Reading brass band finds a new home in WoodleyBy Alan Bunce
February 22, 2013
Reading's oldest brass band has moved to Woodley to begin a new lease of life.
The Spring Gardens Brass Band, which dates back more than 100 years, has moved from Cockney Hill in Tilehurst to Christ Church in Crockhamwell Road, where it plans to launch a training band to help secure its future.
The band, which is 23-strong, goes back to the late 19th Century when it started Spring Gardens Wesleyan Mission Concertina Band in Whitley.
In recent times it has become popular with shoppers after a series of performances in Woodley precinct and hopes the town will be a good place to build membership while similar bands nationally are struggling for new members.
Conductor Lorraine Rogers said Woodley’s vibrant town centre was a major attraction.
She said: “There doesn’t seem to be much going on in the Tilehurst area but there is in Woodley. People know about us, but we want to be put on the map a bit more.”
Chairwoman Jo Smith said the church had been very supportive of the band and she hopes performances could be put on at the church itself.
The training band, for youngsters and adults, will practise before the main band rehearsals on Thursday evenings. For a very small fee, youngsters can join as soon as they have front teeth.
Many high profile performances are in the 2013 pipeline including in Friar Street on the day of the Reading Half Marathon, Henley boat races the following weekend and a charity fundraising concert in aid of Sarcoma UK on April 20.
That concert is in respect of one of the band’s world famous former members, Derek Watkins whose great grandfather was a founding member.
Trumpet player Mr Watkins, who has worked on every James Bond film, played on some of the Beatles’ hits and has had a career of performing with world famous musicians, has sarcoma (a type of rare cancer) and Mrs Rogers says she is hoping he might be well enough to attend the event, at Park United Reformed Church in Wokingham Road, East Reading.
The band will team up with the Sainsbury Singers for that event. Contact Mrs Rogers 07715 852 996 or Mrs Smith on firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find out more about the band visit www.readingspringgardensband.org.uk