ABOUT THE BAND
The village of Wadhurst lies in East Sussex, on a ridge of the beautiful undulating landscape of the Sussex Weald, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Close to the Kent border near Tunbridge Wells, a brass band has prospered in the village since the late 1800’s.
Between 1897 and 1898 a special appeal was started to raise funds for the launch of Wadhurst Brass Band. A subscription list was published and a total of £62 4s 6d was collected and Wadhurst boasted a thriving band right up to World War II, when it disbanded. However, brass bands still thrive in East Sussex. Wadhurst Brass Band is no exception, since its regeneration in the 1950s.
The present band owes its’ life to Algy Hoare, who has been involved with brass bands and their music since he was a child. As a teacher at Wadhurst's secondary school - now Uplands Academy - he introduced brass lessons in the 1950’s. He formed a school band in 1957 with he and his players becoming great ambassadors for the school. The success of the school band led naturally to developing the 'Youth Band' in 1974, which evolved into 'Wadhurst Brass Band', in 1983.
In 1998, Algy handed his baton over to Ken Rich whose association with brass bands goes back over 50 years. Ken has conducted since 1965 and taught many a young person to play brass instruments. 2003 saw Paul Gardiner take the role of Musical Director, whose youthful enthusiasm further enhanced the reputation of the Band. In January 2007, Ken Rich took up his baton once more, until finally passing it back to Algy in January 2009. Algy continued to conduct the band until 2017, when he retired from conducting. David Healy, who had been undertaking the role of Deputy Musical Director, stepped up to lead the band. David had played with the band since he was a child. His intimate knowledge of the band and its players laid strong foundations his time with the baton. David relocated in 2021, when Mike West took the role of conductor, for a short period. He was followed by Alan Finemore and Kate Luff, who lead the band through 2022.
In 2023, Lewis Kemp assumed the role of Musical Director. Having played with the band since he was 8 years old, he is a familiar face to many, who has revived the warm and jovial atmosphere in the rehearsal room. He has been joined by Robin Hare, as Deputy Musical Director, who brings with him a plethora of experience and expertise from a wide variety of musical ventures.
What makes Wadhurst Band truly special is its members. The band is a group of friends from all walks of life, who share a love of music-making and entertaining local communities. The band is proud to offer players of all ages a safe environment to develop their musicianship, welcoming new players of all abilities warmly.
Wadhurst Brass Band performs three concerts per year in Wadhurst: Spring, Autumn and Christmas. Frequently, the band plays for church services, where the acoustics can add a special poignancy. A busy summer outdoor programme means that fetes and festivals feel just right with the mellow tones of brass. Summer venues throughout East Sussex and West Kent have included Hever Castle, Chartwell, Chevening House, Penshurst, Tonbridge Castle and the bandstands at Eastbourne, Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells Pantiles, together with local fetes in East Sussex villages. All are perfect backdrops on a summer’s day, to introduce overseas and home visitors to the very English sound of a brass band. Our repertoire varies over the summer to include light classical, themes from film, musicals and TV and of course traditional brass band music.