First Female Players

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by SilverBrass, Feb 19, 2008.

  1. Esscee

    Esscee New Member

    Not exactly a player, but our band (Maltby Miners Welfare) was the first colliery band in the country to have a woman MD.

    There was a lot of media coverage - national newspapers, the Yorkshire regional news (Calendar) and BBC Look North

    It didn't suit some of the male players and one or two left because they didn't like being instructed by a woman!

    Suited me though - I went from 1st Baritone to Solo Euphonium.

    And we had a lot of success contestwise
  2. joker66

    joker66 Member

    That was my mum Julie Holling. She was also one of the first (although not the first) female players to play with Creswell Colliery band when it was a Championship section band (previous post on this thread about her).
  3. nigeb12

    nigeb12 Member

    True enough I think, but in 1980(?) Rachel Goddard, contested for the band.
  4. killer

    killer Member

    yeh Mr B good old days , bring em back thats what i say oh by the way, its all about who gets 2nd place .
  5. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    What's that word Killer - "FOCUSS" !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    - Wilkie (Retired)
  6. wofpur

    wofpur New Member

    Girls on the Band Bus.

    There are two reasons why girls were not allowed on some band buses in the past. One, due to to the boozing, swearing, gambling, snoring and other bodily noises. The band bus was not considered to be a fit place for ladies.
    Two, the wives of some bandsmen were afraid that their husbands might go astray if the temptation of females were to be allowed in the band, let alone on the bus, especially on overnight jobs.
  7. Kerwintootle

    Kerwintootle Member

    And now it is the ladies mainly doing the above things on the band bus (not me though, honest).:p Equality ey?!?
  8. oddbod

    oddbod Member

    Thelma Holland - Solo Horn, Ollerton Colliery - British Open 1950 on Resurgam.

    I have their performance on 4 sides of disc! (78's) - Four changes for one ten minute performance.

    Thelma's my mum - on here as Mrs Bucket - had plenty of slow melody wins in the 40's and some amazing tales to tell - the entry list then included all sorts of cracking players - David Read, Denzil stephens etc.

    If you use IBEW - the icon for "Vacancies" is an old photo of her and in the '50's, Besson used to use full page ads in the British Bandsman advertising that she played a Besson Tenor Horn.
  9. drummergurl

    drummergurl Active Member

    i do believe she was my teacher a few years ago (although she's now married, but i think that was her maiden name, and she deffo used to play for leyland). so yeah, married, lovely kids, does some teaching.

    AEHOWGATE Member

    I don't thnk she was a full time member though.
  11. mfbrass

    mfbrass New Member

    wilky's right. Early 60's with NYBBGB. I remember Madeline and I think that Pauline Roberts from North Wales was there on Euph (didn't she marry Pete Littlewood - Trom?). Also there was Linda Trethewey from St Dennis in Cornwall.
    Happy memories!!!!!
  12. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    Yes, Pauline married Peter and last I heard (a long time ago) they were living in Harrogate. Two smashing people.
    More NYBB girls in the early 1960's were :-
    There was a smashing girl called Linda Chamberlain from Shepton Mallet Band, Anne Loughlin from Chobham Band, Judy Potter from Cinderford Town, Anne Blackburn from Arley Welfare Band, Marion Mahy from a band in the Channel Isles, Eileen Humphries from Shaftsbury Band and for one course of the NYBB the Principal Cornet was a girl called Jennifer (?)Gillingham from Kent.
    Two other names were Shirley Wilks (Buckinghamshire) and Shirley Beauchamp.
    There was also a girl called Jean from the Lancashire Constabulary Band who married a very famous cornet player but they eventually split up.
    Where are they all now I wonder ?
    Probaby just about to draw their pensions !
    It all seems a very long time ago !!
    - Wilkie
  13. towse1972

    towse1972 Active Member

    Yeah, right....aherm.....!:sup
  14. vmace

    vmace New Member

    Well, technically that would be me!
    I took on this archaic view in the 90s in Wales. I became the first permanent contesting female member of the Parc and Dare Band in Wales when I was 14-17 years old. Later, for a shorter period I asked the local Cory band (who had known me for years) to allow me to rehearse with them for the 6 months or so leading up to me moving to London to study music at the Guildhall. After a committee meeting, they allowed me to do this. During that time the band needed another solo cornet player on the lead up to the British Open. The now late, and already missed, Ian Williams (principal cornet), made the point that it was stupid to look around for someone else when I had already attended all the rehearsals and could play the part comfortably. It was with pride that I wore the Cory uniform as the first signed female in the 1996 British Open. This was a short-lived time, as I then moved to London, but I am proud to have opened the gates in the last two all-male bands in Wales back in the 90s! Karen Davies followed in my footsteps shortly afterwards as a percussionist at Cory’s - she did the hard bit, as she was there on a permanent basis.

