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Patcham Silver Band
Patcham Silver Band was first formed in January 1946 as the Patcham Parish Church Voluntary Aid Corps Silver Band by the vicar of All Saints Church, Steven Ensor. At that time, very few of the original members could actually read music and so the fingering had to written over each note in those early days.
By the end of 1947, the band had become well established and its musical leadership was taken over by Mr Weston (the grandfather of Paul Weston who was also to become a conductor of the band later on in its life). Under Mr Weston's direction, the Band continued to grow and to improve its musical expertise. By 1958, under the musical direction of Bill Roberts, the Band had improved sufficiently to take part in local band contests and enjoyed some early successes. Although in 1962, Bill Roberts handed over the baton, he retained a keen interest in the Band's welfare and conducted the junior quartet at the SCABA quartet and ensemble contest in the late 1970's
In 1962, the Band was taken over by Bert Osgood who himself was an accomplished band master and musical leader of young people. Bert gave fresh inspiration to the Band and, in consequence, its numbers swelled and the musical standard further improved. Also at this time, a number of young people from Hangleton joined and began the tradition of including young people, which has been continued right up to the present. In 1964 the Band's name changed to the Patcham Parish Band and then in 1966 to the Patcham Parish Church Band, which remained its title right up to 1992.
By 1970, the Hangleton Band has been established under the leadership of Bert Osgood and Patcham Parish Church Band had a change of musical director. Sammy Gordon took the Band over until 1976 when, due to ill health, he had to retire. Although the Band's numbers were smaller during this period, it nevertheless maintained a good standard of music and continued to fare well at local band contests.
Sammy Gordon's forced retirement came suddenly on the Band and a young member took on the task of keeping the band together during this difficult period. Barbara Deane became the new musical director and, despite a small membership, the original enthusiasm still remained. During the late 1970s Patcham Band was forced to go back to its roots and new players (young and older) were enlisted and some taught to play. Dedication and hard work helped to put in place some good foundations for the future and several of the new recruits from that time are still active members and friends of the Band today.
During the period 1980-87 under Barbara's directorship, the Band was restored to its former strength and returned to contest playing standard as a full-sized twenty five piece silver band. In 1987, Barbara retired from conducting and was succeeded by Paul Weston, a music teacher and experienced brass player. Paul brought fresh vitality to the Band, which continued to prosper and was rewarded by promotion to the 3rd section in SCABA. Due to work commitments in London, Paul relinquished the leadership of the Band in favour of Christine Nonoo, who continued to build on the sound foundations that had been laid.
In 1992, in consultation with All Saints Parish Church, the Band's name was changed to Patcham Silver Band which remains its name today. During this time also, the musical leadership passed first to David Barringer of the Coldstream Guards and then to David Allen, who was himself a former member of the Band.
In 1994 the band engaged Richard A. Baker as musical director. Since then a youth band of approximately twenty members was established that continues today, and the main band rose to the second section in the local contest arena. The band recorded its first compact disc at the beginning of 2002 featuring both the adult and youth bands.
Barbara Deane took leadership of the adult band in September 2002 after Richard moved on due to work commitments. Also at this time, the musical directorship of the Adult & Youth bands was divided up, and Sandra Clinton gave up the Secretary's pen to take up the baton as Youth Band Conductor. Sandra has since brought a large number of young players up to performing standard several times over, not only thrilling concert audiences but winning awards at the local ensemble contests.
Meanwhile, under Barbara's direction the adult band performed at a number of local venues and continued to build on our local reputation. Our time under Barbara's leadership culminated in the band's 60th Anniversary celebrations in 2006.
James Benka-Coker became the musical director of the band in January 2007. Under his direction the band has gone from strength to strength. We have performed many of his own arrangements, had success at the Quartets and Ensembles contest in February 2008 and successfully introduced our most able youth band players to performing with the adult band.
The Band also returned to main contesting in 2009, taking part in SCABA's Spring & Autumn contests.
The highlight of 2009 though, must surely be leading the first performance of massed Brass Bands (with representatives of Hangleton & Brighton Silver bands) as the Brighton Bandstand was rebuilt & re-commissioned. Our bandstand is back! We look forward to having a larger musical footprint in our city in coming years as a result.
