Mention brass bands and many will automatically think of the strongholds of Yorkshire and the North West. However, musical talents are equally found in areas across the Country, none more so than the South West and Cornwall in particular, where bands create a centre of musical activity astonishing for communities so small in size.

One of these long established groups is Cornwall’s very own Bodmin Town Band.  Records in the town’s museum show the existence of various instrumental groups dating back to the mid 19th century, one perhaps to mention being the ‘Bodmin Teetotal Fife and Drum Band’, said to have accompanied the Bodmin Riding in 1852.

However, such groups had all but disappeared by the turn of the century, and it was not until 1927 that the Bodmin Town Band was formed.

Contest successes after the 2nd World War saw the Band develop its status in the area, and these achievements were rewarded by the Band being promoted to the Championship Section in 1959, where it remained for over 40 years!

A host of experienced conductors, including W D Lawton, John Berryman, Alan Jenkins, and more recently Leonard Adams, Howard Taylor and Nicholas Childs, led the Band to achieve remarkable results in competitions over the years, including regular appearances at the National Brass Band Championships at London’s Royal Albert Hall, the Pontin’s Finals and the Whit Friday Marches.

As well as being keen to travel across the Country to both contests and concerts, the Band has always recognised the need to support those closer to home. Numerous prizes over the years at the West of England Bandsmen’s Festival at Bugle, the Band has also held the title Cornish Champions on a number of occasions.  However, these achievements are shadowed by the Band’s amazing record at the South West Brass Band Association Championships held each November, with over twenty victories!

Away from the contest platform, the Band has been equally at home playing to summer audiences throughout Cornwall, whether entertaining locals or visiting tourists from ‘up country’ alike. Equally, the Band has appeared at prestigious concerts with artists including Peter Skellern and Cornwall’s own Goff Richards.

The Band has also stepped in to the recording studio over the years, releasing a selection of CDs.

Recent years have perhaps seen challenging times for the brass band movement, and Bodmin has had more than its fair share of struggles in concentrating the attentions of players.  This downturn pales in to insignificance, however, when news broke to the banding world of a raging fire that tore through the Band’s rehearsal rooms in December 2009.  Arsonists completely destroyed the bandroom, including its entire set of instruments, percussion, uniforms and historic music library.

Yet the tragedy of fire has in fact galvanised support from local bandsmen desperate to ensure that the town of Bodmin does not go without a band it can call its own for long.  And so from the ashes of the fire and within earshot of the remains of its bandroom, Narissa Hall, 2010 saw Bodmin Town Band began the process of rebuilding a band for which the town will be proud for another 93 years to come!

In 2023 Bodmin Town Band returned to the Championship Section.