During 1995 the Band celebrated its 75th year. The celebrations began with a very successful concert at Eastleigh Town Hall, which had become our favourite annual concert venue. This had to be rated as the best concert given by the Band in recent years, with a varied musical programme, an enjoyable and entertaining performance, and an excellent audience.
Another Band recording was made, to capture a portion of the season’s concert programmes, and to further develop the image of the Band.
In April 1995, the Band re-enacted an event from history, with a big concert in the Southampton Guildhall, supported by the Hampshire Constabulary Choir and the Royal British Legion. This event remembered the weekly ‘Forces Rendezvous’ concerts given by the Albion Band and the Pirelli General Choir at the end of the war. Unfortunately Pirelli no-longer had their own choir, but they provided financial support towards the substantial cost of hiring the Guildhall. Southampton City Council also supported the event, and all proceeds went to the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.
We were proud to have Bram Taylor playing 1st trombone having recently celebrated 50 years with the Band, and to note that from press cuttings in 1949 he played a number of solos in the original Rendezvous concerts.
In May 1995 the Band made another foreign trip. With the expert assistance of Karl-Heinz Roese of the Anglo-German Society – and recently made a Vice President of the Band, we re-visited Rems-Murr-Kreis, Germany.
Up, Up And Away
The Southampton Balloon Festival is one of the largest annual events held in the city. We were delighted to be invited to play on the stage alongside the balloon area.
After a busy summer schedule, the biggest event of year was a big concert at the Turner Sims concert hall where the Band celebrated the near completion of its 75th year. This event was the biggest event staged by the Band for many years, and was made possible by the tremendous drive and enthusiasm of our chairman, Gordon Birch. As well as the Band, the concert featured the Solent City Barbershop Chorus, who were at the time one of the best choruses in the country, and the Compere for the evening was TV celebrity Fred Dinenage.
We were delighted to have a number of former members of the Band present in the audience including some like Mr Edgar Still who were in the original Scout Band before they reformed as the Albion Silver Band in 1928. Copies of the Band history document were presented by Fred Dinenage to a number of long-standing associates and former members.
In March of 1996, the Band played at a memorial service to commemorate the 60 anniversary of the Spitfire. This famous aircraft was the brain-child of R.J. Mitchell, and was designed and manufactured at the Supermarine works in Woolston – a suburb of Southampton.
Augmented by members of the Hampshire Ambulance Service, the Band accompanied hymns sung in remembrance of both pilots and employees of Supermarine who died in the service of their country. The Supermarine employees lost their lives when an air raid shelter received a direct hit.
A lone Spitfire flew a display while the Band played the RAF MARCHPAST. A memorial plaque was unveiled at the site of the former Supermarine works.