Callington Town Band
Our retiring MD Bill Leith writes: I
was born in Aberdeen in 1938. After taking trumpet lessons at school I
joined the Boys` Brigade band. I remember playing at the parade to
celebrate the coronation. I then played with the Territorial Army Band
which made me decide to join the army on boys` service. So at 15 I joined
the Gordon Highlanders band with the rank of band boy. This was a
wonderful opportunity to learn music and play along with some wonderful
in sport was high on the agenda, and as the band had recently returned
from Malaya they were very keen on hockey. We did a lot of summer
engagements, at least 6-8 weeks non-stop, mainly on the south coast
bandstands. It was while playing at Bournemouth that I met Jan;
whether it was the lure of the full highland dress or my looks that
attracted her I dont know, but we were married in 1962.
now my time with the Gordons was up and I decided to transfer to the
Royal Artillery Mounted Band. The fact it was called the Mounted Band
didn't mean much then, the only member who knew the front from the back of
a horse was the Band Sergeant Major. I enjoyed my time in the Artillery,
touring around playing mainly to units throughout the UK and Germany. When
the band finally got posted to Germany, as we had family I decided to
apply to join a band that was permanently posted in GB so enlisted in the
Royal Military Academy Sandhurst Band. It is not generally known, but the
Sandhurst Band was a corps on its own and was the smallest corps in the
Army. Fortunately, I enjoyed playing marches; we did that a lot, but all
the members were like me, wanting to settle, having moved about with other
bands. The result was that when we weren't playing marches, we enjoyed
playing other sorts of music such as Bernstein's Candideoverture.
I remember doing a broadcast on Radio 4 and the producer passed out a
piece of music which we then played live on air. When we could get time
away from the Academy, we did tours. For instance we played in the
Seychelles when the new airport was opened by Princess Margaret. We also
did a tour of Brazil.
the government decided to get rid of the Sandhurst Band and I, having
reached the rank of Staff Sergeant, was one of the first to leave. I had a
year`s notice which gave me time to organize a building business which I
ran until I retired and moved to Cornwall in 2002. I joined the Callington
Band and was asked to fill the position of bandmaster after a few years. I
had very little conducting experience but attended a South West Brass Band
Assoc. course, which helped me a great deal. I took over as Musical
Director at the end of 2009. I am enjoying the experience very much and
look forward to a bright future with the Callington Town Band.
Retiring President Michele Dotrice.
The Band were deeply touched and grateful when Michele Dotrice agreed to take over the Presidency after the death of her husband Edward Woodward (see below).
Michele retired in 2014 with our warmest and affectionate thanks.
Michele Dotrice has had a long and varied career, beginning in 1961 when she appeared in 'The Treasure Seekers' on TV followed by Shakespeare's 'Henry the Fourth', up to the present day with a Miss Marple Mystery, 'The Mirror Cracked From Side to Side'.
Michele is, however, probably best remembered for her exquisite characterisation of Betty, the long-suffering wife of Michael Crawford in 'Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em.`
Edward Woodward OBE
Edward Woodward became
President of Callington Town Band in 2008. Though saddened at his death,
the band will remember his all-too-short tenure with affection and
Edward had an illustrious career, from working
with the Royal Shakespeare Company to appearing at the National
Theatre with Sir Laurence Olivier. He has had success on
television in the UK with Callan and in America with
The Equaliser, for which he won a Golden Globe award. He
has appeared in cult films and in straight plays and musicals on
Broadway, and even made LPs and won three gold record awards. He
had recently finished filming A Congregation of Ghosts in
Cornwall which is based on the life of the eccentric Warleggan
vicar, Reverend Densham.
|Paul Boase, ATCL : MD 2001-2009|
At 16 Paul became a cornet player with the Devon & Dorset Regimental Band. Shortly afterwards he had the opportunity to transfer to the oboe, an instrument he had always loved. After studying at Kneller Hall he transferred to The Prince of Wales Divisional Band.
Paul eventually became Principal Oboe with the distinguished Army Air Corps Band and later gained an Associate Diploma from the Trinity College London for Oboe Performance.
Paul left the Army in 2001 and moved to Callington, soon becoming MD of the revived Town Band. Among his `proudest moments` he lists the production of the CD, the refurbishment of the bandroom after the fire, and conducting the `massed bands` concert with 80 players on the stage of Callington School. Paul is now pursuing his orchestral interests, but will be remembered for his professional work in improving the band, and for his motto - still important to all of us - `Enjoy Yourselves!`
|When fire broke out at the
Callington Heritage Centre in the early hours of Sunday, March 4th,
2007, it not only damaged many exhibits there but also spread to the
part of the building used by the Town Band.
Fire crews from Callington, Liskeard and Saltash attended the fire
which blazed for several hours and destroyed the major part of the
roof of this recently restored building. As soon as it was safe to do
so the firemen helped Band members remove instruments, boxes of music,
uniforms and music stands all of which were water-damaged and covered
in ash. These were transported to Callington Methodist Church where
they stayed until the Insurance Assessor had viewed the damage and
where the band rehearsed for a few weeks while they looked for more
'permanent' temporary accommodation.
Band chairman, Cliff McKane, and Musical Director, Paul Boase, were
full of praise for those members and friends who turned out in
appalling weather to help salvage the band property. They were
particularly appreciative of the splendid effort of the firemen and
also thanked the Methodist Church for coming so promptly to their aid
by offering safe storage for the Band's property.
