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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.

Waltham St. Lawrence Silver Band

The origins of the Waltham St. Lawrence Band go back to 1886. The founder players were mainly village tradesmen backed by two wealthy benefactors, William Landsdowne Beale and the Revd. Grey Neville. Little is recorded of the band's early days, but it was certainly a well established part of the local scene by 1910. The band was revived after the disruptions of World War 1 in 1922, and made great progress under the direction of Twyford publican Ernest Pearce. Activities included regular appearances at "hospital parades" to raise funds for Royal Berks Hospital, and there were significant contest successes in the inter-war years, including a first prize at Fairford Contest in 1938.

After World War 2, the band was re-established in 1946 as the Waltham St. Lawrence Silver Prize Band, again under the direction of Mr Pearce. He continued as conductor until his death in 1953. It was a struggle to get the band going again, and it is thanks to the efforts and determination of Sydney Boyd that the band continues to exist today. Syd continued to play a leading role until his death in 1982.

In 1950 the name changed again to East Berks Silver Band, reflecting the wider area from which members were being drawn. Jack Clark, who formerly played cornet for Morris Motors band among others, became bandmaster in 1954. There were a number of contest successes both locally and at national level through the 1950's.

In 1957 the East Berks Silver Band decided to base itself in Reading, a move that was unacceptable to many members. A new Waltham St. Lawrence Band was formed, based in the village and rehearsing then, as now, in the village's Neville Hall on a Wednesday evening. Mr C.Tuffley was made bandmaster, but died soon afterwards, being succeeded by W.T.Kirkland. In 1960, F.Lewingdon became bandmaster until 1967. Between1967-75 the role alternated between J.Shaw and F.Merrick.

In 1975 the baton was taken up by John Lawes, who was very active on the Reading music scene, and also conducted the Reading Operatic Society's orchestra. He composed and arranged many pieces for the band, including easier items for a 10-piece ensemble. John promoted a move towards a more modern presentation, with more "swing" music and interaction with the concert audience.

Jim Pullen, who joined the band on trombone in 1986, became bandmaster in 1988. Previously a professional musician in the RAF, Jim was also a capable string bass and guitar player. As well as tackling demanding pieces from the brass band repertoire, the band also learned to handle jazz and rock genres under Jim's direction, and recorded its first CD, "Serenade", reflecting the wide range of music it was playing. Jim had to stand down for a period in 2004 due ot pressure of work, and the band was conducted during that time by Sarah Topp, a graduate musician and also a fine singer.

Our present MD, Derek Holland, was appointed in 2006.