History of Fairlop Brass Band
Fairlop Junior School Brass Band was founded amid a violent thunderstorm on 20th June 1968, the brainchild of the school's music teacher, Dennis Carney. After the Band had been in existence for two years, it faced the dread of all school bands, namely losing players as they progressed to other schools.
Such was the enthusiasm of the players and Dennis Carney that it was decided to run the band independently from the school, and Fairlop Junior Brass Band was Born. The tie with Fairlop Junior School was very strong and for this reason, for many, many years entry to the Band was available only to current or former pupils of the school. As the players grew older the “Junior” was dropped from the title and the entry criteria dropped.
In the early years, the Band’s progress was going very steady, but during this time firm foundations were being laid. From the early 1990’s contest success started to be achieved and this decade saw a steady stream of trophies and titles won by the band.
From Small beginnings
Were on our way to Wembley...
In 1995, the band qualified for the National Brass Band Championship Finals being held at the Wembley Conference Centre.
In their first ever National Championship finals, resplendent in their first ever uniform, the band were crowned Third Section National Champions of Great Britain beating 16 other Qualifiers. Suite Gothique (available on the bands first CD - The Fairlop Collection) drew much praise from the adjudicators for its musicality.
Since then the Band has continued to progress, qualifying in 1997 and 1998 for the Second Section National Champion Finals. The highest honour the Band have received gained no silverware, but promotion in 1999 to the National First Section.
Our Home Grown Players
Even though the philosophy of the band has not changed in all the intervening years, and the core of the band still has many original players from the Junior School Band, there have been many other changes in line-up.
It is normal for a small band such as Fairlop to go through many players over the years. Some of the players have been outstanding talents that have enhanced the steady improvements made as the band naturally ages. Other talented players have left leaving openings for young talents to fill.
During the growth of the band, nature has taken its course and the band now boast a number of players offspring. This ‘band within the band’ are known as our ‘home-grown-players’ and we are proud of the fact that the band has not forgotten its roots and remains as dedicated to the promotion of young talent, as it is of producing fabulous music.
To infinity and Beyond
The first Fairlop Brass CD (The Fairlop Collection) was recorded in 2002 and although we are a relatively unknown amateur band, we managed to sell nearly 500 copies. This CD was also taken into Space by the Astronaut Brother-in-Law (Dr. Piers Sellers) of one of our Bass players (Allison Greenwood), where it was played twice on the Shuttles sound system whilst orbiting the earth!
At the end of 2007 the band recorded their second CD (Celebration), which formed part of the 2008 40th Anniversary Celebrations. Celebrations that included a tour of Italy as well as a fabulous Winter concert with Richard Marshall (Principal Cornet of the Black Dyke Band). All this while subtly improving the Band’s contest successes.
Band turns 40 years old
Onward we March
The Band was relegated into the National Second Section in 2011. So the Band contests nationally in the Second Section and locally in the First Section.
They continue to build and maintain links with the Redbridge Music Service, and the local community through a number of concerts and through the steady intake of players from the various musical groups within RMS and locally. The recent recruitment drive has bought some fantastic players to Fairlop’s ranks.
In 2012 Fairlop introduced the Fairlop Academy, to encourage these new players via ensemble playing. The Academy is currently doing well performing several concerts independently of the main band during the year, and is open to new recruits who wish to continue their brass playing beyond the music school, locally.
Fairlop Junior School Band with Dennis Carney
The Award Winning Fairlop Brass Band in 1995
Playing to royalty at opening of Jack Carter Pavilion, just yards from Fairlops rehearsal room.
Dr. Sellers with 'The Fairlop Collection' CD several miles above the earth
Fairlop play a concert at Levico Terme in Italy 2007
Fairlop Brass Band is very different from most other bands. To this day it has only had two Musical Directors, Dennis Carney (1970 – 1983) and Kevin Jordan (1984 – present), neither of whom have ever taken a fee for their services.
The band is completely self run, never having an elected committee, and has rigidly stuck to a one rehearsal a week philosophy (most bands rehearse twice a week and more before competitions). In addition, all players pay annual subscriptions and none have ever received payment or expenses for their services.
The Band has come a long way since 1969, but during that time it has never taken itself too seriously, or lost sight of the fact that it meets each week to enjoy making music