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Wem Jubilee Band
Wem Jubilee Band hails from North Shropshire. Although the Band can trace its roots back to the 1930's, the formation of the current Band was inspired by our present Chairman Ray Edge. During the Queen's Silver Jubilee Celebrations Wem could not find a band in the area that could play for them - the best thing that they could manage was 'piped' music. Following this the revival of the Band was suggested by Ray to John Dromgool who was the local newspaper reporter. From there the Wem Chamber of Commerce were approached for their help.
Their Chairman at that time was Bill Greaves who called a public meeting for interested parties. This meeting was chaired by Bill and a steering committee was formed. At a meeting in September 1977 Wem Jubilee Band's first committee was formed and the name 'Wem Jubilee Band' was decided upon. Following on from the formation of the committee a public appeal was launched for anyone to come forward who may have knowledge of old instruments from the previous band. Unfortunately, only two instruments were handed in but, undaunted, the Band carried on and began rehearsing with only seven members playing on these two instruments.
From this humble beginning the Band slowly gathered strength and gave its first public performance in October 1978. Since that debut concert, the Band has grown from strength to strength, undertaking regular engagements, entering the contest field and visiting Fismes, Wem's twin town in France, on a number of occasions and taking part in some very prestigious events. Currently the Band consists of thirty+ amateur musicians who meet once a week in the Band's own headquarters based at The Thomas Adams School, Wem. The Youth Band and Beginners Bands also play an important part in the make up of the organisation and players from within the Senior Band generously give their time to tutor these youngsters.
The Band have achieved considerable success when competing at the Wychavon Festival of Brass. In 2001 they competed in their own section (4th Section) and the section higher (3rd Section) and to their delight were awarded first prize in the 3rd Section together with a handsome trophy and the percussion section won the award for the best in the section. On entering their own section they 'swept the board' winning first prize with a nice trophy. In this same section the Band's tenor horn player Salliann Thorne won the best soloist award and again the percussion section won the award for the best in the section. A wonderful day which will never be forgotten.
In March 2002 the Band achieved success in winning it's section of the Midlands Area Brass Band Championships and then, as Midland Champions, went forward to compete in the National Brass Band Championships in Torquay on 21st September, 2002. Competing against 22 other area finalists they came a very creditable sixth. The Band were very proud of this achievement and equally proud to represent Wem in this the most prestigious of competitions.
January 2003 saw the Band promoted to Third Section where the process began again to try and reach the top of this section. The Band competed in March 2003 in this higher section and was placed third against very stiff competition. September 2004 saw the Band travelling once again to The Wychavon Festival of Brass and it turned out to be a very successful day for the Band when they won the best band in their section, coming away with prize money and a handsome Trophy. Our now well-known percussionists again won best Percussion Section.
In 2005 and 2006 the Band left the contest field as some of their younger players were leaving to go on to further education. This led to the Band promoting some younger players from their Youth section and they needed to gain experience. This year the Band re-entered the Contest field and, despite the two-year break, came first in the Midlands Area Brass Band Championships and now go on to compete in the National Finals in September at Harrogate. Even though this year has been extremely busy with engagements, rehearsals, entering competitions and, for some members, tutoring the youngsters, the Band has found time to record its third CD; this will be on sale shortly.
The Band, under the guidance of their gifted Musical Director, Roger Thorne, have made a good name for themselves in the banding world and they certainly 'fly the flag' for Wem.