23rd Oct, 2016

Host of events planned as band strikes up 120 years

Evesham Editorial 12th Mar, 2015 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

A POPULAR Bretforton band is celebrating 120 years of making music and entertaining people across the Vale with a packed series of events.

Bretforton Silver Band will mark more than a century of entertainment with a concert at Evesham Arts Centre on Sunday, April 12.

The evening of entertainment will feature the bands training band ‘Bret Set Go’ who are currently thriving, along with the band’s friend and special guest, internationally renowned pianist Marcel Zidani.

The first mention of the band was in 1895 when a public tea and concert was held in the schoolroom to raise money for the then ‘Temperance Brass Band’ with the first recorded public performance in February 1897 in Bretforton Chapel.

By 1913 there were some 15 players, in 1933 the band brought its first silver instrument and in 1937 changed their name to Bretforton Silver Band.

One notable performance was in 1897 as the band played a fanfare from the top of St. Leonard’s Church tower in Bretforton, to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.

This fanfare feat has been repeated on only a few occasions, including marking the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II in 1977, her Golden Jubilee in 2002 and most recently her Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

In addition to playing in local parks and at fetes the band organises large events of its own.

One of these is its annual ‘Asparagus Auction and Draw’, a unique event held in May each year at the village pub, ‘The Fleece Inn’.

It has been one of the bands main fund raising events since it was first organised in the 1970s to help raise money to purchase new instruments.

Locally grown asparagus, including large exhibition bundles, are auctioned to members of the public and traditionally very large sums of money are bid.

Other events have been planned throughout the year to mark the 120th anniversary including the week long music and arts Festival ‘BretFest’ which begins with a village fete on July 11.

Bretforton Silver Band’s popular proms concert will take place on Saturday, July 18.

Tickets for the concert are £8 and are available from the Arts Centre box office at the Almonry or by calling 01386 446944

Visit www.bretfortonsilverband.co.uk for more information or follow their Facebook page.

The modern day Bretforton Silver Band making music in All Saints Church, Evesham in 2015. (s)