The City of Chester Band Originating back in the early 1850's the band was formed from money left over from a fund established by the 'Ladies of Chester', to buy a present for Queen Victoria. The money was donated to the Blue Coat School Foundation, and so the Blue Coat Band came about. With a likely formation date of 1853, the band celebrated its 150th Birthday in 2003!
Today the band proudly carries the City name and is totally self-supporting as a registered charity, with its own band room in Bedward Row. In 1997, the band was successful in obtaining a Lottery Grant that enabled the purchase of new instruments and widen the public access to the band and brass band music and the formation of our now thriving Training Band. Currently, rehearsals are held on Monday and Friday nights from 7:30pm in the band room. Experienced players are always welcome to come and join us for a 'blow'.
2002 saw The City of Chester Band, under the leadership of Derek Mitchell, promoted to the 3rd section in contest banding. Derek retired in 2004, handing the baton over to Philip Mottershead (pictured right). The current contest band now contains 7 "graduates" from the Training Band. In addition to contesting, both bands have a challenging playing schedule , performing separately and together at a range of functions throughout the year. Village fetes, City parades including St Georges Day, The Lord Mayor's Parade and Remembrance Sunday, weddings, charity events and a host of seasonal celebrations. You can also catch them playing in and around the City centre and of course on The Groves bandstand by the river.
Although no longer known as The Blue Coat Band, the link with the past is maintained through their distinctive blue uniform. The jacket also carries the famous Eastgate Clock, recognisable around the world as a symbol of Chester. A heritage the band is proud to represent, over 150 years after they first made music in Chester!
Band members come from all walks of life, and the age range runs from 8 to 80! Not all have played since childhood; several current senior band players only took up brass playing as adults. Critical to the success of any band is the support from non-playing members and parents. The band is a real family with a regular series of social events.
A brass band comprises 25 players, plus percussionists. When you watch the band play, see if you can spot the following instruments: Soprano Cornet, Repiano Cornet, Solo Cornets, 2nd and 3rd Cornets, Flugel Horn, Tenor Horns, Baritones, Euphoniums, Trombones, Basses!
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