Epping Forest Band

Essex based L&SC second section brass band

See our contesting results from
1894 to the present day:
1894 - The Original Band
Stacks Image 62
Epping Town Band, founded in 1894 by R.E. Rutland

In 1933 Epping Urban Council appointed a new clerk to the Council, a Mr. Benjamin Hiscott of Yeovil, Somerset. Ben Hiscott was an accomplished pianist, organist, teacher and conductor of brass bands. In the course of his legal duties with the Council, he sought the help of some of his councillors in introducing some music to the town. So in 1935 he invited members of the public, who were interested, to communicate with him. In a short time a class was started and the Epping Silver Band was reborn.

The word reborn is used diliberately because the first Epping Town Band was founded in 1894 by R.E. Rutland, an engine driver for the Great Eastern Railway. Many original bandsmen were railway workers based at Stratford and indeed, the first bandmaster was Tom Smith, another railway worker, whose two sons both played in the band. The first secretary and treasurer was Charlie Hills whose son Sydney still lives in Epping and is a well known local historian.

The bandsmen each paid an entry fee of one shilling and subscriptions of threepence a week towards purchase of music. Monies earned by the band were either divided among the bandsmen or put towards uniform purchase.

Engagements were many and varied at this time and included playing at the local cycling and athletic club sports meetings, football matches and on the stage of the old town hall when it was used for roller skating. One of the most memorable engagements was an ice carnival on the lake at Coopersale House in February 1895 when the lake was illuminated by small fairy lamps and Chinese lanterns. Hundreds of skaters were entertained by the lady of the House, Miss Archer-Houblon and the carnival was enlivened by the band's music and a firework display.
Spacer image 1
1935 - Ben Hiscott
Stacks Image 3
Ben Hiscott, the founder of Epping Silver Band

Other celebrations included frequent concerts in the market place and the two days of celebrations for Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee in June 1897. The Epping Band continued playing until the early 1920s when it ceased to exist. After a break of a dozen years the band was reformed by Mr. Ben Hiscott in 1935.

There were no halls available, only an old barn that had been loaned to the Boy Scouts for storage and drill purposes. This was not an ideal place but the enthusiasm of the class was such that they decided to obtain second-hand instruments from Messrs. Boosey & Hawkes at the rate of 6d. per week credited to the band when purchasing a full set of re-conditioned instruments.
In l936 the Epping Silver Band fulfilled its first public engagement at the Armistice Service and march past and in 1938 they made their first entry into contesting. When the war started, the band was reduced to a handful of older men and boys who rehearsed each week at each other's homes but they kept the spirit of the band alive.

After the war, they set about rebuilding the band and were soon accepting engagements again. VE and VJ days were great occasions for the band, who participated in the celebrations. The band organised a fete and carnival each Whit Monday, bringing in hundreds of pounds which were shared with other deserving organisations.
Spacer image 1
1970 - David Sylvester
Musical director between 1970-1977 and 1991-1994
Spacer image 1
1979 - The Bandroom
Stacks Image 156
A major milestone in the Band's development was to acquire a bandroom of its own. The band had always been on the lookout for a suitable place and in the late 1970s the opportunity arose. A Scout group in Dunstable was selling their 30' x 80' hut because the land they were on was being redeveloped.

The Band bought it at a knock down price of £50.00, plus a concert! That of course was the problem - it had to be dismantled and transported to a site on Stonards Hill playing fields which had been bequeathed to the Council for recreational use and where the band had negotiated a long-term lease.
Stacks Image 199
28th May 1979

Work began on 28th May 1979 and the first rehearsal took place on 18th October 1982. During those three years over 12,000 man hours had gone into the rebuilding plus 12,000 3'' nails, 1900 tiles, 90 sheets of 8' x 4' plywood, 27 cubic metres of concrete, not to mention blood, sweat and tears. Over £7,000 extra had to be raised and was found largely from the Band's own resources but with some welcome financial help from outside.

The Band is very proud of their permanent home which has proved a major asset in the development of the Band.
Spacer image 1
1984 - Dennis Taylor
Stacks Image 20
…I need to fill out this section. Please move along.
Spacer image 1
1994 - Marc Easener
Musical director between 1994 and 2010

Marc studied with James Gourlay at the London College of Music, leaving in 1987 to become a founding member of the Albion Brass Consort. Since then Marc has freelanced with many orchestras including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia, English National Opera, Northern Ballet Theatre, National Theatre, and the West End musical Chicago.

His solo work has included the recently released world premiere recording of the John Williams Tuba Concerto (".....this work given its resounding debut on disc by Albion Brass Consort founder member Marc Easener"), London performances of the concertos by Edward Gregson and Ralph Vaughan Williams, and a live television broadcast of the Romanian premiere of "Tubby the Tuba".

Marc has also branched out into conducting, working both as Musical Director of the Epping Forest Band and as guest conductor with the Foundation Philharmonic.
Spacer image 1
2009 - Denis Desmond
Musical director between 2009 and 2013
Spacer image 1
2013 - Keith Schroeter
Stacks Image 950
Our current Musical director

Keith was brought up playing music in the Salvation Army and picked up his first brass instrument at the age of 5.  Throughout his teenage years he played for various ensembles all of over Europe and Canada.

He then decided to carry on his education in music by accepting a place on the prestigious Band Musicianship course at Salford University where he spent 3 years studying under such brass band allometries as Dr David King, Sheona White and the late great Dr Roy Newsome.

After successfully completing his degree he moved back down “south” and became MD of the Thundersley Brass Band and took them from 4th to 2nd section including 2 consecutive National Final qualifications.

After a successful period as MD of Soham Comrades Brass Band Keith accepted the position of MD of Epping Forest Brass Band and has lead the band to multiple awards and prizes including the bands recent performance at the Butlins Mine Workers Championships in January 2019.
© 2024 Epping Forest Band