The Band eventually found temporary accommodation at Kelly Bray WI
Hall where they were able to store their instruments and hold their
weekly rehearsals until, on November 16th, just eight months after the
fire, they were able to move back into a beautifully refurbished
building. The Band played at the official re-opening of the Heritage
Centre, which took place on April 12th, 2008, with the Chief Fire
Officer cutting the ribbon.
Today & Yesterday
(This page is developed from research by Shirley
Morse and Beryl McKane)
Callington Town Band was
in existence in the 1850s, as the extract from the
of June the
18th 1859 shows (see
History below) and continued in some
form or other until it was disbanded in 1933. There then
followed a gap of sixty years until, in 1995, Mike Jacobs,
who was then Portreeve of Callington, began to consider the
possibility of re-forming it.
At the first meeting,
of those who came along, only John Jenkins could play a brass instrument - the euphonium. John is still a playing member (see below). The
project was handed on to Tony Nettle, who celebrated his year as Portreeve by seeing the
new Town Band get off to a good start.
An encouraging attendance
at the inaugural meeting led to the Band beginning its new
life with thirteen musicians under the baton of
Bennett and with music provided by a donation from the Town
The practices took place at the Community Support
Centre in the Pannier Market but, as the membership
increased, a new home had to be found and the Band now has
its own practice room adjoining the Town Museum, Liskeard
Road, where it meets each Thursday evening. In 2001 the baton passed to Paul Boase, ATCL (see above). One of the original
musicians, John Jenkins (above R, awarded Honorary Membership in Nov. 2009) remains with the Band, but now plays Bass..
The Band offers encouragement to people of all ages who wish to play in it by running a
Instruments are loaned, free of charge and basic tuition given.
(See photos on our News and Photos page.)
History of Callington Town Band
It is known that
Callington had an active Town Band in the 1850s which continued to play at events in the area throughout the
latter part of that century and the early part of the 20th
century. Mrs Beryl McKane is keen to expand this history of
the band and would welcome any information, photos,
newspaper cuttings, posters or personal recollections that
might help her. Please make initial contact by phoning Beryl
on 01579 382272.
To date, Beryl has the following information:
in existence in 1859 and led a procession at the
Philanthropic Society`s Festival. This cutting from the
Cornish Times is our oldest extant archive!
(Click to enlarge the picture)
In 1886 the Band
played at the opening of the first reservoir at Ashburton
Farm, Florence Road.
In July 1892 the Band provided
the music on a steamer trip from Calstock with the Cricket
In 1895 the Band led the Church
Parade of the Foresters, Oddfellows and Rechabites.
In 1902 they played when
Lord Compton unveiled a fountain in the wall of the Primary
In 1911 they played at the
celebrations in the town to mark the Coronation of King
George the Fifth.
In 1912 they played at the
opening of the New Market Hall and Fountain
In 1913 they played
at Callington Cricket Club Annual Fete (conducted by Mr J
Taylor) and for Carnival Day and Bonfire Night.
In 1914 they played
in the afternoon and evening at a Boy Scouts Grand
Fete at Haye, and a Band of Hope Fete at St Ive
(Click to enlarge cutting)
Also in 1914 the Band led
a Grand Rally and Procession during a Patriotic
Nothing further is known
Band during the
First World War....
...but we are proud to have this
Band Member RFN William
11148 1st Btn Kings Royal
William John Smith was killed in action
14th Sept 1914 (at Mons?) aged 19.
In 1921 the Band
played at the Callington Show, conducted by Mr G Buzza.
In 1923 the Band headed the
procession for the Town Fete and Show. They also appeared at
Pensilva Festival, a Picnic at Castleleigh, Callington
Hospital Fete, and the Cricket & Football Clubs` Sports Day,
conducted by Mr James Jago. Mr Jago conducted the Band until 1932, when he retired.
The players in the Band then
Bert Maunder - comet Edward Blight - side drum
Harry Pollard - bass William Duance - big drum
pre-war members include Enoch Downs
(Clockmaker) who played Trombone, and Reg Stephens,
? Steer and
that year Mr Jago, who had run the markets in Callington for
50 years, died at the age of 83.
A picture taken from George
Bishop's book 'A Parish Album of Callington'. It shows the
band leading a procession up into the Pannier Market on
Remembrance Day some time in the 1920's. Parts of the
Pannier Market were still open-fronted.
In 1927, 1928 and 1933 recorded events
include two Hospital Sunday Processions and Callington Fete &
In 1933 at Metherell Sports Day, Mr H.
Buzza returned as Conductor.
In 1934 Callington Town Band appear to
have been disbanded, as the Hospital Procession was led by
Liskeard Silver Band!
(Click to enlarge any
image. Any information regarding dates or personnel would be
From 1934 onwards any
event held in Callington was attended by a visiting band,
either Liskeard, Landrake, Launceston, Wadebridge or
Torpoint. In 1949, when Launceston Band was playing in
Callington, Mr Jack Pomroy took the opportunity to ask them
if they would play a march that he had written and had been
arranged by Dr Dennis Wright This they did and it proved so
popular that they played it twice. It would be nice to think
that a copy of this music was still available for the
current Town Band to play.
Sincere thanks to Shirley and Beryl for the archive
material used above. IM