The band was established on 19th October 1971 by Mr Brian Robinson who was the first Chairman and Conductor, together with other officials including: Mrs J. Bottomley, Vice Chairman, Mrs M. Bryant, Secretary, Mrs M. Sykes, Treasurer and Mrs B. Greenwood, Assistant Secretary.
According to a report in the local newspaper, 24 youngsters turned up for instruction at Pitt Street in Hebden Bridge. Eight of the original players gave their first concert at Old Town Bowling Club in December 1971. This was to be the first of many concerts and fund raising events to be held over the coming years to raise money to buy instruments. Over the years instruments have been bought by funds raised from concerts, through generous donations and grant awards.
Mrs B. Collinge (the first President of the band) said, “I feel like the Captain of a ship setting out on an unknown journey, but with a good working crew I feel we shall make a safe trip and overcome any hazards we shall meet”.
As these last 50 years have shown, these words have proved to be true. Numerous tours across the UK, Europe and the United States have given our band members the opportunity to perform, explore places and meet new people. A tribute to all the officials, band members, parents and friends who have all supported the band. Thanks to you and our community.
Many local people accepted the invitation to become Patrons. Amongst the more famous were Lord Saville, Lord Houghton and Harry Mortimer. The band took part in its first Swiss Week celebration.
The band was continuing to grow. This was the year that the Band became World Dock Pudding Champions with two members, Alan and Kenny cooking the local recipe.
The band entered their first contest at St Georges Hall, Bradford. They entertained at Gibson Mill, Hardcastle Crags and appeared at the Halifax Civic Theatre for the National Children’s Homes ‘Festival of Queens’. The first park engagement was held in People’s Park, Halifax. A special day for Mr. Robinson who was presented with a family heirloom by his father, a silver and ebony baton.
The band led a procession through Luddenden village to start the villagers experiment of ‘Bah’t Meat Week’. Then onto Brearley Baptist church for their Centenary celebrations.
In January of this year, 30 band members played on the Yorkshire and Humberside stand at the Holiday ‘76 show in Birmingham. They also took part in the Evening Courier Youth Band Festival. The official opening of the Piece Hall took place this year and the band was there to add to the opening celebrations.
We performed at the opening of the renovated Mytholmroyd Community Centre with the band playing before the Duke of Gloucester. To keep the titled audiences going they also played before the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire at Bolton Abbey. The occasion so pleased the Duke and Duchess that they invited them to play at their stately home, Chatsworth House the following year.
In May, due to increasing numbers of learners, the Junior Band B band was formed. On May 31st the band joined Ryburn School Band and the James Shepherd Versatile Brass at Huddersfield Town Hall for a Charity Concert in aid of Seacroft Hospitals, Candlelighters scheme.
This scheme has been supported by the band every year with collections taken at the Christmas Eve Carol concert in George’s Square, Hebden Bridge donated to them.
Events to celebrate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee were held with a carnival in Hebden Bridge, a picnic in Blackshaw Head and events in Heptonstall.
In September all the hard work and fund raising was rewarded with our first band tour to Switzerland. A special piece of music entitled ‘Zurich March’ was written by Elgar Howarth especially for the band to play on the tour.
At the beginning of the year the band had a big break, three of our players decided to break their arms. Ian Sykes, Robert Smith both falling off their skateboards and Stephen Drake fell out of a tree and broke his left arm. Luckily they recovered in time for the contest in Bradford. In May, the Hebden Bridge Picture House re-opened after a complete refurbishmnent. We played at the 10th Anniversary celebrations of the Keighley and Worth Valley railway. Scar Top Anniversary Services were played at for the first time, which continued for many years and were presented on Yorkshire TV.
This was a busy year for travelling. The tour to Freiburg (Southern Germany) in July and then to St Pol in France to represent Hebden Bridge in the town twinning ceremony. In September, we celebrated the ‘Big Sing’ at the Halifax Piece Hall Bicentenary alongside Highlands School Band and a choir of 1000 voices. Then back to Chatsworth House.
