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Callington Town Band


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Solo Cornets needed Urgently. Please see Players` Gallery page for other current band Vacancies

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 musicians.
Participation 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.
By 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.
Unfortunately, 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.`

Remembering 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 gratitude.

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!`

The Fire!

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.


The Band 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 Cornish Times 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 Maurice Bennett and with music provided by a donation from the Town Council.

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 Training Band.
Instruments are loaned, free of charge and basic tuition given.
(See photos on our News and Photos page.)


The 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:

Callington Band was 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 Club.

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 School.

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

(Click to enlarge flyer)


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 Demonstration Day.

Nothing further is known

of the Band during the

First World War....

...but we are proud to have this photograph of
Band Member RFN William John Smith
11148 1st Btn Kings Royal Rifle Corps.

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 included:

Bert Maunder - comet               Edward Blight - side drum

 Harry Pollard - bass                 William Duance - big drum

Other known pre-war members include Enoch Downs (Clockmaker) who played Trombone, and Reg Stephens, ? Steer and ? Edwards.

Later 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 & Garden Show.

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!


More Archive photographs.

(Click to enlarge any image. Any information regarding dates or personnel would be much appreciated.)


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 (Webmaster)


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