What is probably a unique feat in the history of band contests was accomplished by the Rushden bands on Saturday, when all three Town, Temperance and Mission sought the coveted honours to be gained at the Crystal Palace, and two came away with first places and awards. Rushden Temperance were first in the Junior Cup “A” Contest; the Mission, who had never competed in a contest before, were first in the Junior Shield “C” Contest; but the Town Band, though performing very creditably were unplaced in the Grand Shield Contest.
The “Temps” thus recaptured something of their fame of nearly thirty years ago (it will be remembered that in 1903 they were runners-up to the famous Besses o’th’ Barn Band in the Championship Section), while the Mission Band confirmed the opinion of local bandsmen that they could well hold their own in band competitions.
Eight bands were entered from Northamptonshire those apart from Rushden including Raunds Temperance, Earls Barton Old Silver Prize and Wellingborough L.M.S.
Below we give particulars of the contests as they affected local bands, while older readers will be interested in the photograph of the Temperance Band which was so successful in the Championship contest of 1903.
Saturday was the 31st anniversary of the National Band Festival and it was the 26th annual contest. Several hundred bandsmen with ages ranging from 12 to 60, and coming from 34 English counties, with Scotland and Wales also represented, took part, and the total number of bands competing in the seven sections was 188. The performance of every band was noted by two unseen and unseeing judges who were in screened-off apartments, and guarded by police!
Mr. J. H. Iles, the founder of the festival, sent a telegram of loyalty and devotion to the King, and the following reply was received: - “Please convey to those assembled for your annual National Band Festival at the Crystal Palace the sincere thanks of the King for their message of loyal greeting.”
The Temperance Band were competing in Section 3 (Junior Cup “A” Contest), along with 29 other bands, including Earls Barton Old Silver Prize, and Wolverton. The adjudicators were Messrs. H. Bennett and T. Eastwood, and the test piece “Gems of Melody” (Liszt).
The “Temps” who had been trained by and were conducted by Mr. T. Young, were drawn to play 12th, so that they had not to cool their heels too long before showing their skill in the North Tower Gardens.
The first prize, secured by the Temperance Band consists of the “Daily Sketch” Challenge Cup (subject to regulations), value 50 guineas, a cash prize of £15 and a silver plated and engraved cornet, in cowhide case, presented by Messrs. Campbell and Connelly, Ltd.
The players participating at the contest were:- F. Perkins (soprano), J. Wildman (principal solo cornet). C. Griggs (solo cornet), E. Smith (solo cornet), W. Abbott (solo cornet), W. Seamarks (flugel horn), E. Abbott (second cornet), J. Hobbs (second cornet), J. Sugars (third cornet), J. Cobley (third cornet), G. Sayer (solo horn), W. Wright (first horn), A. Branson (second horn), C. Tew (solo baritone), H. Denton (second baritone), E. Webster (principal solo euphonium), L. Sears (solo euphonium), E. Jones (principal solo trombone), H. Turner (second trombone), w. Clayton (G bass trombone), C. Denton (Eb bass), A. Griggs (Eb bass), F. Dawson BBb bass), J. Panter (BBb bass).
Rushden Mission Band, whose success is especially noteworthy, as this was the first contest in which they had competed, were entered in Section 7 (Junior Shield “C” Contest), and were drawn to play 12th the same position as the “Temps.” The test piece to be played was “A Village Pastorale” (J. Ord Hume), and the performances of the 32 competing bands were judged by Mr. J. Eaton and Mr. J. H. White.
Mr. Fred Robinson, formally associated with the Temperance Band, had trained the band and also conducted them on Saturday, as a result of which they were awarded first place, carrying with it the “Champion Journal” Challenge Cup (subject to regulations), and a cash prize of £8.
Special interest attaches to the success of the Mission Band by reason of the fact that it was formed to propagate the cause of the Wellingborough-road Mission Church, and has hitherto held aloof from contests. Last year three of its members won first prizes in a big solo contest, and now the whole band has confirmed the popular opinion that it could hold its own in competitions.
The Rushden Mission Band players participating were: C. Panter (soprano), M. Clark, S. Clark, A. Baker and D. Young (solo Cornets), N. Kennell (repiano), E. Mackness (flugel), E. Baker and H. Golding (2nd cornets), W. Valentine and G. Bailey (3rd cornets), E. Panter (solo tenor), A. Panter (1st tenor), B. Panter (second tenor), P. Long (1st baritone), H. Underwood (solo euphonium), R. Benning (solo trombone), M. Young (2nd trombone), A. Surridge (bass trombone), R. Clark and H. Taylor (Eb basses), E. Young and W. Knight (BBb basses).
