Few Bands in London

Thanks ' Cottagers' so your'e in SOUTH WEST 6 on the north bank of the River permanently.If we leave Fulham out of consideration then there are only 3 Bands!
Where are St Albans and Welwyn Garden City? Somewhere close to Birmingham?
Spanky
 

W.Rimmer

Member
Spanky Rear said:
Why are there so few Brass Bands in London?

Possible present day reasons might be that it is such a pain to get around this over congested place, and that we are too busy (and stressed) trying to earn enough money to pay for our over-priced houses to follow a regular hobby. Rehearsal space is also very expensive here compared to most places.
Most of the London education authorities have no tradition of brass bands, favouring wind bands instead. The players in those groups have only experienced brass bands through Hovis ads and Brassed Off. They wouldn't consider seeking out a brass band to join in adult life. They don't understand the culture and traditions, thinking it is all cloth caps and wobbly vibrato. Where education authorities do have a long-standing brass tradition there is some local band activity (Redbridge borough comes to mind!). Some of the bands that do exist can tend to be a little "straight" and orchestral sounding because of the influence of orchestral brass tuition.
There are many superb players leaving music colleges in London every year. The potential for a top-class band is there, but it is very difficult for players who are intent on a freelance career to make the necessary commitment for regular unpaid rehersals, and it is perhaps viewed as a bit of a taboo by the professional peer group...something which is different in the North, I'm sure.
All that said, with such a massive population there should be far more band activity, even if it was just indulged in by brass band immigrants from other regions. It's a mystery. I would love to see it change!
Is the lack of activity paralleled in the London's SA band scene?
 

Brian Kelly

Active Member
The impression I get of the London SA band scene is that, while a few bands are doing very well - Hendon, Croydon Citadel, Regent Hall - other bands, including bands which were/are famous names in SA banding circles, are struggling for players. The International Staff Band, the SA's all-star flagship band, used to be made up of players from the London SA bands, but now includes players from as far afield as Norwich, Bristol, Worthing, Birmingham, and the North West, which may be an indication of the decline in SA bands in the London area.
 

PeterBale

Moderator
Staff member
SA bands in London have definitely seen a decline over the past years, linked with the changing population of inner city areas. Throughout the history of the Salvation Army, much of the work originated at the lower end of society, in the poorest areas. As converts were made, there was often a change in lifestyle which in many cases led to a move to better housing and employment, frequently in a different area of town. Thus many of the Army's musicians came to move away from the first centres, and even though there may still have been an SA presence the numbers in the band and songsters may well have declined.

To some extent that is still happening, and is often affected by the change in the ethnic mix of an area. Corps such as Cambridge Heath and Chalk Farm, with long banding histories, have seen many changes over the years; both Corps, as far as being worship centres is concerned, are thriving, with active community programmes, although the sections are smaller than before and new people coming in may have little interest in banding. You also have places such as Upper Norwood and Wood Green, whose sections have also declined.

You may also have the situation where, if people are going to have to travel in order to attend their place of worship, they may be attracted by the larger centres, such as Regent Hall, where there are active programmes for children and youth as well as for adults wishing to play in the band.
 

Andy_Euph

Active Member
3 bands within 10 miles.....wow!!!

In the whole of northumberland we only have a handful of bands, less than 5!!

Mind you, a band has qualifed for the nationals for the last three years :D
 
Andy,...With respect, thats exactly what this topic is about surely(?)

Although Northumberland is a large county it only has a reletively small percentage of the population but can still field 5 good bands.......London area has 25 percent of the pop and has no real contenders in the band world!

The only southern band that can go the distance with the up-country outfits is 'Enfield Citadel'...and thats only on musical quality as its certainly not into any kind of entertainment!!

I think a big part of the problem is that the London/southern mentality is just not melodic or even particularly musical!.....there is no cockney folk music for example, only chants like 'Knees Up Muvv'er Br'ahn' and laterly 'Lamb'erf Walk' (actually written for 'Me and My Girl', I think(?))...Being a cockney myself I can say this with some regret!! There ARE some old established bands along the Thames Estuary like 'Tilbury Band' which goes back to about 1890's but until Sally's Army came there was even less than now!
 

WhatSharp?

Active Member
Bob Stevenson said:
Andy,...With respect, thats exactly what this topic is about surely(?)

Although Northumberland is a large county it only has a reletively small percentage of the population but can still field 5 good bands.......London area has 25 percent of the pop and has no real contenders in the band world!

The only southern band that can go the distance with the up-country outfits is 'Enfield Citadel'...and thats only on musical quality as its certainly not into any kind of entertainment!!

