in East Anglia on the Suffolk/Norfolk border, is the home of the Breckland Brass
The band was conceived over a Christmas drink in the directors' office of Messrs.
Green Bros. Ltd. in 1950 and in the following month - 21st January 1951 - the band
had its first rehearsal in the works canteen.
The instruments and music were provided by Messrs Tom and Frank Green and Mr Harold
Bowes was appointed bandmaster. At that time all members were employees of the company
and numbered some thirty inexperienced but very keen men and boys. In fact, only
three had any experience of brass banding. The keenness of all concerned was shown
by the fact that the band was able to give its first public performance on the occasion
of the Armistice Day Parade and service in the same year - just under ten months
from the first rehearsal.
Over the years the band has achieved many successes in the contesting field, including
the title of Suffolk County Champions on no fewer than three different occasions.
In addition, the band has played all over the Eastern Counties at both parades and
concerts and has rarely missed providing festive music in the town and surrounding
area at Christmas.
No doubt, as with other bands, there have been many amusing incidents, like the occasion
when a certain horn player dropped his music while on parade and the bass drummer
fell over the top of him when he committed the fatal error of bending down to retrieve
it. Again, when on church parade in the village of Feltwell the band came to a fork
in the road and, for a reason that has never been determined, half the band went
one way, the other half and the parade the other, but both halves still got to the
church on time!
The band owes a great deal to the first band master, Harold Bowes, a hard task master
and one who maintained such a high standard in the band. It was a sad loss when
he passed on in 1968. The baton was now handed on to Peter Bowes, son of Harold
Bowes, who had been with the band from the beginning as a trombone player.
In November 1971 the band left the company and adopted the name 'Breckland Brass
Band'. This independence gave the band a new zest and revitalised spirit and also
allowed ladies to join and partake for the first time. After a very successful first
year in 1972 the band were able to have all the instruments overhauled for the first
time in the band's history and at the same time all the instruments were converted
to low pitch. It was hoped at the same time the band would be able to invest in
a new set of instruments but at a cost then of £4,000/5000 this was not to be.
Over the following years the band, like all bands, has had its ups and downs and
by the end of 1980 had shrunk to ten members. Peter Bowes, the conductor, had also
decided that, after about 15 years playing and then another 15 years conducting,
the time had come for him to hang up his baton and instrument. Losing the band's
guiding light was a big loss to the band as, like his father before him, Peter had
maintained such high standards in the band. It was a bit of a shock to the remaining
members of the band to suddenly become leaderless and rather short of players. However,
in the nick of time one of the original trombone players returned to the fold and,
as he worked as a camera man for Anglia TV, informed us that one of the company presenters,
Christine Webber, would like to take on the task of conducting the band. On the
first rehearsal with her in charge the band membership almost doubled! With a well
known personality up front many players returned to the band, people flocked to hear
us (or see her maybe) but since that time the band has never looked back. She stayed
with the band for two years before passing the baton to Malcolm Allerton who passed
the baton to Dave Goodwin then to Richard Lake and back again to Dave Goodwin. Our
current band master is Dave Goodwin who spent many years playing solo cornet in the
Fleet Air Arm Volunteer Band, a highly successful brass band of the late 60's and
early 70's, under the baton of the legendary Prof Walter Hargreaves.
Currently there are 27 members on the band books, two of whom have been in the band
from the very beginning, namely John Field, Bb Bass player and current chairman and
Peter Zipfell, 2nd euphonium. However, we are actively searching for new members
of all disciplines to boost and improve the band as we enter 2017. If you are interested
in joining us please click on our contact below or any page of our site. We will
be very pleased to hear from you.
Breckland Brass Band is a non competing band at present and concentrates all of its
considerable efforts on concert work with music ranging from Classical to Traditional
Brass Works to Swing. Consequently we already have a number of engagements for the
year 2017. Please refer to for further details.