As the oldest brass band in Milton Keynes, we have a long and interesting heritage. The band owes so much to those who have gone before and this is why present members are determined to keep it going.
Nobody seems to know for certain when the first brass band appeared in the towns and villages that now make up modern Milton Keynes, but band activity in the area is documented from around 1830.
Looking at the influx of people from Yorkshire, Wales, Scotland and Ireland coming to work on the extension of the Birmingham railway line to London in 1833, it's not surprising that brass bands developed so distinctively in this area.
Wolverton Town Band has its origins in the old 1st Buckinghamshire Volunteer Rifles. The Bandmaster was Harry Brooks and among the musicians was a Joe Lovesey, whose son went on to form the locally famous dance band of the Second World War years.
In 1906, the new Liberal Government made changes and the Territorial & Reserve Army came into being, replacing the local volunteer forces.
From the "British Bandsman" dated January 18th 1908:
The band of the 1st Bucks, Wolverton gave a concert at the Central Club on January 4th, the anniversary of the Club dinner, under their conductor Mr H. Brookes Regimental Bandmaster. Several of the members also gave solos and duets, which were highly appreciated.
At some point in 1908 the Rifles band was disbanded and the Territorial Army took over. A breakaway group was formed by three members of the Rifles band: Mr Fred Grace, Mr Jack Bates and Mr Carvell, and this group eventually became the Wolverton Town Band.
Mr Dave Baker remembered when the first instruments were handed out in the organ loft, as it was then called, at the rear of the North Western Hotel. In the loft was the old organ belonging to a Mr Harper that was formerly in St. Georges Church. Dave Baker was only 13 years old then.
In 1920, the band entered the National Brass Festival at Crystal Palace in the 4th section with the test piece "Il Trovatore' by Verdi. They gained third place amongst 25 bands competing.
In 1922, they again came third, this time in the 2nd section. Being immensely proud of their band, the people of Wolverton presented every band member with a medal.
During World War II the band had to stand down as men were called up to service. Players and instruments became part of the Local Defence Volunteer Band, and in 1940 the Wolverton Home Guard Military Band was formed, with Doug Dytham as Bandmaster.
It was a distinctive band, being the only Home Guard Band in the country. After leading the Stand-down Parade through Wolverton at the head of the battalion in December 1944, the band passed into history and, once the war was over, Wolverton Town Band came back into being.
Since then, the band has had a lively history with appearances at a wide variety of occasions including local fetes and royal functions. As a contesting band, Wolverton Town Band achieved various accolades and proudly represented Wolverton in many regional and area competitions.