The first Saturday of November saw a group of Syston Band players begin the afternoon playing in Loughborough Marketplace for the start of the town’s week-long Armistice celebrations, before dashing down the A6 to join the rest of the band at Syston’s Brookside Club for an open rehearsal and recruitment event. The Brookside Club (Syston Working Men’s Club) was once the home of Syston Band and it was a pleasure to play there again. There was an appreciative audience and a fun programme of music, followed by free pizza and a small libation – and the prospect of a couple new players. What’s not to like?
At the time of writing preparations are underway for Syston British Legion’s Festival of Remembrance and the band is in rehearsal for the annual Leics. Brass Band Association contest. Also on the calendar is a pre-Christmas get together.
Interested in playing? The band is keen to welcome new players of all ages and abilities. If you’re interested in playing or would like to know more, you can email the band at [email protected] or contact them via their website www.systonband.co.uk or come along and see them in person. Practice night is Monday 7.30 – 9.30pm at the Band Hut, next to the Bowls Club, on Central Park.
Syston Band Christmas Concert
Sunday 16th December
Masonic Hall, Broad Street, Syston
Dates for your Diary
Monday 17th – Carols in the Square, Syston Town Square. 7.00 to 8.00pm
Sunday 23rd – Desford Birdland Winter Wonderland. 6.00 to 8.00pm
Monday 24th – Carol Service, Rothley Court Hotel. 6.00pm
Armistice Day is always a special time for Syston Band, this year more than ever. The most poignant moment of every Remembrance Service comes as the silence is heralded by the sound of a lone cornet playing Last Post and broken by Reveille. For many years Syston’s Principal Cornet, Chris Moore has been proud and honoured to mark the occasion in his home town. This year ill health prevented Chris from playing; instead, with Chris at her side to offer moral support, the Band’s ‘second man down’ Julie Allsobrook did the honours. Both at the Memorial and at the Armistice service, her moving and sensitive interpretation did her, the Band and Syston proud.
Syston Band Reunion
The afternoon of Remembrance Sunday saw Syston Bowls Club filled with Syston players and associates, past and present, for what’s been variously termed a ‘reunion’, ‘get-together’ or just ‘a bit of a do’. Those who know the band will be aware that its claim to be a friendly and sociable group is no idle boast; no matter what is was called you can be sure a jolly good time was had by all.
Band Chairman, Dave Houseman, took the opportunity to outline some of the band’s plans for the future, including its ambition to replace the band hut with a modern multi-purpose building. One of the longest running bands in the country, Syston Band’s history spans three centuries, its forward plan is to see the construction of a bandroom fit to house the band for the next hundred years.
Accolades – It also fell to Dave to present two individual awards. By unanimous vote the award for Band’s Person of the Year went to Emma Gibson, for her tireless work both at band practices and behind the scenes.
The second much deserved award went to Chris Moore in recognition of his tremendous contribution and commitment to the Band over many years. Its longest serving Principal Cornet player, Chris’s contribution to the Band’s successes cannot be over-stated. Winning a number of soloist prizes over the years he nevertheless remains always a team player. The Band was delighted to take the opportunity to formally demonstrate the respect and admiration he has earned and deserves.
Memory Lane – A number of guests had unearthed old photos and films, bringing back lots of memories and causing much comment. There was a good deal of discussion regarding past fashions, especially the changing hairstyles of some members, and the diminishing abundance of hair of others. A band member who’s a keen genealogist brought a number of early newspaper reports recounting the band’s activities; including Empire Day parades, fundraising for the local poor, and a riveting account from August 1855 of a ‘well known member of Syston brass band’ who ‘having been drinking rather freely’ was, as a prank, locked in the village pinfold. With an audience of village youngsters ‘richly enjoying the joke’ neither pleading or the threat that ‘dumb for the future would be the charming strains of their beloved tenor trombone’ secured his release. Eventually the village PC came to his rescue, joining in the joke by demanding sixpence as the proper fee for the release of an impounded ass.