Originating back in the early 1850's the band was formed from money left over from a fund established by the 'Ladies of Chester', to buy a present for Queen Victoria. The money was donated to the Blue Coat School Foundation, and so the Blue Coat Band came about. With a likely formation date of 1853, the band celebrated its 150th Birthday in 2003!
Today the band proudly carries the City name and is totally self-supporting as a registered charity, with its own band room in Bedward Row. In 1997, the band was successful in obtaining a Lottery Grant that enabled the purchase of new instruments and widen the public access to the band and brass band music and the formation of our now thriving Training Band. Currently, rehearsals are held on Monday and Wednesday nights from 8:0pm in the band room. Experienced players are always welcome to come and join us for a 'blow'.
2002 saw The City of Chester Band, under the leadership of Derek Mitchell, promoted to the 3rd section in contest banding. Derek retired in 2004, handing the baton over to Philip Mottershead (pictured right). The current contest band now contains several "graduates" from the Training Band. Unfortunately the band dropped back to the 4th section following the 2009 regional competition - but is fighting hard for promotion in 2013. In addition to contesting, both bands have a challenging playing schedule, performing separately and together at a range of functions throughout the year. Village fetes, City parades including St Georges Day, The Lord Mayor's Parade and Remembrance Sunday, weddings, charity events and a host of seasonal celebrations. You can also catch them playing in and around the City centre and of course on The Groves bandstand by the river.
March 2013 saw the band post its most succesful placing in the North West Brass Band Championships by winning the 4th section. This was a fantatstic achievement by the band, due mainly to the excellent reading of the music by our MD, Phil Mottershead. Following the contest Phil 'hung up his baton' to spend more time with Jane, his wife at their holiday home in Cumbria.
As a result of Phil's 'retirement' Malcolm Peach has been appointed as the Band's new Musical Director. As a Music Teacher by profession, Malcolm brings a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm to the band. We are very much looking forwards to working closely with Malcolm over the coming months.
Although no longer known as The Blue Coat Band, the link with the past is maintained through their distinctive blue uniform. The jacket also carries the famous Eastgate Clock, recognisable around the world as a symbol of Chester. A heritage the band is proud to represent, over 150 years after they first made music in Chester!
Band members come from all walks of life, and the age range runs from 8 to 80! Not all have played since childhood; several current senior band players only took up brass playing as adults. Critical to the success of any band is the support from non-playing members and parents. The band is a real family with a regular series of social events.
A brass band comprises 25 players, plus percussionists. When you watch the band play, see if you can spot the following instruments: Soprano Cornet, Repiano Cornet, Solo Cornets, 2nd and 3rd Cornets, Flugel Horn, Tenor Horns, Baritones, Euphoniums, Trombones, Basses!
Follow the links to learn more of the Lottery Grant and to check out the Band Members , and don't forget to revisit our site to learn more of the band's history over the coming months as we add more history in words and pictures.