Drawn to play eighth in the formidable second Section (Grand Shield Contest), Rushden Town Band, trained and conducted by Mr. J. Roberts, put up a most creditable performance but were not placed among the winning bands. There were nineteen bands competing in this section and the test piece was “Severn Suite” (Sir Edward Elgar). Messrs. H. Brier and H. Barlow (by kind permission of the B.B.C.) were the adjudicators for this section. Raunds Temperance Band was also entered for this contest.
The Town players included: F. Wiggins (soprano), C. Keys (solo cornet), (assistant solo cornets) F. Riddle, R. Fairey and R. Wiggins (secretary), S. Harris and W. Bates (repiano), A. Keys (flugel), F. Dickenson, H. Clayton and Brown (horns), L. Peacock and A. West (baritones), H. Parker (ephonium), H. Peacock and P. Simmons (trombones), W. Whitworth (G. trombone), H. Bird and L. Penniss (Eb bass), E. Spencer and E. Jones (Bbb bass), D. Partridge, J. Gibson and W. Smith (cornets).
There has been a suggestion that so unique is the fact that two bands from a town like Rushden should be awarded first places that Mr. J. H. Iles, Director and founder of the festival, and who has conducted the massed bands at every festival from 1900, should be asked to come and formally present the trophies to both bands. A united concert by the Temperance and Mission bands has also been mentioned for the occasion of the presentation together with the suggestion that members of the Urban Council might be invited to attend.
The full list of awards for all the seven sections is as follows:-
Championship contest for 100 guinea trophy: 1 Wingate’s Temperance; 2 Horden Colliery; 3 Rothwell Temperance; 4 Eccles Borough; 5 Cresswell Colliery; 6 Foden Motor Works.
Grand Shield: 1 Morris Motors; 2 Middlesbrough Borough; 3 Bradford City; 4 Ripley United; 5 Cambridge Railway.
Junior Cup “A”: 1 RUSHDEN TEMPERANCE; 2 Blyth L.N.E.R.; 3 Lowerhouse Mills; 4 Workington Town; 5 Craghead Colliery.
Junior Cup “B”: 1 Sheffield Corporation Tramways; 2 Clayton; 3 Coxlodge Institute; 4 Lycett Mission; 5 Lambeth Borough.
Junior Shield “A”: 1 Ogmore Valley Temperance; 2 Ryhope Colliery; 3 Leek British Legion; 4 Black Dyke Mills Juniors; 5 Wheatley Hill Colliery.
Junior Shield “B”: 1 Manchester C.W.S. Tobacco Factory; 2 St. Ives Town; 3 Swindon Great Western S. and E. Union; 4 Stoke Newington B.L.; 5 Erith Town.
Junior Shield “C”: 1 RUSHDEN MISSION; 2 Shirland and Higham; 3 Wessex Junior; 4 Wilmslow Public Subscription; 5 Knottingley.
An Old Temperance Bandsman
Mr. A. E. Abbott Revisits The Palace
The Temperance Band were accompanied on their journey by Mr. A. E. Abbott, of 44, Midland-road, Rushden, who was a member of the band at the height of its fame, and one of the best trombone players of his day.
In an interesting chat with the “Echo and Argus,” Mr. Abbott recalled the fact that it is just thirty years since he was awarded second place in the competition for trombone soloists in connection with the Crystal Palace contest.
Mr. Abbott was a member of the band when it achieved its greatest success (in 1903), and will be readily recognised on the photograph which is re-produced on this page.
Mr. Abbott told our representative that he had not been present at a Crystal Palace Contest for nineteen years, but on Saturday, nevertheless, he renewed many old acquaintanceships and met bandsmen whom he had not seen for over twenty years, including Mr. Harry Barker (now conductor of St. Dennis Band Cornwall) and bandsmen from Stamford, Newport Pagnell, Wolverton and other places.
Dealing with the performance of the “Temps,” Mr. Abbott said it was the general opinion that they played very well indeed. Asked to compare present day performances with those of years gone by, however, he said, “I do not think the test pieces are so hard as they used to be, although the pieces are very tricky. Partly because a satisfactory piece has to be chosen to be played in perhaps ten minutes, instead of a longer period as used to be the case on account of the increased number of competing bands.”
