Hitchin Band’s new CD – 150 years in the making as they get set for Saturday’s Christmas concert

Hitchin Band

Hitchin Band - Credit: Archant

Hitchin brass band has been busy throughout the year celebrating their 150th anniversary and are set to bring the year to an end with a joint concert, a new CD and some exciting news for the future.

The band was formed in 1866 and gave their debut performance on Christmas Eve 150 years ago and the band has formed a cornerstone of music in and around Hitchin ever since.

For their 150th birthday this year they’ve been celebrating in style, beginning in January with the appointment of a new Musical Director, Graham Chambers which led to success at a regional contest in March.

The busy band held a reunion event in June, attracting past players from 50 years ago and visitors from as far away as the USA.

This was followed by a twinning exchange with a visit to Hitchin by the Sponsheim Band from Germany who played two joint concerts with Hitchin Band as part of Rhythms of the World and celebrations for the Queen’s birthday.

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Another highlight in the year was a sell-out performance of live music to accompany a screening of the film “Brassed Off” at the Queen Mother Theatre.

In the autumn the band recorded a series of tracks for a new CD which is being released as part of the band’s anniversary celebrations.

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Secretary Mike Thorn explained to the Comet: “The CD is called “Because”, and is named after an arrangement of a song that was specially commissioned for the band’s Solo Horn player, Sarah Gibbons.

“There are 15 tracks listed on the CD, and in the spirit of the history of the band the programme includes music raging 1866 up to date.

“The CD is due for release at our Christmas concert on Saturday and includes a booklet about the history of the band.

“We rehearse twice a week throughout the year and our volunteer members also support a thriving Youth Band that meets every Monday during term times.” This year has been the busiest in the band’s history. From January to the end of December we will have played 35 concerts, entered two competitions and hosted seven social events – with their youth band playing five concerts.

Mike added; “So far Hitchin Band has raised nearly £3,500 for local charities this year, with more expected through the Christmas period.

“It has been really hard work but great fun. All of the players have risen to the challenge and the standard of music has gone from strength to strength. “We have been overwhelmed by the support of people from Hitchin and the surrounding area, with audience numbers growing throughout the year and some wonderful feedback on our performances.

“It has been a great experience sharing the band’s history, playing so many concerts and recording a CD as well as supporting our young musicians.”

Hitchin Band’s annual Christmas Brass concert will be a joint venture with the Hitchin Youth Band, taking place at St Mark’s Church on Saturday at 7.30pm.

Tickets are available on the door at £6 Adults and £5 Concessions, with free entry for children under 16

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