East Lancashire Concert Band
East Lancashire Concert Band

From the Beginning to to the Present Day

The Military Band Era


The Band’s archives include well documented history taking us back to 1842 when, funded by public subscription, the “Accrington Old Band” was formed. There were a total of 24 instruments, including such long forgotten items as ophicleides and serpents.


Around 1854, largely as a result the technological development of valve instruments, the brass band came to the fore. Military bands (or concert bands) were very much larger, with reed and woodwind instruments being well represented, as they are today.
 

In 1859 and 1860, political upheavals in Europe led to the War Office raising volunteer military corps of over 130,000 men. Accrington Old Band got swept up in this and became the '7th Volunteer Rifle Corps (Lancs)' and later known as the '3rd Lancashire Volunteer Regiment'.  Accrington was not incorporated as a Borough until 1878, making the Band one of its oldest continuing organisations.

 

In the late 1880s the name 'Accrington Primrose Reed Band' was adopted, a patriotic gesture at the time. (The Primrose League was a Conservative Party group with very patriotic beliefs and took its identity from what was believed to be Prime Minister Disraeli’s favourite flower).
 

When Oak Hill Park was opened Whit Monday 22 May,1893, there were various volunteer regiments and their bands present. The press reported that 'the Accrington Old Prize Band was also in attendance'.
 

In May 1901 an article in the Accrington Observer reported:, 'Quite a crowd of people gathered in Oak Hill Park on Sunday afternoon. The weather was all that could be desired, and the park looked at its best. The Old Band played selections and hymn tunes, the birds sang overhead and around rendering a novel and charming accompaniment. The music on the whole was fairly well rendered, though not free from defects'.
 

In September 1914, under their original name, the Accrington Old Band was reported by the Accrington Observer as leading the parade of the newly formed Accrington Pals Battalion, '..they played lively tunes as they marched past the Mayor who stood in front of Accrington Town Hall'.
 

The Oswaldtwistle Recruitment Office for the Accrington 'Pals' is now the CIvic Theatre, in Accrington and the  home base of ELCB. This interesting coincidence is due to the fact that the Civic Arts Centre was formerly  Oswaldtwistle's Town Hall and  Council Offices.

 

For further information follow these links:  http://www.pals.org.uk/enlistment.htm and http://www.pals.org.uk/training.htm#notes

The Concert Band Era

 

The 1970s will be remembered as the decade in which the band ceased to be a military band and became a 'concert' band.  On 25th November 1973 members of the band voted to change its name to the Hyndburn Concert Band. The band's name was not the only change during this time - the band's repertoire changed significantly, with more emphasis placed on playing a more modern programme. Interestingly, the band, decided to continue with something that was strongly associated with military bands - marching! 

 

During 2000, the band changed its name once more to reflect its broader associations with the Lancashire area, becoming the East Lancashire Concert Band.  Whilst the band's repertoire remains modern and popular one tradition has been dropped - the present concert band no longer marches.

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