Ottery Silver Band’s instrument bid

Half of popular band’s instruments need replacing

MEMBERS of Ottery’s popular Silver Band need to raise thousands of pounds to replace half its ageing instruments so they can keep hitting the high notes for decades to come.

Ten to 12 of the group’s brass equipment needs to be upgraded at a cost of more than �20,000.

Some of the instruments are older than the talented musicians playing them and have been in use for more than half a century.

“Brass instruments don’t improve with age,” said band member of 50 years Brian Baker, also committee member.

“The problem is the older the instrument, the more it begins to leak, becomes more difficult to play and harder to get in tune.

“Half the instruments need replacing, it’s a question of priorities. Leaving them would mean we’re not a full potential- not hitting the high notes.

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“First we’re aiming to replace one of the tenor horns, which is still being played and is between 50 and 60 years old. That will costs �2,500.

“In the past we would have looked for grant funding, but in the economic climate there’s little to do.”

The band’s quest got off to a flying start last Sunday when a sell-out concert at The Tumbling Weir Hotel raised �300.

Around 100 people enjoyed the event, hosted by the Rotary Club of Otter Valley.

The band has also raised summer funds with a series of weekly concerts in Connaught Gardens, Sidmouth, the last of which took place on Tuesday.

“We’re on our way now,” said Brian, “this time next year we hope to have five (instruments) done. We’ve done it before and replaced about ten in 1990.”

Guest compere Nick Agg-Manning fronted last Sunday’s concert treat.

“The rain held off and it was a successful afternoon,” said Brian.