The band was originally formed in 1979 by Peter Kneale as the Rushden Windmill ‘B’ Band and its first conductor was his pupil, Peter Berrington. It consisted of about 10 junior/learner players as well as a few interested adults and practiced at the Windmill Club in Rushden.
In 1983 the band moved out of the Windmill Club into the Working Men’s Club in Griffith Street, Rushden and became known as the Working Men’s Club Band. At this time Kevin Nichols became its musical director and actively encouraged new players to join.
By 1986 the band felt it was ready to enter the contesting world and the members were quickly rewarded for their efforts by qualifying for the National Finals in the 4th Section. Kevin’s drive and enthusiasm led to the band becoming very busy performing concerts and contests all over the region. Kevin remained with the band until 1988 when Lloyd Landry took over for his first stint as musical director.
In 1990 the band appointed Trevor Groom, the renowned Euphonium player, as its musical director and the following year the band were offered practice facilities in Manton Road and the band was then renamed the Rushden Town Band.
Trevor remained with the band until 1993 and was replaced by Harold Howarth who had been the bands very talented principal cornet for a number of years. Sadly Harold’s health began to fail and so, in 1994, he relinquished the baton to David Twitchings. It was with great sadness that the band learned of Harold’s death in 1996.
In 1997 a junior band was reformed by Reg Dilley and Alan Acreman and the following year the band were delighted to receive a grant from the National Lottery which allowed them to buy a brand new set of instruments.
In 1999 the band performed in the Royal Parks in London for the first time and also saw their first contest win after a long succession of 2nds and 3rds over many years.
In 2000 the band took part in the ‘Proms Night’ concert at Wicksteed Park however David Twitchings decided to step down as musical director after some six years in charge and was replaced by Sean Millsom. From 2000 to 2002 the band continued to maintain a sizeable engagement list although decided to stop contesting.
In December 2002 Sean left the band and Lloyd Landry re-joined as its conductor for the 2nd time. Lloyd is probably more well known in brass band circles as a contest adjudicator and under his direction the size of the band increased and a decision was made to re-start contesting with the aim being to play at the areas in the Spring of 2004. It was rather a surprise when in late 2003 Lloyd announced that he wanted to take a break from conducting and concentrate on other things.
Peter Vine was appointed Musical Director in 2004. At that time there were very few players & the band had not contested since 1999. Peter encouraged players to join & we were able to resume contesting in November 2004. Unfortunately on January 1st 2006 we woke up to the news that the Rushden Town Band Club had been destroyed by fire during the night. We lost many instruments, sets of music & uniform as well as our rehearsal facilities. Fortunately our committee soon started on the the insurance claim & the brass band world rallied around helping us out. We were offered rehearsal facilities back at the Rushden WMC in Griffiths St where we remain to this day.
In 2015 Peter decided that he wanted to return to playing his cornet with the band, so handed his baton over to Adele Hudson who has taken the band from strength to strength.
Rushden Town Band represented the Midlands at the National Brass Band Championships (4th section) in 2010 & 2011. We were promoted to the 3rd section in 2012. In March 2014 the band became the Midland Area Regional Brass Band Championships (3rd section) Champion Band. We represented the Midlands at the National Brass Band Championships in September 2014 & were promoted to the 2nd section from January 2015. We achieved 2nd place in this section at the Midland Area in 2015 & represented the Midlands yet again at the National Finals (2nd section) in September 2015.
Rushden Town Band was promoted to the 1st Section in January 2017. We competed in the First Section of the Midlands Regional Brass Band Championships on Saturday 11 March 2017. 16 bands took part & we were placed 2nd thus qualifying for the National Finals in Cheltenham on Sunday 17 September 2017 to represent the Midlands
In March 2018 we competed once again in the Midlands Area – we finished 4th out of 18 bands and were promoted to the Championship Section with effect from January 2019.
After a busy 2018, the band entered 2019 with many concerts already arranged. We competed in the Midlands area as normal and maintained our place in the Championship Section. After another busy year, 2020 was expected to be the same. The band decided not to compete in the Midlands Area contest which meant that it would return to the First Section from 2021. However, shortly after the contest, banding ceased due to the pandemic. All the concerts planned for the year ended up being cancelled. The band met online for quizzes and social chat, but were unable to return to any normal banding until mid-2021. We were very grateful to Rushden Town Council who allowed us to use the walled garden and Rushden Transport Museum and Railway who allowed us to use the Goods Shed for rehearsals. A few concerts were held towards the end of 2021 including one with our friends the Northampton Bach Choir which was a resounding success.
In 2022, the Midlands Area Contest was held in February at the Corby Cube. The band played well, and sustained their place in the First Section. Demand for the band has been exceptionally high since April with a performance in Abington Bandstand to start off our concert season.
It is with sadness that Rushden Town Band (Northamptonshire) announces the death of its founder, Peter Kneale, on Tuesday March 20th 2018.
When Peter was conducting Rushden Windmill in the 1970s he decided to form a ‘B’ Band with learners & young players. Its first conductor, Peter Berrington, was a pupil of Peter Kneale.
In 1979 this band became known as the Rushden WMC Band (to be renamed Rushden Town Band in 1990) & became independent.
Peter Kneale was a much respected musician who was well known for his compositions, “Variations on a Welsh Theme”, & the trombone solo “Blue John”. More details can be found here: http://www.peterknealemusic.co.uk/
Peter’s daughter Sally still plays tenor horn for Rushden Town & Boobs & Brass. Our thoughts are with her & all her family at this sad time.