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This page is part of an archive of historical details from existing or defunct brass band websites. This is being maintained to provide a record of this information in the event of a band folding, its website disappearing or other loss of the historical record. Where possible, and appropriate, the information cached will be updated from time to time - and any corrections or updates are welcome.

Toddington Town Band

The first reference to the Toddington Brass Band was in an 1856 issue of The Dunstable Chronicle but it wasn't until 1910 that the first reference to the Toddington Town Band appeared. Back then, Toddington Town Band was under the baton of James Hyde. Mr Hyde conducted the band for forty one years in what was to be one of the longest and most recognised leaderships the band has ever known, until his death in 1951. Under James' leadership, the Toddington Town Band achieved repeated competition success; including a much celebrated contest win at Reading in 1937 followed by a second placing in the "Area Contest" in 1947 and then a further third place in the much respected "Belle Vue Contest" held in Manchester.

When James Hyde passed on, his son Dennis, having inherited his father's passion for music, took on the leadership post and led the band for the rest of his life. Dennis passed on in 1982 after a highly applauded and respected tenure as leader of the Toddington Town Band.

Following on from the death of Dennis Hyde, there was a five year interval before the formation of the current Toddington Town Band. In 1984, Beryl Hyde approached Derek Tiller, a former member, to reform the band, Derek took up the baton and along with players from Ampthill and Sandy bands, joined the existing players at Toddington to make music as a social band. Derek joined Toddington Town Band on VE day (8th May 1945) when the band was known as the Toddington Home Guard Band. The band rehearsed in the upstairs room of the social club on Sunday mornings.

Derek Tiller moved to Yorkshire in 1986 and was replaced as musical director by Keith Baldwin, a local professional jazz trumpeter and landlord of the Angel Pub. Keith conducted the band until early 1987, when he moved away and the band continued to rehearse under the direction of their current bandmaster. In September 1987, Beryl Hyde approached a local brass teacher Kevin Nicholls to take the band forward. Kevin was bitten by the growing Toddington Town Band fever and not long after, formed a new Junior band and along with the existing senior band, became musical director until John Farmer took up the baton.

John conducted our band for a total of sixteen years. His years with the band were notable for a marked increase in membership and interest in the Toddington Town Band. Under his leadership, the band went from strength to strength and subsequently became a regular fixture at social events and concert halls across the region. John was also credited with creating a hugely beneficial partnership with our fellow brass band, Heath.

John Farmer was well known within and also outside of the band for his hilarious anecdotes and easy style of leadership. Many band members, both current and ex; chuckle to themselves when reminded of "skins off rice pudding", "whatsits and bloaters" and "wet things in a colander". Above all, John's easy humour and gentle nature made everyone feel at ease and was directly responsible for creating the "Family" of Toddington Town Band as we now are.

On John's retirement in 2009, our resident Bass player, Mick Atkins successfully applied to take up the post of Musical Director. Since that time, Mick has led the band forwards and developed his own style of music making; in this the bands centenary year, high profile events have been planned including Toddington Town Band playing at a music festival in France and a centenary concert at Parkfields School in October which will include many past players.

The Band looks forward to the next 100 years of music making!

This is not the complete history of Toddington Town Band but we are working on filling out the gaps and building up profiles of the key people in our history. If you have any information, whether photos, video, audio or records; please contact us as soon as possible using the "Contact Us" page on the left hand side of the page.

Toddington Town Band presently counts more than thirty five active members and is growing all the time. Our engagements list includes fêtes, concerts and private events and this year, in a band first, Toddington Town Band will travel to France to play for our Gallic cousins!