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The Argus, 1st August 1890, transcribed by Kay Collins
Band Contest 1890

A Great Success
Perhaps nothing is more remarkable amongst the pastimes of Northamptonshire than the rapid strides of our county bands. Up to a few years ago good band music was an unknown quantity in this county, there being but one or two bands in the district who could render the works of the great masters in anything approaching the style it is put before us now by musicians who reside amongst us. The first impulse to band improvement was given at a contest organised some few years ago at Stanwick; this venture, while successful in itself, showed the terribly backward state Northamptonshire held in the musical world, and the judge expressed an opinion before quoted in these columns, that the contrast between the bands of this county and those of Lancashire and. Yorkshire was synonymous with the old stage coaches as compared with the modern locomotive. The impulse given by our Stanwick friends has never been lost, and no slimmer is now allowed to go by without additional momentum being given to the cultivation of good music through the medium of brass band contests, several having taken place each summer in divers parts of the county during the last few years. The third of the present season took place at Rushden on Saturday last, being arranged by the National Band for the benefit of its funds. By the kindness of Mr. Herbert Sartoris and Mr. C. Smart, the contest was held in the beautiful park adjoining Rushden Hall, for which kindness the band, it is needless to say, are duly grateful. Favoured, too, with beautiful weather, it was only to be expected that a large number would be present; and the idea sometimes mooted that the public will not go to listen to the same piece successively rendered by several bands was effectually disproved by the fact that about £60 was taken as gate-money, this meaning an attendance of nearly 2,000 people, who listened with great attention to each band and frequently signified their approval by warmly applauding the performers.

Seven bands had entered the contest, viz. Kettering Town, Kettering Rifles, Earls Barton Old, Earls Barton. Britannia, Northampton Temperance, Rothwell Town, and Walgrave Amateur. Five of these put in an appearance the first and last being the absentees—the former from reasons best known to itself, and the last owing to illness amongst its members. The promoters of the contest had received the patronage of several noblemen and gentlemen connected with the neighbourhood, whilst the following gentlemen, all of whom are
shoe-manufacturers in the town, also assisted the band with their subscriptions, and gave the second prize: Mr. George Denton, Messrs. W. Claridge and Sons, Messrs. E. Claridge & Son, Mr. W. Colson & Son, Mr. W. Sanders, Mr. J. Knight, Mr. H. Bull, Mr. D. Crick, Mr. E. Wrighton, Mr. A. Wright, Mr. S. Skinner, Mr. Ingram, Mr. J. Willmott, Mr. H. Warren, Mr. F. Perkins. The prizes offered amounted to about £40 value, and were as follows: First (value £20) £10 11s. in cash, and a solo "prototype" cornet, value £9 9s, by Messrs. F. Besson & Co.; Second prize, five guineas in cash and a solo trombone, value £7 7s, by the same maker; Third, £5 5s. (cash); Fourth, £3 3s. The test-piece was H. Bound's popular "Lyric Garland" which introduces tit-bits from several well-known operas, and occupies about 15 minutes in performance.

The judge announced was Mr. Richard Stead, but owing to the opinion held by the committee that this engagement after the result of the Althorp contest
would be detrimental to the one under notice, the engagement was cancelled, and the services of Mr. John Ainsworth, Professor of Music, of Chorley procured. The bands played from the Coffee Tavern to the Park in the following order:—Earls Barton Old, to Pettee's "Collingwood"; Northampton Temperance, "The Lion" (Frost); Rothwell Town, "The Knights Wedding" (Round), Earls Barton Britannia, "Conqueror" (Round); Kettering Rifles, "The Bay of Biscay" (Round). Soon after the arrival of the bands the judge was driven right up to his tent, in which he was at once "locked up" by Sergt. Onan, the worthy sergeant keeping guard during the whole period of the contest. The bands having drawn for the order of playing, Earls Barton Britannia mounted the bandstand, being conducted through their selection by Mr. James Eider, of Gorton, Manchester, and being followed in turn by Kettering Rifles, conducted by Mr. A. Owen, the well-known cornetist, who also took charge of Earls Barton Old; Rothwell Town stood entirely on its own bottom, while Northampton Temperance, which played last also had the services of Mr. Owen.

Note: This extract is from a torn page – unfortunately the list of the players is missing from this copy.

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