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1927/28 - the Boys Brigade Bugle Band changed to Brass complete with valve Trombones and Sousaphone under the direction of Mr Chas Fradley (Snr). After two years due to the poaching of players etc. it became dormant.
However in 1930 Parr St Peters Prize Band being unavailable for the Patronal Festival (they had booked a job in Ashton) the Boys Brigade players were rounded up and the band was resurrected by the Curate Mr Warburton and Mr T Wall (Snr), who was a committee man for Parr St Peters Prize Band. This band (Parr St Peters) was unconnected to the church in spite of bearing its name but had the use of rehearsal rooms in return for certain performances. Most former band members of the Boys Brigade were now in The Young Mens Bible Class and at the behest of the curate the Band continued its life as Parr Church (Y.M.) Brass Band with no connection whatsoever with Parr St Peters Prize Band. Mr T Wall was asked to become secretary of the Church Band and left the committee of the Prize Band. The Band rehearsals were held at Brookfield Mission, then an old house called “Electro House”, in Boardmans Lane. Mr Chas Fradley was unable to continue conducting and eventually Mr Tom Cunliffe (Stm) was appointed. His place was later taken by Mr Geo Langley with Mr Peter Pennington as assistant. All this was done under the auspices and goodwill of the Vicar, Mr T S Gent, and Curate, Mr Warburton. So there were three brass bands in Parr all containing members of the old Boys Brigade.
In 1936 there was a change of clergy at Parr St Peters, the new vicar Mr A V Diamond deciding in conjunction with the church council that the former Boys Brigade Band be told to forego its name and become Brookfield Mission Band. The members said they belonged to Parr and would retain that even if deprived of church facilities and rehearsal rooms etc… On the next Friday evening The Band played up to the church and handed the instruments in to the Vicar's care in the vicarage. Further instruments were obtained including a new drum bearing the name Parr Public Brass Band. In May 1937 under the baton of Mr Richard Farrington the band won second prize at Belle Vue and became Parr Public Prize Band.
So The Parr Band was formed in 1936 as a break-away group of musicians whose origins stemmed from Parr Church (Young Men's) Brass Band and in the early years took the name of Parr Public Band, surviving as a public subscription organisation, supported by the people of Parr. During these early years the two other bands, which bore the name Parr were Parr Temperance & Parr St Peters Prize Band. With the eventual demise of these other two bands; the “Public” part of the name was dropped. The Parr Band (St Helens) came into being, bearing not only the name of the district but of the town of origin. The recognition of these two factors in the band's name is very important to the members of the band and one in which the members are proud to honour.
Like many established organisations the band has had its highs and lows over the years but throughout has managed to support itself albeit finding large scale spending a limiting factor.
The advent of the Lottery Funding, through the Arts Council, was an opportunity not to be missed. Subsequently a grant was received in 1996, which allowed the Band to purchase a complete set of new instruments.
The Band was always strong on its youth policy. Inevitably as a lower section band, members are sometimes ambitious enough to want to progress and there is a small turnover of senior players each year. The youth policy has helped to maintain the membership of the band to full strength over the years. However, with the Lottery grant, we were able to expand this policy and form a Junior Band using the old instruments. Since this award, many young people have been able to take advantage of the free tuition and participate in making music. Inevitably not all who take up the hobby sustain their interest, regrettably others who have made excellent progress have found other activities, as they have grown older, but some members have continued to play and are now firmly established in the Senior Band. The opportunity to teach young people in local schools has been taken from time to time and promotional literature seeking pupils wishing to learn how to play a brass instrument has been distributed in primary schools. The opportunity to learn however is not limited to young people and currently there are several adults learning to play alongside the younger members. For this reason the Junior Band is now known as The Training Band, which meets in a general rehearsal on a Saturday morning and Wednesday evening. All members are encouraged to take the music examinations of The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. Adult members are asked to pay the entrance fee for these examinations but the tuition, music and accompaniment is provided freely by band members and the fee for the young members is taken from the band funds. To maintain these funds the Band undertakes various fee paying engagements throughout the year and at Christmas time seeks donations from members of the public by playing festive music throughout the town. All members contribute a small monthly subscription, which is halved for the younger members.
The Band recognises that it must return some of the support it receives back to the community. It has for many years adopted two particular charities that it supports annually. One was for children in Romania, through Children in Distress, although this was replaced in 2007 with Operation Mobilisation, who work with street boys in the Sudan. The other charity works in St Helens, The Willowbrook Hospice. In addition, it supports other local organisations and helps in their fund raising activities as and when requested.
So we come to the present day. The band has, over the years, rehearsed in many venues. The current rehearsal facilities are ideal. We have free, unhindered access to 3 unused offices in the premises of Viridor Limited, (Formerly Richardson Ltd), Lancots Lane, Sutton, St Helens. This provides the band with the training facilities for the Training Band, storage and a permanently laid out band room with access at any time for extra rehearsals. This sponsorship is greatly appreciated and is recognised by incorporating the name of “Richardson Ltd” in the band title. We are also grateful to our Patrons who support the young people in the band financially (£25 per annum) and take an interest in the band's activities.
Senior rehearsals at the above premises take place on Monday and Wednesday each week commencing 7:30 p.m. and of course on a Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. and Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. for the Training Band members.
Any experienced player will always be welcome to join in senior rehearsals and if the experience is enjoyed, the band will endeavour to accommodate any wish to become a full member. Anyone, young or older, wishing to learn to play, can also come along to either of the Training Band rehearsals where they will be found an instrument and teaching can begin.