Published: March 7, 2010
Burnham-On-Sea Scout and Guide Band celebrates 35th year

Members of Burnham-On-Sea Scout and Guide's Concert Band are celebrating the group's 35th anniversary during 2010.

To mark the milestone, takes a look back at the history of the long-running group over the past three and a half decades.

In 1975, an amalgamation between the Burnham Scout Group and Huntspill & Highbridge Scout Groups formed the first Burnham & Highbridge Scout Band, which was led by Bandmaster Chris Hall. The band is pictured above during 1976 in Manor Road and Victoria Street.

In 1979 Peter Halls took over the helm and for the first time girls were permitted to join from local Guides and Ranger Guides. This is when Rachel Burland (nee Jays), the current Bandmaster, joined with her sister Sarah.

Their late father, Ken Jays, had been one of the founding members of the first band. Over the next six years, the band amassed an impressive haul of trophies from marching band contests all round the country. The group also performed several times at the Royal Albert Hall, Wembley Arena and at the NEC in Birmingham.

In 1986, Rachel Burland took over as Bandmaster and the Band continued to play a wide variety of music in their concert and contest work.

In 1992, the Band marched down the Mall in London for the Queen’s 40th Anniversary Parade and once again performed at the prestigious venues as before.

Rachel's aim was always to produce a good-quality sound which people would enjoy listening to. The Band performed music from shows such as ‘Phantom of the Opera’ and ‘Les Miserables’ to name but a few.

In 1992 Frank Neill took the reins and the band continued to appear locally and around the country at various contests and parades.

Bandmaster Rachel Burland told "Over all these years the band has always been greatly supported by superb committees who worked tirelessly to raise the funds needed to keep it on the road."

"Also, our supporters have always been the most enthusiastic, sometimes getting up in the early hours to get on a coach to follow the band wherever we were going."

"The many friendships and also marriages that have come out of the band are what made being a part of it so special. People have stayed in touch with each other over all of those 35 years."

In 2005 Rachel decided that once again she wanted to be a part of something unique, which has always worked on the basis that you didn’t need to be able to play before joining the Band.

The Concert Band was started with just three members. This time it has been slower to get going but now the membership stands at 14 and the sound is entirely a brass one. Again, the youngsters - some not so young - have been taught from scratch with its newest member, William, starting during the past week.

The band played last year at the Scout's County Annual General Meeting for their first performance. In April they will play in the church at the annual St George’s Day Service for Sedgemoor Scout District.

Rachel added: "We would love to hear from anyone who has ever been connected with the Band in any way over the years – members, supporters and past committee members with a view to getting together later in the year."

"Also, if you would like to return to playing with the Band we’d love to see you. We rehearse on Thursday from 8-9pm at the Scout HQ in Stoddens Road. As ever, the Band is also looking for new members from the Scout and Guide movements, whether you can play or not."


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