‘THEY MARCHED TO THE BEAT’
The North Village Band was organized on June 29th. 1863 by a group of men from the Grand United Order of Oddfellows Alexandrina Lodge #1026. Their idea was to cultivate the musical talent among it’s members, among the founders was William Francis Wilson 2nd. and Gus Young, they took on the name as the Alexandrina Band, Their duties included parading their sisters and brothers of their lodge and various other lodges to church during anniversaries and funeral processions. They entertained at many special events like tea parties, bazaars, weddings and banquets. the band was strong and well recognized throughout the Island.
In 1919 the band was the first to play at the November 11th. Cenotaph Service remembering those that fought in the 2nd. World War they were joined in tradition by the Somerset Band in later years. The band was in great demand and was a welcome sight to see and hear. At the death of William F. Wilson 2nd. in 1932 the Mr. Stanley Richardson was elected as leader of the band he trained younger members and associated the band with a church youth group and gave them the name of the Church Lads Brigade because at this time the Alexandrina band had changed their name to the C.L.B. The band later disbanded but continued using the name C.L.B. for several years. In 1949 the name of the band was changed again to that of North Village Band, and the C.L.B. was reformed in St. George’s under Major Philip Lightbourne and Bandmaster Wilfred Furbert who formed his own Band Company. In spite of all these changes the North Village Band continued on successfully. In 1950 Mr. Richardson stepped down because of illness and Mr. Mark Williams was elected as leader, under his leadership the band had the privilege to be conducted by one of Britain’s leading Conductors Sir Malcom Sargent at Government House and later by Major Dunn at a concert in Victoria Park.
On retirement of Mr. Williams, Mr. Randolph Martin was elected as Band Master as each leader passed or retired a new person was elected. In 1962 Mr. Erskyn Doers took over the leadership. Although the band was self-supporting they received assistance from the ladies Auxiliary which was formed in 1970 under Mrs. Phyllis Minks. Like most organizations the membership started to decline but members fought to keep it going. Mr. Leslie Young organized the North Village Junior Band and helped with the band’s continued success. Eventually younger members took over the reigns and they continued to appear at November 11th. celebrations as a combined band with North Village and Somerset, included now are a few women. The direction was under former Major Kenneth (Tokey) Dill and then past on to Major Barrett Dill with several of the descendants of William F. Wilson 2nd. still carrying the banner high.
FORMER BAND MASTERS: William F. Wilson Sr. Stanley Richardson, Mark Williams, Mr. McCarthy, Randolph Martin and Erskyn Doers.
OUTSTANDING PAST MEMBERS: from the early twenties, John Cox, Archibald Dilworth, William F Wilson 3d., Dudley Vallis, Arthur White, Hilgrove Frith, Archibald Bowen, Sinclair Jennings, Horace Perott, Walter Dill, Charles Whitter Sr, Leverson (Louie) Wilson Sr., Harold Wilson, Gerald Young, Wellington Young, Clarence Francis, Manfield Richardson, Olaf Simmons, Ashley Young, Stanley Battersbee, Wilfred J. Furbert and Hilgrove Joell.
RECGONITIONS: Leslie Young was awarded with the Queen’s Certificate and Badge of Honour and was awarded for his music and service to the youth in the Community. MARK WILLIAMS was a service man in the Bermuda Royal Garrison Artillery and left Bermuda with the second Contingent to serve overseas, he was also a leader of the UNIA Band and Bermuda Amateur Symphony. SINCLAIR JENNINGS gave 57 years of unbroken service to the band, starting at age 14 and learnt to play under Mr. Absolom Bean and the Violin under Mr. James Jimmy Dill, MR. ERNEST LEADER: aside from having his own Big Band held the position of Principle Clarinetist instructor of Percussions and wood wind instruments he also received the Queen’s certificate and Badge of Honour.
cr, NORTH VILLAGE HISTORY & PERSONAL ARCHIVES