Former Melton marching band members invited to take part in new film

Former members of Melton’s iconic marching bands are being invited to take part in a new film being made by a star of the Hollyoaks soap and the upcoming new series of the top-rated Peaky Blinders series.

Friday, 29th October 2021, 6:17 pm
Melton Mowbray Tally Ho entertaiin on the field at a fete
Photo: SG090612-152TW www.spaldingtoday.co.uk/buyaphoto EMN-211029-180600001
Melton Mowbray Tally Ho entertaiin on the field at a fete Photo: SG090612-152TW www.spaldingtoday.co.uk/buyaphoto EMN-211029-180600001

Actor, writer and director David Chabeaux is making the documentary to celebrate the heyday of the East Midlands carnival bands in the latter half of the 20th Century in memory of his grandfather, Maurice ‘Moz’ Ward, who led the Derby Serenaders Showband.

Among those David wants to be involved are people who played with Melton Mowbray Toy Soldiers and the Melton Mowbray Tally Ho’s in the late 1970s ‘80s and ‘90s.

Moz’s music and leadership inspired thousands of other musicians in carnival and marching bands across towns and cities throughout the region.

Actor and writer David Chabeaux, who is making a documentary film about the heyday of marching bands in the East Midlands EMN-211029-175958001

David (45), said: “Moz was my grandfather so I literally grew up around this extraordinary man and musical community.

“I’ve been attracted to the idea of this project for a long time because the subject matter has never left me.

“My grandfather’s story is obviously very important to me and I’m interested in the journey he took – as a musician, leader and a working-class man – inspiring me and so many others, with the promise of money and stuff nowhere in sight.

“The film is an exploration of what it really means to belong, and what that might mean in today’s world.”

Moz Ward, who has inspired a documentary film about the heyday of marching bands in the East Midlands EMN-211029-180009001

At one time there were around 100 carnival bands across the area, including the two Melton bands, with thousands of players aged from six to 70 performing in fabulously eye-catching costumes at carnivals in the UK and abroad.

Similar to the colliery brass bands featured in the film Brassed Off, the carnival bands were made up of workmates at local factories as well as their families and friends, who gave up hours of their spare time to practise playing instruments and marching, giving performances and travelling to competitions.

David, who was born into the Derby Serenaders, will use his documentary to share behind-the-scenes and archive footage and photographs to tell the story of his granddad’s involvement with the banding movement and look back at the competitions, stories and performances of other UK bands.

But he will also reflect on how the demise of the banding movement in the 1990s has left many members, including his father Brian, with a huge sense of loss, and how in today’s world people lack the togetherness and sense of belonging that the banding movement gave its participants back in the day.

Melton's Toy Soldiers Marching Band tune up before their display at Eastwell Fete two years ago PHOTO: Tim Williams EMN-211029-180155001

David added: “I was two days old when my mum and dad took me on the Serenaders band bus for the first time.

“My granddad taught me to read and arrange music as well as to play the trumpet, the euphonium and the trombone.

“I have never known a belonging or a community like it. I miss what it means, and I particularly miss the Serenaders. I can only imagine how many of the thousands of other members of the bands we used to come across at events and competitions feel the same way.

“I want to protect the legacy of the band movement before it’s all forgotten, which is why it would be brilliant to reach out to other former band members from the Melton Mowbray Toy Soldiers and Tally Ho’s to find out about their experiences too.”

David has already raised £35,000 and pre-production of the film is now complete.

He needs to raise £250,000 in order to complete the filming of the documentary, which will also involve contributions from the USA, South Africa and Scandinavia, where marching bands are still extremely popular.

If he gets the funding then he hopes to hold the premiere perhaps as early as next summer.

Go to www.mozs.band if you are a former Melton band member and would like to take part in the film.