Cinderford Band The Beginning
The Cinderford Band was formed in 1879 and is proud to have given a service of music to the community in Cinderford and District for more than one hundred years. History and traditions of the band very often have shown repeated involvement of families, father and sons, brothers and sisters and also husbands and wives. The late James Jones and brother Evan, both conductors, worked extremely hard before the 1900s creating the band from its original form as a Drum and Fife Band with assistance from the late Mr. Sirers who also conducted and trained the Band. The band was helped at this time by aid from the Volunteer Service and rehearsals took place in a wooden hut on the Seven Stars Green. During 1880 - 1890 many local competitions for Brass instruments and voices took place with concerts and public appearances becoming most popular. The Contest and Competitions arena made great progress in the 1880 - 1890s especially in the North of England, which acted as a spur to the band. The first National Contest took place at 'Crystal Palace', London in the year 1860. In 1906 Cinderford Band was invited to take part and despite the horrendous transport difficulties, travelled the breadth of the country to achieve an amazing 4th place. The band still retains the engraved certificate which recognises this momentous day. This success started a profusion of brass playing in the Forest of Dean area.
The engagement of Mr. William Rimmer, the well known composer and conductor, to provide professional tuition for the Cinderford Band resulted in many successes, with first prizes being obtained at most contests entered. The First World War made times most difficult. The whole band enlisted for the Volunteer Service, and a few weeks later, were playing in France. Following the 1914-18 war, the Band purchased a complete new set of Besson Class A instruments at the cost of £100. The Depression and two major strikes in the 1920s resulted in many difficulties and the loss of excellent players leaving the area to find employment. Playing standards continued to improve during the 1930's due in large part to the work of George Barnard who trained and developed many young players, and Mr R Buck whose organising skills soon filled the engagement book. Conductors at this time were S Birt and J. Webb, and when the appointment of Mr J. C. Dobbin of the Cory Band as professional coach was made, this stimulated a return to contesting, playing at the National 3rd Division Finals at Crystal Palace.
1940 – 1950’s
Just before the outbreak of World War 2, the legendary march composer Mr T. J. Powell was appointed professional coach. A legacy of his tenure is the Band's signature tune "Cinderford" composed by the master himself. The onset of War resulted in most members being called up for National Service. Mr G Barnard took
over as conductor during the war years with Mr Peter Fearnly providing tuition. This period after the war saw the band at its lowest ebb. To address the problem, Mr. W. Bird invited Principal Cornet, Mr. Cecil Chappell, to take over as conductor. First a new band had to be built with new music and instruments before the next twelve months of concerts and competition work commenced. This was achieved due to excellent work by the band membership.
Cecil Chappell (“Mr Cinderford Band”)
The considerable energy and enthusiasm that Mr Chappell brought to the approach to playing and musical interpretation was soon rewarded with contesting being resumed at the Area Finals at Exeter, and a successful result gave the band good heart to pursue further improvement. By 1950 many concerts had been undertaken and 27 first prizes achieved in one contest season. In 1954 in the National Third section, 1st prize was won in the area contest and subsequently 5th in the London finals. Successes continued for the Band during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. History was made in 1958 when the Cinderford Band became the first Forest of Dean Band to qualify for Championship status, by winning the National area contest second section at Bristol. Within three years the Band had qualified to play at the Albert Hall in London National Finals, and was the first Gloucestershire Band to play in Championship Section at London. This was followed by two further appearances at the Albert Hall in the 1960 and 1970s. The development of young players became a focus for Mr Chappell early in his tenure as Musical Director and his work with the junior band provided a continuing influx of ready made players to the Senior Band, who became part of the Cinderford success story and ensured the ongoing commitment to high standards of performance and behaviour. First prizes followed at Reading, Oxford, Bristol, Exeter, Cirencester, Fairford, and Ruardean including many hat tricks at the Gloucestershire Association Contest. Gloucestershire GBBA Champions eight years out of ten during 1965 to 1975 included a double hat trick. Music Festival Concerts, in addition to playing to knowledgeable audiences in Gloucester Cathedral, gained the recognition and goodwill of many first class musicians in Gloucestershire. Achievements of this fine Band were unstintingly supported by an excellent Ladies' Committee and their Secretary, Mrs. D. Hanman, whose fund raising expertise has subsequently been recognised nationally through the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Dedication of Members, Committee, and Supporters made all this success possible. One grand gentleman, Mr. W. Pick, gave 60 years of service on Solo Tenor, his son Bill 47 years. Many players have gained beneficial experience from the Cinderford Band, subsequently furthering their playing career with bands among the top in the country such as Black Dyke Mills, Williams Fairey Engineering and Sun life. In 1979, to mark the centenary of the Band, an LP record entitled "Forest Festival Brass" was released. Following the tremendous success of this initial recording, two further recordings have been made; "Cinderford, Severn Sound Band of the Year 1981" and more recently "Have Brass, Will Travel". The Band was most fortunate in obtaining a sponsorship from Swanbrook Coaches of Cheltenham in 1986. This sponsorship proved rewarding for the Band, providing the opportunity to undertake ventures which would have otherwise been impossible. The sponsorship deal continued for its planned 10 year duration.
