Wantage Concert Brass

 Part of the Wantage Silver Band structure, Wantage Concert Brass is a non-contesting band whose members play for fun, and to entertain.

Many members are parents of children who play, or used to play, in one of the bands in the Wantage organisation. The band contributes to the annual round of local summer fetes and outdoor concerts in more distant locations, together with fund-raising supper concerts and other indoor concerts in aid of charities.

Conductor  Alan Sykes

Alan Sykes was brought up in the village of Dobcross in Saddleworth (then Yorkshire), where "… every child, at the age of three, is taught to blow a double-B" but it was not until moving to Wantage that son Chris came home with a euphonium, and the Sykes family joined the Wantage Band. The longest serving player in the Band, Alan has seen the A band progress from its first local contest (where he played ‘The Ploughboy’ on B♭ bass) and move up through the Sections from 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st and now Championship. Favourite instrument nowadays is playing the bass drum on Marches. Musical highlight was winning the Oxford & District senior solo competition (twice). Most useful activity is owning and driving the Band Van. He is the band's Publicity Officer (responsible for the monthly newsletter) and undertakes minor instrument repairs.

In fact Eileen (Alan's wife) often conducts the band as Alan likes playing Bflat bass within the band.

One of our most loyal players, Andrew Barber, a stalwart and valued member of Concert Brass and Academy Brass, shares some memories, having just celebrated over 30 years with the WSB:

(You can see Andrew and his trusty Euphonium standing to the right of conductor, Eileen)

"19 January 1985 My first day in Wantage Silver Band. My music started with a cornet over a monthly period. A trombone followed, before I was given an opportunity to sit on the euphonium section. A lot of instruments to learn before I had reached double figures in age, which included helpful advice to one and all courtesy of Shelley Ealey and Alan Sykes leading Beginners. WSB is very much a family band where players’ children joined.

Ray Cordon led the D Band, a very helpful and patient conductor learning via the Progressive Band Music books. After helping me through Beginners, he invited me to join the D Band, an offer I had much pleasure in accepting. Public performances eventually occurred in Wantage and this influenced my decision to take part in the Inner Band Contest. WSB Founder Doug Brand one of the nicest people in the organisation a role model as an adjudicator. One night he took a photo of me and Gavin in a playing position, and he was very generous buying us both a drink.  C Band in 1987 led by Chris Pollard which saw more engagements at fetes including carnival floats. Practice nights were Thursday evening and Saturday morning. My father (Peter) played third cornet and brother Gavin was a solo cornet on the front row. Conductors changed over the years I was at King Alfred’s School, and it included 2 different conductors for each session. John Timms became the Saturday regular and David Richards took Thursday evenings and there were local contests at Cowley Conservative Club and Peers School. When David left, John Timms took for both sessions. During my time in C Band, I was having private tuition with Band Master Eileen Sykes and A Band conductor Don Keene.

October 1992 an award for the most progress in C Band (voted by John Timms and Chris Pollard) announced by compere Henry Gunston. Earlier that night, trombonist David Law said to me “I’ll tell you something, you are good”, and the award proved his point. An honour to accept an award presented by former President Nobby Challis .February 1993, David Taylor had moved in to A Band, which opened up a vacancy in B Band. Under the baton of Tim Crouter, there was extra added pressure to take part in regional contests including Aylesbury, Oxford, and Reading. When Tim left in early 1994, A Band conductor John Winterflood stepped in for the Watford contest having to lead 2 bands. John Timms took the baton for B Band taking other players from C Band, and carried on until December 1999. Roger McKenzie helped improve the standard from 2000 to October 2001. At the Annual Concert in 2001, Roger’s last conducting event due to poor health I was named Band Personality of the Year. Jim Moley presented me with the award.  Roger passed away in 2004 but his humour and discipline remained with the new improved B Band.

2005, an option sheet went around for all players. Early 2006, it was decided that B Band would be split between B as the Contest Band and for entertainment a Concert Band. Since then I have remained in Concert Brass, as principal euphonium. 2012 the Diamond Jubilee had heavy wet conditions outside Victoria Cross, Wasborough Playing Fields, and Blenheim Palace. Another engagement held at Blenheim was the Olympic Torch making its journey en route for the London Olympics. I eventually had an opportunity holding the Olympic torch at the Uffington White Horse Show. October 2012, the 40th Anniversary Annual Concert, and I was deeply honoured to win the Ken Robey Cup. Honouring a former Vice President, the award included over 25 years loyal service and the main reason attending an outstanding number of engagements. Now I represent Concert Brass at the Player’s Committee and still play. Apart from Concert Brass, I am honoured to be a part of helping Trainer Band and the newly formed Academy Brass."

