Definition of a Silver Band

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by alanl58, Feb 6, 2007.

  1. alanl58

    alanl58 Member

    Many people have the view that a "Silver" band's name comes from the laquer applied to a brass instrument to improve it's tonal quality, making it silver in colour.

    Others have the view that the title "Silver band" comes from the distinction of coming second in a Championship contest.

    Anyone know which is the correct definition?

  2. Chunky

    Chunky Active Member

    Can't help you with the answer. However our previous name was Cawston & District SILVER PRIZE Band which may back up your theory of the name being awarded to bands placed second.
  3. Pythagoras

    Pythagoras Active Member

    Think its from bands winning a contest back in the early part of the 20th century when you got a silver prize for winning. Killamarsh are originally Killamarsh Silver Prize band.
  4. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    In regards to Killamarsh Silver Band, Daniel is correct in saying the band was formally known as Killamarsh Silver Prize Band and this I believe followed the award of a silver prize at either Belle Vue, Manchester or even the Crystal Palace contests. I have tried to find exactly when they did win the prize and even which section they played in but I'm still looking. The most likely period when the band changed it's name was in the 1920 or 1930s. Original they were known as Killamarsh St Giles Church Band having been formed by the local rector and the church organist.

    I'm not sure if any "silver" bands have ever adopted their name because of the finish on their instruments.

    It is however a perennial question we get asked whenever we play in new venues "what's the difference between a silver band and a brass band?"
  5. BigHorn

    BigHorn Active Member

    Can't see that it would be anything to do with coming 2nd. On that theory there would be as many Gold bands and bronze bands about.
    I would think the silver prize comes from the silver cups and shields awarded to winners.
  6. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    So if it is the award of a silver cup then that could be any position from 1st to 3rd - generally all cups being silver.
  7. chuckletonian

    chuckletonian New Member

    A couple of excerpts from local band histories:

    From Peebles Burgh Silver Band:

    In 1865 by public subscription, a sum of £51:12:6d was raised and a new set of brass instruments was procured. Records show "Paid to Thomas Glen for instruments less 19/- discount for cash £37:0:0 Paid for Bass Drum £3:10:6d Paid Teacher £3:19:8d - A grand total of £44:9:2d………….
    ………In April 1902 the Band took possession of a new set of instruments from Messrs Boosey & Co. This was a full set (24) of Silver Plated, engraved instruments of the 'Class A' (as used by the British Army) at a cost of £319.00. The Band then became Peebles Silver Band.

    From StRonan's Silver Band:

    In 1913 a new set of silver plated instruments were purchased and another change of name was effected - "Brass" was exchanged for "Silver" and the name has remained.

  8. iggmeister

    iggmeister Member

    Lets hope the tax man isn't looking in!;) I bet the same taxman who would have pursued this in 1865 is still alive and well, collecting in the pennies...

  9. 4thmandown

    4thmandown Member

    I believe that the term arose in the latter half of the 19th century in order to distinguish "silver" bands (presumably playing on silver plated brass instruments) from "Brass and Reed" Bands.
  10. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    I would sway more to the argument of distinguishing between silver plated and brass instruments. Silver has a more expensive 'feel' to the name than your common brass!
  11. Laura_E_horn

    Laura_E_horn New Member

    I'm sure bands are 'silver' due to the instrument finish. The Kettering Gold and Silver band was named for that reason anyway!
  12. barrytone

    barrytone Member

    Silver band

    Definately the finish on the instruments. Silver plated instruments used to cost more, (it's relatively recent that the prices were standardised so lacquer and bsp cost the same), because they were more durable. In my experience this is true but I still prefer a lacquered finish after having a silver instrument for 17 years. So perhaps a band having silver instruments was a mark that they were doing well and could afford the more expensive finish?
  13. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    The theory that the name comes from coming second in a contest doesn't ring true to me. Would you feel the need to brag so much about a second prize that you'd change the name of your organisation for ever because of it? :-?

    Its an interesting theory, but I'd always assumed (rightly or wrongly) that it was simply down to the finish of the instruments.
  14. iggmeister

    iggmeister Member

    Cant say I can think of a Gold or Bronze band off the top of my head...

    I thought it was a given that bands were so named because of the colour of their instruments.

  15. meandmycornet

    meandmycornet Active Member

    Well I thought it was because they played silver instruments... but the silver bands i've seen play on multicoloured instruments! Maybe its a historical reference? Hmmm Interesting!
  16. Pythagoras

    Pythagoras Active Member

    Silver prize was for winning not second, or there would be gold and bronze bands too.
  17. Chunky

    Chunky Active Member

    So the theory is then:

    Anytown Silver Band were called this because their instruments were silver

    Othertown Silver Prize Band were called this because they had won a prize irrespective of their instrument colour or had added prize because they won a prize using silver instruments?

  18. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    I think it's become a bit silly, don't you think? To think that a band, irrespective of section, would call themselves a silver band because of winning a competition. It this was the case, other instrumental groups that compete could do the same. :rolleyes:
  19. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    I think if you search on the web there are loads of bands that changed their names in the early 1900's following the award of prizes from mainly Crystal Palace and Belle Vue (were these events the earlier version of the Spring Festival?).

    I wouldn't think any of these bands thought it was silly changing their name following some major contesting success, I would imagine it was done as a matter of pride in what they had achieved.

    At Killamarsh we thought it was silly however being called a Silver Prize Band when it hadn't competed for over 30 years - we just left the Silver and dropped the prize.
  20. timbloke

    timbloke Member

    Or perhaps (as I sort of understood it) they competed in a "Silver Prize" contest (or contests). In the same way as you might get a Concert Brass who play concerts but don't compete, or a Studio Band, or even I gues a Youth Band who compete in Youth Contests. Is there any references to Silver Prize contests?

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