Here at Besses we are always thrilled to hear from people from all the corners of the globe. Maybe you've heard Besses play recently and wanted to let us know what you thought of the concert? Perhaps you live overseas now and have just uncovered a long lost photo from your time with Besses?
Get in touch!
Mrs E Holden (nee Bryce)
Monday, 25 March 2013 21:53 | Bolton
Hi, I've just discovered your website and enjoyed reading about the band. My cousin is Frank Bryce, who conducted the band for several years in the 60's and 70's. I loved his 'humerous' compering at concerts I saw. A great mixture of laughs and wonderful music. Hope you play in Bolton sometime....I'd love to see them again.
Wednesday, 12 December 2012 08:01 | Oakdale, Wales
I play for a band in Wales, i believe your conductor (current idk) recorded a few CD's for us, and gave us your Besses O' Th' Barn Band Xmas CD. So i was going through my CD's and remembered you guys, so i'm just dropping a line to say hey!!
Monday, 05 November 2012 04:45 | Tapitalllee, NSW, Australia
Hi, I am hoping to see the band next year when I am in the UK. My addition to your site is as follows. I have an extract from "The Bolton Standard" dated 9 June 1933 regarding my great grandfather, Phillip Eastwood. He is 81 years old at the time and the article states that "..he is still an excellent pianist and violinist. He is proud of the fact that his father was a founder of the Besses o' th' Barn Band which has never been without an Eastwood in its comosition".
His father was Richard Eastwood.
Not much to add I guess, but I'll see you next year hopefully, Alison.
Monday, 15 October 2012 15:39
It's wonderful to find Besses are still going. My mum is related to Joseph Hampson, a member of the band in the 1800's. I'd love to hear of any history of that time as my side of the family have lost most details. Will try and see you play soon.
Monday, 13 August 2012 11:13 | Manchester
I played for Besses Boys Band and from the age of 8 (1967) and became principal solo cornet (with Pat Edgar as conductor)when Roger Fairbrother left to join Besses senior band around 1969. I followed Roger into the senior band three years later where I played second cornet alongside Gordon Hardman. Frank Bryce was the conductor with Ifor James (principal French Horn with the LSE) as our porfessional conductor. If you need to fill in any gaps around that period Steve (for you research) I would be more than happy to help. I bet Gordon would too, he can talk a bit you know!!
Monday, 09 April 2012 16:26 | Birmingham (UK)
My wife's grandfather was Fred Berry who appears to have been a member of the band from at least 1907 (he is named in the New Zealand photo) and toured with the band to Canada (at least) 1910-1920. That is the last we can find of him in the band, unless someone else knows differently!
Any info most welcome as we lost track of him entirely after 1924.
Tim A. Duncan
Thursday, 19 January 2012 16:39 | Manchester
Great new site, and Fleetwood was a top result - keep it up!
Nick Sanders and Phil McCauley. Gorden Dean. Obviously Dave Aston. A few names from the past. Very sad to hear of Roy's death and just over 8 years ago now that Ifor passed away. I had Horn lessons with him in the band room for a short while and learned a great deal. I remember the BBC Band competition victory in 1978.
Tuesday, 13 December 2011 14:33 | Bolton
I think that JC Wright Band (conductor) was my grandfather and Fred Wright was his brother. He played the cornet for Farnworth Old band I believe and was at one time, the oldest band member of the Farnworth band playing and marching into his eighties.
I would dearly like a digital copy of the photo showing the band in Whitefield in 1937 on your website (underneath the chaps going to Canada) which shows Fred Wright on the second row and a photo and any info of James Wright would be wonderful as I could show it to his surviving daughter Priscilla, who is 91! Any digital copies of photos and documents of the band relating to James and Fred Wright would be gratefully received and I will have a look in my photos to see if we have any to give to you. I hope you can help,
Wes Wright, grandson of James Wright and great nephew of Fred Wright.
