Sir Richard Arkwright's Masson Mills Band traces its earliest beginnings to 1979, to the South-East Derbyshire Music Centre at Heanor, Derbyshire. The band began to compete as an independent organisation in 1984, and immediate success followed, culminating in victory at the Pontins Championship Finals.
A proud moment was its appearance at the Royal Albert Hall in London for the 1985 National Brass Band Championships. The band made rapid progress through the leagues, and promotion to the Championship Section being reached in just seven years.
Sir Richard Arkwright's Masson Mills Band has made numerous appearances on National television and radio, including a broadcast for Radio 2's 'Listen To The Band. In 1990, the band was proud to welcome home the England world cup football team from Italy, playing on the airport tarmac as the players disembarked to an overwhelming reception. Many well known personalities from the music and show-business worlds have been our guests, including Roy Castle, Pam Ayres, Patrick Moore, Isla St Clair and Harry Mortimer to name but a few. The band is also proud of its five commercial recordings.
The bands music has been heard abroad numerous times, with tours of Belgium and a trip to Holland. 1996 saw the band visiting New England USA, as part of twinning links with Rhode Island; indeed the band was the first cultural group to visit the area from England.
The band has enjoyed many contest successes, including being crowned Midland Area 1st Section Champions in 1998, which qualified the band to appear for the second consecutive year at the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain.
We were delighted to begin our association with Sir Richard Arkwright's Masson Mills in 2008. It is most fitting to be supported by the mill; indeed Masson Mills Band was in existence as far back as the late 1800s. It appears the band gave many concerts in the local area. At our launch concert in March 2008, we were particularly pleased to be able to perform two of the pieces played at a concert in Matlock Bath in 1894!
Over recent years, the band has withdrawn from the pressure of the contesting arena and now one of our main objectives is in the organisation of and performing in high profile concerts in aid of local and regional charitable organisations. We can also be seen appearing at various community events.
Whilst under the banner of Sir Richard Arkwright's Masson Mills Band, these concerts have generated around £100,000 since 2008 for local charities, which is a remarkable achievement. We intend to continue with this fund raising in 2012 and beyond.
As well as raising money for charity, we are keen to involve children in our concerts, by coaching them in local schools and bringing them together as a massed choir, giving them the opportunity to perform at such events.
The Band is proud to have the Right Honorable Roy Hattersley, Baron Hattersley of Sparkbrook PC as Band President. Roy is a British Labour Party politician, published author and journalist from Sheffield, England. He served as Deputy Leader of the Labour Party from 1983 to 1992.
Sir Richard Arkwright's Masson Mills
Sir Richard Arkwright's 1783 showpiece Masson Mills, on the river Derwent at Matlock Bath are the finest surviving and best preserved example of one of Arkwright's cotton mills. The mills now host a shopping village and working textile museum with historic working machinery.
Masson Mills boasted a band in the late 19th Century.