I think a big part of the problem is that the London/southern mentality is just not melodic or even particularly musical!.....there is no cockney folk music for example, only chants like 'Knees Up Muvv'er Br'ahn' and laterly 'Lamb'erf Walk' (actually written for 'Me and My Girl', I think(?))...Being a cockney myself I can say this with some regret!! There ARE some old established bands along the Thames Estuary like 'Tilbury Band' which goes back to about 1890's but until Sally's Army came there was even less than now!


Actually I think it has more to do with the teaching and attitude, music is all but dead in schools in London unless its "Ethnic" or Guitars & Keyboards. Unless the bands themselves train the youngsters then no one will. Also throw into the pot tradition, London is not exactly traditional brass band territory so convincing parents to let their kids learn is also an uphill struggle. As for not many bands going back in time, well my own band was founded in 1890 and still going strong!
 

Dave Payn

Active Member
WhatSharp? said:
Bob Stevenson said:
Andy,...With respect, thats exactly what this topic is about surely(?)

Although Northumberland is a large county it only has a reletively small percentage of the population but can still field 5 good bands.......London area has 25 percent of the pop and has no real contenders in the band world!

The only southern band that can go the distance with the up-country outfits is 'Enfield Citadel'...and thats only on musical quality as its certainly not into any kind of entertainment!!

I think a big part of the problem is that the London/southern mentality is just not melodic or even particularly musical!.....there is no cockney folk music for example, only chants like 'Knees Up Muvv'er Br'ahn' and laterly 'Lamb'erf Walk' (actually written for 'Me and My Girl', I think(?))...Being a cockney myself I can say this with some regret!! There ARE some old established bands along the Thames Estuary like 'Tilbury Band' which goes back to about 1890's but until Sally's Army came there was even less than now!


Actually I think it has more to do with the teaching and attitude, music is all but dead in schools in London unless its "Ethnic" or Guitars & Keyboards. Unless the bands themselves train the youngsters then no one will. Also throw into the pot tradition, London is not exactly traditional brass band territory so convincing parents to let their kids learn is also an uphill struggle. As for not many bands going back in time, well my own band was founded in 1890 and still going strong!

And contrary to the rumours, they have no founder members in their current ranks! ;-)

Fulham go back to 1895 and Crystal Palace to 1900.
 

Aidan

Active Member
Andy_Euph said:
3 bands within 10 miles.....wow!!!

In the whole of northumberland we only have a handful of bands, less than 5!!

Mind you, a band has qualifed for the nationals for the last three years :D
in huddersfield arn't there 9 championship section bands?? few may have been relegated now..
 

Dave Payn

Active Member
Bob Stevenson said:
Andy,...With respect, thats exactly what this topic is about surely(?)

Although Northumberland is a large county it only has a reletively small percentage of the population but can still field 5 good bands.......London area has 25 percent of the pop and has no real contenders in the band world!

The only southern band that can go the distance with the up-country outfits is 'Enfield Citadel'...and thats only on musical quality as its certainly not into any kind of entertainment!!

I think a big part of the problem is that the London/southern mentality is just not melodic or even particularly musical!.....there is no cockney folk music for example, only chants like 'Knees Up Muvv'er Br'ahn' and laterly 'Lamb'erf Walk' (actually written for 'Me and My Girl', I think(?))...Being a cockney myself I can say this with some regret!! There ARE some old established bands along the Thames Estuary like 'Tilbury Band' which goes back to about 1890's but until Sally's Army came there was even less than now!

'London mentality is just not melodic or musical'. Nope, Im afraid you've lost me on that one, Bob! ;-) ;-) (Here's a surprise, Maurice Murphy was born in Hammersmith, SW London! ;-))
 

WhatSharp?

Active Member
And I believe a certain Mr Sparke was born in London. Perhaps he couldn't get "Lambeth Walk" in the 2nd Movement of Year Of The Dragon!
 

Dave Payn

Active Member
WhatSharp? said:
And I believe a certain Mr Sparke was born in London. Perhaps he couldn't get "Lambeth Walk" in the 2nd Movement of Year Of The Dragon!

