The Aldbourne Band was formed in the middle of the 19th century by the village church organist, Richard Brown-Bunce. Originally made up from a variety of instrument types, including clarinet and flute, the Band gradually evolved, as most English Bands did around the turn of the century, into the familiar format based around 3-valved brass, trombone and percussion.
The first contest the Band entered was before the First World War and during the 20's and the 30's the Band achieved great acclaim performing at the Crystal Palace, London. The Band maintained a consistently high standard, competing locally and nationally, regularly winning prizes and in 1963 was promoted to the Championship Section of the national organisation.
In the early eighties the Band was at the height of its game when it was placed first in the West of England Championship Section
and consequently qualified to perform in the National Finals at the Albert Hall. Out of a movement of some 800 Bands, the best two from each region (18 Bands in total) perform at the National Finals. By the year 2000 the Band held a ranking of 5th place in the West of England Championship Section, drawing in players from the North Wiltshire and Berkshire areas and remains a formidable force in the contesting arena.
Concerts and Performances
A busy schedule of concerts and events in and around the south west area, often in conjunction with Choirs or other musical groups, is maintained. Aldbourne Band has a reputation of playing very lyrically, selecting popular programme items and never fails to entertain the audience. The Band has played one particular concert, Upham Road Church in Swindon, every January for 42 years and always plays to a full house. Traditional Brass Band music can often be something of an acquired taste for the die-hard listener so Theme concerts are also presented which encourage the public to enjoy a night or music from a popular theme such as the Broadway Shows. Concerts also provide an opportunity to play outside the immediate area reaching new audiences, playing different music and to promote the village of Aldbourne- something the Band wishes to develop further in the coming years.
Local Functions and Events in Aldbourne
Close ties to Aldbourne village are maintained, with many of the Band members living in the village and local events include the carnival, fete, carol concert, Remembrance Sunday and often at private weddings, parties and celebrations.
The Band is very appreciative of the strong local support it receives from the village residents. During the summer months the Band perform four concerts, one on the first Sunday of each of the summer months, next to the pond in the centre of the village. Named the 'Pond Concerts' they are relaxed, entertaining and extremely popular with hundreds of people coming into the village to enjoy an evening's music.
Each Christmas morning starting at 4am the Band has the honour of waking the village by playing carols, touring each road around the village, often joined by supporters and also needing to remember certain carols requested to be played outside particular people's houses. The event finishes at 6.30am, playing carols from the roof of the church tower before the bandsmen go home for some much needed sleep prior to the day's real festivities. This tradition, like many in the village of Aldbourne, has been a long-standing engagement - since about the turn of the century and it never fails to surprise and delight new families moving to live in the village.
Youth and development are keys to the future of any organisation and, as such, Aldbourne Band has initiated the formation of a Training Band with the help of the local school. Janet Rowe is currently leading this project with the aim to form a second Band of people from any age group, capable of performing, which will also provide the players for the future of the main Band.
Looking to the future the Aldbourne Band hopes to maintain it's prowess as a contesting Band, to continue to provide entertaining music for the diverse range of public performances, to encourage the teaching of music and to simply enjoy the strong spirit that exists in the Brass Band World.