WATCH: Struggling brass band in quest for funds

An historic brass band has launched a £5,000 fundraising appeal to stay alive and to train the next generation of musicians.

Knighton Town Silver Band chairman Andy Beckingham said members of the group hope to set up a training band
Knighton Town Silver Band chairman Andy Beckingham said members of the group hope to set up a training band

Knighton Town Silver Band has been providing entertainment at community events including fetes and concerts for 175 years.

Bosses say a combination of dwindling membership over the past decade and the coronavirus pandemic has left the non-competing outfit struggling to survive.

The group has launched a major fundraising drive for donations towards setting up a new training programme to attract band members, provide tuition and instruments.

It is part of a wider effort by Brass Band England which has launched an eight-week online campaign to help bands.

Knighton Town Silver Band chairman Andy Beckingham said: “We have set up a crowdfunding campaign as part of a wider campaign called Save Our Brass Bands because music groups have been struggling to pay the bills. But we are trying to save ours in a different way.

“We are raising money for a band-funded tuition programme so that we can start teaching children about brass and the wonders of music. We have some wonderful teachers in the area and we hope to set up a training band.

“We are hoping to work work with the schools to show pupils how much fun brass band music is. All the schools have have music funding cut and are not able to offer instruments to play for free any more.

Positive

“Our own training band membership has dropped to four over time. In the last few years Herefordshire, Powys and Shropshire have all cut external teaching budgets.

"We have noticed that despite the hard work put in by peripatetic teachers, parents are having to fund lessons.

“But parents with two or three children cannot afford lessons for everybody.

“Unless we try to help by providing lessons and instruments, in 10 years’ time we are going to have few or no players for the band at all.

“This is coming on the back of an awful 2020. We are really looking forward to doing something positive in 2021. We have raised just over £1,300 so far which is absolutely brilliant. We have 17 weeks left under the Crowdfunder scheme to get to our £5,000 target.”

The band has about 15 members and about four training group members which is short of the usual number of 25 for an operational band and a further 25 trainees.

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