The band was formed by the Temperance Society in 1886, when an old set of instruments was purchased from Rushden Temperance Band. Twelve months after the band was established, they took part in their first concert which was held in Upper Dean to celebrate Queen Victoria’ s Jubilee in 1887. It was to be a further 4 years before the band could afford to purchase new instruments. From the outset, the Band was very much a family concern with several members of some families playing at any one time, as is still the case today. Here is an early photograph taken soon after the formation of the Band.
Raunds produced a number of musical groups in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s as photographs exist showing the Raunds Town Band in about 1870, Raunds Men’s Own Brotherhood Band and Raunds Adult School Prize Choir, both taken around 1909.
In 1905, the Band led the march to London by the footwear workers who were fighting for decent conditions and a working wage.
The band has brought a great deal of credit to the small town of Raunds, and has won many prizes in national competitions. For example, in the 1920’s they achieved a 2nd place at Crystal Palace and a 1st and 4th at Skegness, also winning a Deportment prize of £110 which was a fortune in those days. In the 1930’s, 1st prize went to the band in the League of Bands Contest of Great Britain.
During the war years, the band survived and carried on playing only through the dedication of a handful of older men who were too old to serve and a group of up and coming 10 to 12 year old boys eager to progress their talents.
The picture on the left shows the Band playing in the VE Day celebrations held in Raunds to mark the end of the war.
After 1952, when Raunds Temperance Band last competed at Championship level, the band fell in the rankings, finally competing in the Second Section in 1975 before withdrawing from competition altogether. In 1983, and with a very young band, it was decided to re-commence competing again in the Fourth Section, but the result was not good and this strategy was dismissed again.
A turning point in the Band's fortunes came when Musical Director, John Fletcher, was appointed in 1996.
With his enthusiasm, he took over a small group of players and began the task of rebuilding the band and contesting again. Under his guidance, Raunds are possibly the biggest recent success story in the Midlands area, having risen from 4th section in the year 2000 to accepting their invitation to join the areas elite bands in the Championship Section from January 2007.
However, in May 2006 John Fletcher resigned due to personal circumstances before he had the chance to take the Band forward to the Championship Section challenges. We would like to place on record our gratitude for all the success and enjoyment he gave the Band over the 10 years he held the position.
In October 2006 the band appointed Jonathan Mott as its new Musical Director. The band benefitted greatly from his enthusiasm and musical expertise. He took us in the Championship Section where we went to two areas and competed amongst some of the best bands in the region. The band thank him for all his hard work and commitment during his time at Raunds.
Over the following months, the band worked with a number of Musical Directors for their rehearsal and concert schedule, including Trevor Groom, David Read MBE, Dave Goswell, Ian Rayner, Nathan Waterman and John Berryman. This was a hugely rewarding experience for all involved and the band would like to thank them for their variety of musical input and help. It was most beneficial and invaluable to the players.
Following an audition process over the summer of 2009, Robin Norman was appointed as Musical Director. During Robin's 8 year tenure, the band enjoyed a period of contesting stability between the 1st and 2nd sections. On the concert stage, Robin's enthusiasm (and infamous joke book) made for some entertaining performances! With the departure of Robin to concentrate on his tuba playing, the band once again entered an audition process to find a suitable replacement, resulting in the setup of Professional Conductor and Resident Conductor. Jonathan Pippen was appointed as the former, concentrating on contests and major concerts, working together with young conductor and tuba player James Hobbis. Making an immediate impact, wins at Butlins and the Area followed within a year! With a move up to Leeds ending James' work with the band, Martin Dawson joined our conducting team in 2019.