Yeah too right! I mean there I was yesterday playing through the Four Noble Truths and were there any quotes from 'My Old Man Said Follow The Van?' Was there 'eck! It's a disgrace! ;-) :lol:
 

W.Rimmer

Member
[quote="WhatSharp
Actually I think it has more to do with the teaching and attitude, music is all but dead in schools in London unless its "Ethnic" or Guitars & Keyboards.[/quote]

Certainly there has been a huge decline in the general standard and the amount of activity since instrumental teaching was "commercialised" (thanks to M. Thatcher, Kenneth Baker and co.). Parents and kids (the "customers") now tend to go for the instruments they see on Top of the Pops or the ones they can buy from Argos rather than the ones that would form a valid ensemble. Some music departments seem to be comprised just of drummers!
In spite of all the difficulties there are many authorities doing work of a very high standard indeed. From my own personal experience I know that Sutton and Bromley both have thriving orchestras and wind bands, and I believe Croydon and Bexley are well served too. Inner London boroughs still run the Centre for Young Musicians where childen from Inner London Schools play some very advanced repertoire, and there are satellite Junior CYMs all over the place. I'm sure there are many other boroughs producing good work. The suggestion that music in schools is "dead" is somewhat of an exageration...although I have to confess to being exasperated by some of the rubbish that goes on in some schools.
The problem for us is that none of these authorities is promoting brass band culture. Whenever I have the chance, I mention this to people who are infuential within these organisations (they are probably getting bored with me by now), and I urge others to do the same.

My next door neighbour tells me his father played in both the Brockley Silver Band and the Camberwell Band before the war. Neither band now exists, but it would suggest that there was once a band every 2 or 3 miles inside London. Could it be that all that was lost when the place was bombed to bits?
 

Will the Sec

Active Member
Bob Stevenson said:
I think a big part of the problem is that the London/southern mentality is just not melodic or even particularly musical!.....there is no cockney folk music for example, only chants like 'Knees Up Muvv'er Br'ahn' and laterly 'Lamb'erf Walk' (actually written for 'Me and My Girl', I think(?))...Being a cockney myself I can say this with some regret!! There ARE some old established bands along the Thames Estuary like 'Tilbury Band' which goes back to about 1890's but until Sally's Army came there was even less than now!

A true Cockney? Born within the sounds of the bells of St Mary le Bow? If so, then shame on you for making such a sweeping generalisation about your own kin, and shame on you for saying there are no cockney folk songs. Go and ask yer granny, sunshine. Songs don't have to be marked "trad" to qualify as folk music, and so anything that would've been sung around the old joanna on a Sunday afternoon qualify in that respect. Songs sung by family = songs sung by folks. And as the two you've quoted, well, neither are chants, as they're not principally on a monotone.

Not a true Cockney? Then who gives an RDing Monkey's what the ding you kitchen?


Will the Cockney Sec
 
Hi Will!...Yeah, I reckon you MUST be right!...people like you are never wrong!

Next time I'm in an East End pub and the locals start quietly harmonising 'Black-eyed Girl' or 'Summer Is A Commen In' I'll remember what you said and I'll come back to you with a change of opinion,....but don't hold your breath.
 

Brian Bowen

Active Member
PeterBale said:
SA bands in London have definitely seen a decline over the past years, linked with the changing population of inner city areas.
Within the Greater London area there have been a number of respectable, well-established SA corps bands of “Festival Series” level (equivalent to section 4 up to championship) but as has been pointed out, the decline over fairly recent years has been considerable. (I have to admit I’ve been somewhat out of touch for a few years). Names which come to mind from WWII times to the present include:

1. Barking
2. Bexleyheath
3. Cambridge Heath
4. Chalk Farm
5. Croydon
6. Hammersmith
7. Hanwell
8. Harlesden
9. Hendon
10. Ilford
11. Kingston-on-Thames
12. Lewisham
13. Norland Castle
14. Plumstead
15. Regent Hall
15. Romford
16. Southall
17. Sutton
18. Tottenham, moved to Enfield
19. Upper Norwood
20. Wood Green
21. Woolwich

Just outside this area (but within the M25) bands such as Staines SA (there may be others) continue to flourish.
 

hipsmann

New Member
Danny_L said:
NeilW said:
PS Aren't Hendon, whatever Hanwell splintered into, London Collegiate Brass etc still around in London? There used to be quite a few bands in North London...

Hanwell are now Capital Concert Brass and now rehearse in Greenford West London every Monday Evening
 

W.Rimmer

Member
[quote="W.RimmerThe problem for us is that none of these authorities is promoting brass band culture. Whenever I have the chance, I mention this to people who are infuential within these organisations (they are probably getting bored with me by now), and I urge others to do the same.
[/quote]

...and it pays off! I met up with a good friend and colleague last night who is in charge of the brass at London's Centre for Young Musicians (the organisation responsible for the London Schools' Symphony Orchestra and several other outstanding ensembles). I have been lecturing him for some time about the importance of promoting a youth brass band, and, bless his heart, he has finally formed one! Some of the instrumentation isn't right yet...the kids own trumpets and not cornets...they have orchestral horns...there is a shortage of baritones and treble cleff reading trombones. The (otherwise excellent) tutors lack brass band experience. BUT!!!, it has started at last.
 

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