Introduced a new fund raising event. A six hour sponsored play, the band played pieces from their repertoire along with requests from the audience. Mr Robinson filled in with some jazz pieces. In May, the people from St Pol made a return visit. This year saw the making of the band’s first LP record. It was hard work but the result was an excellent recording entitled ‘Concerts and Contests’.
This was the Band’s 10th Anniversary. Those present enjoyed a surprise for Mr Robinson when he arrived at Calder High School to what he thought was a travel show which turned out to be an evening of music with former band members and his own band conducted by his father. A joint concert with Hebden Bridge Band was held in the Hebden Bridge Picture House.
We celebrated the 80th birthday of Harry Mortimer and to mark the event a ‘Celebration Concert’ was held to a packed audience in Hebden Bridge Picture House. Harry returned to his home town to conduct the band. In contrast the band competed with a noisy RAF helicopter at Blackshaw Head, as it lifted a wind generator to the top of a tower. In December, came our first major success as we won 1st prize at the Huddersfield and District Brass Band Association contest.
During the summer holidays the band moved all the music, instruments and equipment from their original home at Pitt Street to a new base in Youth House. The Band’s Christmas single ‘We wish you a Merry Christmas’ was released. Another 6 hour sponsored music session was held with the three percussion players keeping the music going. In December, another 1st prize at the Harrogate and District Brass Band contest.
The band entered the Action Research Contest in Oldham. As the lights faded they quickly took off their blazers to reveal striped waistcoats. They donned straw boaters and as the lights returned, gave their version of Glenn Miller Special. This was the final piece in their performance and they were rewarded with 1st prize in the Novelty section, 2nd prize in Music and 3rd prize in Entertainment.
The band were back in Europe, this time to Warstein where they had a spot on German Television. On return they had a concert with the Hebden Bridge Band at the Hebden Bridge Picture House.
This year the Americans came to Hebden Bridge, a concert band of retired people visited from the Sarasota Mobile Home Park in Florida. A reception was given for them at Tythe Barn followed by a joint concert at the Hebden Bridge Picure House. The big difference in ages did not affect this superb concert and many friendships were formed. The invitation for band members to go to Florida to visit them was to become a reality in 1988. The band was now 15 years old and a reunion was held at Mytholmroyd Community Centre. The band also played at the newly opened Carlton Hotel in Hebden Bridge.
The band’s first visit to the Royal Marine’s school of music in Deal, Kent. They attended musical workshops under the guidance of professional tutors and were also instructed in the art of marching. The Drum Major tried to get the Band to march in step and occasionally got them to march in the same direction. On their return home a joint concert with the Junior Band of HM Royal Marines was held at the Halifax Civic Theatre. This was the first of many such visits and concerts including a visit to Bolton Abbey Priory Church. The procession from the new church to the old church was challenging. The route meant they had to climb over a stile and keep on playing. This was something even the marching practice at Deal could not prepare them for.
This year we visited the USA, at Easter we were guests of the Sarasota Band in Florida. The band undertook a very full programme, later we played with HM Royal Marines Band at Deal, followed by another visit to the Civic Theatre.
Sir Donald Thompson MP first invited the band along with other local bands to play on the terrace at the House of Commons. This was also the first year the band had played at the Sowerby Bridge Rushbearing Festival. Following our annual visit to Deal, the band travelled to France to play at the 10th anniversary of the twinning of Hebden Bridge and St Pol sur Ternoise.
Concerts and fund raising events were keeping the band busy, in July we were off to Denmark. A concert called ‘Spotlight on Youth’ was held at The Halifax Civic Theatre in aid of the Ian Mitchell Trust in memory of a local young musician to help young people further their careers in the arts.
Marked the band’s 20th anniversary with a celebration evening at Calder High School. The band recorded ‘Memories’. Two band members, Rachel and Kate became Dock Pudding Champions. In May, the band revisited the House of Commons and in November they were again successful in winning the Youth Section at the Bradford and District Annual Contest. At the Christmas Concert, The Mayor of Hebden Royd, Councillor Peter Horne presented Mr Robinson with a trophy in recognition of his work with the band and the community.