The Band have undertaken 4 concert tours of Europe, visiting Germany and Holland where most recently it was placed 4th in the National Brass Band Contest of Holland, and have appeared on HTV's Highway with Sir Harry Secombe, which was another first for Bands in the Gloucestershire area. Mr Chappell was assisted in the 1990's by professional tuition for the band being provided by variously, Major Peter Parkes, John Berryman, Major Arthur Kenney, Nigel Taken, Alan Morrison and Lyndon Baglin. Contest successes include being placed 1st out of 26 Bands at the 1989 Reading Contest, 4th at the Area Qualifying round for the 1990 National Brass Band Contest and first prizes at Leamington, Weston, Stroud, and The GBBA annual contest. Cecil Chappell went into semi-retirement in 1997 after 50 years as conductor, becoming Music Adviser to the Resident conductor. Gwynne Price Gwynne Price, a former Musical Director of the Royal Tank Regiment, took over as resident conductor, a position he held until 1999. During his tenure the band added performances at St James Park for the Royal Parks Commission to their regular engagements list – another first for bands from the Forest of Dean. Lyndon Baglin The band went into the first section of National Grading in 1999 and appointed Lyndon Baglin to the position of Musical Director. Lyndon had previously both played and provided professional tuition for the band and had ambition to return the glory days within three years to Cinderford Band. This was achieved by winning Gloucestershire Champion Band on two consecutive occasions, being in the winning frame at the Regional Qualifying contest which resulted in an appearance at the Finals in Preston in 2000 and immediate promotion back to the Championship section. Bill Jarret With the departure of Lyndon, the band appointed former Chairman Bill Jarret to the position of Musical Director with immediate effect. Bill, a Scotsman had earlier moved to the west of England and joined the band firstly as a trombone player, later becoming involved with the band’s management as contest secretary, then as Chairman. When Bill was invited to take over as Musical Director he took up the position with his trademark enthusiasm, and set about a policy of injecting new music into concert programmes, as well as visiting the vast library of music to unearth previously unplayed gems for contrast and vitality. In addition, many of Bill's own arrangements for band have found their way into the repertoire, building on the previous husbandry of Musical Adviser Cecil Chappell who has been the guardian of the band's musical reputation for over fifty years. Due to other commitments Bill moved on to pastures new at the end 2005. Clive Lewis Clive started playing the cornet with Coleford Town Band at the age of 8, under the late Evan Jones. Two years later he moved to the Bream Silver Band and became
principal cornet by the age of 12. At the age of 18, he also became principal cornet with the Royal Engineers TA Band in Monmouth. In 1982, Clive joined the Cinderford Band as a front row cornet player and has been a dedicated member ever since. Clive is noted for his numerous musical arrangements, several of which have been published by Wright & Round of Gloucester. He has also played in dance bands for many years, arranging much of the music. An Engineer by trade, Clive has spent most of his leisure time tutoring young people for music examinations with the Victoria College, and the Associated Board of the Royal Colleges of Music. Clive achieved success with the Cinderford Band when in 2009 and 2010 they won the Second Section contest at Weston-Super-Mare Festival.
During Clive’s tenure the band had many successes at the Wychaven entertainments contest, coming 1st in 2006 and 2014 and 2nd in 2012 with guest conductor Dave Lea.
Clive has now handed the baton to Chris Howley but continues playing with the band whilst concentrating on the Academy band. Clive’s contribution to Cinderford Band over 35years cannot be over stated for which band members and the Management Committee are so grateful.
Alternative history of the band
Brief history of the Cinderford Band including bands of the area in the eyes of a past player of the band Judith Potter. Please click on the icon below to view her scrapbook.
Chris Howley a well respected bandsman and conductor was appointed as the band’s Musical Director in 2014
Chris has very close links with the Forest of Dean brass band scene, starting his playing career with Lydney Town Band, then Coleford Town and the Yorkley Onward Bands. From there, Chris played principal cornet for the Sun Life Band and Flowers Band and continued his playing career guesting for many of the country’s top bands. In the short time Chris has been with the Cinderford Band he has greatly improved the band’s performances and repertoire. Band membership as increased and the enthusiasm Chris brings has re-energised the band.
Contest successes have been achieved at Wychaven, GBBA and the Regional Finals at Torquay with promotion back to the Second Section.