Brian Gordon who has been a member of the Melton Mowbray Toy Soldiers Band for 60 years spoke to the Melton Times about
Q What is your background and how did you get involved with the band?
A I was a maintenance engineer before I retired nearly five years ago.
I joined the band in 1955 when my eldest brother was was also a member, and that really is the reason I joined. “I liked the company that much I bought it.”
Q What does your role as secretary involve?
A My role as secretary involves obtaining bookings for the band, managing the uniforms and instruments, upkeep of the Band Room, managing our Social Club and being the licensee of it. Performing with the band and driving the coach, in fact anything that needs doing I do.
Q Can you tell me a little bit about the history of the band?
A The band was formed in 1936 by Mr J Hatton and Mr Algy Sisson. They took children from the age of nine, taught them to march, play a musical instrument and travel to various venues to help charities raise funds for their various causes. In fact, this is still what we do.
Q When and where do you practise?
A We practise in our own Band Room, which we had to build ourselves, on Monday evenings from 7pm until to 9pm during the winter.
We learn new tunes and polish new marching routines ready for the summer. From around April onwards we practise on the Egerton Park, with the kind permission of the Melton Town Estate, on Mondays and Fridays from 7pm until 8.30pm. We learn marching displays that we will perform in arenas’ countrywide.
Q What are some of the most prestigious events you’ve played at over the years?
A We have performed in the USA, won a World Championship for marching bands in the Isle of Man which was the last championship held, and in Germany.
We have won many competitions including league championships and an inter league championship in the Granby Halls before it was demolished.
We have led our section twice in the Edinburgh Military Tattoo Parade. We also perform illuminated displays and parades.
Q How many members are there?
A We only have 18 members and I could do with at least 15 more. We have tried to recruit by word of mouth, posters, leaflets and through an article in the Melton Times all to no avail. We would like to play more in Melton and the surrounding district to try and attract new members.
Q What qualities make the band stand out?
A We take children, youths and adults from the Melton area and teach them to play musical instruments of their choice.
We take them all over the country performing in parades, galas, carnivals and sometimes in front of thousands of spectators. We instil discipline and self esteem into them and this means they are more likely to be responsible members of the community and stay on the right side of the law.
l For more details visit www.meltonmowbraytoysoldiers.co.uk/