Diggle Gallery

The History of Diggle Brass Band

20 YEARS OF DIGGLE BAND

Diggle Band's revival has been remarkable. The band has risen from a first place in the 4th section in their first ever appearance at the NW championship in 2000, up through the 3rd, 2nd and 1st section - qualifying a total of three times for the National finals, crowned National champions once (3rd section) - to gaining promotion to the Championship section in 2015.

The original band was disbanded in 1926 which left Diggle with a Band Club and no band. Brian Taylor (soprano cornet player for many years) always dreamed of restarting the band.  Conversation at a social event with fellow "Diggler" Alan and Dorothy Rhodes started to make the dream come true. Local people and businesses were approached and the band was restarted. The first few months the rehearsals took place in the garage at the band club with 12 players and the late George Morgan, also fellow "Diggler" and ex-Black Dyke conducting them. Within two years the band had grown to 27 players and a newly refurbished band room was made above the club with excellent practising facilities. The band entered their first contest at Holmfirth, they did not win, but undeterred in the year 2000 they entered the 4th section qualifier of the National Championships held in Blackpool; this time they won, which meant an invitation to play at the Royal Albert Hall London. Diggle Band under the direction of David Morris, finished a creditable 5th at the National Finals and were promoted to the 3rd section.

After 3 years of consolidation at this grade, in 2003 the band again qualified for the finals which this time took place in Dundee. Alan Lawton M.B.E. conducted them for this event and the band became National Champions once more and secured promotion in the 2nd section. 2005  was one of the most successful years, with a 2nd place finish at Blackpool, a 4th place in the National finals, also winning the Tameside contest and twelve Whit Friday contests under Norman Law. This success meant promotion, this time to in the 1st section. In 2006 Mr Les M Beevers took on the position of musical adviser, with David Morris conducting some of the concerts. Mr James Shepherd, the legendary cornet player, was appointed as musical director in 2009, making Diggle North West area champions once again in 2010. The next two years the band held their own keeping in the first section, performing a lot of well-attended concerts, and making two CDs. Sadly Christmas 2012 brought the retirement of James Shepherd as conductor, but only to take a seat on the front row playing with his natural talents. Since then Sean Conway, Jonathan Evans and Alan Wycherley have successfully navigated the band through the 1st section until gaining promotion to the championship section in 2015.

2016, twenty years on, Diggle Band is celebrating the rewards of their hard work,  looking back yet again on a successful year; in their first year playing in the top section, they managed to finish 5th at the All International English Masters in Kettering (with Phil Goodwin), on top of a solid performance in the North West Areas , securing another year in the championship section.But not only on the contest stage, Diggle Band is also well known for its varied and lively concerts which are performed in many areas, and are always well attended.Since November 2016 Diggle Band is now lead by Steven Walsh who is looking forward to continuing Diggle's success.

Conductors: George Morgan, Dave Morris, Alan Lawton, Glyn Williams, Les M Beevers, James Shepherd, Norman Law, Sean Conway, Jonathan Evans, Alan Wycherley, Phil Goodwin, Steven Walsh.

There is also a B-Band under the direction of Dave Shipp (see B-Band section) which is also available for bookings. And last but not least, there is a strong trainer band which secures a bright future for the Band. All three sections of the Band are run from one committee and have no sponsorship. Anyone who would like to support us can do so by attending and supporting our events or by becoming a patron (for details please contact the band or speak to any member of the band).

 

 

Diggle Band is a registered charity (No: 1070278)

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