Lympstone Academy Brass
The Training Band dates back to the 1980s when the Lympstone Silver Band, now known as the swcomms Band, had depleted to about 12 players. Due to lack of young players in the band Wendy Howell (née Lee) started a training band with nine players from the village.
All new Training Band members joined the main band too. Wendy was teaching the youngsters and at around this time a local villager, Rodney Dingle took leadership of the Training Band.
In the 1990`s Colin Dance revived the Training Band and was able to encourage more players to join but, as often happens, the numbers fluctuated and started to drop once again. Colin himself had many other commitments and he moved on.
In 2001, the main band’s euphonium player, Sam Pope took over the reins. Sam lovingly referred to the band as her 'Baby Band'. She was left with eight children and one adult on bass, Roger Johnson, who also lived in the village. At this point the band was rehearsing in the youth club hut as repairs were being done to the Methodist Hall. Sam encouraged local residents, Roger Riggs and Richard Bound to join the band, along with their families.
Sam and the Training Band continued to be successful, growing in numbers and several players moved on to join the main band. Sam left in 2006 to move closer to her family, with the Training Band having grown to around 20 members.
Colin Dance, Tim Gittins and Bryony Snell re-started the process. Bryony introduced the Training Band to more modern music which held more appeal for the younger members.
In 2012, Roger Riggs was voted in as conductor of the Training Band as Colin and Tim stood down for personal reasons. At this time the Training band was averaging about 12 -15 players each week. Roger introduced a new feel for the band by encouraging parents to come along and play with their sons and daughters, even if they had little musical experience. He regularly asked what they wished to play and endeavoured to find the music they requested and this greatly assists in maintaining interest and enthusiasm week after week.
The band, now Lympstone Academy Brass, currently consists of 39 players of which one family has three generations in the band (five members). Three mums, all with two sons each, are members. One band mum has a son who is our percussionist. Two dads, with one son each are also members. Roger’s wife also plays as does their daughter.
There are many children and adults from the local region making it very much a family band. Several members of the main band attend when their other commitments allow and are a great help with developing the talents of the younger players.
The band rehearses in the swcomms band room in Lympstone on Saturday mornings between 10am-noon and are very active with engagements in the region.
The rehearsals are open and anyone interested in revitalising their skills or parents who have a child who wishes to be involved are more than welcome!