Sparkhill Citadel Band Late 1930's

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Aussie Tuba, Jan 24, 2011.

  1. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    Pictured is Sparkhill Band in the 1930's. I thought some online might have relatives in the picture. I managed to buy this as a postcard from ebay.

    Attached Files:

  2. P_S_Price

    P_S_Price Member

    Hi Aussie, If you have facebook, there is a Group there dedicated to Old Salvation Army Corps photos and the Like - why not add it there too?
  3. P_S_Price

    P_S_Price Member

    Also what is very interesting about that picture is the 2 Sousaphones.

    I always thought that it was only Rochdale Cit that had Sousa's (picture of same in 1960s on F/b).
  4. Brian Kelly

    Brian Kelly Active Member

    Regent Hall and Coventry City also had sousaphones, I believe as late as the 1970's.
  5. Tubby

    Tubby Member

    Stockport Heaton Norris had 1 too, and obviously lots of SA Corps Bands in the USA did/do to. On our band tour to Canada and the US we went to Flint Citadel and they had loads of photos with Sousa's in the band
  6. Brass_Head

    Brass_Head New Member

    Hi Ken, I tracked the photo on eBay for a long time but was really just making sure it got to someone that would cherish it. By the way, I tried to buy the Sousa but I think they went to Birmingham Cit. I would have looked after them better!

    I still remember your late father sitting at the back of the Sparkhill platform between the sousas! How time flies.
  7. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    I tried to get the Eb one through Dad as he was still in the corps when it closed. I ended up buying a King 3 Valve from the US. I've had that now a little over 2 years.
    I was following the picture for around 5 months then made the deal Just had to have it with Grandad sitting there on Solo Euphonium. The Bandmaster is Alfred Grainger and the percusionist is Eddie Grainger who I think was the Songster Leader of the time. Next to George was Bill Priest who was a mentor of mine for years. supprising just how many I can name when I wasn't there But Bill was in the Band when I was as was Frank Wyres on Flugal.
  8. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    My dad bought one of Coventry City's sousas which went on to enjoy a long and fruitful career in "wordly" music, including many bierkeller gigs, holiday camp seasons and an appearance on "What's my line" ;)
  9. Brian Bowen

    Brian Bowen Active Member

    I remember as a kid hearing the Sparkhill Band more than once at the Regent Hall in London (annual visits?). They really put on an entertaining (with comedy) show quite unlike any other bands then, or now I suspect. Alfred Grainger was the B/M and I recall his brother (?) on timps mainly because he played them even for prayer choruses! Ray Steadman-Allen told me that he heard them play George Marshall's "Visions" when they jazzed it up by playing a certain part of it in swing time. Outrageous but memorable rascals! Of course, it couldn't last.
  10. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    With Visions we had that on manuscript. There was a part of that that was changed for publication. Sparkhill always played it from George Marshals Origional Manuscript. It was still being used when I was in the Band in the Mid 70's ( although with Alf it could have been different again to what I was playing ) they were a bit rebelious. I remember a story of how they all took the bands out of their band caps so the sides of the cap droped down to make them different to the rest.
  11. Brass_Head

    Brass_Head New Member

    I vividly remember being 'put back in my box' by Bandmaster Cobb at Cobham Hall one day after my friend Lyndon Fletcher and I had dared to busk along with the songs at prayers the night before;

    'You're not at Sparkhill now!'

    I can tell you, I wish I was! What a fantastic group of talented musicians they were. And yes, jamming along with songs and choruses was a regular feature!!!!!
  12. ExPatJohn

    ExPatJohn New Member

    What an amazing find! My dad is solo cornet, also recognise Frank Wyers, Bill Priest, Wilf O'Connor, Johnny Large plus others whose names I can't remember.
    I see someone mentioned his friend 'Lyndon'. Not sure if his dad is there or not, possibly the second baratone. Think also Howard Everton is one of the trombones.
    As soon as I found this I was off to have it printed out, and soon it will be framed!
    I'm sure I'm correct in saying this, but I understand Sparkhill were the first SA band to play at the Royal Albert Hall. Possibly after the war, early 50's time. I think maybe Bert Langworthy was BM then. Maybe someone with a better memory could correct me if I'm wrong, or I'll find out more when I next speak with my brother who was soprano after the war, and junior BM in the late 50's and 60's. We actually had a decent junior band then too. Frank's son Steve and me on solo cornet, Lyndon's 2 elder brothers and more!
    Whoever posted this.....thank you so much!
  13. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    your Welcome.

