March brass band stalwart celebrates remarkable 65 year stint

10:39 29 April 2014

Ivor Smith from March,65 years in The March brass band. Picture: Steve Williams.

Ivor Smith from March,65 years in The March brass band. Picture: Steve Williams.

Archant

A musician has celebrated 65 years in his town’s brass band ... and he has no intention of slowing down.

Ivor Smith, 78, of Elm Road, March, joined the March Silver Railway band, which is now known as March Brass 2000, aged 13 and has been a loyal member to this day.

During his remarkable stint he has played cornet, tenor horn, baritone and euphonium under 17 conductors and has been the band’s chairman, treasurer and librarian.

He said: “A member of the band came to March Hereward School when I was 13 just before the holidays and asked if anyone would like to play an instrument and five of us said yes. I was given a cornet and things went from there.

“I’ve had many fantastic memories with the band. One is of a trip to Holland where we won a competition and our band master won the silver baton.

“I love the comradeship in a band and making music that entertains people.

“When the band did competitions you would meet other bands at contests and make lots of friends.”

Mr Smith is still involved with teaching the band’s beginners and is encouraged by the potential of the next generation of musicians.

But the grandfather-of-two, who used to work on the railways, has been unable to transfer his passion to the rest of his family.

He said: “I’m the only one in my family interested in music, but there are a lot of very talented youngsters in the band. They are its future.”

Band member Maxine Sandman paid tribute to Mr Smith’s sterling commitment to the band.

She said: “Sixty-five years as local brass band member is certainly unusual nowadays and his commitment is something to be celebrated.

“He organises practical matters in the band room and at some engagements, teaches younger players before our main meeting every week and is a mainstay of the band. He is also a lovely man.”

The band has 35 members and welcomes experienced players to join them with instruments available.

Practices are held every Monday evening from 7-9pm in the Roman Catholic Church Hall, St Johns Road, March.

Beginner classes are also held immediately prior to the main band practice where all beginners receive tuition and the use of an instrument for a weekly subscription of £1.50.

For further details about the band contact the secretary on 01354 655429 or go to www.marchbrass200.co.uk

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