Newark Town Band

Entry to band contesting began in 1969 when the band played in contests at Buxton and Belle Vue though no prizes were won at these concerts.  Around this time Mr Robert English decided to step down as Musical Director and become a Trustee of the Band.  In 1970 Mr Walter Ritchie joined the band as Musical Director, he had also served in the Royal Air Force.  Under his directorship the band gained first place in the fourth section categories of both the City of Leicester and Wills Championships.  Winning the Wills Championships gave them automatic entry to the National Brass Band Championships held in the Royal Albert Hall in April 1971 where they came second in their section missing victory by 2 points but it gained the Band promotion from the 4th to the 3rd section.  Here they gained 4th place in the midlands heats of the National Championships in 1973 and 5th place in 1974.

Over the years the band has had several rehearsal rooms including the Rutland Arms (Barnbygate), a hut in the Friary Grounds (Friary Road), the old stables at The Ossington Hotel (Beastmarket Hill), a room above the Co-op (Kirkgate), The Woolpack Inn (Stodman Street), The Hawtonville Community Centre, Newark Evangelical Church (Portland Street), The Magnus School, the Newark Academy’s Lilley & Stone Site on London Road.  The current rehearsal room is at Bridge Community Centre on Lincoln Road.

Musical Directors over the years have included the late Mr Robert English, Mr Walter Ritchie, Mr Martin Hancock, the late Mr Jack Mathers, the late Mr Ronald James, Mr Derek Lusby, Mr Peter Footitt, Mr James Brincat-Smith and the present Musical Director, Mr Rupert Trippet.

In the 1980s membership of the Band began to decline, some younger players left to go to University, other members had career changes.  One member Mr Ian Greaves (Cornet) joined the Household Cavalry’s mounted band and was with them for over 20 years.  Mr George Smith (Eb Bass) joined the Brass ensemble of the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

On the 16 March 1988 at a Newark Town Council Meeting of the Financial and General Purposes Committee a decision was made to allow Newark Town Band to use the Towns Crest on letterheads, a uniform and music stand banners.