On Wednesday 23rd September 1981 the first meeting of bugle band Officers was held at Brigade House, Parsons Green. It was agreed to accept the invitation and endeavour to form a traditional bugle band of 500 members under the title of 'The London Bugle Band'.
The Band would be formed by 12 groups of Companies in Battalions, and Officers were appointed for each group. An outline of the music programme was agreed and rehearsal times suggested.
The agreed aim was for the Band to give its first public performance at the London District display in May 1982. The display programme records, "This is another new venture for London - here's a look at what will be a 500 strong band when it goes to Glasgow for the Centenary Celebrations in August 1983".
The Band was divided into five areas each with its own Bandmaster and Secretary and carried out their own rehearsals. Full Band rehearsals took place at various venues throughout 1982 and 1983 the most notable and best venue being the disused banana warehouse in the London Docks.
On the afternoon of Saturday 27th August the Band gave a thrilling performance at The Boys' Brigade Centenary Salute event held at the Ibrox Stadium. On Sunday the Band took part in the parade and Thanksgiving Service. The Band was involved in other events and was given a civic reception by the Monklands District Council.
The enthusiasm generated at this time was so great that before the trains had arrived back in London it had been accepted that The London Bugle Band should become part of London District's ongoing work amongst boys.
Between 1983 and 1992 the Band took part in many prestigious events: The London District Annual Displays at the Royal Albert Hall most years, London Centenary at Copthall Stadium, Horse Guards Parade for the meeting of Brigade Council, The Lord Mayor's Show, The Royal Tournament in 1987, 1989, 1991, 1993 and 1996, Wembley Stadium, Wembley Conference Centre, Leisure Centre, Port Talbot, South Wales in 1986, Queens Park Rangers F.C., Battersea Park, Beating Retreat at The Royal Hospital Chelsea, Sawston College and Duxford Air Display in 1992, etc. etc.
By the end of 1992 the Officers of the London Bugle Band were aware of the number of girls of The Girls' Brigade taking an active part in BB Company bands. A change of policy was agreed and girls from The Girls' Brigade or other Girls' Associations would be welcome to play in the Band. This change has proved to be most successful and continues up to the present time.
From 1993 onwards the Band continued to perform at many of the venues already mentioned on a regular basis with the addition of playing along the route of the London Marathon.
Under its title 'The London Bugle Band of the The Boys' and Girls' Brigades' their first overseas tour came in May 1996 when they travelled to Grotemarket Town in Belgium. After the Band had given a display they went on to the Menin Gate for the Ceremony of Beating Retreat. A visit to the war graves in the area was followed by a Band performance at Euro Disney. The next day the Band marched to the Champs de Mars giving a display with the Eiffel Tower as a backdrop.
In 1998 the Band again toured France, this time centering on the Somme area. The Band performed at Albert & the Menin Gate.
In June 2002 came the celebration of the Queen's Golden Jubilee with a Festival of Music and Dance. The Band gave performances at St Catherine's Dock, Ceremony of "Sunset" aboard HMS Belfast, Trafalgar Square and finally marched up the Mall leading the National Voluntary Uniformed Youth Organisations passing Buckingham Palace on their way to dismissal.
One of the highlights of 2003 was a very successful tour of Holland, over the May weekend. The Band played at the war cemetery at Arnhem and before the British Ambassador in The Hague.
In October 2006 the Band toured North West England playing at the Camelot Theme Park then onto Liverpool to lead a parade to the Cathedral followed by a service. The next stop was Blackpool to perform close to the famous tower. The following day saw a parade through the streets of Southport for a civic welcome by the mayor, then a Band display ending with the Retreat Ceremony.
In recent years the Band has continued to take part in a series of prestigious events including the London Marathon, Lord Mayor's Show and celebrations for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012.
Between 2012 and 2015, an extra dimension was added to the Band's work with the addition of the London Massed Brass Band. The Brass Band rehearsed at the same time and at the same venues as the existing Bugle Band and the two took in events together including joint performances at the London Marathon.
During the Band's 30 years of existence many hundreds of boys and girls have passed through its ranks. The thrill of playing in a massed band at so many prestigious venues and the Christian fellowship they have enjoyed will undoubtedly remain with them for the rest of their lives.
The work of the London Massed Bugle Band would not have been possible without the commitment and expertise of those dedicated Officers who train the boys and girls and plan the involvement in events. Whilst changes in leadership have inevitably occurred over the years several Officers have been active within the Band throughout the past 30 years. To all those who have been a part of the Band and supporters during the past years, a sincere thank you is due for their dedication and successful achievements.
Bandmasters of the London Massed Bugle Band
1981 to 1993 (also Convenor for London Bugle Bands 1969 to 1993)
1993 to 1995
1995 to 1996
1996 to 2001
2001 to 2002
2002 to 2004
2004 to 2007
2009 to 2017 (including the London Massed Brass Band from 2012 to 2015)
London Massed Bugle Band tours
The London Massed Bugle Band sometimes holds tours to other parts of the country and even to other countries. To date, the band has visited the following areas on tour:
1999 - Belgium/France: A visit to Grotemarket Town (Belgium), a Beating Retreat ceremony at the Menin Gate, a performance at Euro Disney and the Champs de Mars in Paris (France).
2001 - France: Centred on the Somme area, performances at Albert and the Menin Gate.
2003 - Holland: Performances at the war cemetary at Arnhem, and before the British Ambassador at The Hague.
2006 - North West of England: A performance at Camelot Theme Park, a parade to Liverpool Cathedral, a performance in Blackpool and a Beating Retreat ceremony in Southport.
In addition to these tours, the Band holds smaller weekend events and other performances. In 2007 we held a weekend in Enfield to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Band, which included a parade and service on the steps of St. Paul's Cathedral in the City of London. We have also spent a weekend away in Southampton, which included social activities and performances for a Church Parade at Bitterne United Reformed Church.