About the Band
The Isle of Wight Youth Concert Band started life in 1969 as the Bembridge Young Community Club Band. The BYCCB was founded by local police officer and youth leader Ray Rowsell and Police Sgt Richard Crabb, who appointed John Gower as conductor. The objective was to give young musicians the opportunity to perform together on a regular basis as an 'out of school' activity, and to enhance their musical ability. Their premier performance took place at Warners Holiday Village theatre in Bembridge on the evening of the 4th April 1970.
By the mid 1970s the Band was attracting players from all over the Island and was renamed the Isle of Wight Youth Concert Band. Maurice Keat, a serving Marine conductor, was appointed Musical Director and a commitee was formed to run the Band. In 1979 a Junior section was formed as a training Band under the baton of ex-Marine Col. Stan Hibberd, readying young musicians to the standard required to join the Youth Band. Again this Band developed beyond recognition and today is quite competent to perform and tour separately. The Island Youth Service assisted with the provision of transport for rehearsals and the Band started overseas touring, forging links with Ostholstein in Germany. As the Band continued to grow it's library and instrument holding grew with it. The Band became very popular and was in great demand at charity and civic events. This included the installation of the Governor of the Isle of Wight, two BBC Songs of Praise, Lord Louis Mountbatten Memorial Service at Carisbrooke Castle, the Cowes Week Yachting Presentations at the R.Y.S. (including performances at the powerboat presentations and Cowes Fireworks). They have also performed in front of most of the Royal Family. The bands committee have been actively seeking experiences in order for its members to broaden their outlook, develop further their performance skills and be introduced to new musical experiences.
Over the years the Bands' have toured extensively throughout Europe and in 1982 & 1990 visited the USA. They have competed in music festivals, attended workshops, made a number of recordings and performed at some memorable venues. The Band has been fortunate to have had the benefit of the experience of a number of Musical Directors, each adding to the Band's stature. Those not already mentioned include David Ventura, David Yates, Frank Wheeler, Roger Holmes, and the current leader Martyn Stroud. Today, between them, the Bands' have some 40 musicians rehearsing weekly and preparing for concerts throughout the year. The well-being of the two bands falls on the shoulders of the dedicated volunteer Advisory Committee members, who are responsible for the band's function and continued development.
(Excerpts from Alan Hodge, former Chairman of the IOWYCB and Martyn Stroud.)