Town’s only community band wants more players

The Crawley Millennium Concert Band needs bassoonists, brass players, and percussionists.

Judy McMahon, retired, of Horsham, bandchairwoman, said it was the town’s only community band and new players would allow it to perform at more fee-paying venues.



She said: “I sincerely hope the band will continue to develop and grow.

“Music plays a substantial role in the school age population and the band provides them with the opportunity to continue to play when their days in the school and youth orchestra scene are over.”

The band has 33 members and rehearses on Monday evenings in Ifield West Community Centre, in Dobbins Place.

The group plays in a variety of musical styles including classical and film music.

Many of its members have played with the band since it was set-up in 1999.

Debbie Betts, 39, of Robin Close, a music teacher at St Wilfrid’s Catholic School, the band’s lead clarinetist, has played for it since it started.

She said: “We remain at heart a community band and when we perform in the town centre as part of Crawley Festival, or at St John’s for a Christmas Carol Service there is always a bustle of people and many smiling faces.

“It would be lovely to do more in the community if we had the opportunity but unfortunately many want the band to do things for free which we can’t do as we have to hire rehearsal space and pay our musical director.”

Debbie was made godmother to the children of a couple who met in the band.

The band has toured to Crawley’s twin town Dorsten in Germany, Ukraine, Poland, Hungary and Italy over the years.

Debbie added: “It has allowed many of us to make life-long friends.

“We’ve even had a couple of marriages and subsequent births from within the ranks and through the hard work and commitment of the committee members have toured the world.”

Chairwoman Judy McMahon joined the band in 2004 after she learnt to play the clarinet.

Her family bought her the instrument because she, a life-long pianist, wanted to play in with other musicians.

Judy said: “I really enjoy being part of the band, I have made new friends and been exposed to many different types of music.

“In retirement music has become much more important in my life and the band is an integral part of that.”

Judy had also tried her hand at the church organ, guitar and saxophone over the years.

She became the band’s chairwoman in 2011, leading its 11 committee members who oversee its running.

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