The Wantage Silver Band is one of the largest in the country – and is receiving great acclaim nationwide, as an example of how bands should be run. The Band policy is that anyone of any age can be provided with an instrument and taught how to play just for a modest subscription – and Wantage now has several bands: a Junior Band; a Training Band; Community Brass who play just to entertain; and three contesting bands who play in the 4th, 2nd and top sections in National contests.
In addition, Wantage supports the Our Lady’s Abingdon School Band. There is also the very popular Wantage Big Band, the Wantage Quartet, an ‘Oompah’ Band; and plans are well underway to run a National ladies Band ‘Bra’vo Brass’ to raise funds for Breast Cancer Charities. At the Annual Concert on October 13th, seven of these bands were featured, the event concluding with a Massed Band of well over 100 players.
The Wantage Silver Band organisation has demonstrated its benefits to the local community, both in providing a good affordable hobby open to everyone, and a source of musical entertainment at Concerts, Services, Fetes, Parades etc. Many former members have gone on to pursue careers in music.
All this activity – and the important classes for new beginners – means that the present Band hall, opened in 2013, is already too small; and plans have been drawn up for a large extension (Eleanor Turner - Chair)
The second Hall will also facilitate Community use; the present hall is only used by a Ukelele group, school science projects during holidays, and as a Polling Station because the band’s extensive array of percussion has to be transferred to the Band Van for other activities. The new hall is much larger and band equipment can be moved out of the way. Additionally, the complete building will be ideal for music workshops and courses and can act as a music hub for the Wantage Area.
Appeal for Funds
Construction of the present Band hall, with its overheads in carpark, path, lighting, and services, cost around £300k. The Band has demonstrated its financial viability by transforming, in just five years, a debt of £75k incurred to complete the hall to a surplus of £20k, which will be put towards the appeal.
The estimated cost of the extension is £200k, cheaper than the original hall as much of the same infrastructure will be shared. Donations are welcomed both large and small! Wantage Silver Band is a Registered Charity, No. 1123767, and donations made by UK tax payers allow the band to claim gift aid at 25%. In addition, the donor may attract tax benefits.
The extension includes a large performance/rehearsal hall, social areas and storage areas. We had hoped to include this second hall as part of the original building but funds didn’t permit at the time. Plans are shown below: