The band has, since its beginning days, prided itself in being totally student run and open, without audition, to any student or member of the local community who plays an instrument. There are numerous events which take place throughout the year, including Christmas, Spring and Summer concerts. Subscriptions in 1984 were just 50p per year. However, 30 years on, they are now £5.
Since the band started it has always been a society of the Students’ Union. Whilst the Students’ Union provides financial and other support to the band the relationship is certainly two-way, the band having performed at Rag Week events and of course the members spend a vast amount of money in the many Union bars! To the best of our knowledge at least three of the Unions’ sabbatical officers in the last twenty years have at some point during their time at Keele been members of the Band.
During the 1990’s the Band entered the National Concert Band Festival and won several awards, establishing them as one of the top university concert bands in the country. The band is still as popular and as successful as ever, performing to sell-out audiences all over the country.
1992 saw the arrival of the first band sweatshirt complete with an “Octopus” logo designed by one of the band members. In 1997 a band t-shirt was produced for the Results Day Raft Race at which the Band not only performed but also entered a raft! The Octopus logo was abandoned in 1993 in favour of a Penguin which was launched in 1994 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Band. However, the Penguin logo was unpopular with the band members and was itself abandoned in 1995.
In 1995, the first Keele Concert Band Tour took place in Prague during the Easter holidays. Since then the onslaught of Europe has continued unabated and the band has undertaken tours to Italy, Spain, Austria, Belgium, Malta, Poland, France, Germany, Holland, UK, Switzerland, Czech Republic and Liechtenstein performing various concerts throughout the course of the week, whilst at the same time trying to fit in as much sightseeing and partying as possible.
The tours and various committees have now all produced their own range of KCB-wear which consists of fleeces and polo shirts in a kaleidoscope of colours ranging from a tasteful green to a shocking pink.
However, the band is not just there purely for the music. It is also a great way to meet people and there are plenty of social events arranged throughout the course of the academic year. There are the now legendary ‘post-concert’ parties, and over the last few years the band has been karting, had a firework party, and celebrated various events, such as Halloween, Christmas, or just the fact that it’s Sunday and rehearsal has finished!
The one overriding aim that Keele University Concert Band has always had is to “keep people playing”. If a student that would otherwise stop playing when they came to university carries on playing as a result of joining the band, then this is a success. Many players return home or go on to start their careers after finishing university and find a local band to perform with. Unless they had played at Keele, the likelihood is that their instrument would have been resigned to life tucked under the bed gathering dust.
In 2009 the band celebrated its 25 year anniversary with a concert involving members past and present. Over 70 former performers were in attendance, including three of the original founding members. In 2014 the band will be celebrated its 30 year anniversary. Please come back to this website for more details!
Location: Keele, United Kingdom
Founded: September 2009
Keele University Brass Band