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Morecambe Brass Band
Local records reveal that a brass band was formed in Morecambe around the turn of the century circa 1904/05 and adopted the name of MORECAMBE BOROUGH BAND. Records are quite sparse for the long period up to the 1970's but following the reorganisation of local government in 1974 the band changed its name to MORECAMBE & HEYSHAM SILVER BAND.
Under the baton of John Fleming, the conductor for many years, the band reached the Section 4 National Band Finals in 1979. The year 1984 signalled the arrival of a new musical director, Stephen R. Tarry, F.L.C.M., G.L.C.M. and almost immediately the band's contesting fortunes took a dramatic upward turn. The band rapidly gained promotion from section 4 to section 1 Nationally and Championship section in the North West Region. They reached the National Finals in London in 1986, 1987, and 1991. They again played at the National Finals and were placed 3rd in section 2 in 1993, a very creditable achievement.
In 1981 the MORECAMBE YOUTH BAND was formed and under guidance of Bernard Vause and Joe Kenyon, the band has provided a constant stream of talented young musicians, many of whom have and still do play with the senior band. In May 1995 The Youth Band were the very first brass band in the UK to receive Lottery funding. The successful bid meant that £47,500 could be spent on new instruments and equipment. Since 1987 the Morecambe Band has had the benefit of sponsorship, firstly through the Marsden Building Society then from 1992 Nuclear Electric, now British Energy (Heysham Power Stations), and from April 2001 to April 2004 Lancashire Life and Lake District Life Magazine to whom we are very grateful.
In 2000 the Morecambe Brass Ensemble (MBE) was formed. From its earliest days to the present the MBE has continued to grow in number and includes some younger players making the transition between Youth Band and Senior Band. Engagements are undertaken throughout the area and bring much pleasure to players & public alike.
Valuable publicity has been generated for Morecambe & Lancaster and the regional brass band movement by the band through several foreign tours. 1990 saw the band on tour in the Lake Constance and Kressbronn areas of Germany and in 1992 in the Moselle Valley region. In 1995 a tour of Holland was undertaken.
Throughout the years the band has had several "homes" ranging from Euston Road School to the old Telephone Exchange at Heysham and finally to its new headquarters at Birketts Place. The present band room was formerly the City Council deck chair store which was purchased in 1993, superbly converted and renovated mainly by the members themselves, and now recognised as perhaps the finest brass rehearsal facilities in the North West. In the last year we have added such luxuries and a Pool Table, Dart Board and Satellite TV.
In September 1998 Steve Tarry married and finally bade farewell to the band and all his friends after 14 years as Musical Director, taking a teaching post in Kuwait. His departure meant the appointment of a new MD, and in September 1998 ANDREW WARRINER was appointed. His experience as a player with Fodens, Leyland, Grimethorpe and others was soon put to good effect when in November 1998 the Band was placed third at the prestigious PILKINGTONS NORTHERN BRASS BAND CHAMPIONSHIPS held in St. Helens, a sure sign of even better things to come.
In January 2001 the band moved down into section 3 nationally, however, at the North West National Area Qualifiers Competition held in March 2001 at Blackpool the Band, drawn 2nd to play, performed magnificently earning 2nd place and thereby qualifying for the National Finals in September at the Guildhall Preston.
In September the Band competing in The National Championships of Great Britain at Preston Guild Hall were declared winners at Section 3 level.... the highest accolade in the Band's 100 year history.
By winning the Nationals in Preston we were automatically promoted to Section 2 and in the North West Area qualifying Competition in March 2002 the Band performed well again and qualified for the Finals in Torquay. A second National Title however was not to be, the Band finishing in 6th place in Devon.
In March 2003, the Band said goodbye to Andrew Warriner as he returned to playing with Fodens. Fortunately a replacement MD was soon to move into the area as a music teacher at a local secondary school. Chris Larder moved to Morecambe in September to take up his first job following graduation at Leeds University where he studied music. Chris has been principal Euphonium player with Rothwell Temperance Band, a Championship Section Band from Yorkshire. We are looking forward to 2004 with Chris in keen anticipation, for not only are we promoted to 1st Section, but 2004 also sees us celebrating 100 years of brass banding in Morecambe.
In May 2004 the band changed it's name to reflect it's many and various facets. The organisation was re-branded as The Morecambe Brass Band Association, to encompass the Morecambe Brass Band, Morecambe Brass Ensemble, Morecambe Youth Band and Morecambe Brass Academy and allow it to step into the next 100 years with confidence.
July 2004 marked the 100th Anniversary of the Bands' formation. To celebrate the event, the Band ran an International Competition for a new piece of music. The judges were to be the audience at the Anniversary Concert in The Dome Morecambe on 10th July. The finalists were selected by an eminent panel of Brass Musicians. Dr Roy Newsome, David Horsfield and John Miller. The winner Andrew Baker of Manchester received a cheque of £1000 for his music entitled “The Cistercians”. In September 2004 our Anniversary celebrations continued with a celebrity concert and master class given by Dr Robert Childs, the world famous euphonium virtuoso and conductor.
In the summer of 2005 a group of musicians & friends from the band spent 5 days on a visit to Barcelona, Spain. In 2006 the Band returned after a three year break to contesting again when they entered the third section at Blackpool. In September 2007 we lost the services of Chris Larder as MD as he left to take up new responsibilities in school. Fortunately Andrew Warriner offered to help & subsequently agreed to return on a permanent basis in January 2008.
Now, in 2010 the band are actively competing, our current position being in the First Section locally, Second Section nationally. We had some success at the Whit Friday marches in Thameside recently. (for full results see Four Bars Rest)