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Band marks 80 years of music-making

PUBLISHED: 10:43 13 May 2008 | UPDATED: 08:57 13 July 2010

AYLSHAM Band will mark its 80th birthday at an anniversary concert on Saturday.

The celebration, in Aylsham Parish Church at 7.30pm, will feature BBC Radio Norfolk presenter Wally Webb as master of ceremonies.

AYLSHAM Band will mark its 80th birthday at an anniversary concert on Saturday.

The celebration, in Aylsham Parish Church at 7.30pm, will feature BBC Radio Norfolk presenter Wally Webb as master of ceremonies.

Band members aim to raise £3,000 during their anniversary year to buy instruments for pupils at Aylsham High School. They hope the target will include a grant from Broadland District Council.

Band master Clive Cordukes said they wanted to buy cornets, trombones, tenor horns and possibly baritones, presenting them at a massed-bands concert taking place at the school in September.

He hoped the scheme would encourage a new generation to learn an instrument and that some of them would eventually play with the band, ensuring its future.

Saturday's programme will include old favourites, and advance tickets, at £5, are available from James Dale's barber shop on Market Square, Aylsham.

Mr Dale will mark his own anniversary next year when he notches up half a century with the band. He joined aged nine and is now their longest-serving member.

The band has about 22 musicians, ranging from 14-year-old James Fiddeman to 80-year-olds Peter Gowing and Paul Stearman.

It started life when a group of Salvation Army musicians from Aylsham got together in 1928, under the leadership of band master Clifford King, to form the Aylsham Fellowship Band.

Renamed the Aylsham Silver Band in 1939, it thrived in the post-war era when its success in contests took it to London's Westminster Hall.

In the recent past, the band performed for the Queen at RAF Coltishall in 1983, and in the presence of the Duke of Kent for the naming of Cromer Lifeboat in 1986.

About three years ago, a Friends group was formed and now boasts 78 members who, for £10, are kept in touch via newsletters and get an invitation to an annual drinks party after a concert.

This year's engagements for the band began in March with a concert in Aylsham Town Hall which raised nearly £600 for Blickling Church.

Regular diary dates include Aylsham Carnival, the Aylsham Show, Remembrance events and Christmas celebrations.

July 19 will see the band performing at a charity concert with the Broadland Singers in Norwich Cathedral.

And the Aylsham High School concert, on September 27, will see bands from Dereham, Sheringham and Cromer on stage to help Aylsham Band celebrate.

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