Jayess Newbiggin Brass Band
About Us

Newbiggin by the sea has always had a strong sense of community and there has been evidence of various musical groups in the village. This page features a history of Jayess Newbiggin Brass Band, you can find out about our current band members on our Meet the Band  page.

As a strong fishing community and latterly a mining community Music has always played a major role in the community. Early evidence of a brass band in Newbiggin goes back to mid 1800's with reports that a musical group played in the yard of the Newbiggin Central club building. It was also reported in early 1900's that a Mr Simpson of Meldon Terrace, a former member of the Newbiggin Silver Band won the annual march composition prize at Kneller Hall in London, home of the Army School of Music.

With the sinking of the shaft in Newbiggin in 1909, it was inevitable that families would move into the village and the band would grow into a strong musical outfit competing successfully at various levels of banding. Performing around the village the band gained a loyal and supportive following being affectionately known as “Wor Band”.

The Bandmaster of their day was a well known figure in the community. Most people knew of him as “The Bandmaster” and would know where he lived as they would the local doctor, teacher, priest etc.

Many famous names have been associated with the band over the years. These include conductors such as Jack Atherton, John Carr, George Wright and James Shepherd. Additionally, players who started their banding life in Newbiggin would often go onto play in other famous bands; Denis Wright, playing with CWS Manchester and the legendary James Shepherd Black Dyke Mills.

The band has always had a fine tradition of being the catalyst for musicians joining military bands, with Tony Griffiths, Richard Fenwick, Darren Patterson and Sarah James all joining the Band of HM Royal Marines in the 1970's 80's and 90's. Banding has always played a major part in local Schools and during the 1960's/70's Newbiggin secondary modern school with its inspirational music teacher Audrey Stimpson provided the majority of players for the local band; many of whom still play today. This continued with Gillian Irvine, (formally Charlton) MBE and others from the newly created high school.

Families continue too, and have also played a major role in local banding and indeed fourth and fifth generation players still playing today. This was apparent with cooperation within families whom may have played in the Newbiggin Corps Salvation Army Band.

Other memorable events during our history include Dennis Todd from Newbiggin sharing the stage with Jim Shepherd and The Northumberland Schools Brass Band in Newbiggin. This was when Arthur Butterworth’s, "Three Impressions for Brass" was premiered. The composer later said that this event was one of his most memorable.

In 2009 the band reformed as Jayess Newbiggin Brass Band, with local lad Andrew Griffiths becoming Musical Director in 2012. Thanks to Andrew's leadership the band has seen tremendous success in recent years, including twice becoming North of England regional champions in the 4th Section. The subsequent National Finals saw the band achieve 9th place in 2016 and 4th place in 2017. 

In January 2018, Jayess Newbiggin were promoted to the 3rd Section. Our first contest at this level saw us add another win at the DCBBA Festival of Brass Contest to our collection. In March 2018 the band achieved a 4th place finish at the North of England regional contest. 

Many memories and events from yesteryear with the band and its bandsmen and women are too numerous to be acknowledged; but if you have any stories or photographs please get in touch.