September 1st 2017

Derbyshire ACF band stride into second decade

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Peter Ward and some of the members of Derbyshire ACF's band.

Derbyshire Army Cadet Force (ACF)’s band have been blowing their own trumpet this year as they celebrate more than a decade of music making.

Set up in September 2016, the unit has gone from strength to strength and they’re now regulars at a host of events across the county and even overseas.

Just in the past few months they’ve maintained their record of being the only band to attend every Buxton Military Tattoo and members joined with colleagues from Lincolnshire ACF for a trip to Belgium to play in the VE Day Military Tattoo there.

Adult volunteer, Lieutenant Peter Ward, the Director of Music for Derbyshire ACF band, said: “It was September 2006 when I and my wife, Staff Sergeant Instructor Jan Ward, were asked to transfer from Lincolnshire ACF and form a band in Derbyshire.

“On transferring we attended that year’s Annual Camp in Yorkshire and with the aid of two ex-cadets from our time in Nottinghamshire ACF we played at the Officers dinner night and subsequently opened a workshop for cadets to see what music was about.

“At our first rehearsal we worked with Derbyshire Corps of Drum (COD) whose staff were retiring and eventually took over from them incorporating the COD into the band with the cadets staying and played drum and bugles until they reached the mandatory leaving age. “

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Derbyshire ACF’s current band is made up of cadets and a number of adult volunteers.

It’s a full military band with flutes, clarinets, alto/tenor/baritone saxophones, cornets, trumpets, horns, euphonium, trombone, tubas and percussion sections.

Regular band rehearsals are held routinely on Wednesday evenings from 7pm to 9pm at the Army Reserve Centre, Sinfin Lane, Derby, DE24 9GL.

For those from further away there’s also a once a month Sunday rehearsal, usually on the last weekend of the month from 10am to 3pm.

Peter says: “Cadets can get involved at any stage. It doesn’t matter if they’re complete beginners or competent players.

“Once they have completed their one star Army Proficiency Certificate (APC) training they have different options as to how they can take their training further through the APC syllabus.

“The option is also there for them to undertake both if they wish. Cadets also have the opportunity to take BTEC qualifications level one and two in music.

“Numerous cadets from the band have passed level two with distinction.”

There’s plenty of events throughout the year to keep the musicians busy including the hugely popular annual Christmas concert held in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Long Eaton.

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From parades and concerts in front of thousands to shows for small, specially invited audiences, the Derbyshire ACF band are very much in demand.

Peter continued: “Amongst our favourite events were having members of the band play in a National Band at Buckingham Palace for Cadet 150, taking 60 cadets to Malta for the Malta Tattoo, playing at the 2012 Olympics and at The Royal Military School of Music as a warm up act for their Summer Concert.

“We’ve also played alongside regular and Reserve Forces bands and we really like getting involved with the community and playing at galas and retirement homes.

“The best part of being in a band is meeting numerous like-minded people with extensive talent and patience.

“Making music is a privilege that we have enjoyed for many years and I hope that we will continue to inspire and help young people to achieve their ambitions as we have.”

“Making music is a privilege that we have enjoyed for many years and I hope that we will continue to inspire and help young people to achieve their ambitions as we have."