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Brentwood Imperial Youth Band continues to inspire generations with music

PUBLISHED: 12:00 08 September 2018

Brentwood Imperial Youth Band.

Brentwood Imperial Youth Band.

Brentwood Imperial Youth Band

Fancy travelling around the world, making new friends and performing music in front of thousands of people?

I don’t blame you.

Well you’re in luck, as this just becomes norm when you join the other 120 members - with some as young as 10-years-old - of the Brentwood Imperial Youth Band, the country’s largest independent youth music group.

Based at The Band Room, in The Drive, Brentwood, the Brentwood Imperial Youth Band has been meeting almost every Monday and Wednesday for the past 28 years and those involved are more enthusiastic than ever for new people to join.

Founding member Joe Wyndham said: “The band is special because it is music for all, which means £1 per week and an open door policy which means no auditions and no exams.

Brentwood Imperial Youth Band.Brentwood Imperial Youth Band.

“This means it is for everyone and our diversity is our biggest strength.”

Rewind back to 1990 when Mr Wyndham’s dad wanted to find a hobby he could enjoy with his children after he retired.

As a former sea cadet who used to be part of a marching band when he was younger, it seemed the only natural next step to start up his own music group.

Joe said: “Dad was a successful businessman and was lucky enough to retire from business in his early 40s.

“He then wanted to share a hobby with my brother and I so we started a band and the strapline has always been “because a father wanted to share a hobby with his sons”.”

At the very first practice session, only five children showed up – and two of them were Joe and his brother.

But as work to expand the group began and following a performance at a school assembly, the next practice welcomed around 40 eager youngsters ready to learn.

From Hungary and California, to France and Moscow, the band travels all over the world to perform in shows and during practices, children receive music tuition and learn discipline to get them prepared for the stage.

As a registered charity, organisers keep expenses to a minimum to make sure the discipline is accessible to as many people as possible.

“These kids are ambassadors for their generation and for their country”, Joe said.

“We need to always be an open door to young people – build it and they will come.”

Some former members have even gone on to watch their children perform in the band, including Brentwood resident Amanda Thurlow and two of her daughters 13-year-old Grace and 12-year-old Emily.

Amanda began playing trumpet in the group in 1991 and has said it gave her the opportunity to travel and learn a new instrument, but it also meant that she made some lifelong friends.

Now, she has passed on her passion to two of her daughters who are in the band as well as her eight-year-old Ruby who continues to practice the trumpet in her spare time until she is old enough to join.

Amanda, who volunteers as an instructor with the group, said: “Being a part of the band, it gives you a real sense of belonging.

“It’s something that we have in common as a family and it’s nice to know that the group is always there for them all as well, so they’re never really alone.”

The band has also improved the children’s confidence, not only getting them used to performing in front of large crowds but talking with lots of different people.

Amanda added: “I really enjoy teaching them and watching them develop and flourish.

“I love music – it’s a beautiful feeling.”

To find out more information about the Brentwood Imperial Youth Band, visit here

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