History of Patcham Silver Band - Jim Calloway
My band career began with the 19th Brighton boys' brigade, headquarters, the Baptist church, Gloucester Place, next to the old Astoria cinema, I was 12 years old. The tutor we had was a Mr Fred Weston, principal conductor of the Salvation Army bands. Forty years on, his grandson Paul Weston, conducted Patcham Band, and did so very successfully for several years.
During the war years I was a bevan boy, i.e. conscripted miner and played in a colliery band. Released from mining and returning home to Brighton, I looked for a brass band in the area. There's not many local now, but there were even less then. I found a band had been formed in Patcham by the Vicar of All Saints church. More enquiries (no email or mobile 'phones then) and I found the band had been formed in 1946 and practised at the Patcham Church hall in Mackie Avenue on a Friday evening. I was invited along any time. The year was 1949 and I began my long association with Patcham Silver Band.
The band consisted of five elderly players, and a drummer, not the same sort of drummer that we possess now with all that equipment, but a drum and a stick. He was the church warden, which made him conductor and musical director. He beat out every first beat of the bar. Sounds like the band from the Floral Dance but not as good. The only instrument left for playing was a very old tenor horn with the shape of a French horn. That same evening I become principal horn player of Patcham Band. There is a 1960 picture of me with that horn. The horn I remember well, me I don't recognise.
From that beginning, there was only one way to go; up and so it was. In the sixties the band won the coveted S.C.A.B.A. cup for the best band Southern England, the venue was the old town hall (before fire burnt it down). The conductor Mr Bert Osgood, test piece, Quo Vadis, with thirty musicians. You remember all the details when you win! Mr Osgood went to accompany Gabriel with his harp as did the original five members, and the drummer. God bless them all.
The band continues. It is self financing relying on subscriptions, donations and concerts (such as tonight), not easy when the smallest instrument can cost over £500 when new. We had to find a new home for the band, as the old church hall had become dangerous when occupied by so many people, or maybe it was the noise. Before the move, we had a major happening. One Friday evening, the current conductor announced that owing to bereavement, he was leaving immediately. The conductors name, Mr Samuel Gordon. A band of 20-30 musicians needs a conductor like a ship needs a rudder. Not only do you need to know music scores, but how to control those musicians. They come very thin on the ground. Cometh the hour, cometh the man, or in this case woman, a young woman said she'd take us on. I found this amazing, a young woman taking on this lot. No problem. We were calling her madam within a month.
Yes it's easy to guess the bands saviour was Barbara Deane, our current musical director. The band has had other conductors, between then and now. Mr Richard Baker must be mentioned. He took us to the same SCABA contest, Folkestone this time, not Hove. And we took first prize and the same cup that Mr Osgood won all those years ago. When the band moved from the hall we has a short spell at the Methodist Church in Ladies Mile Road before taking up permanent residence at Patcham Junior School.
Another major happening about this time was the formation of the Junior band (with their fantastic uniforms!). The youngsters get musical training for a very small fee which goes to band funding. The band receives the finished product. In tonight's band there should be half a dozen or more who have come to us by that route. The downside of this is poor Sandra. She teachers by day and takes on the juniors in the evening but she never complains, indeed she has been the band secretary as well. All bands have their share of romances, gossip and scandal. For the romances, two of our principal players met their spouses because of Patcham Band. Indeed the band played at David's (principal cornet for many years) wedding. For the gossip and scandal read all about it in our centurion programme forty years from now.
Now for the present and the future…..….. Barbara Deane our current conductor hangs up her baton after this concert. The band and members owe her a huge debt; she's not leaving, but changing her baton for an instrument. Who will take over? It's not an easy task. Very much like a football manager, if the team is good it's a good team. If the team is bad sack the manager. Yes it is a challenge, but sixty years ago it must have been a bigger challenge to start it all. On behalf of the hundreds who have sat with Patcham Silver, I thank the Reverend who began it all sixty years ago.
Jim Calloway - October 2006