Liskeard Silver Band is based in South East Cornwall with a history going back over 150 years. Our main aim is to provide the local community with an understanding and appreciation of brass band music. We encourage players of all ages and abilities to join in and enjoy being involved in the performance of live brass band music. The band is always looking to the future and is currently recruiting new players – we welcome players aged 7-70+! We meet from 7.30-9.30 pm on Wednesday evenings at the Liskeard School and Community College. There is also a training/junior band that meets at 6.15-7.15 pm on Friday evenings. Free tuition and a brass instrument is provided to members, who are encouraged to join in and participate in the traditional town events such as the carnival, floral dance, Remembrance Parade, Liskeard Lights Up and other events including playing Christmas carols during our busy Christmas season. The contest scene is not at the top of our priorities, but we have entered the annual West of England Bandsmen’s Festival at Bugle and came 1st in the fourth section in 2011. In addition, the band won the quartet contest section at Launceston in October 2014. We look forward to entering more contests in future. The band owes its success to a string of Musical Directors, Committee members, players and supporters (past and present) who have made Liskeard Silver Band a part of their lives, and a huge debt of thanks goes out to each and every one. We are proud to have Mrs Ann Brown as our Musical Director. Ann is a very well-known local brass band player/conductor and has achieved a great deal of success with a number of Cornish bands.
The Liskeard Silver Band has its roots going back to pre-1849!! This is an article about the band which was published in the West Briton newspaper on 20 July 1849:
On Tuesday week, Polperro New Road was completed and, on the following day, it was opened to the public, amidst such rejoicings as could only be excited by a general sense of the utility and importance of the improvement. Preparations for celebrating the event commenced at an early hour in the morning, and tastefully decorated arches were soon to be seen in all the principal parts of the place. From the highest points of the opposite hills, which rise on either side, several hundred feet above the level of the sea, a rope was drawn up just over the centre of the town, and at least three hundred feet above it, from which were suspended a vast number of flags, waving triumphantly over its brightening prospects, and forming a display grand beyond anything within the recollection of the "oldest inhabitant", and which will not cease to be remembered and spoken of as long as the youngest eyewitness shall live. About eleven o'clock in the forenoon the Liskeard band, whose services had been engaged for the occasion, played in good style, and were soon joined by the excellent little band belonging to the town. They proceeded together to the pier, and embarking in a boat played delightfully in their course out of the harbour and also on their return. Shortly after two o'clock, a procession consisting of little less than a thousand persons left the town by the old road for the purpose of performing the opening ceremony. The Polperro band took the lead, and was followed by several carriages, headed by a boat on wheels, decorated for the occasion and drawn by hand. Then came a vast concourse on foot, while the Liskeard band brought up the rear. Having reached the point where the new road commences, the gate was thrown open and the procession passed through, the bands playing appropriate airs, which were continued for the greater part of the way. Among those who were first to have a crack over this road in their carriages, was our townsman, Mr. Francis Coath, and Mrs. Coath, whose united ages amounted to some- where about 160 years. At the terminus of the road a public tea was provided, which did infinite credit to the ladies under whose management it was conducted. Several hundred sat down, and all seemed highly gratified with the proceedings, music being kept up during the greater part of the time. In the course of the evening the bands paraded the streets, and wound up the pleasures of the day by playing God save the Queen underneath the flags beforementioned.
WB 20 July 1849
It was in 1886 that one of the first bands in Liskeard, the Greenbank Band, was formed from members of the Sunday School. The conductor was Mr J Mitchell. In nearly all cases, the bandsmen brought along their own instruments. After some years, this band gave up and a new one called Liskeard Borough Band was formed under Mr C Penny. In about 1901, the Liskeard Temperance Band came into being, which continued until about 1914 when WW1 broke out. Some of the members, together with a few from an old Volunteer Band, decided to carry on for the duration under Mr T Edmonds.
Liskeard Temperance Band (circa 1901)
When the Liskeard Silver Band was named and formed in 1920, it became an immediate success and entered various contests. The first was at Fraddon under the direction of Mr R T Honey. The band obtained third place in competition with such bands as Camborne and St Dennis. They also competed at Camborne, Bugle, Wadebridge and Plymouth, and at Stenalees in 1928 when Mr T Priest, an ex-Band Sergeant of the Devon and Cornwall Light Infantry, was bandmaster. The band engaged a professional trainer, Mr E F Woodhead, and carried off first prize, competing against 16 other bands and obtaining 94 marks out a possible 100! They also took the 'Richards' Cup and a 'Special' for the best player in the section, won by
Mr L Colmer (cornet).
Mr T Priest continued until 1929 when Mr G F Strand became bandmaster. Mr Priest took over again in 1935. During Mr A C Repper's term as bandmaster (December 1937 to 1954), the band won two prizes at Exeter in the West of England Championships. In 1946, they won fourth prize in the third section and, in 1947, under Mr C H Baker of
St Austell, who took over while Mr Repper was indisposed, they gained third prize.
Since 1954 bandmasters have changed more frequently:
Mr Priest 1954-56
Mr G W Humphrey 1956-59
Mr T Priest 1961-65
Mr Harry Edgecombe 1965-72
Mr Bernard Sutton 1972-77
Mr Vyvian Wills 1977-circa 1992
Mr Stephen Puckey 1992-93
Mr Don Howlett 1993 - 2001
Mrs Tessa Lewis 2001 - 2004
Mr Malcolm Blamire 2005 - 2007
Mrs Tessa Lewis 2007 - 2009
Mr Gerard Morgan 2009 - 2011
Mr Adrian Letts 2011 - 2013
Mr Dave Dobson 2013 - 2014
Mrs Ann Brown 2014 -
Mr P P Cowling was a playing member of the band for 41 years (1937-78) and general secretary for 50 years (1948-98). He retired in 1998 after 61 years’ association with the band. The Peter Cowling Shield is presented each year to the Band Person of the Year.
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