The Amersham Band recently celebrated its 180th anniversary with a performance with a difference.
The first documented report of the band was not in a contest or concert, but in a cricket match — one that took place in 1843 in a field just a chipped six hit over square leg from the band's current headquarters.
Amersham Band players took on local rivals Prestwood Band in what was described in the local Windsor & Eton Express newspaper in September 1843, as a "novelty which drew forth a number of spectators".
Any sporting rivalry though was put aside between innings as the players took to their instruments to give massed band renditions of what the reporter said were as selection of "marches, airs etc."
Amersham also won the nail biting match — and although they didn't take the opportunity to take up cricket practice each week, the players did carry on band rehearsals — leading to a wonderful 180 years of music making in their community and beyond.
The Cricket Match
'An Amersham Suite — The Cricket Match' has now been turned into a cracking concert piece (with narration) by well-known composer and band member Mike Sheppard, and was performed on the day for the entertainment of the 'spectators' who came to the bandroom to enjoy the special 'Heritage Day' in the town.
Although there was no repeat of the match (their rivals long since consigned to history) there were plenty of great events — from rock bands and big bands and of course, the Amersham Band showcasing their proud links to their community.
It's amazing to think that this band can trace its roots back to a cricket match that took place just across the road to where our modern bandroom now sits in the heart of the communityMD, Paul Fisher
Speaking about the event and the work, MD Paul Fisher told 4BR: "It's amazing to think that this band can trace its roots back to a cricket match that took place just across the road to where our modern bandroom now sits in the heart of the community.
It's a link we are very proud of, and Mike's brilliant little piece was a huge hit. He has been such a great addition to the band and his music for us and others has reached across the globe."
Heart of the community
He added: "Now people can find out a bit more about Amersham Band and why we continue to proudly represent our community through our music and initiatives such as our new Nature Walk.
We may even think about setting up a cricket team again!"