Kirkby Stephen brass band planned belated celebration

First published in Kirkby Stephen The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by

MEMBERS of a historic town band who accidentally missed a landmark anniversary will be treating 2012 as their year of celebration.

Musicians in Kirkby Stephen’s Silver Brass Band recently discovered it was founded in 1857, five years earlier than had originally been recorded.

Chairman Richard Arrowsmith said: “Having missed out on our 150th anniversary celebrations, we’ve decided to make 2012 the year to mark our anniversary.

“No-one seemed to know when the band started, but a poster found by Stainmore Railway historians showed the band had played at the cutting of the first sod in 1857, which now makes that year as our possible start date.”

He added that the band had played in a procession led by a navvy with a wheelbarrow to mark work beginning on the line by the South Durham and Lancashire Union Railway company.

Today there are 25 adult members and seven younger players, and the band is currently on the lookout for a drummer.

Among celebrations in 2012 will be a Grand 1857 Concert, at which the band will recreate music from the time, a brass festival for local bands that do not normally compete, and a grand gala concert, which will also mark the retirement of musical director John Ockenden.

Fundraising will also be a key emphasis for the year, with the launch of a new Silver Lotto prize draw, which invites people to donate £24-a-year in exchange for being entered in a bi-monthly prize draw.

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