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Gloucester Charter Band's members aged 8 to OAPs celebrate 30 years of making music

By The Citizen  |  Posted: January 26, 2014

  • Gloucester Charter Band: Keith Stephens

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Beautiful music can be heard throughout Tuffley on Thursday evening as members of the Gloucester Charter Concert Band meet to practice.

The wind band has now been running for 30 years and has gone from strength to strength.

It invites people of all ages and abilities to practice and take part in concerts.

It is now run by Sheila Stephens, with the help of husband Keith, who said: “Anybody can come and join in – our youngster in the group is eight and the oldest member has been 69. We have always been part of the group since the beginning but the people who ran it decided to pass it on and is budding with success now.”

Many of the group, which is based in St Georges Church Centre, Tuffley in Grange Road, play flute or clarinet.

Sheila, of Tuffley, said: “The band is about everyone playing together and having fun. We do not teach, but we do help people with music and their instruments.”

It is a family affair with son Simon Stephens as the conductor of the group. He first joined as a band member at the age of 11 in 1984.

He said: “My sister Paula joined the band and I decided to join too.”

He left to go to university and the band changed hands several times.

Simon added: “Mum and dad took it on officially because no had come forward. We did not want to see the group fold because so many people enjoy it. I really enjoy my role and we are like a big family here. We play concerts and people can hire us for events too.”

Member Phil Hale said: “The band is the county’s only community wind band - meaning that we are a non-professional band that draws our players entirely from the local community. We are entirely independent and self-funding. We have a very loyal membership, with many of our players having been with the band for a decade or more.

“We are a symphonic wind band by construction, meaning that we accept players from the orchestral woodwind, brass and percussion sections. We identify ourselves as a concert band specifically, meaning that our repertoire tends towards lighter crowd-pleasers such as film themes, medleys from musicals and big band standards.”

Facts at a glance

Founded in 1983

Name is derived from the fact that 1983 was the 500th anniversary of the granting of a Charter to the City of Gloucester by Richard III.

Current conductor, Simon Stephens, joined as a trumpeter in 1984.

New members are welcome on Thursday evenings at the church in Grange Road from 7.30pm until 9pm.

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