50 Years of Brass Band Music in Brandon

Fifty years of Brass Band music in Brandon were celebrated on Friday evening, 27th April 2001, when members, friends and guests of Breckland Brass Band held a Dinner Dance to mark the band's Golden Anniversary in the Sports Centre, Brandon.

The occasion saw the coming together of the current members of the band under the chairmanship of Mr John Field and past members and their families.

Opening the proceedings Mr Field extended a warm welcome to all those present and introduced Mr Peter Bowes, the son of the band's first conductor. Peter was a trombone player in the band for fifteen years and the band's second conductor from 1968 until 1980.   Peter Bowes gave a fascinating historical account of the band from its conception to the present day.

His speech was tinged with sadness as so many of those who formed the original band were no longer with us.  

Three of the original members, John Field (Bb Bass) and current chairman, Peter Zipfell (Principal Euphonium) and Bruce Bailey (Solo Eb Horn) are still playing with the band.  In recognition of their 50 years service he presented each of them with an engraved decanter and glasses set on a silver tray.  

John Field (right) presented with his trophy by Peter Bowes

From left - John Field, Peter Bowes, Bruce Bailey, Peter Zipfell

From left - Bruce Bailey, John Field, Peter Zipfell

There followed an address by the current band master, Dave Goodwin, in which he thanked Peter Bowes for all the hard work that both he and his wife had put into the running of the band from 1967 until his retirement in 1980.  He spoke of the conductors since that time, Christine Webber of Anglia TV, Malcolm Allerton and Richard Lake, and recounted some amusing incidents that had been enjoyed by all the band members.  In particular the first band contest that Christine Webber conducted where she thought that, having at one time being one of the members of the original Black and White Minstrel dancers on TV, wiggling her hips as she conducted would encourage the adjudicators to add marks to the band's final score.  The band didn't have the heart to tell her that the adjudicators sat in an enclosed box and were unable to see the competing bands but it is believed that the audience enjoyed the performance!  He talked about the many characters that had been members over the years and paid tribute to those who worked so hard in the background without thanks.  In particular he singled out Charlie Wharf who had prepared the bandroom every Wednesday evening prior to the start of practice, played percussion throughout the evening and then stayed behind to clear the room ready for school the next morning.  Charlie had been carrying out this task for the band as long as anyone could remember.  

In conclusion sincere thanks were given to the current Chairman for all his hard work since taking over responsibility for the band in 1980.  Thanks were expressed to his wife, Gwen, who has been the band secretary for the same period of time.  As a token of appreciation for all she has done for the band Gwen was presented with a bouquet of flowers.

Following the speeches the two photographs below were taken, one of the existing band members and the other of past and present members.

(All photographs on this page by kind permission of Studio Five, Thetford)

Present band members April 2001

Past and present members April 2001

Click on images to enlarge

Click on images to enlarge