Mossley Band 1841 - Present:
Mossley is a town rich in history and tradition. A town which
was once at the very heart of the industrial revolution which exploded
during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. To encourage workers
to forget the conditions and harshness of the times, mill owners
advocated temperance and music and in 1841 the Mossley Temperance
Band was formed and which soon found its own place in history when
in 1853 it enjoyed the distinction of winning the first ever Belle
Vue Championship contest which is now known as the British Open
Bands in those days were a far cry from those of today and Mossley
Temperance had only 10 players. It was many years before bands standardised
and some would appear using oddly named instruments such as OPHICLEIDES,
SACKBUTS AND SERPENTS! The first Belle Vue Contest attracted eight
entries and Mossley were drawn to play number 1. However when the
appointed hour arrived they were nowhere to be seen and so the contest
started without them. When they finally arrived they were allowed
to play last band (not something today's organisers would be willing
to agree!) The band played the Hallelujah Chorus from Handels Messiah
plus other selections and became the first ever winners of the British
Open with Dewsbury second, Bramley Temperance third and Bury Borough
In 1897 Mossley Band won the Belle Vue Contest for a second time
under the baton of Alexander Owen playing the test piece "Moses
in Egypt". Again Mossley band created brass band history gaining
the maximum marks available - a feat that remains unequalled to
this day. Among the "stars" then were Herbert (TIB) Scott and J.F.
Carter, both celebrated Euphonium players.
Between the wars the band was known as the Mossley Borough Band
and was responsible for launching many fine musicians, amongst them
Frank Smith who helped to form The Fairey Aviation Works Band and
became its first conductor.
Mossley Band, as did many other organisations, broke up at the
outbreak of World War 2 but reformed under Frank Andrews, a former
Royal Horse Guards Musician in 1948. Unfortunately many of the youngsters
were attracted to other more established bands in the district and
this led to another break up in 1954, but inevitable with so much
history and tradition in a town steeped in music, the Band rose
again in 1955 under the baton of William Brown a former conductor
of Stalybridge Band. When he resigned the bands new young cornet
player Derek Sanderson took centre stage and another fine band emerged.
In four years the band rose from Section 3 to Championship section
and in 1960 it beat bands like Fairey and Foden to qualify for the
National Brass Band Championship Finals. However, tragedy struck
in 1962 when aged only 26 Derek Sanderson died, but it bounced back
again and in 1965 the band fulfilled a long held ambition winning
the Grand Shield qualifying contest at the Belle Vue Spring Festival,
which meant they could compete like their forefathers in the September
British Open Championships.
The following years saw Mossley band sustain its status and standing
as a championship band with notable success in the 1971 BBC Radio
Manchester "Blow by Blow" competition and its second placing in
the 1971 Wills championship Final that saw them move into the country's
top twenty bands in the champion of champions section.
In 1990 and 1991 two successful trips to Cornwall built strong
links with the Bodmin Town Band who are regular visitors of the
Whit Friday circuit. In 1992 the band broke new ground with its
first continental trip as guests of Mossley's twin town of Hem in
France with them performing alongside bands from all over Europe
in the towns annual Festival of Music.
At the 1993 Northwest Regional Championships the band came 3rd, only
1 point away from qualification for the National Finals - this in
less than a year under the baton of Roy Waite, and following on
from the bands previous result in the same contest in 1992 when
they came 13th. Only a week earlier to the 1993 contest the band
had gained 3rd place at the Oldham contest, its first real contest
success for some time.
The Band in 1996 gained both qualifications for the national contest
and promotion to the 1st section nationally.
In December 1998 the band and their long standing conductor Roy
Waite decided it was time for a change and a young man called Simon
Stonehouse seemed an obvious choice as he had just left the Williams
Fairey band and was married to the Flugel Horn player at Mossley!
From the moment Simon took over things started to click straight
away and the band hasn't been out of the top 3 at any contest since
The first major success with Simon was when the band qualified
for the National Finals by coming 2nd place to Longridge at the
Northwest area in March 2000 playing the test piece Music for a
Common Man. Strangely, Simon had a premonition about the choice
of piece for the National Finals which came true – Frontier by Michael
Ball. The band never stopped rehearsing for 3 months doing 4 rehearsals
a week – a lesson Simon had learnt under Major Peter Parkes with
the Williams Fairey band.
The band set off to the Royal Albert Hall, London in confident
mood after months of very hard work and the competition was very
strong against bands like Ratby, Stockbridge & Longridge. It was
going to be a very hard contest to win. The band performed very
well and in the words of adjudicators Colin Hardy and Richard Evans
there were two outstanding bands on the day - we were placed 2nd
with 190 points. So near yet so far!
Since the success at the Royal Albert Hall the band has continued
to go from strength to strength and became Manchester and District
Champions. In March they played and won the Northwest Regional Championships
First Section, which has secured their place in the Championship
Section for next year.
Part of the success is due to the integration of some very promising
young players and the bands determination to succeed with the players
they already have. Up and coming players such as Chris Preece (14
yrs Percussion), Chris Crawshaw (17 yrs, 2nd Euphonium), Eleanor
Chester (17 yrs Percussion), Penny Hilton (14 yrs 3rd Cornet) and
Paul Deighton (15yrs 2nd Horn), have all embraced every challenge
that has been put in front of them with ease.
More experienced players such as Neil Riley (solo Euphonium) have
embraced the challenge of rising expectations and taken it upon
themselves to get lessons from star quality players such as David
Thornton (solo Euph Black Dyke).
The band now have regular sectionals/Clinics with players like:-
Gary Parker (ex Fairey's, Student at Royal Northern college of
Music studying Trumpet)
Nick Hudson (Solo Trombone - Faireys)
David Thornton (Solo Euph - Black Dyke)
Shawn Crowther (Ex Fairey's, Student at Royal Northern college of
The Band has its own Band room and social club on Argyle Street,
Mossley, which is a very lively place to be at nearly every night!
Mossley band today has a lot of family connections - Simon Stonehouse
the conductor is married to flugel horn player Helen Stonehouse
whose sister plays 1st horn (Angela Johnson) and father plays 2nd
baritione (David Johnson), whilst the Solo Euph player (Neil Riley)
has a brother on Eb Bass (Ian Riley) and both have partners in the
band and the other Eb bass player (Dave Taylor) is married to 3rd
corner player Angela Taylor! And these are only a few of the connections.
Mossley band has a very strong infrastructure and has 28 very committed
players, many of which have been with the band for over 10 years.
Everyone at 4BarsRest wishes them success. They are a band well
worth looking out for.
Started at Marple Band aged 12, moved to British Aerospace Manchester
at 17 and Wingates at 18 before finally moving onto Williams Fairey
band at 20 where he stayed for 10 years as flugel horn soloist and
worked under conductors such as Roy Newsome, Major Peter Parkes
and James Gourlay. During his stay with the band the band arguable
enjoyed their strongest hold on the brass band scene for many years
winning the European, British Open and Nationals within the same
Simon Studied at Salford University under Roy Newsome, David King
and John Hudson and has performed with all the U.K's leading bands
such as Black Dyke, Grimethorpe and Fodens. Simon is currently Director
of Music at Bramhall High School, Stockport