Meet the Band

Steve Wright - Southwold Corps DrumsSteve

I joined the band in September 1988 when I was 8 years old. I started off playing the bugle but, as the years went on and I got bigger and was able to carry it, I also started to play the tenor drum. I learnt how to spin my sticks in the air and this helped to add a little bit to our visual display. I always had a passion to be the drum major and used to have a go during break times. I left briefly in 1999 when I went to university but within a couple of months, the phone rang and I was asked to go and help out, I’m still there 14 years later!

In 2003, the then Chairman and his wife Robert and Glenda Clark left the band suddenly and we were forced to rebuild the structure around the day to day running. I was asked by the committee to become the new Chairman which I took on. For a short time I played the bass drum but then we had another willing volunteer and I then became the drum major, the job I still do now. We had to take the band “off the road” for about 6 months whilst we got sorted out and we went back out for the Remembrance Day parade for the first time in 2003. It was during this parade that we saw Matt & Jenny and they offered to come back to help… This really helped spread the work and Jenny had the musical skill on the bell-lyre we lacked.

In 2006 I announced my retirement as my work commitments were becoming too much. Matt took over as the Chairman and I started to head towards the door. I said I would still help with parades and did so, then as time went on I ended up doing more and more and ended up back in the band full time within a year! I have now had to make the tough decision to leave permanently because of my busy work schedule and have given notice that I will leave at the end of the 2014 season.

I love playing the various instruments, marching in time with everyone and generally putting on the spectacle of our performance for the enjoyment of all watching. It is very flattering when we are complimented for our performances, and this does happen frequently.

I have seen the dynamics of the band membership change in my 25 years, we have our ups and downs but we always stick together and work through dips in membership or other obstacles. I took over as one of the three trustee’s a few years ago following the sad death of Dutta Doy; one of our founder members. I will work hard and fight to ensure the future of the band is secured and I hope the community pulls together to realise our ambitions of keeping this special tradition alive in Southwold & Reydon for many years to come.

Matt Wade - Southwold Corps DrumsMatt

I joined the Southwold and Reydon Corps of Drums, playing the Bass Drum, in 1997 after meeting Jenny and learning about the band. After several years, we decided we would like to start a family and so left after the Millennium parade. I rejoined the band in 2003 and was encouraged to become the Vice-Chairman. At the end 2006 I was, shall we say, “encouraged” to take over as the Chairman and still do this today. My wife was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2005, but, after a further 8 years in the band, it is becoming too much and I worry about her health. We chose to give notice to leave in 2014, after 11 years, in order to concentrate on caring for Jenny.

Jenny Wade - Southwold Corps DrumsJenny

I have been a member of the Southwold and Reydon Corps of Drums since 1991. I joined at the age of 14 as a bell-lyre player. After several years in the band, me and my husband decided we would like to start a family and so left after the Millennium parade. After having two children, we rejoined the band to help rebuild it. I took on the teaching of the music to the newer recruits in the band. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2005, and, after a further 8 years in the band I decided it was becoming too much to carry on. I then had to choose to leave the band and gave notice that I would leave at the end of 2014 after more than 20 years service.

Bailey Wade - Southwold Corps DrumsBailey

I joined the band playing a Snare Drum in 2012 at the age of 8. I enjoy my time in the band, making new friends and learning an instrument.

Lesley Dibley - Southwold Corps Drums

Lesley

I joined the band in 2005. Although I had never been in a marching band before, I did already play the flute but after leaving school had little opportunity to do so. The Band gave me the chance to play again, and within a year I had also learned to play the bugle. It gives me a great feeling of satisfaction when we get out on parade and all our hard work during practise sessions pays off. It’s terrific to see the cadets growing in confidence and pride, and of course, it’s always good to receive a huge round of applause from our audience.

Cally Abigail - Southwold Corps DrumsCally

I joined the band in 2006, having never marched or played in a marching band before. Having spent several years learning and playing snare drum, I moved on to the tenor drum. Now I alternate between tenor drum and cymbals as needed. It makes me smile inside seeing how much pleasure our performances give to all age groups. Being part of such a local tradition, and a great group of people, has been a wonderful and fun- filled experience.

