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.
Winchcombe Concert Brass
Banding in Winchcombe possibly goes back to just after the turn of the century. There are photographs of bands marching in the town around 1912.
A band was formed in January 1954 taking the same name as the previous band, WINCHCOMBE TOWN BAND. Instruments were scarce - some were donated by members of the old band, some were obtained from the Parish Church Museum! Any advertisements offering instruments were followed up and as a result a euphonium was bought from Upton-on-Severn for ?5.00 together with another euphonium and Eb bass from fifteen shillings each. The latter two needed a little attention but were considered good enough to learn on.
Concerts were given in Winchcombe by Cheltenham Silver Band and the Gloucester Sparkingham Trombone Quartet, the proceeds going towards Winchcombe Band funds. Engagements became quite plentiful even as early as the summer of 1954. Garden parties and fetes for the Royal British Legion, Red Cross Society, Girl Guide Association, not to mention Bredon and Stanway Flower Shows. Local Cup Finals and Armistice Parades featured also. In Cheltenham the band performed at the Rotary Torchlight Procession and the Battle of Britain Parades. Coach parties were organised to attend the National Championship Finals at the Royal Albert Hall, Mecca to all bandsmen!
Band Contests were held in 1957, 1958 and 1959. These were obviously modeled on the famous Whit Friday Marches held in the Uppermill area of Lancashire. The visiting bands were judged on deportment on the march from the Anchor to the Babesmoor. Playing on the stand took place in Babesmoor.
The first Bandmaster was John Innes, who left in 1958 to join Morris Motors Band. Mick Sharpe took over in December 1958. Unfortunately numbers declined and it became financially impractical for him to continue. He left in January 1960. For the next twelve to eighteen months the band still met weekly and played for their own pleasure until reduced to a quartet. Eventually they decided to disband and all available instruments were sold.
The current band was formed as an initiative of the Winchcombe Community School. The name WINCHCOMBE TOWN BAND was retained. The Band started in 1983 as a wind band with flutes, clarinets and other brass instruments. After some 18 months the Band consisted of only brass players. Interesting comparisons can be made with the previous band, a euphonium was spotted in a second hand shop in Leeds and by devious means it was transported to Winchcombe. Two basses were purchased from Coleford Town Band who also gave a fund raising concert.
The Winchcombe band contests were now defunct but not to be out done the new band contested at Cheltenham, Newent and regional finals. The Band also contested at the Whit Friday marches in the company of Black Dyke Mills, Besses O? The Barn etc.
The name was changed to WINCHCOMBE CONCERT BRASS in attempt to shake off the old fashioned image of brass bands. This was soon followed by the acquisition of sponsorship from Group 4. It was felt that it was important to retain WINCHCOMBE and GROUP 4 in the band name, hence the formation of GROUP 4 WINCHCOMBE CONCERT BRASS.
Under this name the Band went on to win the regional contest at Bristol in 1993 and in doing so qualified for the National Finals normally held in the Albert Hall but alas that year they were held in Wembley Conference Centre. The Band gained a creditable 5th place nationally and subsequent promotion to a higher section.
The Band broadened its horizons for venues and played in Hyde Park, Greenwich Park and Blenheim Palace,a weekend tour to Ashby-de-la-Zouch. In 2001 the band performed a fantastic concert featuring guest soloists Richard Marshall and Michael Dodd from the famous Grimethorpe Band.
The Band is still very active even though sponsorship from Group 4 ceased at the end of 2000. It continues to meet on Tuesday evenings in the Community Centre on Back Lane at 7.30pm and new members and visitors are always welcome.