At the end of the 19th century and early 20th century many villages had a Brass Band. Ours started in 1888 under the guidance of Mr Scholer of Padbury Band, the first engagement being on 11th August 1889 when it paraded around the village for the annual Feast Day. The band played at the village fêtes, on festive days and at the Club Day in early June. With the outbreak of World War I the members were for most part, in action elsewhere and so Band activities were shelved until 1919.
The Great Horwood Band c.1904
As time passed, other villages began to lose their bands and Great Horwood Silver Band found itself in demand, travelling to venues by horse and cart, by bicycle or on foot. With the advent of the motor car the band made trips further afield playing as far away as Bletchley and Aylesbury. During this period, the Band, for obvious reasons, became known as the ‘Beer and Baccy Band’. A name which held true for decades. For instance, following a booking at Adstock’s Club Day and after a few pints of ale, Band members set off home across the fields. The drummer, carrying his instrument, tripped and fell head first through his drum.
The Band’s activities halted again during World War II and it was in 1947 that George Edmans, Frank Wilks and Alf Shepherd, all of whom had played and conducted before the war, restarted the Band. It has gone from strength to strength ever since.
Although Band members today (2018) come from all over the local area, the Band is and always has been a family affair for some. Some families have played in the band for three or more generations. Others have played with their brothers and sisters. Once players have joined they seem to stay. George Edmans was a member for 80 years until his death and his son, Richard, is now the longest serving playing member, having clocked up over 60 years' attendance. There have been some great characters in the band, like the late and still sadly missed Richard Medri, who graded all Band engagements not by the band's reception or any payment received, but by the quality of the burgers and sausages on the various barbecues.
With transport becoming easily available, the Band has now played in nearly 140 different venues, ranging from HM Prison Grendon Underwood to seaside resorts in Norfolk. The Band always tours the village on Christmas Eve and again on Christmas morning playing seasonal carols.
Great Horwood Band c.1910
Television has played a part in the history of the Band. In 1975 a dozen members played the background music for a Quick Brew Tea advertisement with Roy Hudd. Then in 1989, whilst playing at Hoggeston Village Church Fete, at what was thought to be a normal engagement, a film crew appeared and asked if they could film the Band playing.
In 1995 the Band travelled to Traben (Trarbach) in Germany, for their first overseas tour. Two more trips were arranged at the end of the 1990s and in 2008 the Band was invited by Buckingham Twinning Association to perform a joint concert with the Brass Band Nord Pas De Calais from Buckingham’s twin town of Mouveaux near Lille.