Local News

Andover Town Band top of the pops

Andover’s popular and successful brass band has reached new heights, starting 2023 in the top echelon of brass banding for the first time.

This month, Andover Town Band were promoted into the Championship Section of UK brass banding – the equivalent of football’s Premier League.

Elevation into this highest division of brass banding has been achieved just 12 years after the band came together. As a result of consistently strong performances in regional and national competitions during that time, the band has achieved four promotions, culminating in this latest success. Now the band will be competing in the same division as world-famous names such as: Grimethorpe Colliery (as featured in Brassed Off), Brighouse and Rastrick (as once championed by Terry Wogan), Black Dyke, and The Cory Band.

Adrian Wallace, Principal Cornet and Chairman of the Andover Town Band explained that this latest success came despite a period of upheaval.

Adrian said:

“In 2020, our longstanding musical director Steve Large retired from his role, handing the conductor’s baton to Scott Stewart. But this happened just as Covid plunged us, like everyone else, into a period of uncertainty, as we were unable to rehearse together for many months.

“Scott, an accomplished trombonist who has played alongside some of the world’s best brass musicians, was already well known to the band. Indeed, his wife Philippa and two sons were already playing in the band! He was the perfect successor to build on the progress made under Steve’s leadership.”

Scott led the band to its best most successful ever result in the First Section of the West of England Contest in March 2022. The band gave a fine performance of the set test

Piece, Spectrum, earning a creditable 4th place. Combined with consistent high placings in recent years, this was enough to promote the Andover Town Band to the elite Championship section for 2023.

Adrian continued:

“Thanks to the dedication and hard work from both musical directors and our players throughout the last twelve years, the band now look forward to flying the flag for Andover at our first competition in the Championship section, at the West of England Contest in Torquay on the 12th March.”

Andover Town Band continues to offer lessons to children in brass and percussion. Its Prospects and Youth & Community Bands offer opportunities for youngsters and adults at every stage of their musical journeys to play together, developing a pool of talent to underpin the Town Band itself.

More details of concerts and other local appearances for Andover Town Band during 2023 are available on the band’s website (www.andovertownband.com) and Facebook page.