Films and Victories
The year 1974 started many ‘firsts’. The Band took part in its first film ‘JUGGERNAUT’; filming took place at the Western Docks Southampton and the Band after much filming played a ship out. The film was made from a story of an alleged bomb plot on the Elizabeth II during one of her voyages across the Atlantic. The filming on the quay lasted all day, but on the ship the actors and extras were filmed for the next fortnight.
At the Bristol West of England Championships Albion gained a very close second place enabling us to take part in the National Finals in London in October.
Shortly after Bristol the Band again took part and gained third prize at Weymouth in the Wessex Summer Contest and again took part in a massed band concert at night with again Woodfalls (the winners that day), Sherbourne Town and Albion bands.
On the following Tuesday the car ferry and cruise ship ‘Monte Toledo’ was played out on her maiden voyage with appropriate Spanish music, and on the Saturday evening the American ship ‘Monterey’ had quayside entertainment and was played out with appropriate American music which was very much appreciated by the United States passengers on board.
Another ‘first’ was a massed band concert at the Guildhall Southampton with Woodfalls TA Ass and Albion. This was we hope the first of many such events.
Preparations for the Band to take part in the World Music contest in KERKRADE in the NETHERLANDS in July, for this venture the members decided to pay their own expenses, and a sub-committee was formed to make the arrangements.
The set piece for this contest was ‘Simon Called Peter’ a Negro spiritual, and from two works of the Bands own choice of which the Adjudicating Jury selected ‘Les Preludes’. Much preparation was made for this competition but in this the Band had a great problem as their Musical Director was sick for the last six weeks, and at the last moment it was decided to ask Mr. Courtney Bosanko if he would take them over for this great event, as he would be at Kerkrade with his school band. To the relief of all he did this, but could only take the Band for the last two rehearsals.
At last the time came for the journey. The pick-up by coach started at about 4:15 am on the 19th July 1974, and the last at 5:15 at Locks heath. Arriving at Dover the coach was driven onto the car ferry and the sea journey to Zeebruge began.
On arrival at that famous port there was an interesting trip across Belgium and over the border into Holland. At Kerkrade a guide was allocated, a meal provided and there was an address of welcome by the guide through an interpreter. Then another surprise, all the members were billeted in a Church on mattresses and stretchers on the floor and pews of the building. The ladies were accommodated in the Vestry.
After breakfast next day (Saturday) there was a rehearsal taken by the Deputy Conductor Lawrence Redstone who was also the principal cornet player; then some sightseeing and lunch and change and off to the magnificent hall where the contest was held. Here we met Mr. Bosanko for the first time in Holland after last minute instruction, then onto the stage to a wonderful reception. A warm-up was taken with a hymn tune, then the contest itself in which the Band acquitted itself to win a Silver medal (Second prize) and after the performance a standing ovation. The Jury of adjudicators included that great British Composer and Leader ERIC BALL.
On completion of the competition the Chairman (W.Barnes) Secretary (D.Hunt) and Treasurer (R.Merefield) were invited to the Town Hall to a reception by the Burgomaster at which there were representatives of musical and dancing combinations of all Nations of the World. They were greeted by the Burgomaster speaking in five languages and presented with a large red and white rosette with gold letters to mark the occasion.
That night at the local hostelry there was much celebrating, which caused a lot of thick heads the next morning for the early start for home. On the long journey to the ferry there was a lot of sleeping-off, and the last members of the Band were dropped off the coach by 1am.
Change of Name
Preparations for the second summer fete were well under way, and when the time came, the social committee found they had picked the only fine day for weeks for this event, which was very successful and enabled them to purchase a new Baritone, to replace a second-hand instrument purchased in 1928.
By now Mr. Willis was well enough to prepare the Band for the Nationals. For this and all other competitions the combination are fortunate to have Mr. Noddings the Docks Manager as their President and he had been kind enough to arrange accommodation for the extra rehearsals needed for the events. He had also been instrumental in arranging well paid engagements with various shipping companies.
After competing in the National Finals in which the Band were not placed, preparations were again made to take part in the Wessex Winter Festival to one more endeavour to win the elusive ‘Champion of Wessex’ title, but as always since 1936, and after much hard work the Band came away with 3rd prize.
1974 was the last year in which the Band played under the old name of ‘ALBION’ and at the beginning of 1975, in conjunction with an appeal for funds for new Instruments etc., the title of the Band changed to ‘SOUTHAMPTON BAND’.
All that has been written has covered 50 years, and it is hoped that under its new name the Band will continue with at least as much success for another 50 years.