History of Crediton Town Band
There has been a town band in Crediton since 1867 (or maybe even earlier since the second photo on this page is credited as being taken in 1862) but in these early years its fortunes were somewhat sporadic. Although the band experienced a great revival in the 1930s, when it became the tradition for the band to play at the April Great Market when drovers brought their cattle into the High Street for sale, it lapsed again in 1953.
Thirty years later in 1983 a community play "Today of all days" was held in Crediton requiring a small marching band. Eight players were found and after the play they decided to continue as a group; the first inaugural meeting to revive the band took place in March 1984. Appeals to local clubs and business people for interest free loans enabled some second-hand instruments to be purchased. Other instruments were borrowed from local bands and music was obtained in a similar way.
The first public appearance of the band "Crediton Community Brass" was at the Crediton Carnival in 1984, supported by clubs, businesses and an interest-free loan from the town council. In 1985 the band performed at a joint concert with the Crediton Operatic Society and it was at this event that a set of uniforms was worn for the first time. At the beginning of 2005 the uniform was updated with a new colour scheme and the band decided to adopt the Crediton Town colours wearing jackets of black and gold.
In May 2006 the band played the first public performance of "The Crediton Craftsman", written for the band by Cornish composer Goff Richards in memory of Ron Hamlin, a long time member of the band.
In May 2014 at our Spring Concert the band played a new march titled "Black and Gold" written for the Band by long standing member and solo horn player - John Glanfield. The main theme of the march is based on the old school song familiar to many in the town who had attended Queen Elizabeth's Grammar school in Crediton.
recorded live in Crediton Parish Church - 7 October 2023.
In December 2016 the band hosted the first Crediton Community Carol Sing, helped by other local organisations to fill the town square with people and music while raising money for a local charity. This event has continued to grow each year since with over 700 people joining us in December 2022.
Since the reformation of the band, the band has played at some prestigious venues in this country and in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. Listed below are some of the places the band has played at, outside Devon:
Band Honorary Life Members
This section honours special individuals recognised by the band committee for making an outstanding contribution to the band over many decades:
- Ron Hamlin: Ron (pictured above sitting beside the bass drum) was a member of the Town Band from the 1930’s until it disbanded in 1953. He rejoined the Band when it reformed in 1984 and continued to play Bb bass until shortly before his death in 2004, at the age of 90. Ron was a dedicated bandsman who rarely missed an engagement or rehearsal and, into his 90th year, he continued to march with the Band. Following his death the Band commissioned the renowned Cornish composer, Goff Richards, to write a march in Ron’s memory. The title of the march, ‘The Crediton Craftsman’ reflects Ron’s long term employment as a skilled wood craftsman with Dart and Francis, a local firm who were known nationally for their church fittings and monuments. The march, regularly performed by the Band, serves as a reminder of Ron’s outstanding commitment and service to the Town Band.
- John Glanfield: John (pictured below at his final concert) used to play cornet with the Town Band in 1940s enjoying special dispensation to leave the school boarding house for band practice evenings. Alongside his career as music teacher at schools in Crediton and Exeter, John led successful dance bands “Johnny Glanfield and the Stars” and later "Strictly Ballroom". John has played with Exeter Railway Band and also many theatrical groups in Crediton and Exeter. For a while, he led Crediton Band as musical director and has played cornet and most recently Solo Tenor Horn until his retirement aged 91 in October 2023. John has also arranged many pieces for the band but a favourite original composition is the march "Black and Gold" mentioned above.