Sidmouth Town Band signs on the dotted line for dream HQ

Fiona Harvey (principle cornet) Adrian Harvey (Musical Director) Val Howells (Band President) Martin

Fiona Harvey (principle cornet) Adrian Harvey (Musical Director) Val Howells (Band President) Martin Cordy (band chariman) outside St Francis Hall. CREDIT: Kyle Baker - Credit: Archant

It is an exciting time for music in the valley as Sidmouth Town Band has succeeded in its quest to find a new HQ.

St Francis Church Hall. Ref shs 18 18TI 2058. Picture: Terry Ife

St Francis Church Hall. Ref shs 18 18TI 2058. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

The group’s new rehearsal venue will be in St Francis Church Hall, after signing to take over the leasehold of the building from June 1.

It comes exactly two years after members’ dreams were shattered when they were unable to meet the £350,000 price tag to buy the United Reformed Church.

It will mean leaving the band’s home of 60 years at Woolcombe House but chairman Martin Cordy said the vital move was necessary for securing its future as the current space had poor acoustics and had become cramped.

Mr Cordy, who led the project, thanked Sidmouth Town Council for providing its home over the last six decades and the Friends of the Band for raising money over the last two years.

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He said: “The lease has been officially signed, and the band can now make plans to realise all its dreams of creating not just an outstanding rehearsal venue, but also an innovative space for music tuition, concerts and other events for the arts in East Devon.

“The new band room will help secure the future of brass banding in Sidmouth for at least the next 25 years and will enable us to continue to provide entertainment for people in the Sid Valley for years to come.”

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“Grants will still need to be applied for, but the fundraising so far has given the band the encouragement and motivation to continue with what has, at times, felt an impossible task.”

The band’s plans include building storage for the instruments and music, and a moveable wall to allow set-up to remain in place, while other activities take place in the hall.

Members also have ambitions to expand the training band and run workshop sessions.

Adrian Harvey, musical director, added his thanks to the St Francis Church Hall committee for helping make the plans a reality.

He said: “The work doesn’t stop here. This project is about future-proofing Sidmouth Town Band, by developing the current players and aspiring for musical excellence.

“This in turn will encourage new players to learn an instrument, and we are totally committed to providing free tuition, instruments and music for the next generation of brass players.”

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