Molly Dibley - Southwold Corps DrumsMolly

I joined the band in 2005 and started off playing snare drum, then cymbals, and then bell-lyre. I eventually found my niche with the tenor drum. There are all sorts of different people in the Band, and I have made some good friends, and been to some interesting places. It’s a good feeling when an appreciative audience responds so positively to our performances.

Edward Dibley - Southwold Corps DrumsEdward

I joined the band in 2006, and as I was too small to carry a drum I started out playing cymbals. As soon as I was able, I learnt to play a snare drum. After some years of learning the drum rhythms, I was promoted to head drummer. Being in the band raised my self confidence, and it makes me proud to perform in public. We have lots of fun practising as well!

Chloe

I play the bell-lyre and I have been playing this for about a year, which is how long I have been in the band for. Being in the band is a real passion to me and I really enjoy it. I first started in January 2012 and discovered the band through my best friend, Beth, who was already in the band. I tried a multitude of instruments but finally chose the bell-lyre. I found, and still find, that the bell-lyre is a challenging instrument to maintain but after a lot of concentration and commitment, I finally began to get used to it. I would recommend the bell-lyre to anyone who wants a challenge. The bell-lyre is definitely an enjoyable instrument to play but needs effort and time devoted to it. I also have learnt to play the snare drum, which is also challenging. The band is a very enjoyable and pleasurable hobby to have, and is very dedicated to its work. The people who make up the band spend most of their time on it and it takes commitment and concentration to maintain it. I would definitely recommend it though to anyone who is looking for a enjoyable and worthwhile activity.

Phil Matthews - Southwold Corps DrumsPhil

I was encouraged to join the band about 2 years ago by my daughter Charlotte as the Standard Bearer – a role I could fit around my other life and work commitments. Since joining I have enjoyed watching the band members grow and develop as well as being part of a team that puts on performances that make people smile. Recently I have started learning some other band roles as an understudy, so in future you might see me doing something else!

Charlotte Matthews - Southwold Corps DrumsCharlotte

I joined the band over 3 years ago to spend time with my friends who were already members. I started by playing the bell-lyre and quickly went from no skill at all to marching on parade. After about two years I decided to switch instruments and I started to play snare drum in January 2013, although I still play bell-lyre when needed. The band has helped me to gain confidence both musically and as a performer. The band is casual, family orientated and great fun. We regularly go on outings, the most memorable of which was the Edinburgh trip in August 2013 that lasted four days. On top of this many events have stalls and activities that we can browse between performances. It is always interesting and exciting.

Michelle Mingay - Southwold Corps DrumsMichelle

I joined the band in August 2012, when I started off just playing the snare drum. In April/May 2013 I also started to learn how to play the bugle.

It’s a good opportunity to learn and play one or more instruments, and a good social activity. Members are treated a couple of times a year to days out etc. Recently we all enjoyed a 4 day trip which included visits to Alnwick Castle (Hogwarts), Edinburgh Zoo and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

Anyone is welcome from age 7, and it’s free to join and take part. Our practice sessions are twice weekly and there are performances at various functions, fêtes and carnivals throughout the year.

In the band we have family members including parents and their children, friends and individuals. You don’t need to be able to play an instrument or be able to read music to take part as we are able to teach you these things. We do take our work seriously as we have to make everything look and sound right, but we do have lots of fun whilst doing so.

Tom Woolnough - Southwold Corps DrumsTom

I am Tom and I have been in the band for 4 years. I like being in the band because when we go out on parades it gives you a real buzz to perform and it gets you really excited. When I first joined the band I was so nervous, but everybody was so helpful I just got over it in the end. I am a drummer in the band and I really enjoy it and I think you will too if you join.

Graham

I joined the Band in November 2012, after a bit of gentle persuasion by my daughter Chloe. Without any previous experience, I was handed a pair of drumsticks and given some basic guidance. Then, after one practise session, I found myself putting on uniform and joining the various pre-Christmas Band performances. Thrown in the deep end! I now play either the snare drum or the tenor drum.

It’s a great feeling performing in front of so many people who clearly enjoy what we do. I never imagined that my basic musical ability could be good enough for the Band and it’s so nice to be accepted for what I can do and be allowed to improve over time (without being told off!). It’s a great activity for parents and children, and I would certainly recommend  ‘coming out of your comfort zone and giving it a go’!