Silver band concert will mark 125 years

Veteran band leader and cornet player Frank Wolff, centre, has been involved in the City of Oxford Silver Band for nearly 60 years. Picture: OX54890 Jon Lewis

Mr Wolff, right, in 1975 in Oxford leaving for a concert tour of Germany and Holland.

Members of the band dismantle a hut that was to be re-erected as a band room in Cowley in 1957.

First published in News thisisoxfordshire: Photograph of the Author by

TRUMPETS will sound as the City of Oxford Silver Band celebrates its 125th anniversary.

Since its foundation as the Headington Silver Band in 1887, the group has played hundreds of concerts, trained thousands of young people and even built its own headquarters.

It will celebrate the landmark anniversary with a concert on November 4.

The event will raise cash for the ROSY charity, which supports respite care for sick children in Oxfordshire.

President Frank Wolff, 82, said the band has played a huge part in his life since he arrived in the UK from The Netherlands almost 60 years ago.

He said: “There are so many good things about it, I’ve got some fantastic things out of it, it’s been a great thing to be involved in.

“My two daughters Marilyn and Elaine grew up in the band and they went on to the Royal Academy.”

The band rose to prominence after winning a trophy at a post-war competition in Manchester.

Mr Wolff said: “I think this is really what gave them a push. They changed the name to the Headington Silver Prize Band.”

But it wasn’t until 1952 that the band won the right to use the city’s name in its title, and it has been the “City of Oxford Silver Band” ever since.

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For a while in the 1950s, the band met at what was Bedford House in Cowley until it got hold of land off Crescent Road to build its own headquarters, where it still meets to this day.

Mr Wolff said: “The first stone was laid by Alderman Parker in 1966. It was good because we had something where we could close the door and get on with our work.

“Those were the days of Cyril Challis, or ‘Nobby’ as we used to call him. He trained children in their hundreds as the musical director.”

The band continued to flourish into the 21st century, and will perform with guest soloist Steve Sykes at the concert on November 4.

It will take place from 7.30pm at the Cowley Conservative Club, with tickets priced at £5 per head, with £3 concession tickets available.

There will be a fully-licenced bar and a raffle.

  • For details, visit cosb.co.uk

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