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St Sebastian Wokingham Band
These writings have been compiled from the band's records and from conversations with Alan Clacey, a founder member of the band. Alan was present at the very first meeting held in the "St Sebastian Parish Hall" on 28th August 1931 in response to a request for anyone in the local area who was interested in forming a band to attend. During the meeting some instruments that had been purchased from the "Chobham Band", were allocated to those present and the "St Sebastian Parish Band" was formed.
The band began rehearsing in the Parish Hall and rehearsed in that building until 2004, when St. Sebastian's School started to allow us to use their main hall. By the 1980's the Parish hall had deteriorated into very dilapidated state but fortunately for the band, the "Luff" building company was sponsoring us at the time, and very kindly renovated the hall for us. Once we moved into the school hall, we continued to use the small alcove at the back of the Parish hall as a storage area until mid-2009 when the building was condemned after extensive deterioration. It was eventually demolished in August 2009.
The following is a chronological summary of the band's Musical Directors or Conductors and also includes some of the band's activities & achievements.
1931 - The band was formed on 28th August 1931 as "The St Sebastian Parish Band." It was subsequently renamed in 1978 to become "The St Sebastian (Wokingham) Band"
1932 - The first business meeting of the St Sebastian Parish Band was held in the Parish Hall on 21st September. The Vicar chaired the meeting with 17 members and Mr Every (The first Band master) attending. This appears to have set a precedent since the incumbent vicar at the St Sebastian Church in now automatically the band President as well. Subscriptions were set at 2d (2 old pence sterling) per week making the annual subscription 8s/8d (8 Shillings and 8 Pence) which equates to approximately 43 Pence in today's currency.
1935 - Subscriptions for juniors (under 14) was set at 1d (Half that of senior members).
1936 - The band started running an annual social in the Memorial Hall.
1937 - The subscription was increased from 2d per week to 6d per month which effectively reduced the subscription to one and a half pence per week and the annual subscription to 6 Shillings and 6 Pence. It was also suggested that the Band Master's salary be increased but when it transpired that he did not receive one, the suggestion was dropped.
Mr Hodges became the Band Master
1942 - On the 17th March the committee put the band into suspension (because of the war) until conditions had improved (ie The end of the war) with the current committee remaining in office. During this period of suspension a small nucleus of the members continued playing together until the band reformed again in 1945, still under the direction of Mr Hodges. The band social was also revived.
1946 - There were 110 practices, 20 engagements, 2 contests and 27 committee meetings.
1947 - There were 135 practices, 23 engagements, 3 contests and 7 committee meetings.
1948 - The band achieved 1st place at the Oxford contest in June.
There were 150 practices, 22 engagements, 4 contests and 8 committee meetings.
1949 -Mr Hodges resigned as Band Master and after a short period during which Mr Griffiths covered the position, Mr Ellison took over the baton.
1952 - Mr E. Repper became Band Master.
1953 - Mr Alan Clacey became Band Master.
1958 - The band won 7 awards at contests.
3 Firsts, 2 Seconds, 1 Third and 1 Fourth.
1967 - The band was placed 1st at the Reading contest and 2nd in the Area contest at Watford, qualifying for the Finals. There were 25 engagements and during the year the band converted to Low pitch.
1968 - The band was promoted to the 3rd section. There were 33 players on the books and the band attended 23 engagements.
1973 - The Annual Business Meeting became the Annual General Meeting (AGM).
1975 - Ian Peake, a promising teenage member of the baritone section was killed in a motorcycle accident. A solos contest (sponsored by Ian's parents) was organized in his memory with the aim of encouraging young players to play in public.
1979 - Mr Dave Grimshaw became Band Master when after 25 Years, Mr Alan Clacey stood down. Alan currently holds the record for the band's longest serving M.D. (at 26 years!)
1984 - Mr Bert Osborn was elected to the position of Musical Director (MD) in a ballot between him and Mr Dave Grimshaw. He subsequently resigned later in the same year.
1985 - Mr E Walker (Ted) was elected to the position of MD at the AGM.
1986 - Mr Brian Birchal was elected to the position of MD.
1987 - Mr E Walker was elected to Band Master as an interim measure until a new MD could be elected.
1988 - Mr Dave Watkins was elected to the position of MD.
1989 - Mr Dave Watkins resigned in December.
1990 - Mr Graham Wade was elected the position of MD starting in January.
1991 - Mr Graham Wade was asked to resign and Mr Robert Young was elected as the new MD.
1994 - Mr Gary Wyatt was elected to the position of MD.
1996 - The band appeared to not have a MD until Mr Derek Holland was elected to the position.
1999 - Mr Bruce Gentry was elected to the position of MD. The band qualified to play at the National Finals in Nottingham
2000 - The band qualified to play at the National Finals in The Royal Albert Hall. (Unfortunately we drew to play first and didn't do ourselves justice).
2003 - The band gains black dress jackets for use at formal concerts and contests. Our maroon jackets are used for marching and outdoor jobs. The last Ian Peake solos contest is held at St. Sebastian's School.
2004 - Mr Bruce Gentry stands down as Musical Director. The band appoints solo horn player Simon Mortlock as Band Master and Mr Dave Richards as MD. Founder member Alan Clacey passes away in June aged 88.
2005 - Simon Mortlock stands down as Band Master and resigns from the band. The band qualifies for the National Finals in Harrogate.
2006 - The band celebrates its 75th anniversary with a gala concert, new regalia and a formal association with Wokingham Town Council. The inaugural Mayor's annual Charity Concert is held at Wokingham Theatre. Mr Dave Richards stands down as Musical Director
2007 - Mr Andrew Porter is appointed M.D. The band gains "walking out" fleeces and knee-length raincoats as uniform additions. Two new awards are introduced. Musician of the year (chosen by M.D.) and Bandsman of the year (band members' choice).
2008 - Mr Andrew Porter stands down as Musical Director. James Kelloway is appointed Band Master
2009 - Mr Lee Woodward is appointed M.D. The band qualifies for the National Finals in Harrogate with a 1st place finish at the Regional Heats and promotion to the 2nd section for 2010. An "end-of-an-era" as the old band hut (Parish hall) is condemned after extensive deterioration and demolished in August.
2010 - The band makes its debut in the 2nd section.