    I believe there is 1 line about this in the Cory book - Cory, Cory Hallelujah written by Dr Robert Childs. It inaccurately states I joined the cornet section in 1995 not 1996, and it is a throw away intro into the section of the book about married couples in the band! Apparently I made this possible in some way?! To me, that period of time was much more important - I had verbally and musically stood up for gender equality in brass bands for 4 years and I did that between the ages of 14-18. For that I will always be proud.
    Not to matter, I am very happy that future aspiring girls did not have to put up with some of the awful comments I received back in those days with regards to my playing ability due to gender. That just fired me up when I went to solo contests and gave me an inner drive that has seen me right through life!
    So yeah...that was me!
    Victoria Mace
  15. Euphonium Lite

    Euphonium Lite Active Member

    I can remember the Extraordinary General Meeting at City of Manchester (the old CWS band) on whether to admit women into the ranks in the late 80s

    For someone that had come from the banding backwater that is East Anglia it seemed odd not having women and girls in the band, as my local community bands had welcomed them for years. However the band was split down the middle - some of the arguments being "We get changed on the bus, cant do it if women are there" or "what happens if we need to stop the bus for a wee" (they didnt use the word wee) to "We cant have a few beers if theres girls about".

    All silly stuff, and I think most recognise it now, but the divisions caused were probably the beginning of the end of the band.
  16. John Brooks

    John Brooks Well-Known Member

    What a great story from Cory history. Thanks for sharing that Victoria.
    I just read through this thread from top to bottom and was surprised that there is no mention of the late Maisie Wiggins, former S.A.Bandmaster at Cannock and later Songster Leader at Wealdstone if memory serves. Also renowned as the principal trombone of the Halle Orchestra. And I'm quite sure that Erik Leidzen wrote Concertino for Band and Trombone for Maisie who recorded it with the ISB on 78rpm (3 sides I think).
    I've heard the story of Peggy Thomas (Paton) becoming the first female member of the Chicago Staff Band, told with much humour but there's no doubt it was difficult to live through at the time.
    Also from the US was Carol Reinhart who made a career in Vienna.
    Lots of very talented individuals who just happened to be female.
    vmace likes this.
  17. vmace

    vmace New Member

    I could tell you some stories about the “band bus”... but let’s just say I was very lucky that there were enough sensible, supportive and lovely men in that band that times quickly changed. The men in both the Park and Dare band and the Cory band thoroughly looked out for me - it was like having about 15 older brothers or fathers!! As for the rest, they soon realised that the world didn’t come to an end because they had a female player. As for the “wives” argument. Many a Park and Dare wife thanked me, as now they too were allowed on the band bus!! He he!!

    Such silly times. Glad we are not in the dark ages anymore, and glad that today’s younger female players have no idea that there was a time when you had to fight for you right to even just be auditioned!
    Euphonium Lite likes this.
  18. Euphonium Lite

    Euphonium Lite Active Member

    Absolutely. It was an odd thought to me to even consider whether women should be allowed in the band - I'd grown up with a sizeable female contingent in my local community band, and for people to question whether that was the right thing was just wrong.
    Its still not perfect. There are still precious few women in the top levels, although the numbers are increasing the progress is pitifully slow. My own contesting band is mainly female - my principal cornet, sop, flugel, solo horn, the entire Euph Bari row, the 2 tenor trombones, lead percussionist and 1 of my bass section is female. All were invited to come and play because they were the best players in the local community bands not already signed up elsewhere.
    But a band member is a band member regardless of their gender to me. It doesnt matter what "bits" they have or dont have - if they can play, they can play
    vmace likes this.
  19. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Didn't Julie go on to play in the 1989 Floppy Boxes band that won the Open? Not wishing to contradict Mike, but I remember playing in Nottingham City Transport with Julie in the early 90s and I'm sure she mentioned it...
  20. vmace

    vmace New Member

    I found this thread interesting. I stood up for my right to be considered back then, but happily now I play in a friendly community band in Kent. We are a mix of genders, as was my very first community 4th section band in Wales. People get up to play solos in concerts from whatever seat they sit in - no egos, no competition. If one of our 10 year olds had a solo good enough to perform, we would let them. I love playing for this band. It may not be one of the top levels Band’s I played with in younger years, but the feeling in this band is one of kindness. Gender equality has never come into it at any point in the last 10 years I have been a member. We have as a brass band movement moved on I think.
    Slider1 and Euphonium Lite like this.

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