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Moulton 77 Brass Band
Situated some four miles north east of Northampton Town centre is the village of Moulton. The Moulton '77 Band is a brass band made up entirely of amateur players and is funded by engagement fees and member subscriptions. The band is actually the second brass band to be associated with the village. According to information researched at the time of the founding of the present band, the original Moulton Brass Band was active in the village from around 1907 to 1937. After disbanding in 1937 the Band instruments were put into storage but were unfortunately lost in a fire some years later.
The origins of the Moulton '77 Band date back to early 1977 when the village established a Queen's Silver Jubilee Appeals Committee. The committee were looking for suitable projects to support in commemoration of the Queen's Silver Jubilee. A group of Bandsmen living in the village suggested the formation of a youth band. By May 1977 an almost complete set of second-hand instruments were located in a shop in Kettering and were purchased for £700 following a generous offer of an interest free loan from two anonymous local well wishers. Rehearsals commenced in the Church Rooms and the first public performance was on the 10th of December at Moulton School under the Baton of Ernie Baldwin. Ernie was a well known local Bandmaster having been associated with Northampton Town Band from the early 1970s. The Band flourished and played concerts in the local area and held regular Christmas concerts at Moulton School. In late 1979 Ernie Baldwin had to relinquish his role as Bandmaster due to ill health, his place been taken by Roy Dudden (or Duddey?]. Roy brought a wealth of experience with him having been trained at the Army School of Music and helped to increase the size of the Band to between 25 & 30 players by 1980.
The next phase of the Band development began with the appointment of David Clark as musical director. Originally from East Yorkshire David joined the Band in the early 1980's after playing in the cornet section of the famous GUS (Footwear] Band in Kettering. Under David's direction the Band developed to include a larger adult membership and standards improved such that they were able to begin competing in brass band contests in 1986. The first entry in the 4th section of the South Midlands Area qualifying contest in Northampton resulted in a very creditable 3rd place. This was to be followed by a win in April 1987 at the 4th section area qualifying contest securing an invitation to the 4th section finals of National Brass Band Championships in September. The rapid progress of the Band resulted in the publication of a photo of the Band in the 12th of September 1987 edition of the British Bandsman Paper, the caption stating that the Band was busy working towards the London finals. At the finals the Band were awarded 3rd place. The Band were promoted to the 3rd section in 1988 and continued to be successful gaining promotion to the 2nd section in 1992. In 1993 David led the band to a 2nd place in the 2nd section at the area qualifying contest securing a second visit to the National Brass Band Championship Finals this time in the 2nd section. In addition to competing in the National Brass Band Championships the Band took part in contests in Leicester, Market Harborough and at the Reading Brass Band Guild contest. Outside of the contest field David led the band on numerous engagements, one of the most memorable being a performance of Handel's Messiah with the Moulton Parish Church Choir using Dr Denis Wright's Brass Band transcription. David left the Band in the mid 1990's returning to study on the Brass Band course at Barnsley College.
On David's departure from the Band the conductors' position was taken up by Geoff Riseley. Geoff is a well known Bandsman in Northamptonshire having gained much of his musical experience with the Salvation Army in Northampton and then in Northampton Town Band. Later Geoff went on to join Towcester Studio Band where he served for a number of years as Bandmaster under William (Bill] Scholes. Geoff joined Moulton '77 in the late 1980's playing in the cornet section. As the conductor Geoff helped to secure the Band's position in the 2nd section with good performances in the National Brass Band Championships including a third visit to the Finals in 1999 after winning the area contest in Nottingham. In 1996 the Band made their first recording "In Tune with Moulton '77" conducted by Geoff and featuring solos by Maggie Betts - Principal Cornet & Bob Pound - Solo Tenor Horn. The Band were also successful under Geoff's Baton in the 2nd section at the London & Home Counties Contest at Harrow in 1998 gaining first prize with Tenor Horn player Bob Pound winning the prize for best soloists. Other contests entered by the Band included entertainments contests in the Isle of Wight and at Milton Keynes and an own choice competition in Leicestershire. Outside of contesting Geoff led a section of the Band who accompanied the Northampton Male Voice Choir on a tour of Ireland. In 2000 Geoff decided to relinquish his role as Conductor and once more took a place in the Band.
Following Geoff the position of Conductor was taken up by David Goswell. David had been successful in the 1980's with the Rushden Windmill Band before work commitments had forced him to take a break from Brass Banding. David stayed with the Band for some 12 months.
In 2001 Iain Rayner took over the conductor's position. Like Geoff Iain had had his early musical training in the Salvation Army and on leaving school he joined the Band of Her Majesty's Life Guards in the Household Cavalry. Iain is also an accomplished composer and arranger having completed an honours degree in brass Band Studies at Accrington & Rosendale College and the Band library is richer for his time with the Band. Iain helped the Band make their second recording in 2002 with a CD entitled "Jubilee Dawn", recorded in the Moulton Parish Church. The recording included a solo by Graham Smith - Principal Cornet, a vocal solo by Matthew Hayle and a Horn trio featuring Bob Pound, Simon Ellson and Heather Monks. Unfortunately success on the contest platform was not forthcoming with a series of poor results in the area qualifying contests of the National Brass Band Championships.
During the autumn of 2004 Howard Gibbs was appointed as conductor. Howard was another ex Salvation Army Bandsman having studied trombone under the famous Salvationist and orchestral trombonist Masie Wiggins. Like Iain Howard had also gone on to a career as a musician in the Army. On leaving the Army Howard took up a position in the trombone section of the City of Coventry Band. Owing to the Bands performance in the National Brass Band Championships over the preceding years it was inevitable that they would be relegated to the 3rd section under Howard's charge. In September 2005 in the Bands final competition in the 2nd section, at the Pontins Holiday Resort in Prestatyn, Howard led them to a very creditable 9th place beating several midlands 2nd section bands in the process. 2006 saw the Band achieving 3rd place in the Butlins Mineworkers Championships and a fourth trip to the National Brass Band Championship finals following a 3rd place in the 3rd section area qualifying contest. The year was rounded off with a 2nd place at the West Midlands Brass Band Association Contest at Leamington Spa. Outside of the contest world Howard led the Band in many engagements including a successful concert at the Salvation Army Oakengates Citadel in Telford.
Howard left the Band in the summer of 2007 and the Band was fortunate to recruit the services of Martyn France. Again Martyn had been trained in the Salvation Army with both his father and grandfather being Salvation Army Bandmasters. Outside of the Salvation Army Martyn was involved in the Brass Band movement in Scotland, being the President of the North-East Scotland Brass Band Association and playing in UDI (Brass] Aberdeen Band. Prior to joining Moulton '77 Martyn was the musical director of Watford Band where he had helped develop the Band from 11 players up to 33 players. Martyn's aim for his time at Moulton was to improve the bands performances, whilst bringing in energy and enthusiasm to the band. The band's concert profile improved under Martyn's leadership and the band played in many successful concerts. One of these concerts was to fulfil a dream of Martyn's - to play Men of Harlech with a male voice choir. However the band's contest results were not as successful and the band were demoted to the fourth section in 2009. Finishing on a busy summer programme and a very well received concert in October 2010 Martyn decided to leave the band.
When Martyn left the band in October 2010, we were lucky to have within the band Jane Lloyd, who led the band through a busy end of year schedule -preparing us for 4 concerts, carolling outside Tesco's - in yes November, Christmas Fetes and a noisy Christmas Carol shoutalong at a Rugby Club - many thanks from the band go to Jane for all her hard work.