About Great Yarmouth Brass

Great Yarmouth Brass is currently a 3rd Section band, conducted by Colin Swaep, based in the seaside town of Great Yarmouth.
After making it to the National Finals of Great Britain for the last 2 years, we have been promoted to the 3rd Section, we are now looking forward to pushing ourselves and relishing the challenges the 3rd section brings.

Great Yarmouth Brass in 2013

Great Yarmouth Brass in 2013

The inspiration behind forming a Brass Band began way back in 1973. A dedicated teacher at the East Anglian School, Mr Colin Godfrey, together with peripatetic music teacher, the late Mr Derek Hacon embarked on a plan to give the partially sighted pupils of the school the opportunity to learn how to read music and play brass instruments within a group. At that time it was not easy to convince the leading lights within the school that their scheme would be worthwhile and plausible due to the wide spectrum of eyesight disabilities within each child. Colin and Derek were adamant that the pupils would find benefits both educationally, on how to read and understand the structure of musical compositions and physically, to learn to play an instrument individually and be able to perform as part of a group. The dedication of Colin and Derek paid off as the East Anglian School Brass Band was formed that year.


Regular concerts were held at the school and within the local community, and so, the history of fundraising for good causes began. The band raised funds for several charities and good causes during this time…Guide Dogs for the Blind, equipment for local hospitals and an elderly gentleman who needed an exercise bike to strengthen his leg muscles after an illness were just a few.

The following years saw the band grow in stature and confidence and to also open its doors to children from other local schools. The band then became known as The East Anglian Band.  On several occasions during the following years the band was invited to visit Rambouillet, the twin town of Great Yarmouth, giving performances at civic functions as well as giving concerts at school and nursing homes.

1959404_276699495826965_1322880135_nThe school’s closure in 1985 led to a few uncertain years as quite a few of the players were boarders at the school so subsequently had to leave the band to return to their homes all across the country.To keep things going a big recruitment drive was needed and local schools in the area were able to come to the band’s rescue thus a new generation of players enabled the band to continue.

The band became known as Great Yarmouth and Gorleston Silver Band. Subsequent years saw the band secure sponsorship from a local business source with a name change being part of the agreement. The Holmesquest Holdings Band was born. Their sponsorship enabled the band to secure regular practice facilities.

The band continued to give concerts and fundraise, helping numerous causes along the way. In 1998 the band was fortunate enough to secure Lottery Funding which enabled a whole set of new instruments to be purchased as nearly all the existing instruments had seen better days. Shortly after this we parted company with our sponsor and Great Yarmouth Brass was born. The old instruments were passed over to local youngsters and the GYB Youth Band came into existence. Both bands have gone from strength to strength and through dedication, commitment and persistence of individuals and players the future looks bright for Great Yarmouth Brass and something the town should be very proud of.