Our History - The History of Tutbury Band

The History of the Band

malcolm-heywoodThere is a long tradition of music in Tutbury, from the Tutbury Horn that came to the village after the Norman Conquest through a 14th Century Court of Mintrels, 19th and early 20th Century Drum and Fife and Silver Bands all the way to 1980 and the formation of Tutbury Band as it is today.

Local bands in this East Staffordshire Village really started in 1850 with the formation of a Drum and Fife band under the direction of local businessman Mr I. B. Long. By the 1880’s there is record of a Salvation Army band practising at Tutbury Salvation Army Barracks, and around 1895 Tutbury Town Silver Band was formed with around 21 players.

The Great War of 1914 to 1918 brought a temporary halt to the town band, but in November 1918 Tutbury Town Silver Band was reformed under conductor Wallace Young. This new band was a regular sight in Tutbury between 1918 and 1926, and again between 1934 and 1939. The band even headed a Coronation Procession in May 1937.

The Post War Years

Global conflict again saw the end of Tutbury Silver Band in 1939, and sadly it was not reformed after the end of the Second World War. Of course there were many other local bands playing at this time in Burton On Trent, Uttoxeter and Derby – but Tutbury didn’t have a band of its own until the arrival of new headteacher Malcolm Heywood at the local primary school in 1979.

Tutbury Band in 1981

Tutbury Band in 1981

Malcolm Heywood, inspired by another local school wind band, formed Tutbury Band in 1980. The initial intention was to form a school wind band. However, Malcolm received no support from the County Council Education Department but did get a commitment from the Arts Council of a £75 donation but only if the band was not attached to the school. This was the start of Tutbury Village Band.

Support came from many unlikely sources – including a number of instruments loaned to the band from Sudbury Prison, but it was Malcolm who led the band from strength to strength. By 1983 the band had 58 members, including one Frank Wilson – the only member of the new Tutbury Band who had also been a member of the 1934-39 band.

Tutbury Band continued to grow in number and standard, and in 1993 Tutbury Junior Band was formed as a means to develop younger and less experienced players for the ever more challenging music being played by the main band. Within a year, the total membership of Tutbury Band (including Junior Band) was 120. Lottery cash in 1995 enabled Tutbury Band to invest in some new instruments including some of the more expensive saxophones, tubas and percussion.

Tutbury Band practice in 1990

Tutbury Band practice in 1990

In 1999 Malcolm suffered a major heart attack, and although he returned to conducting Tutbury Band a few months later he was no longer able to continue as conductor of the Junior Band. So in 2000, Tutbury Band trumpet player Kevin Orton took over the Junior Band. In 2004 Malcolm retired from Tutbury Band and moved with his Wife and Daughter to a quiet village in Yorkshire, and Kevin took over as Musical Director of Tutbury Band. To support Kevin, saxophone player Paul Rundle partly took over Junior Band from September to the end of 2004. In 2005, cornet player (and work colleague of Kevin Orton) Richard Woodberry stepped in to take over Tutbury Junior Band. There was also a Tutbury Training Band for beginner players under the leadership of Joanne Thorpe. In 2014 the Training Bands numbers reduced and so this no longer happens. Richard Woodberry stepped down as Junior Band director and this role was taken over jointly by Eric Fern and Dianne Armshaw. In 2015 Eric Fern became the sole conductor of the Junior Band and assistant conductor of the Senior Band, stepping in whenever required.

Shortly after moving to Yorkshire, Malcolm formed a wind band in a village near his new home. Sadly, Malcolm past away in the summer of 2006. His bands, of course, play on – ourselves in Tutbury as well as Buckrose Band in Yorkshire now under the direction of Malcolm’s daughter Becca.

Most of this potted history has been significantly abridged from “Tutbury’s Variations, a history of wind and brass bands in a Staffordshire village” written in 2001 by David Kennedy. Copies are available, please make enquiries through the Contact Us page on this web site.

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