The band played hosts again to another American group of instrumentalists and their choir from Shattuck St Mary’s School in Minnesota. They gave concerts in the area and stayed with band families. Many joint concerts have been held over the years with the Hebden Bridge Band and the one in May was rather special. It was a tribute to the memory of one of the band’s original patrons, ‘The Man O Brass’, Harry Mortimer CBE.
A first for the band, making their appearance in the musical ‘Hello Dolly’ at the Civic Theatre, leading the parade wearing red hats and blue sashes marching down the centre aisle and onto the stage. They performed every night for a week, tiring but fun. Another visit to the House of Commons and a tour to Austria.
Another very busy year. Hebden Bridge Swiss week, a Festival of Brass in the Piece Hall, The Halifax Happening and Sowerby Bridge Rushbearing amongst others. Again band member Richard confirmed that Junior Band members were supreme in the world of Dock Pudding by winning for the second time. The highlight of the year was a trip to Euro Disney and Paris.
This year the band began playing themed evenings at the Carlton Hotel, Hebden Bridge. A Big Band night, A Bavarian evening and a V.E. concert all proved popular. Another visit to the House of Commons. In June the band played a Big Band concert at the Birchcliffe Centre which was recorded and the cassette was entitled ‘Instant Concert’.
Our 25th Anniversary year. Joint concerts were held with Sagvag Musikklag from Norway, the Hebden Bridge Walkleys Band and the Friendly Band. A celebration evening was also held.
A visit to the Rhyl Festival of Brass was enjoyed. The band also played at an event evening to introduce the film ‘Brassed Off’. A visit to the Terrace of the House of Commons was arranged. An exciting tour to Norway was held celebrating the engagement of Mr Brian Robinson to Janice Stewart.
The band joined with the King’s Division Normandy Band in concert. Three former members of Junior Band were playing with the band. The usual visits to Scar Top Chapel, Mytholmroyd Gala and the Sowerby Bridge Rushbearing.
This year the band recorded their first CD. Further joint concerts were made with the Band of Deacon’s School, Peterborough and Friendly Band. The band visited the Royal Marines School of Music at Portsmouth for a music workshop.
The band moved from the rehearsal rooms at Youth House to a new home at the Arts Centre. Mr Robinson was the recipient of the Harold Brooksby Award in Halifax for his services to young people. But it was with sadness that this years concert with the Friendly Band was a memorial concert in memory of a band member of both bands – Richard Brook. In July the band went on tour to Italy.
We were invited to be ‘The Orchestra’ for the Calderdale Theatre School’s production of ‘The Roman Invasion of Ramsbottom’. Again this was a celebratory year. The band attended the 20th Celebration to mark the Twinning of Hebden Bridge and St Pol sur Ternoise in France. Then the 30th Anniversary evening was held at the Cedar Court Hotel, Huddersfield, 250 past and present members joined together to celebrate. In October the band went on tour to Holland.
A joint concert with the Friendly Band was held again. Instead of the band playing at the Remembrance Day parade in Mytholmroyd we were invited to lead the Armistice parade in St Pol in France. The band recorded their Christmas CD.
The year began with the sad news that the Musical Director, Mr Brian Robinson was to relinquish his baton and retire from the band after 32 years. Over 250 past and present members and families attended his retirement party. Mr Thomas Hylgaard was appointed Musical Director. In July, both past and present Musical Directors led the band on a tour to the Mosel Valley in Germany. On return the band held a concert with the Friendly Band and performed at the Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds.
This year saw a joint concert with the Hebden Bridge Band. Another CD was made. The band played at the usual events, Mytholmroyd Gala, Rushbearing, held Spring and Autumn fayres and as always a busy Christmas season.
We ventured into playing at the Whit Friday Marches and a concert for the British Legion. Mr Ian Coleman took over as Musical Director and in November the band went to St Pol, France for the twinning celebrations, Ian had been on the first twinning event in 1979 and was there again for the 25th anniversary.
