Sidmouth Town Band eye up 2020 start for brass academy

Sidmouth Rotary Club President Keith Walton, and the organiser of the swim Nigel Sharp, presents a c

Sidmouth Rotary Club President Keith Walton, and the organiser of the swim Nigel Sharp, presents a cheque to Martin Cordy the chairman of Sidmouth Town Band. Ref shs 12-17TI 9284. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Building regulation delays have pushed the launch of a long-awaited brass academy into 2020.

Martin Cordy, chairman of Sidmouth Town Band, told the town council on Monday (October 7) about his hopes to 'push on' with the scheme next year to inspire a new generation of musicians to learn an instrument.

The academy will be based at its new headquarters in St Francis Hall and is currently awaiting the green light from building control to begin minor building works and refurbishments.

The band moved to the hall from Woolcombe House in 2018, which was its base for seven decades.

Mr Cordy said: "We believe in setting up an academy we wanted to be in a clean light airy set-up with appropriate facilities for bringing children in for education and where we have enough room to do one-to-one tuitions.

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"We are hopeful to get building control later this month or next month which will allow us to do the work in the first quarter of 2020 and we can really push on with the academy."

He thanked the town council for its support, and a grant received last year has already been invested in new instruments and music for the academy.

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Mr Cordy said: "That is very much a key step for us, we have put that into the future of music.

"We have had a band in Sidmouth for 150 years making us one of the oldest. Yes, we have done really well as a current band but none of us that are playing are getting any younger and as chairman it is my absolute drive and passion to have a band in Sidmouth for many years to come as it's only through investing our time and effort and support from the town council we can do that."

The band achieved its highest ever result in its history after coming third in the national competition last month - making it the second best brass band in Devon.

Mr Cordy said: "It puts brass banding in Sidmouth and music in Sidmouth back and centre on the map.

"Whilst that is great for the band it is really important we keep our profile, it keeps bringing more and more youngsters into the band and attract more and more people into the town to come and see us play."

The band's chairman said the group would be branching into more collaboration after teaming up with folk performer Steve Knightley at this year's Sidmouth Folk Festival.

Mr Cordy said: "We are looking to do more collaborative work with him to bring brass music really into the forefront of the folk agenda and actually engaging with a new market, which can only be good dispelling the myth that all we play are marches, hymn tunes and we're a bit old school."

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