    My Grandfather George was next to Bill Priest. I know Steve Wyres as he was my YP Band leader, and Howard Everton was helping out with YP Band in those Days. I know Denis Edwards well and knew Frank well from having visits to the fish and chip shop. I'm glad someone who knows the history has found this.
  14. ExPatJohn

    ExPatJohn New Member

    I've let Denis know about this photo and emailed a copy over to him.
    Whilst I think of it, I have a copy of the band circa mid 50's on CD, although the quality isn't very good aided somewhat by being a copy and played on cheap CD players.
  15. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    I Think my Dad has sent me a copy of the CD your taking about.
    Where abouts are you ExPatJohn. Sounds like you might be nearer here than Sparkhill. I am in Brisbane. Denis of course was the sop player and Junior Band Leader you spoke about. He was Deputy Bandmaster in my time and was one of the best read transposers I know. He could read solo cornet and play it on the sop and didn't skip a beat. He did it so much one time in Band practice he transposed his own part. Bought the house down.
  16. Parp

    Parp Member

    My grandad used to say that at one time, the best SA bands were Rosehill and Sparkhill ("Much better than the ISB"). I've heard some old 78s of Rosehill but never heard Sparkhill sadly.
  17. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    my Grandfather said the same, So I grew up with that view and was privileged to start my playing in Sparkhill YP Band and the tHe Main Band. Sadley The Corps is no more, That said many Bands now benefit from that pool of talent. Many players have moved to all corners of the world and still continue their playing.
  18. ExPatJohn

    ExPatJohn New Member

    I've been in Thailand now for 10 years, near Bangkok.
    Dennis messaged me yesterday about your grandfather, George. His description of him....'Best I have ever heard' which is some praise having had Bill Priest around too.
    I used to try and copy Dennis with transposing as a nipper. Silly things we do as kids :D.
    Certainly, around the mid part of the century Sparkhill had the reputation as the finest SA band around, and my dad was regarded as the finest cornet player. Believe that to be because of his tone rather than his base skills, but maybe someone who remembers him in his pomp would be in a better place to comment. Mind you, not many still around now. I doubt any on that photo are.
  19. ex Sparkhill

    ex Sparkhill New Member

    Sparhill Citadel Band and Sousaphones

    as an Ex Sparkhill Bandsman, I played with many in your picture, and was also fortunate to know Alf and Eddie Grainger (who recently passed away).
    Others in the picture were, Harry 'Titch' Edwards, who was Solo Cornet, when I (Ron Ewen) joined the band I sat next to him and followed him as Solo Cornet, when he was ill for a while. Dennis Edwards, Titch's son, became Soprano player and was with the band till the corps closed.
    Other front row Cornet were Charlie O'Connor (he became Solo Horn later, Charlie Griffin, and Bndsmn Budd.
    Flugel Horn was Frank Wyers, (whose son Steven followed me as Solo Cornet). Dennis Lawrence 2nd Horn.
    George Wilks Top Euph, Bill Priest Euph, Johnny Large 1st Baritone (his son Brent later was 2nd man on Solo Cornets and became Solo Horn. H later became the Horn Champion of New Zealand for several Years. on Trom was Wilf Spillet (top) Wilf O'Connor was 2nd Trom in the picture, but became Solo Trom.
    Ernie O'Connor on Bb Sousaphone , Billy Budd on Bb Bass also
    Eddy Grainger on Percussion or G Trom, he was a Teacher and his school made this Youtube. (
    The Bb Sousaphone was a 4 valved King, which was recovered from a scrap yard and reconditioned
    Both Sousaphones and the band library I believe were passed on to Enfield Citadel, when Sparkhill was closed a few years ago
    The band were remembered for their distinctive style and would "Swing" certain pieces especially the Festival March Regeneration
    but probably would be remembered most for their playing of devotional music and hymn tunes. There are so many more stories about the band.
  20. ex Sparkhill

    ex Sparkhill New Member

    Sparkhill Band with Alf Grainger made 1 record with Regeneration on one side and Minuet from Sampson. I know of only 2 copies but unfortunately are the worse for wear

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