A family held clipping with a prized 1900 photograph donated by Mrs Eileen Wallace covering a unique 125 year history of the Huthwaite brass band.
This brought back my mid teen memories after joining them for a few years playing cornet. Based on their photographed prized win they were then proudly called the Huthwaite Silver Prize Band. Band master was Reg, his brother Haydn Cooper being director, conductor and my tutor. His sons Martin and Linden showed talents while Haydn held a record baton.
Huthwaite Prize Band celebrate their 125th anniversary this year and members believe they hold a unique musical record - for one family has held the baton since the band first struck up in 1857! And now they are trying to raise cash to buy new uniforms to commemorate their anniversary.
Over the last century and a quarter the band has been led by the Cooper family. It was started by founder William Cooper and today three of his great-great grandsons carry on the family tradition. Their first headquarters were the Peacock Inn, Huthwaite and their first engagement a Whit Monday walk for which two bands had been booked by mistake. It took a county court ruling to ensure both bands should be paid for their services!
Founder Mr William Cooper trained his nephew J.B. Cooper in all the instruments of the band which was originally formed with a membership of eight players. Present day treasurer Mr Frederick Allsop explained at that time they had great difficulties in buying instruments and uniforms. Sheet music was almost impossible to obtain and the band was fortunate enough to acquire a few copies from the Wombwells Menagerie Band.
Mr J.B.Cooper became the musical director and he once said he could produce a band of 16 players within a one mile radius of the band room - all from his own family. J.B. Cooper died in 1911, a well known and respected teacher and adjudicator. His son Charles Aaron Cooper was appointed musical director. For 54 years "Chas" was well known nationwide as an excellent player, teacher, conductor and adjudicator until his death in 1965. His youngest son Haydn was then appointed to the post of MD thus ensuring an unbroken line of Coopers as musical directors and conductors for 125 years.
The present band has 30 members including three sons of Charles Aaron, Haydn, now the musical director and conductor, Reginald, bandmaster and John instrumentalist. Although they have no sponsorship the band with the help of an eager supporters club is hoping to raise sufficient money to buy new uniforms to celebrate the anniversary. For they are justly proud that although they may not be the oldest band in existance they are surely unique!
Written 22 Jan 07 Revised 22 Mar 09 © by Gary Elliott