In the beginning…
Haverhill, a thriving market town on the Suffolk/Cambridgshire border, has been home to bands since the 19th century (in those days bands included woodwind instruments too). One of the earliest photographs we have is from 1857 (shown here) and it depicts of one of two bands that would later amalgamate to become Haverhill Silver Band: The Shepherds and the Oddfellows.
It was in 1924 that we believe that the Shepherds and Oddfellows joined together to form the Haverhill Co-operative Band, which was later renamed Haverhill Silver Band.
60s, 70s, 80s & 90s
In the 1960s the band was very much a part of the local community, often performing in the bandstand which stood at the top of the Recreation Ground, near to Recreation Road. Les Ager, was principal cornet for five years after returning from National Service and was later conductor from 1964-1971. Charlie Hulyer then took over as MD until Les returned in the mid 1970s.
From the mid 1970s the band then enjoyed a resurgence, as Les steered them to a number of competition successes at national level and in 1983 the band performed in the Section 3 Finals which were held that year at the Royal Albert Hall. In 1974, Les introduced “Carols For All”, now a popular annual event at the town’s Old Independent Church and he also instigated the band’s first recording, an LP entitled “Haverhill Silver Band In Concert”, in 1982.
Heavily involved in the local Operatic Society, Les handed the conductor’s baton to Charles Shipp. Charles played euphonium in the Haverhill Salvation Army Band, Haverhill Silver and then the Cambridge Co-op Band. He took the helm having conducted the Cambridge Band and steered Haverhill to top section status. The first CD made by the band was “Song and Dance”, recorded in 1999 under Charles’ leadership.
The new millenium
Mark Ager took over directorship from Charles and the band consolidated its position, attaining top section status once more after its stunning achievements in 2006 First Section competitions. The band was awarded first prize in the Butlin’s Mineworkers Open Championship in January 2006 and also achieved first position in that year’s First Section area.
In 2017, the band had it’s most successful ever contesting year, finishing 4th in the Championship Section at the L&SC Area Contest, followed by a 6th place at the All England International Masters.
Haverhill Silver Band continues to entertain audiences both locally and further afield. If you would like to hear the band live, please look at our events page to learn where we will soon be performing.