Alnwick Playhouse Concert Band was founded in 1994 by RT and GH who were members of the disbanded North Northumberland Orchestra.
Having decided to form the Band, an advertising campaign to recruit members was commenced and a selection of music was borrowed from the local high school and a neighbouring concert band in readiness for the first rehearsal. It was a great delight that 24 musicians attended the Playhouse on the 2nd November 1994 for the inaugural rehearsal.
Having made successful grant applications to local arts and charitable organisations to purchase more music, the Band began preparing for its concert premiere. On the 18th March 1995 in the Playhouse, to a near sell-out audience and to great critical acclaim, the Band performed its first ever concert. Since then the Band has gone from strength to strength and is now an established musical group of repute
within the town, playing a broad repertoire of music appealing to many tastes.
The Band takes its name from its adopted home, Alnwick Playhouse, where rehearsals take place on a weekly basis and where the Band performs its main concerts. The Band is very fortunate to have such an excellent venue as its base and is grateful for the continuous support it receives from the management and staff of The Playhouse.
Numbers of band members fluctuate between 30-4. Their ages range from 15 to 60 plus and mainly come from North Northumberland. None of them receive remuneration for playing in the Band. They play because they enjoy music making with likeminded people in a friendly environment. Since its formation, the Band has provided playing opportunities for over 200 musicians and 4 of the original 24 founder members still play in the Band.
The Band is administered by elected Band Officers who collectively form the Band Executive. Again, none of the Band Officers receive personal remuneration for fulfilling their respective roles. They take on this extra responsibility because of their commitment and dedication to the Band.
The Band is funded from proceeds it receives from concert performances, from donations and grants from charitable organisations and from members’ subscriptions, all of which go to meet the continuous expenditure on music and instrument maintenance. A successful bid by Alnwick Playhouse to the National Lottery Board in 1998 to purchase a selection musical instruments has added significantly to the overall range of sound produced by the Band’s playing.
In 1995 the Duchess of Northumberland agreed to become the Band’s Patron.
As well as performing its main concerts in the Playhouse each year, the Band has played at many other venues including churches, village halls, parks, schools and village fairs at locations throughout the North East of England.
A major milestone in the Band's history occurred in May 1999 when, for the first time since its formation the Band performed a concert overseas. At the invitation of L’Union Musicale de Lagny, an amateur orchestra based in Lagny sur Marne, near Paris, the Band made the long trip to France over the May bank holiday week-end. This visit was important not only for the musical opportunity it provided for the Band but as an opportunity to enhance the spirit of unity and friendship that exists between musicians the world over.
At the Band's annual spring concert in April 2000, ‘Outreach 2000’ was launched. This musical celebration for the new millennium consisted of a series of concerts in village halls throughout Northumberland during spring and summer months of 2000. Venues were chosen where the Band had not previously performed, in the hope that 'new' people would be introduced to the Band's music.
The Band continues its quest to reach new audiences with whom to share the love of good music!
(History from 2000 to date to follow!!)