About Cressbrook Band
Cressbrook Band are a non-competing band based in the Peak District village of Cressbrook, a few miles from Bakewell. It is one of the oldest bands in the area and is self-funding, raising money through subscriptions, concert fees and other fund-raising activities.
A video of the Band playing outside Cressbrook Mill on Christmas Day 2009
Cressbrook was a mill village and the band was formed in 1880 with the help of the mill owners. The story is that the instruments cost £80 and were delivered to Monsal Dale station. The local men rushed down to the station to unpack them and came back up the valley making a cacophony of wierd noises. Not much change from the present then.
The band provide musical suport for village events throughout the year - especially during Gala Week in early June and around Christmas. On Gala Day they lead a procession through the village to bless the various wells and well-dressings and play a concert outside Cressbrook Club. At the end of Gala Week they lead a torchlight procession around the village playing a local tune known as the 'Morris Dance'. This format is then repeated at the nearby village of Litton at their well-dressings a few weeks later in the year.
Christmas is a busy time for the band. They play carol concerts at a range of local venues, ranging from Cressbrook Church to Peak Cavern. Then on Christmas Day it is traditional for a select group of band members to tour the village playing carols and other traditional tunes. This naturally leads to invitations of hospitality from the local residents, which usually means that by the end of their tour the playing is rather less than perfectly co-ordinated. This format is then repeated on Boxing Day around the hamlet of Litton Slack and the nearby village of Litton.
The band also undertake a range of other engagements around the year. Some of these are annual events, such as the Cressbrook Harvest Festival service at the church, and a variety of well-dressing events to which the band often returns year after year. Others are 'one-offs', such as garden parties, christenings, weddings, funerals and family celebrations. This is typical of most of the local bands.
The current joint musical directors are Brian Bingham and Helen Thurlby. Brian was born in the village and joined the band at the age of 7. He is now 77. Helen was one of Brian's pupils and became the band's lead euphonium player and like Brian has also had spells conducting nearby Tideswell Band for several years.
Until the 1970s the band was all male, but then several daughters (as well as sons) of band members were taught how to play and then went on to join the band. Nowadays the gender balance is roughly even and about 50% of the players live within the village - not bad a for a village with a population of 150.
The band practise on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, from 8.00pm to 9.30pm, at Cressbrook Club. Visiting players are welcome! To find this location follow this link.