The band was formed in 1958 as an adult further education class and was named the Grange Band, after the education centre. From the outset the school authorities provided the practice facilities and instruments, but slowly as the band became ever more popular and successful, it started to raise sufficient funds to purchase it’s own instruments.
The Harwich Concert Band
In the early 1970s the band became independent from the education authority to allow younger players to join and was re-named the Harwich Concert Band. With a larger spectrum of players the band now enjoyed greater success, and won many prizes in regional brass band competitions. During this period the band purchased its familiar blue concert jackets that are still worn today. Unfortunately during the 1980s the popularity of the band started to decline and it struggled to keep many of its players, and by 1989 there were only 6 players remaining.
Back row (left to right) – Ernie Smith, Reg Grimshaw, Jack Spratt, Alf Simpson, Ben Simpson.
Third row (left to right) – Matthew Sharp, Alan Thomas, Ernie Cawdell, Eric Whyte, Malcolm Hook, Bernie Pells, Charlie Carter, Terry Shelby, Michael Dunn.
Second Row (left to right) – John ?, Debbie Monday, Len Whent, Joy Whyte, Sue Branch, George Earey, Ivan Monday, Geoff Banks, Clive Easter.
Front row (left to right) – Geoff Smith, John Branch, Tony Page, David Cawdell (MD), David Watson, Jack Quaintance, David Shelby.
** Please Help ** Can anyone identify John from the second row? If you can, please get in touch with us. Thank you.
The Harwich Royal British Legion Brass Band
In the latter part of 1992 efforts were made to rejuvenate the band and a vigorous recruiting campaign started. Keith Watson was appointed as the new musical director and many new players were recruited, allowing the band to develop once again. During 1994 the band became affiliated to the Harwich branch of the Royal British Legion, and thus adopted the name The Harwich Royal British Legion Brass Band.
This affiliation with the RBL gave the band much needed stability and yet again it grew in popularity.
During the summer of 2000 the band appointed its current musical director, Antony Sanders. The band is continuing to go from strength to strength. Over the next few years it undertook many overseas tours, including Southern Spain, Holland and three Europeade Festivals in Belgium, France and Denmark. In 2002 following the Declan Heath Memorial Concert, a training band was formed, which led in November 2004 to the launch of a ‘Band Music Academy’ aimed at complete beginners of any age who would like to learn a Brass instrument or percussion.
June 2007 saw the band join with Clacton Amateur Dramatic Society to present a stage version of the hit film ‘Brassed Off’, winning many awards locally.
The recording and subsequent release in 2009 of its first CD ‘Brassed Off in Harwich’ was yet another phase in the development of the Band.
2011 saw the band, along with its friends from Victory Brass in Portsmouth, undertake a sixteen day tour of the eastern seaboard of the United States, visiting Harwich (MA), Portsmouth (NH), Boston, New York and Washington DC, playing many concerts along the way.
The A120 Ensemble was created in 2012 from within the band’s Academy. This group is run for, and by the band’s youth, and gives many independent performances around the local area.
The band has achieved many contest successes in recent years. In March 2011 it finished 2nd at the Fourth Section Regional Championships gaining promotion to the 3rd section and also qualifying for the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain Finals for the first time in its history, where it finished a very creditable 7th place out of the 24 competing bands from around the country.
Tendring Brass Band
Following changes in the Royal British Legion’s band licensing policy and regulations, the band decided to divorce itself from the RBL and in the spring of 2015 was renamed Tendring Brass Band.
In 2016 under its new name, the band again finished 2nd at the Regional Championship, but this time in the Third Section, once again qualifying for the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain Finals in Cheltenham, where it finished with a highly notable 3rd place, in a field of 22 competing bands, gaining great acclaim with its performance of ‘Lake of the Moon’ by Kevin Houben.
Promotion to the 2nd section from January 2019 is now confirmed following a 4th place at the 2018 Regional Championships back in March. This is the highest level the band has ever been graded in its history.
Today the band consists of over 35 players of all ages ranging from twelve to over eighty years old. Most of our concerts are performed locally, including the very popular ‘Tendring Brass on Tour’ series which aims to take live band music to all corners of the Tendring Peninsular. Around 50% of the band’s current players started their musical education at the Band’s Academy, which is a remarkable achievement.