement because public transport was unavailable.
Recent Musical Directors have included Alf Handley, Cyril Walker, Arthur Henshaw [the postmaster], Eric Pinckett [County Director of school music], G.M. Elliot, Bill Heart, Peter Rippon, Arthur Clark [for 25 years until 1995], Martin Gardner [ex army bandsman], Huw Thomas, John Scott, Colin Hartley [ex Royal Marine bandsman], Andrea Allen, [our first female MD], Lee Blankley and currently Graham Sutton. The band also has a thriving junior section under the direction of Caroline Pearson.
The Melton Band, having recently obtained sponsorship and changed its name, is for the first time in recent history, on a secure financial footing. Over the last 4 years the band has also received nearly £20,000 in sponsorship from the National Lottery and Masterfoods to purchase new instruments. As a result, the middle and lower section instruments have been replaced. In 2008 the band was able to purchase 5 new Virtuoso cornets and a set of Timps. from band funds.
The band have practiced at Sage Cross Church since 1988 where the music library, first organized by Charlie Biddles in1935 is housed, as are the larger instruments, percussion etc.
The cloth cap image of banding in Melton Mowbray is now very much a thing of the past. Present professions include school teachers administrators a concrete technician a tool maker, lorry driver a chartered designer computer programmer carpenter and a call centre manager.
The band is run in a professional way by a hard working committee under the Chairmanship, for the last 25 years, of Clive Baker. A full programme of bandstand engagements have been confirmed for the summer.
The Band has a full complement of players and will continue to keep a high profile locally and spread the message of brass band music to the highest possible standard at every opportunity. We look forward to celebrating our 175th Anniversary in 2013.