Cholsey Silver Band

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Cholsey Silver Band - spanning three centuries!

Cholsey Silver Band has been in continuous existence since 1913 and that is why 2013 was celebrated as our centenary. However, the first record of a band in Cholsey was in 1847 at the celebration of the refurbishment of St John Baptist Church, Moulsford. There are other references in the local newspaper to the band in 1851 and 1863. We know from a ticket in Wallingford Museum, that Cholsey Brass Band played in 1896 at Wallingford Grammar School Sports Day. Sometime after 1896 the band lapsed and was reformed in 1913. Pictures dating from around that time show 31 members but not in uniform dress. During the 1914/18 war the band was able to continue mainly because Cholsey was then an agricultural community and the band members were in protected employment.

We have pictures of the band from 1933 resplendent in their military style uniforms but the number of members appears to have dropped to 14. During the 1939/45 war the band was not able to continue because many members were required elsewhere and because the practice hall did not have blackout curtains!

In the 1950s the band comprised between 25 and 30 members and was very successful in brass band competitions, one of which was held at the annual Cholsey Horticultural Show. At some point during the 1960s the band was reduced to 6 members but was rebuilt and since then membership has been around 25 to 30. The big change since the 1960s has been the slow reduction in members recruited from Cholsey itself. Currently (2015) the number of players living in the village is increasing. Players come from as far as Oxford, Abingdon, Didcot, Wallingford and Reading.

Perhaps the greatest contribution that the Band has made during the past 102 years is that it has been the means of so many people learning to play a musical instrument. It is estimated that several hundred people have either taken their first musical steps with the Band or have been enabled to improve their standard of playing. Although some may have given up we know that others have returned to play with us or with other bands.

So, dear reader, have you ever listened to a brass instrument and thought "if only I could play that" but have never followed up the idea - now is your chance! We still keep the tradition of teaching beginners and we supply good quality instruments and uniforms at no charge to the players. Age is no bar to learning and in fact older members tend to be the more reliable. Playing in a band is a team thing and we hope that you will enjoy it so much that you will attend nearly every week. The cost of membership is less than half a pint of beer per week! That is very small compared with tuition fees at school! Perhaps you can already play but for whatever reason your playing has been put on the back burner. Come along on a Tuesday evening at the Scout Hall (behind the Red Lion), Wallingford Road, Cholsey and talk to us and perhaps stay and listen. If you can play, join in!

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