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Thomas Valentine - Bandmaster, Kingston Mills Band

Mr. Thomas Valentine, who is more familiarly known in musical circles as plain Tom Valentine, has attained a position which every aspiring musician may envy. Born at Glossop in 1867, a town which has become noted for the production of it's musical talent, he had very good opportunities thrown in his way, and being of a musical turn of mind from his early youth, he frequently mixed in the society of musicians and had a growing tendency to become a member of the Glossop Old Band. His enterprise, gentlemanly manner, and pleasant demeanour soon won for him the respect and esteem of all with whom he came in contact, and his success in life can be accounted for by the intelligence he displayed in everything he undertook and the persevering disposition with which he is endowed. In Glossop and district he has held many positions of honour and public trust which have brought him in contact with persons of great wealth, and rank as well as those occupying a lower status, and the confidence entrusted in him has never been misplaced.

To turn to his musical career, for it is particularly with that we wish to deal, he commenced as a practical musician at the age of ten years (1877) when he played the third cornet in the Glossop Old (Prize) Band, Mr. Thomas Mellor then being in command of the band. The subject of this article received his first tuition as a cornet player from Mr. Thomas Mason, at present a member of the above mentioned band, and subsequently he placed himself in the capable hands of Mr. Reuben Taylor, formerly of the once famous Compstall Prize Band, and subsequently of Kingston Mills Band, when that band was in its infant contesting career. At this time Mr. Reuben Taylor was the tutor of the Glossop Band, and succeeded by Mr. Tom German, of Manchester, who took Mr. Valentine in hand. Upon the inducement of this gentleman Mr. Valentine became a member of the Glossop Dale Philharmonic Society, and was a great adjunct to that body. Ever striving to attain a high position in the musical world as a cornet player, he met with signal success and his familiar face was seldom absent from any musical gathering whether public or private; and at one time he was a worthy and valuable member of no less than four string bands Mr. Charles Hall's, St. James, Whitfield, Mr. Arthur Bunting's (now Mr. Albert Sidebottom's) and the Dinting Vale.

As way be imagined Mr. Valentine gained a varied experience while being connected with these and acquired nice tuneful playing, good phrasing and a knowledge of works not met with in the ordinary run of brass bands. While attending to playing Mr. Valentine studied music-writing, and found a good friend and splendid exponent of this in Mr. Charles Hall. Being a good penman and ever keeping in his mind the words “whatever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might” he become a splendid music, copyist and has been the recipient of the congratulations of many first class writers.

From 1886 the Glossop Old (Prize) Band has had a successful career, and in that year won several first prizes, including first at Belle Vue July Contest, and in 1887 was engaged by Mr. Charles Reynolds (oboist at Sir Charles Halle's) to play at Derby Castle. Mr. John Gladney was elected bandmaster, and the abilities of "Tom" were speedily brought under that gentleman's notice. In 1888 Mr. Valentine began to reap the reward of his labours, being in that year appointed assistant solo-cornet in the Kingston Mills Band, and elected to the high and proud position of bandmaster to Glossop Old (Prize) Band - the band where practically he had received his "schooling". This was a great undertaking for so young a man, and to conduct men who were much older members than himself, and who had watched his growth as a musician, was not an easy task. Yet, with that ardour and stability characteristic throughout his life, he retained the position for two years, withdrawing in the autumn of 1890,

In October of that year the Glossop Band engaged him, along with a very true friend of his (Mr. Joseph Barber, who is now leader of the band) to act as judge at a local trombone contest, which proved a great success. About this time Mr. Sam Newton, the well-known euphonium soloist, of Kingston, relinquished the bandmastership of the Kingston Mills Band, and the post was offered to and accepted by our old friend Mr. Valentine. So great was the success of the band coupled with the confidence which the members place in their bandmaster, they have deemed it prudent and wise on their part to re-elect him at the two succeeding annual meetings. He is also managing .secretary for the band and institute. The crowning point, up to the present, was reached when he was appointed judge of a band contest held at Neath on Boxing Day last, in connection with the South Wales Eisteddfod, and it reflects credit upon his abilities to know that his decisions were accepted with general approval. He holds another important engagement as judge at a band contest to be held on June 17th at Musselburgh, a distance of some half-dozen miles from Edinburgh. In addition to the particulars given above Mr. Valentine has undertaken the conductorship of the St John's Church School Band, Heaton Mersey, and other important duties, and in the future we can with confidence look to him fulfilling important and delicate offices in the musical world, not only as conductor but as contest judge.

(Report published in 1896)