Concerts with the Hebden Bridge Band and for the Rotary Club, Mr Coleman moved from the area and resigned as our Musical Director. Mr Neil Robinson took over just in time for the busy Christmas events.
We entered a regional Music for Youth Competition in Halifax and played two concerts in aid of the Overgate Hospice. We performed at the Dock Pudding event that was filmed for the TV programme ‘Incredible Britain’ with Robbie Coltrane, attended a very wet Midgley Pageant and toured the Czech Republic.
Another concert in aid of the Overgate Hospice was enjoyed. This year the band appeared on BBC’s ‘The One Show’ and visited Leeds for a workshop with ‘The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble’ from the USA. A small group were invited to play at the Christmas market in St Pol, France.
The year began with a prestigious concert with the Hammonds Saltaire Band (formerly YBS) at Bradford University organised by Mark Robinson. The band entered the Band Marching contest in Hebden Bridge. At the end of August, three members represented the band at the 30th town twinning in St Pol.
A concert with the Cambridge University brass Band was held. Many of the familiar engagements were attended. The President, Mrs Anne Bridges received the Community Service Award from Hebden Royd Town Council.
There were two main events this year, a visit to the twin town of Warstein and the 40th Anniversary celebrations. Over 230 past and present members and families joined together to enjoy this evening. Beginning with the present band playing for a short time under their conductor Mr Neil Robinson and then former members joined in led by Mr Brian Robinson. What a sound!
A quiet year with a visit to Lightwater Valley. The annual Remembrance Day parades were held with three musicians playing the Last Post at Blackshawhead, Mytholmroyd and Luddenden Cenotaphs.
The Moonraking Festival at Slaithwaite, Midgley Fete, Reet Royd Do, Spring and Autumn Fayres. We appeared on ITV’s ‘Calendar’ at Christmas.
A joint concert with Friendly Band was held. This year saw another visit to St Pol sur Ternoise. The band entered the Hebden Bridge Marching Contest. Joining in the celebration for the ‘Grand Depart of le Tour de France’ was exciting.
The band continued to grow in strength. Coffee mornings, fayres and fundraising were successful. All our hard work paid off with a trip to Poland. On Boxing Day we were devastated by the severe floods. The bandroom and store room were under water with instruments, equipment and music damaged. Friendly Band offered a storage room and rehearsal facilities so the band could continue. Many thanks go to them.
The year began as it had ended with the band out of its usual home and travelling up the valley to Sowerby Bridge. A massed bands concert was held in Hebden Bridge Square, many local bands and those from further afield, together with the Military band from Catterick joined to raise funds for the flood victims. Support also came from St Pol, Warstein and friends in Sarasota, USA. A weekend in Whitby cheered everyone up. Engagements carried on as normal. The Masonic Hall was offered to the band as a new bandroom. Mr Neil Robinson ended his 10 successful years as Musical Director.
2017 Mr Richard Brier, a former band member in the early years took up the baton. We settled into our new bandroom, began engagements and competed again. A Garden Party, Duck Race and Dock Pudding contest were all enjoyed.
Concerts continued, Spring and Autumn Fayres were popular and a short visit to Whitby and Scarborough was fun. At the end of the year Mr Richard Brier relinquished his post.
A new year and a new Musical Director, Mr Jack Smith. Many of the older members were leaving to study at University and a younger band was emerging. We had a brilliant summer trip to Regensburg, a beautiful medieval German town.
The year began well, events were organised for the summer. In March, the Covid19 pandemic hit the country and all band activities had to stop, initially lockdown lasted for 6 months. When some restrictions were lifted the very depleted band began rehearsing outside in Mytholmroyd. The AGM was held on Zoom! The band started rehearsing at the Birchcliffe Centre as this accommodated more players for social distancing.
Our rehearsals continue with smaller numbers, but we are re-building after the pandemic. Hopefully, we will return with our usual activities and performances.