1979 - The start!
Tuesday 11th September 1979.
The band's first rehearsal was at Onslow (now Onslow St Andrey's) School, Hatfield. The rehearsal was attended by 42 musicians. Soon numbers grow as word spreads far and wide.
1980 The first Christmas Concert...
Sunday 7th December 1980
Saw the band perform their first ever Christmas concert on behalf of Cancer Relief, over the next few years, this became a regular and popular event with concerts being held at Campus West and the Forum Theatre, Hatfield (sadly now flats). Guest comperes included Barry Norman (TV Critic and Presenter) and Richard Widmore (Newsreader).
Over the years these popular concerts raised a very worthwhile sum for this important charity.
1983 - First overseas tour and a new American friend
January - September 1983
During September the band were delighted to accept an invitation to visit Zierikzie, Holland, Hatfield's twin town. Over the weekend the band performed a join concert with "Kumst-Bn-Br" the local town band.
The tour was a great success with members of the Town Council also in attendance. During the brief trip a new leisure centre was opened and named "Hatfield Park"
Also in 1983 the band made a new friend - Al Vervaet a visiting music master met some of the band members in the band's pub "The Eight Bells" He joined the Trumpet section and soon became Associate Conductor. The band really sparkled under his American style of dierction.
In addition it wasn't long until the band had developed a softball (type of baseball) team too.
In 1984 Al wrote a book "The Effective Amateur Musician or How To Make Your Conductor Happy" in the prelude ... it reads "Though I have had many years' experience coducting school bands in America, the inspiration for this project derives from the enjoyment that has been mine as a player and guest conductor with the Hatfield (England) Concert Band."
1984 - Abbey Road
The band's first recording.
Early one Sunday morning the band travelled to the world-famous Abbey Road Studios in London recording their first cassette tape in the iconic Studio One. Amongst the music was a piece composed by the band's first conductor John Collinge entitled "Jet Set 81" a piece dedicated to BA146 and used as background music for their training films. The tape also included a recording of "Clarinet Blues" arranged by Doug Watt a member of the clarinet section for many years.
1985 - A challenging year and a fresh start
1985 proved to be a challenging year for the then Hatfield Concert Band. During this year the band lost both their musical director who had worked hard to support the band for the first five years and their rehearsal facility which was then at Hawker Siddeley Dynamics. In addition, many of the original companies who sponsored the band had either closed or retired. With little money in the bank the outlook was less than certain.
Our now chairman was determined to keep the band going and see it flourish once again, so, with the help of some friends (who conducted for the next few years) and after a meeting with the Student's Union, University of Hertfordshire the band relocated. The relationship with both the University and the Student's Union is still strong 35 years later.
1997 - All change!
In the early 1980s most of the players lived in or around the Hatfield Area, by 1997 this had changed with players travelling from every corner of Hertfordshire and beyond. It therefore felt appropriate for the band to be renamed the Hertfordshire Concert Band.
2000 - The 21st birthday concert
Sunday 22nd October 2000 saw the band celebrate their 21st birthday concert with a large fun raising concert in aid of Children in Need. The concert involved two local schools The Rickmansworth PNEU School and The Princess Helen College, Preston. The concert was compered by Samantha Janus (now Womack) who despite a terrible cold did and wonderful job.
The concert raised over £3000.00 for Children in Need.
Special thanks to Garry W, Janice T, Kerry C and Tracey S from HCB plus Nancy C and Cynthia N for making this great event happen.
2005 - International Music Festival, Malta
2005 saw the band head off to Malta for an International Music Festival held in Mellieha. A wonderful time was had by everyone with stories still being told 15 years later! Bands performed each night in the large marquee (erected in the centre square) to sell out audiences with bands attending from around the world. The Hertfordshire Concert Band opened the festival which was televised.
A truly rememberable event.
2011 - Our 30th birthday concert
During 2011 the band once again staged a large charity concert following in the footsteps of the band's 21st birthday concert in 2000. Again, the concert was for charity and once again the Rickmansworth PNEU school joined the band, this time together with the Countess Anne School, Hatfield.
Another wonderful evening was had by all with the concert raising £824.15 each for Children in Need and Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research a charity close to our chairman's heart.
2012 - Windsor Castle
In 2012 The Hertfordshire Concert Band was delighted to perform on the Jubilee Bandstand at Windsor Castle. The concert was a wonderful experience for the band and a great success with the concert programme enjoyed by the many 1000s of visitors who listened. The band has performed on this bandstand every year until COVID struck!
2020 - The band's 40th birthday
It's hard to believe that the band is now over 40 years old and still has three active players who started playing with the band 40 years ago!
in 2020 many ideas were considered to celebrate the band's 40th in style. Sadly COVID-19 put pay to any such plans.
In September the band moved (hopefully one final time) and HCB can look forward to a new exciting decade and to the band's 50th birthday...