Band Section: 

About Us

Wantage Silver Band has been making music in Wantage, Oxfordshire and beyond since 1972.

Our Wantage Band is in the prestigious Championship Section and in October 2014 competed at the Royal Albert Hall at the Nationals.   Our 'B' Band promoted to Second Section in 2014, competed at the Nationals in Cheltenham in September 2014. In March 2015 they  won promotion to First Section as of January 2016.    Academy Brass,  formed in 2013, are in Fourth Section.  To complete WSB we have a Concert Brass, a Youth Brass, a Trainer Band, Beginners and the Big Band.


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Hire A Band

Are you holding an event, party or perhaps a wedding?  It's easy to hire one of our marvellous Brass Bands and don't forget we have a fantastic swing Big Band also available for all occasions.  For more information click here)   

  "I went to a wedding recently where the Wantage Silver Band were  playing....... I would thoroughly recommend hiring them for your next event!" Kate, Oxford         


B Band's amazing new CD - Classical Favourites - is now available  contact secretary@wantageband.org for more information.


Interested in Playing a Brass Instrument?

We can provide an instrument and tuition.

A new Beginners class started on September 5th at our Band Hall, Tugwell Field, Wantage, but there is room for more.    Contact Eileen at bandmaster@wantageband.org

Forthcoming Events

Monday, 30th November

  • Street Carolling
    Mixed Band
    7:00pm at Larkdown / Springfield Road, Wantage

Tuesday, 1st December

  • Street Carolling
    Mixed Band
    7:00pm at Witan Way, Wantage

Wednesday, 2nd December

  • Street Carolling
    7:00pm at Witan Way, Wantage

Thursday, 3rd December

  • Street Carolling
    Mixed Band
    7:00pm at Mably Way / Roman Way Wantage
  • Faringdon Shopping Evening
    Mixed Band

Friday, 4th December

  • Dickensian Evening, Wantage
    Mixed Band
    6:00pm at Market Square, Wantage and supermarkets

Saturday, 5th December

  • 'A' Band Christmas Concert
    'A' Band
    7:30pm at The Beacon, Portway, Wantage OX12 9BX

Tuesday, 8th December

  • Street Carolling - Wantage
    Mixed Band
    7:00pm at Naldertown / Priory Orchard / Ham Road / Greenacres Drive

Wednesday, 9th December

  • Mayors Carol Concert
    Mixed Band
    10:30am at Wantage Parish Church

Thursday, 10th December

  • Street Carolling
    Mixed Band
    7:00pm at Charlton Heights West / Barnards Way, Wantage

Saturday, 12th December

  • Supermarket carols - Sainsburys Didcot
    Mixed Band
  • East Hanney Royal British Legion B Band Christmas Concert
    'B' Band
    7:30pm at East Hanney British Legion £5 on the door

Sunday, 13th December

  • Celebrate Christmas with Concert Brass and a great Supper
    Concert Brass
    7:00pm to 10:00pm at East Challow Village Hall

Monday, 14th December

  • Supermarket Carols - Sainsburys Wantage
    Mixed Band
  • Street Carolling
    Mixed Band
    7:00pm at Warmans Close, Lydsee Gate and Segsbury
  • Street Carolling
    Mixed Band
    7:00pm at Charlton Village

Tuesday, 15th December

  • Street Carolling
    Mixed Band
    7:00pm at Garston Lane / Foliat Drive Wantage

Wednesday, 16th December

  • Street Carolling
    Mixed Band
    7:00pm at Ormond Road / Orchard Way Wantage

Thursday, 17th December

  • Street Carolling
    Mixed Band
    7:00pm at Chain Hill Wantage

Tuesday, 22nd December

  • Christmas Tree Service
    Mixed Band
    6:45pm at Grove

Thursday, 24th December

  • Supermarket Carols
    Mixed Band
    10:00am at Waitrose Wallingford Street Wantage
  • Mayors Carols
    Mixed Band
    6:30pm at Victoria Cross Gallery,Market Square, Wantage

Support The Band

 Please visit our Support the Band page to see how you can help with our fundraising.

 We are very grateful for the kind support of our Sponsors 

Perhaps you would like to become a Patron or a Sponsor, if you are interested please click here for more information.

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