Musical director wants to bring Chichester City Band back home

Chichester City Band.Picture by Kate Shemilt C130513-1

Chichester City Band.Picture by Kate Shemilt C130513-1

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Chichester City Band’s new musical director Tim Cooper has outlined ambitious plans for the band as it seeks a permanent base in its home city.

Currently the band operates from the Jeneses Centre in Bognor Regis, but retired major Tim would love to see them back in Chichester.

“The Jeneses Centre is not ideal though they are very, very accommodating. They are really nice people, but ideally we would be in Chichester.”

Anyone with any suggestions should get in contact with the band via their website. Anyone helping could just be in at the start of a glorious new era for the band.

Tim, who served as director of music of The Band of the Blues and Royals from 2007 until retiring from the army in 2011, is hoping effectively to triple the band’s membership – and is keen (via the website) to hear from anyone interested in joining. There are currently vacancies in all instruments.

“Our chairman Howard (Smith) is extremely ambitious for the band, and our idea is to bring the band on to form three bands so that the pinnacle of our skills would be a contesting band that would compete against other bands. That’s quite a discipline and a real challenge for me, to be bringing pieces up to competition level.

“And then we would have our civic or function band. We are the Chichester city band. The mayor of Chichester is our patron. We do perform certain civic duties, and it was a great honour to conduct the Remembrance service in Chichester. We also often perform in Chichester city centre.

“The third band we want is to bring on is a training band, to bring on young musicians and train them, to bring on junior members and young children or maybe up-and-coming adults, people who just want to learn. We have got some marvellous teachers and instruments as well. Anyone interested should get in touch with Howard via the website. We are wanting children from as young as six upwards.

“The idea is that each band will feed off each other. The junior members will come along and eventually in maybe ten years’ time be part of our competing band.”

Membership is currently around 35-40; Tim would love to see it go past the 100 mark: “If you have only got about 25 in rehearsal, you can be in trouble if people go on holidays or are unwell or whatever. We need more people. I have seen other bands do it, and it all becomes much more sustainable.”

Tim joined the Gloucestershire Regiment in 1977 as an oboist. After training he served with in Germany, Cyprus and the UK. In 1983 he became an instructor at The Prince of Wales’ Division School of Music and was then selected for the bandmasters’ course. On graduating from The Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall, he was appointed bandmaster of the Gordon Highlanders in Berlin where he spent three years, just after the wall came down.

1994 he joined The Band of The Life Guards as bandmaster and completed the five-month Household Cavalry equitation course. Tim was commissioned in 2000 and returned to the Prince of Wales’ Division as director of music of the Lucknow Band. He was appointed director of music of The Band of The Blues and Royals, RHG/D in June 2007 and promoted to major for the 2008 Queen’s Birthday Parade.

“I had a wonderful time with the army. My family followed me around. It was a great chance to see the world and learn an instrument.”