Phoenix Brass are a 4th Section band, formed in May 1993 by a small but enthusiastic group of players under the leadership of Musical Director, David Watson. Based at the village of Froxfield, on the Berkshire/ Wiltshire border, Phoenix Brass does not have any direct sponsorship, or any regular financial input from any Local Authority or organisation, but is completely self financing. We meet twice a week (engagements permitting) at the Froxfield War Memorial Hall on Tuesdays & Thursdays at 7:30pm. Beginners and Junior players have practice and lessons on Saturday mornings.
Friends of Phoenix
Two enthusiastic supporters of Phoenix Brass, George and Nora Edwards, inspired the band to form a support organisation and in 1994 Friends of Phoenix came into being. With a membership that includes parents, relatives, friends and enthusiastic listeners they have supported the band in every possible way.
Highly enthusiastic fund raising, providing refreshments for concerts, transport for players and running social events for band members has continued throughout its existence. Friends of Phoenix has benefited from the guidance and hard work of its excellent secretaries and officers, in particular Christine Amphlet (1st Secretary), Doreen and Cyril Palmer, and current Chairperson, Betty Walley. Their support has been incalculable and without them the band would have found it much harder to exist.
Sadly, George Edwards, Nora Edwards and Cyril Palmer are no longer with us. But their spirits survive and their families are still active supporters.
In May 1996 Phoenix Brass was invited to take part in the "Granting of the Freedom of Marlborough" to the Captain, Officers and Ship's company of HMS Marlborough by playing to the assembling guests and boosting the military pipes and drums during the ceremony in Marlborough.
Following on from this, the band was invited to attend Navy Days in Plymouth in 1997. From playing on the outskirts of the dockyard the band was moved by the Navy closer to the central area at every session, finally ending right outside the main arena itself. The Director of Music of the Royal Marine Band in attendance then requested Phoenix Brass join them in the Floodlit Tattoo that evening, in particular to play "Highland Cathedral".
In the following years Phoenix Brass took part in the first International Festival of the Sea held at Portsmouth, playing on the flight deck of HMS Marlborough itself, the 4th Frigate Squadron carol services held on HMS Warrior, providing music during family Gun Run days and playing the ship into dock after a tour of the Far East.
To commemorate the relationship between the Band and HMS Marlborough; David Watson composed a march, HMS Marlborough F233, dedicated to the Officers and Crew, which was published in August 1999.
Sadly, in July 2005, the Government arranged the decommissioning of HMS Marlborough. The Band will miss the affiliation, but are proud to have been associated with the ship and will cherish the many friendships they have made with the officers and crews.