Friday, 11 November 2011 01:02 | Radcliffe
Patrick Edgar is one of the Oldest Existing members of Besses Band and Besses Boys (player and then Conductor)
He learned to play in the 1930’s and moved to Soprano when the famous Percy Mott left Besses to join the RAF Band in the late 1930’s
He was one of the original players in the newly formed Besses Boys Band in 1943.
Prior to the 1939-1945 war Besses Band was fit for anything but unfortunately 13 members were called up to HM Forces and from then on the band struggled.. As well as the players the band lost its conductor Mr William Wood. and his place was taken by Mr J C Wright formerly Bandmaster. As time went on Mr Wright voiced his opinion that the only way to rebuild Besses was by training young boys. His advice was overlooked at the time.
On May 4th 1943 the Band Secretary F. Cowburn founded what was known as the Alexander Owen Brass Band Festival. Brass Band contests were held in Whitefield in The Grounds of Stand Grammar School for Girls. The festival committee had another look at Mr Wrights advice and decided to take it on board and at a meeting on Oct 11 1943 it was decided :- That a class for beginners be formed and to be under the charge of Nathan Snape..
The first boys to sign up were J F Cowburn aged 8, S Warburton 14, R Curless 11 and H Galloway 12. These four boys were trained and in December to a reasonable standard and it was decided to take them round to various parts of the village to let the public see what was achieved, also to induce other boys to join. Members of the committee took collecting boxes and the magnificent sum of £6 was raised. At one time 120 boys were being trained.
In 1945 the band entered the NW area contest under the auspices of the Daily Herald Brass Band Championship. Test piece own choice, the band chose Pirates of Penzance” and won. They then went to the finals at Belle Vue ,test piece “Poetic Fancies”. Despite drawing No 1 the band won the championship.
Players who took place in the 1st contest were.
Solo Cornets:- Allan Stringer, Kenneth Sanderson and Brian Whiteside.
Rep:- Jim Cowburn
2nd cornet:- Pat Edgar
3rd cornet:- Allan Chapman and Frank Barnett.
Horns:- Frank Bryce,Wallace Birchall and Jimmy Hill.
Euph:- Stanley Warburton
Baritone:- Roland Curliss Albert Barrington.
Troms:- Jacky Troughton, Allan Hilton and Joe Richardson
Basses:- Jack Rogerson. Edward Parkinson and Harold Bernstein.
No soprano but Alan Stringer played all sop parts.
Mr. Wright conducted both bands. Most of the above played in both bands.
Patrick Edgar came to the Besses Bandroom last Tuesday night (8th Nov 2011), and I managed to introduce myself and let him know that I am researching the Bands history for a new Biography.
Patrick began to relate to me lots of names and tit bits relating to Besses from his time withe the Band.
I was struck by his little story about his very early years when he was a young lad learning to play Soprano Cornet
His story goes more or less as follows
“Aye, I remember going for a lesson with old Mr Snape (Nathan Snape). He lived in @@@@ street tha knows. Just round the corner in Whitefield. Aye, I remember that I was playing in his sitting room while Mr Snape had his hands cupped in his lap as he sat snug in his armchair in front of the cosy fire and with his head down in concentration. I played my musical piece and it was a very sentimental Aire. I cannot remember the name of the tune or ballad. Well I finished playing and I thought that I had done alright and was well chuffed with maself. Mr Snape was silent and was rubbing his hands whilst he shook his head and gathered his thoughts together ............................................... Ehhe young lad,.......... tis clear that thas’ never been in Love !!!!!............. ha ha ha. It fair makes me laugh when I remember that night!”
This story made me laugh and I will meeting with Patrick and all the other existing ex players to record stories like the above as I know that there are going to be some absolute gems that need to be documented and recorded
Tuesday, 11 October 2011 11:42
I would just like to say it is such a shame that the legend himself Roy Newsome has died and that is was a pleasure to work with him during my time at Besses.
I would like to say that my heart and thoughts goes out to his family and friends at this sad time.