Contesting tales

As the band prepare for their first Welsh Area contest for six years we have been looking back through the Band's archives and revisiting past contests.

Despite being formed in 1921 it wasn't until 1974 that the Beaumaris & District Silver Band, as the Band were then known, decided to enter the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain.

Prior to 1991, rather than competing in the Welsh Area qualifying contest, bands from north Wales crossed Offah's Dyke to compete in the North West Area. And so it was in 1974 that Beaumaris & District Silver Band, under the baton of Musical Director, Ned Needham, travelled to Parr Hall, Warrington for their first ever Area Contest. Poring over the minutes from the Band's Committee meetings of the time suggests a lack of excitement by the committee members for this momentous occasion. One the few mentions of the band's forthcoming contest debut came during a meeting in January 1974 when the secretary, Mr T. Gaunt, was instructed to purchase "some red nylon coats" for the contest whilst at the same time the committee decided to change the colour of the Band's uniform to include "charcoal grey trousers".

It wasn't just the committee who seemed distinctly underwhelmed by the impending Contest as the minutes of February's committee meeting noted "... Mr Needham and the secretary were not satisfied with the attendance of certain players at rehearsals for this contest" and a meeting was arranged for the following week to "... get the feelings of the band in general, about the contest in Warrington." The meeting must have had a positive outcome as the Band not only took part in the Contest but finished as runners-up to The Marple Band and secured their place in the National Finals in Hammersmith Town Hall. The committe were far more proactive with preparations for the Contest in London with a Fundraising Committee being formed and a supporters' bus trip to London being organised at a cost of £2.50 per head! It will cost a little bit more to take the supporters' bus to Wrexham for the Band's latest forray into contesting but it would be quite something if the outcome was as successful as it was for Mr Needham's band 45 years ago.

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