Stockport Schools’ Brass Bands (SSBB) has its origins in the Stockport Schools Music Teachers Association. It was back in 1978 that Ken Thomas, a newly appointed music teacher in Stockport, was asked to put together a central Brass Band. Ken canvassed opinion, visited schools, sent invitations and was a man with a mission. The auditions took place at Stockport College at the end of the Summer Term in 1978 and the response was overwhelming. By the end of the audition weekend two bands had been formed and a concert was performed on the Sunday evening.
Mike Greaves took on the Prep Band and after a couple of rehearsals with Ken’s brother Stan (an ex-bandmaster with the Royal Marines) Bob Wyatt took on the Senior Band. Bob stayed as MD of the Senior Band for 17 years only giving up his post as Senior Band MD in 1995, when he handed over the baton to Colin Duxbury.
The administration and running of this new organisation was going to be enormous and an impromptu parents’ meeting was held with over 80 people turning up. From that a committee of 15 was elected, with Ken Thomas taking on the roles of Chairman and Administrator.
That first year went very well. It was decided to have a grand concert the following year in the Town Hall and every band member was asked to sell ten tickets so that the place would be filled and a profit would be made for the funds. It was an amazing event and the result of a year of hard work to establish the bands. Key people in those first few years were Cliff Colwell and Helen Coll, as well as Ken, Bob and Mike. Helen ran all the admin before she passed the role over to Gill Scourfield who was administrator for 20 years.
Gill applied for a grant from Littlewoods to run an “open” Saturday morning for beginners and the grant paid for a 10 week session and some new instruments. Thus it was that the Junior Band began and the Prep Band changed its name to the Intermediate Band.
And this is the structure that remains today.
SSBB retains the original ethos that Ken established back in 1978. A fully inclusive band with opportunities for players of all standards and ambitions.
SSBB will be celebrating its 40th year in 2018 and plans for a celebration are already under way.