WELCOME

Making brass band music in Suffolk since 1859

The Band of the Royal British Legion, Leiston is, we think, the most easterly brass band in the UK; based in a small town just two miles off the coast of Suffolk within sight of the Sizewell power station and Minsmere Nature Reserve.

We are a social, non-contesting band and we perform locally throughout the year. We are available for hire for all sorts of functions from civic parades, to Remembrance Day services and garden parties. In the summer months we can be heard along the sea front in Aldeburgh and Southwold and in the December are quite likely to be found in the foyer of a local supermarket playing Christmas carols to entertain the shoppers. A few times a year we hire a local venue and put on a full concert and these are always well attended by locals and tourists alike.

We are unusual in that we are also a marching band and appear regularly at the Poppy Day races in Newmarket as well as a few times a year at Ipswich’s Foxhall Stadium where our circuit of the track is accompanied by banger racing cars (and some impressive pyrotechnics).

We have an active Training Band for those in the earlier stages of banding as well as our Main Band and new members are always welcome. New for 2020 will be our Drum School, an exciting new project to encourage people to learn or improve their drumming and become a part of our marching engagements.

As of the start of 2021, Covid-19 restrictions mean we are currently unable to meet as a band to rehearse but the Government roadmap is steering us towards getting together again in some form or another on 17th May and we are hoping to resume our full calendar of rehearsals and performances when the restrictions are further lifted in June

UPCOMING EVENTS

DatesVenueEvent detailsTimes
Friday 12th NovemberSpa Pavilion Felixstowe RBL
Festival of remembrance
19:30 tbc
Sunday November 14thLeiston
Victory Road to Church

Kelsale
PARADE & service



PARADE & service
09:50



p.m.
Sat
Nov 27th
Halesworth Christmas Lights




Aldeburgh Light up event
Carols & Christmas Music with Santa at the Church

Carols & Christmas Music outside OC Buthers & later on Moot Hall Green
16:50






15:00 – 17:00
Fri 3rd DecSaxmundham Christmas Light up eventCarols
& Christmas Music in the Old Post Office Square
(no parade)
Start playing at 17:00 to open event
Sat
Dec 4th
Leiston
“Lubbly Jubbly” Christmas event
Carols
& Christmas Music in the Old Post Office Square
(no parade)
Start playing at 14:00 to open event
Sun 5th DecAldringham Parrot & PunchbowlCarols & Christmas Music15:00 – 17:00
Friday Dec 10thSweffling ChurchChristmas Concert19:30
Prov date
Sat Dec 11th
Local area Care Homes and Leiston Co-opCarols & Christmas Music
Sun Dec 12thOrford ChurchChristmas Concert15:00
Sun Dec 19thSt Margaret’s Church LeistonChristmas Carol Concert15:00
Thurs
24th Dec
Post Office Square or LTAA LeistonChristmas Carol service18:00 for 18:30

Please contact us: secretary@.leistonband.org 07989 979810

OUR MUSICAL DIRECTOR

Peter Gray is a native of Strabane, Co.Tyrone Northern Ireland. He left his home town at the age of 15 to join the world of Military music where he served 16 years with the Band of The 1st Battalion The Royal Hampshire Regiment (known as the Tigers) and 9 years with The Staff Band of the Corps of Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers (known as the REME).

His service has taken him all over the world to such places as Hong Kong, USA, Canada, West Germany, Berlin, Holland, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Falkland Islands and the Gulf to name but a few, he has performed before Royalty, the Priminister and visiting heads of State on numerous occasions. His military service entitles him to wear the following medals; GSM, LS&GC, QSJM, Gulf War Medal, Saudi Medal (Desert Storm), The Freedom of Kuwait Liberation Medal, HKSM and the Cold War Medal. Having received injuries during the Gulf War in 1991 he was medically discharged from the REME Band on 31st July 1996.

His musical history lies evenly spread between Brass & Symphonic Wind Bands and he has conducted many bands in the South & East of England and contested at the Wessex Championships where he won his section with The Ringwood & Burley Band in Bournemouth as well as contesting at The East Anglian Championships at Norwich both playing and conducting.

He is very much an accomplished player on Brass valved instruments and in his spare time (when he gets some) he arranges music for the band as well as writing his own compositions.

If you have any musical enquiries and would like to contact the band’s musical director please use any of the following below.

email: Musical Director

Home Phone (answering machine) 01473 – 413723

Mobile: 07388868247

HISTORY

The Beginnings

The first mention of a band in Leiston was in the Suffolk Chronicle of 1859 although it is quite likely there was some form of band in the town before that. As with many English brass bands, the origins of the Leiston band would have been linked with the military and the call for local Volunteer Rifle Corps to be set up to defend the country against an anticipated Napoleonic invasion. The invasion never happened, but many of the band remained.

Leiston as a town has had a long association with the Garrett family who owned the engineering works in the town where they manufactured their steam engines using the then novel “long shop” method of production. The family were keen supporters of the Band, partly because if you were in the Band you were less likely to be indulging in one of the local pubs, and offered the use of the Works Hall for band and drill practice.

The Early Years (1880s to 1950s)

In 1886 the Garretts headed a list of donors who helped to buy the band a set of instruments, at a total cost of £110. These instruments were passed to the players in time to play for Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee celebrations in June 1887.

The Band maintained its connection with the Garretts in the early 20th century and in the 1920s they engaged the services of Joe Kyle, a Black Dyke Mills Band euphonium player, and the Leiston Town Band (as it was known then) had a successful period of contesting and in 1931 took part in the National Championships at Crystal Palace, although not at the top (Championship) section. The following year, the Garrett company went into receivership and the works were temporarily closed and it was at this time the band came under the auspices of the British Legion and has held the name ever since.

Long Shop Museum

RBL

The Later Years

The Band has maintained its links with the Royal British Legion both locally, nationally and internationally. Over the last few decades we have played as part of the Remembrance Services at the Menin Gate in Ypres in 2008 and performed concerts for the Irish British Legion in Tipperary in 2017. We have regular engagements locally as Leiston is a social active town with fetes and festivals throughout the year. We have for several years marched at the annual St George’s Day parade in Long Melford in the west of Suffolk and also at the annual Poppy Day races at Newmarket racecourse.

In 2019 five of our members were part of the Anglia Brass band who played in and around Amiens in civic concerts and at a service of remembrance at the War Memorial in Thiepval. Anglia Brass is formed from six different bands in the Anglia region and this was its first outing. A return visit in 2020 was cancelled due to Covid-19 but the group hope to return to France when restrictions allow and the Band of the Royal British Legion, Leiston will continue to be represented.

Anglia Brass

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