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A new brass band comprising of 28 talented local musicians will celebrate its first birthday with a special concert in Binstead next month.

Abbey Brass was the brainchild of Anthony Hebditch, who with friends Cliff Parker and Andrew Croucher established the band during the coronavirus lockdown.

The band met for the first time in July 2021 and held its inaugural concert just 3 months later.

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During its formative stage, Abbey Brass was conducted by Cliff who had had a distinguished career as a musician with the Grenadier Guards. A Christmas concert at Quarr Abbey and a fundraising concert for Ukraine were highlights of a busy year.

In February, Tony Smallwood was appointed Musical Director. Tony enjoyed a 30-year career with the Royal Marines Band Service travelling the world as a piano and cornet player in the Royal Yacht Britannia. Tony studied orchestral conducting for 2 years at Trinity College London, where he was awarded the Ricordi Conducting prize for the overall best student. He went on to become Director of Music of both the Royal Marines Band Scotland, and the ‘Royal Band’ based in Portsmouth in the rank of Major.

The band has achieved a great deal in 12 months and had a lucky break when it inherited a valuable library of music from Hannington Band, enabling it to provide programmes suitable for any occasion.

Abbey Brass is now 28 musicians strong and is preparing for a special first year anniversary concert at Binstead Methodist Church on Saturday 16th July at 19:30.

More concerts have been arranged at Shankliin and Ryde later in the summer.

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