2016 was a very special year for us at the band as it marked our 35th year of Brass on Grass. Looking back to the first BOG it is interesting to reflect that the first performance was actually in the open air on the recreation ground, hence the title Brass on Grass. In 1985 we went up market and began our long association with the garden show sharing the marquee and its cost, it’s nice to see two local organizations working together for over 30 years.
Over the past year we have again fulfilled all of our planned engagements with Brass and Voice weekend being our highlight. We continue to provide instruments and tuition free of charge to those who wish to play in the band.
Our summer season started in April with the Falmouth & District Scouts St George’s day, celebrating 100 years of scouting at Penryn College. July is always a busy time for the band. Firstly on the 16th we had the Garden Show where the band played in the afternoon. This was shortly followed by a mostly youth concert featuring Constantine Schools Choir, Samba band, Ukulele band and Orchestra, plus our band and youth all doing a short programme, which was greatly enjoyed by all. Refreshments were provided by the Brownies raising £100 for its funds.
Following on, Sunday 17th was our 35th year of Brass On Grass, with our guest bands Camborne Town, Helston Town, St Keverne and Pendennis Brass, which was certainly celebrated in style and must go down as one of our very best and most supported. The Brass on Grass has become more popular each year and is an evening of high class entertainment, plus audience participation. The setting and staging tastefully decorated due to the hard work of the band members and friends, who work to make the event memorable and it continues to be one of the best band events in the area. The parade was led by the band’s presidents Richard & Tracey Clowes, with Tracey also compering the evening.
Many in the audience have attended BOG without a break since 1981 and most look forward to the bands parade which is an attractive prelude to the event. The audience was entertained to a varied musical programme from each band with many aspects of individual and duct performances highly applauded.
The massed bands under the baton of Kevin Mackenzie (Trelawny), Scott Watters (Pomp and Circumstance and Flora Dance) Gareth Churcher followed by the National Anthem played an ever popular and rousing performance in which the audience stood and waved flags to the playing of Trelawny and Land of Hope and Glory. The singing was led by Melanie Uren.
The Port Navas Regatta on 30th July was greatly enjoyed by the band and again had the best of weather. The next day the band held its annual Carolair on the quay which for once also enjoyed good weather and was well attended. Joining us again was the Church Choir and the evening led by Rev Terry Axe, Liz Moore and Maureen Metcalf.
On August 6th we played at the Constantine Museum Remembers Commemorative Service, also leading the procession to the Tolman Centre and playing inside.
In November the band playing athletes the Remembrance service. The band wreath was laid by Tracey Clowes and last post played by Angela Alexander, Alison Symons and Samantha Papastavrou.
Over Christmas we went to Trago Mills and played at the Port Navas lighting of the village tree. Our youth group played at the Social Club draw and to finish the year we played at Budock Vean Hotel.
This coming year 2017 will see the band enter its 40th year since reforming. Although the band goes back to 1848 it has had a very chequered history, during the wars becoming the DCLI Volunteer band reverting back to CSB. And then becoming the Territorial band and again reverting back to CSB. It stopped in the late 1950s until our restarting in 1977 when two local residents were very upset about the absence of a band here in Constantine. They were Dougie and Frances Down. With the absence of a band, particularly noticeable during the 1977 Jubilee Carnival parade when the only music was provided by a local resident, Mr Meagor carrying a wireless alongside the procession.
The previous year Dougie had begun thinking about our Band which had dissolved in 1950s and was in a good position as he was working in the local Ruberry’s Garage and therefore was in contact with customers who were past players. Although he had mulled this over, it required a push from his wife Frances to get the ball rolling. Contacting past players and welcoming newcomers, they called the first exploratory meeting on 15th September 1977 to attempt to restart the band. Dougie was elected Chairman to entitle the Parish Council to retrieve old instruments which were on loan to another band.
Following this, the next meeting was on 13th October 1977 and Mr Goodale from Mawgan was made MD. On his election he welcomed the challenge and gave his services free for the first year. At the same time a committee was formed. They were as follows: Chairman D Down, Secretary Mrs D Pascoe, Treasurer Mr T Pascoe and other members were Mr D Rowe, Mr A Shipman, Mr I Shipman, Mr J Jorey, Mr A Tonkin and Mrs A Trewin.
The first practice was on 28th November 1977. Funds were much needed with no music and few instruments, most of which were in a poor condition and Dougie and Frances worked tirelessly towards this challenge and have continued to do so for the past 40 years. Frances with a typewriter, found in a dustbin at Ponjeravah, got busy with letters for sponsors and Vice Presidents. The Parish Council very kindly gave them £200 to help with the purchase of a baritone. Donald Rowe kindly gave £10 towards fundraising, along with Dougie Shepperd who also gave a donation of £10, on the condition that the newly formed band would hold a Carolaire on Port Navas Quay, which they have continued to do.
Over the past 40 years we have so many people who have played a large part in our continuation and we owe them a big thank you. Also at this time, we wish to express our thanks to all of our Vice Presidents, Sponsors, Constantine Parish Council, Constantine Social Club, Port Navas Regatta and all who have supported us in so many different ways helping us to support the village and its youth.