Kettering Town Band 
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Kettering Town Band

(an account from 1893)

The Kettering Town Band was originally started by some workmen at Stanley's Boot and Shoe Works on October 8th, 1872, and went for some time in the name of the Albert Band, the following gentlemen being amongst the founders: Mr. W. Smith, H. Fowkes, Mr. Bishop, Mr. W. Taffs, (the last named having retained his membership up to the present day), Mr. W. Hammond being the first Bandmaster. The band made fair progress up to 1885, having a goodly number of engagemeats, and being looked on as a good band in this district (for that time.) In 1885 the band started contesting, having engaged Mr. Randolph Ryan, of Farnworth, to conduct them and went to Rushden Septet Contest, securing the second prize. From 1885 to 1890 the band attended 16 contests with the following results: 4 firsts, 3 seconds, 5 thirds, and 1 fourth. In the early part of 1890 Mr. John Gladney was engaged to instruct the band and from that time to the present they have been very successful. In 1890 the band attended 6 contests with the following results: 4 firsts, 1 third, and 1 fifth, total £87. The next year showed still further improvement, the band attending 17 contests and gaining 14 firsts and 3 seconds, (including 24 Silver Medals at Gretton), making a grand total of £187 3s for the season.

Last year, 1892, was an ever memorable year in the band's history, attending 23 contests, which resulted in 11 firsts, 10 seconds, 1 third, and once unplaced, at the Old America Contest at Manchester, the band, however, being only 4 points below the famous Besses o' th' Barn Band at that contest. Total value for that year (1892), £231 6s, including the Champion Gold Medal for England and Wales, presented by Silvani and Smith, Instrument manufacturers, London, for the band totalling the highest number of points for the whole season's contest. The result was: Kettering Town 1st with 120 points; Kingston Mills 2nd with 111 points; and Besses o' th Barn 3rd with 110 points. Besides this, the band at present holds the Champion County Challenge Cup, value 13 guineas, competed for at Stanwick, on 20th August 1892, seven bands competed, played “Stiffelio”, judges: Mr. R. Stead (Huddersfield); Mr. Jackson (Leeds) ; Mr. G. Barnes (Nottingham). The band has also won several medals for best soloists.

The following was the composition of the band for that most successful season of 1892: Conductor, Mr. Randolph Ryan. Solo cornets - R. Ryan, H. Ficken, - Dehanke. Repiano cornets - W. East and H. Allier. Second cornets - H. Slow and W. Soasby. Third cornet - C. Winstone. Tenors - G. Spriggs, solo; T. Barlow, 2nd; H. Robinson, 3rd. Baritones - 1st, A.L. Ambler; 2nd, T. Blumson. Euphoniums - solo, S. Roughton; 2nd, W. Taffs. Trombones - lst, A. Falkner; 2nd, A. Turner; bass, F. Minter. Eb Basses - W. Cherry and C. Bruxby. BBb Basses - A. Cherry and S. Manning. Drum - J. Parkinson. One of those principally entitled to credit is the late bandmaster, Mr. Warren East. This gentleman deserves special word of mention with regard to the band. He has been identified with it almost since its commencement, working for it heart and soul. He was bandmaster for upwards of 10 years, and the members of the band sincerely regretted his severing his connection with it. It must be a source of great pleasure and gratification to him to know that he has been so instrumental in its success. On Mr. East's retirement from the band last year, Mr. G. Spriggs was unanimously elected to fill the vacancy. The present officers of the Band are: Professional tutor, J. Gladney, Esq., Manchester; Conductor, R. Ryan; President, H. F. Henson, Esq.; committee, C. Bruxby, C. Winstone, F. Panter, T. Barlow, and H. Ficken, with S. Boughton, 58, Queen Street, Kettering, as hon. sec.

The Band are very greatly indebted to the public of Kettering (principally comprised of working men) for the handsome way in which they have recognized the efforts of the band and for the interest they take in the playing of its members. It would do some of you readers good to see some of the magnificent receptions the band have had (at all hours of the night) on returning from some of UK most victorious contests. August,1892, was also a very eventful month, for it was then the honorary members held their first general meeting with the one object - to find ways and means to get more money for the working of the band.

The band as also greatly indebted to their President, H.F. Henson, for kindly placing his yard and a good band-stand at the disposal of its members for practice. The band have also ordered and just received a full set of silver-plated instruments (compensating) from Messrs. Boosey and Co., 295, Regent-street, London, at a cost of £450 and having booked a goodly number of engagements and contests (including Belle Vue, for the first time), hope, with the invaluable assistance of J. Gladney, Esq., and Mr. Ryan, to render a good account of their this year's work at the close of the season