The early 1930’s saw a large number of Bands being formed in the Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Northamptonshire areas, to give the young and not so young “something to do”. No computers and television in those days.
These types of Bands (Carnival Bands), consisted mainly of Drums, Kazoo, Fifes Drums and similar Instruments,and were all that the members could afford. Eventually Brass and Woodwind Instruments were introduced , and the Bands were able to improve their Musical ability and play a far greater range of tunes, Very soon a keen rivalry grew between the bands to see who was the best. This was the signal to organise Band Competitions. These have since become a feature of Carnivals and such like up and down the Country.
Besides giving enjoyment to its members, the Band was quickly called upon by the organisers of Carnivals, Fete’s, Gala’s etc, to provide Musical Marching Displays for the Arena, and also to take part Street Parades and Processions. Most of these events were organised to raise funds for local Hospitals in the area. No N.H.S. was available at the time.
Whilst other Bands tended to be formed by works committees. the BREASTON HIGHLANDERS were formed as a result of the local Scouts being called upon to play a fanfare for the Carnival Queen at the first Long Eaton Carnival in September 1931.Unfortunately they missed their cue whilst speeches were being made, and Mr Clarence Travers the Scout Leader stepped in to take over and got the lads organised. From this situation the nucleus of the Band was formed.
The Band was originally called The Breaston Carnival Band and after the first couple of years ,and as a result of a committee meeting, the name was changed to the Breaston Highlanders Band, and they adopted the full Scottish Uniform of Hunting Stewart Tartan Kilts, Scarlet Jackets, White Belts, White Spats, with Sporrans and Glengarry’s, a sight not to be missed.
Initially, the Band played Bugles, Fifes, and Drums,(A Bass Drum and 3 Side Drums werepurchased from a fellow band for the princely sum of £2.00.) Subsequently Brass Instruments were obtained and later still, Bagpipes were introduced, which enabled an Highland Dancing Section to be formed.
The Band was quickly establishing a reputation for its self, having won the first Competition it had entered, and was gradually starting to display its talent in the Derbyshire and surrounding areas. This continued until the outbreak of the 1939/45 War, by which time the Band had gained over 75 prizes in Band Contests. The Band managed to keep together during the War years ,and although many of its members were called up to serve their counntry, and despite leaving the Band depleted, they were able to resume activities afterwards with their first engagement at Draycott, Derbyshire on VJ Day, 2th. August. 1945.
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