Bretforton Silver Band is a friendly village brass band based in the Vale of Evesham in the county of Worcestershire. Affectionately known as 'Bret', the band is the only surviving village band in the county. Their first mention in public records is on the 28th September 1895 where reference is made in the local ‘Evesham Journal’ newspaper to a public tea and concert in the village schoolroom to raise funds for the newly formed village band. Further research has revealed that the band was formed sometime between the 1894 and the summer of 1895 evolving out of the temperance movement which was popular at that time.
Known then as ‘Bretforton Band of Hope’ the band performed in the following few years on several occasions in local parades and the village chapel. Records indicate that in 1900 the band was officially known as ‘The Bretforton Temperance Band’. One notable performance was in 1897 as the band played a fanfare from the top of St. Leonard Church tower, Bretforton to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. This fanfare feat has been repeated on only a few occasions, including marking Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee in 1977, Golden Jubilee in 2002 and most recently her Diamond Jubilee in 2012.
1904 brought a change with the band leaving the temperance movement and carrying on under the title ‘Bretforton Brass Band’. This remained until 1937 when due to the number of silver instruments in the band; it renamed itself as ‘Bretforton Silver Band’ – still continuing up to the present day.
Subsequently following it’s founding in the late 1890’s the band performed at a mixture of events in the following decades, ranging from brass band contests to village fetes. Particularly in the 1930s and 1940s the band often played as a dance band and it’s often recalled that much of the success and the survival of the band during these times was due to the work of the late Stan Archer who was bandmaster between 1931 and 1960. He encouraged many young musicians to join the band as in 1931 there were only 10 members, today there are 38 playing members. This encouragement and support of young musicians has continued and is reflected in the fact that the band has its own training band that is completely free for all players (any age!) which over time has provided new players into the main band. Additionally, within the last year, band members have also been teaching brass instruments in the local village school.