Top row (left to right), F. Denton, C. Baker, W. Noble, B. Smith (hon. treasurer), S. Gibbs,
W. Bates, H. Rice; 2nd row, C. Cox (solo baritone), H. Morris, A. Robinson, F. Taffs,
E. Souter, A. Robinson, junior, (soprano), J. Baker, A. E. Abbott (solo trombone),
D. W. Percival, G. Hartwell, A. E. Fox (solo euphonium); 3rd row, J. Abbott, C. Shrives,
A. E. West (solo tenor), Charles Ashby (secretary), C. H. Baker (conductor),
T. Robinson (bandmaster), F. Robinson (solo cornet), R. Fuller and J. Mackness.
The above photograph of the Rushden Temperance Band, taken shortly after their success at the Crystal Palace in 1903, when they were second to Besses o’ th’ Barn Band in the Championship contest, will awaken vivid memories among the older bandsmen of the district.
It is pleasing to record that many of these players are still alive and quite a number are at present residing in this locality.
A few reminiscences may be interesting. By their success in 1903 the Temperance Band attained a position higher than any other band in the county had reached at that time, and in doing so were placed above such bands as the Black Dyke (winners of the Championship in 1902). Lee Mount (winner in 1901) Belle Vue, and Wingate’s Temperance.
The test piece for the occasion was “Die Meistersinger” (Wagner), and the band was first trained by Mr. Harry Baker and then the services of a professional conductor, Mr. Alex Owen of Manchester, were requisitioned. The “Temps” had to play fourth out of 18 bands, but were awarded 133 points, against 125 secured by Besses o’ th’ Barn.
A Mission Band Record
17 Members Connected By Family Ties
Mr. E. Panter, hon. Secretary to the Mission Band has drawn our attention to a very remarkable fact in connection with the band players.
Enclosing a picture from a daily newspaper with the caption, “A family affair”: Three fathers and their sons who are members of the Crystal Palace Band which competed in the National Festival,” Mr. Panter writes: “We can beat this. In the Mission Band we have no less than seventeen members connected by family ties as follows: Three brothers Clark M. F. Clark (bandmaster, cornet), S. Clark (cornet), and R. Clark (bass); two brothers Underwood A. W. Underwood (euphonium), and deputy leader, and H. Underwood (baritone); two brother Knight F. E. Knight (trombone), and W. Knight (bass) who are also band librarians; one father and two sons Young E. D. Young (bass), leader, D. B. Young (cornet), and M. Young (trombone); and the Panter family is represented by seven members J. W. Panter (baritone), and treasurer, C. Panter (soprano), E. Panter (horn), and secretary, A. Panter (horn), W. Panter (horn), P. Long (euphoneium), E. Mackness (flugel).
“Is this a family record? Unfortunately J. W. Panter and F. E. Knight were not included in the selected 24 players (limited complement) at the Crystal Palace. Mr. Knight had not sufficiently recovered from a recent accident whilst following his employment (having sustained a smashed hand) and J. Panter was under going dental treatment. Both these members have over 30 years’ service in the Mission Band to their credit and it must have been a sore disappointment to them not to be able to have shared in the achievement of last Saturday. However they did the next best thing, they journeyed with their companions and helped in other duties customary to brass bands, assisting in carrying instruments, music etc., apart from vocal support.”
A Letter of Thanks
Mr. Panter also sends the following letter:-
To the Editor of the Echo and Argus.
May I, through the columns of your valuable paper, express on behalf of the above organisation, their thanks to the numerous local people who have tendered to the Rushden Mission Band congratulatory messages, both written and verbal, on their recent achievement at the National Band Contest at Crystal Palace. It is quite impossible to reply to all personally, as the expressions have been numerous, so will you all please accept this letter through these columns as an acknowledgement of your kindly expressions and good wishes, which we do sincerely appreciate. Thank you very much indeed. Perhaps, one of the most interesting of the many received from various parts of the country is the following from Mr. Chas Ashby of Blackpool (the one time popular secretary of the “Temps” when they were competitors at the Crystal Palace (Championship Section) which reads as follows:-
“Bravo. You have my hearty congratulations on your great success at the Crystal Palace. I hope it is the forerunner to many more. Two first prizes should wake Rushden up and a greater rally to the bands in their efforts. Best wishes to all.
Thanking you all for the congratulatory messages and cordial good wishes, assuring you as fellow townsfolk of our ready willingness to assist you in the future as we have endeavoured so to do in the past, in any public or religious effort.
For and on behalf of the Rushden Mission Band,