about the band



band in action

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How it all started

The Central Southern Area Fellowship band was formed in 1996 following an initiative by Peter Barlow, the band′s present secretary. The inaugural meeting of 20 interested people took place on 1st July of that year followed by another meeting at Maidenhead. It was later in the month, at Tadley, that the founding group played its first notes. In October the band gave its first concert at Reading West corps.

The membership

An unusual feature of the band is that it is made up of bandsmen from corps across two Divisions of the UK Territory. Oversight of the band is provided by the Headquarters of the Central South Division and since the start of the band, all its Executive Officer′s have held appointments at that headquarters at the time of their appointment although the present executive officer is now a corps officer. The band bases its rules on Salvation Army bandsmen′s Regulations. However its membership is restricted to uniformed Salvationists over the age of 55 with experience of playing in Corps bands.

Many members still play in Corps bands whilst others have retired from corps duties. It provides the opportunity for members of small corps bands to play music that cannot be tackled by their own corps band.

The band′s first bandmaster was Ken Kew, the retired bandmaster at Reading Central and he trained and conducted the band for three years until he handed the baton to his deputy, Brian Cooper from Maidenhead. Brian is the present bandmaster.


Members come from so many corps with differing styles of uniform and the decision was made to make the appearance more uniform. Hence, red jackets and specially designed epaulets were purchased.


Rehearsals take place on the first and third Mondays of each month. Initially these were at Reading West corps but, when extensive building work started at that corps, the venue was moved to Reading Central and then later to The Reading Lower Earley corps.

The Ladies Chorus

The founding members of the band were all men and none of them had a wife with any banding experience, being from a generation when women did not play brass instruments. However the wives wanted to be involved and in the spring of 2000 the ladies formed a singing group. They are led by Irene Debonnaire, a songster at Maidenhead. The chorus meets for rehearsal at the same time as the band and it performs in many of the band′s concerts.