30 Years On – A Military Tattoo
2016 is the year in which the Burgess Hill Marching Youth celebrates 30 Years of success. To mark this fantastic achievement, the band will be joined by a large cast of marching musicians from various parts of England. Together, they will perform at ’30 Years On’ A Military Tattoo at The Triangle, on 1st October.
Formed in 1986 as a Light Infantry style bugle band, the Burgess Hill Marching Youth (BHMY) was formed after the Burgess Hill Scout Band disbanded. The instruments were passed on to the new band which began to build itself up, under the direction of Bandmaster Nigel Buxton. In the first few years, the band worked its way up the classes in competition from Novice, through Contest and Championship to National. By 1991 the band was a formidable force of determined young people having the time of their lives! Competing at prestigious venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, the band was hard to beat and had become used to a clean sweep of trophies.
During the 90’s the band saw a regular turnover of new members. The success continued and the band remained the same until Nigel decided to retire as Bandmaster in 2003. Between 2003 and 2006, his two successors continued to take the band to competitions and parades where members were keen to perform. At this time, numbers in Traditional Youth Marching Bands dropped across the country and opportunities for competing dramatically reduced. The prestigious venues became far too expensive to hire and the national support network dwindled.
By the end of 2006, BHMY was down to just 18 members. Despite this, the band fought on, and under the direction of new Bandmasters Claire and Paul Stacey, a plan to continue Nigel’s legacy was devised. Recruitment and fundraising was vital at this stage – the band needed a lot of instruments and uniform replaced. The support of local charitable organisations became accustomed to receiving letters from BHMY asking for help to raise funds. The band itself worked harder to get more paid jobs and the more it did the more work it got. Claire and Paul were determined to make the band a big success again – both in numbers and reputation. They were also determined to give the band members the opportunities to travel, build friendships and perform to large audiences just as they had as young members.
By 2010, the band had embarked upon a new chapter. Opening up opportunities to play a wider variety of music, BHMY transitioned from a bugle band to a chromatic band, introducing brass and woodwind into the ranks. The band lost a few members because of this decision, but it gained a lot more. In just six years, the band has grown to an impressive size with over 40 names on the books, including the next generation of cadets. It now has a vast musical repertoire ranging from traditional bugle marches to Cold Play and Queen. The level of musicianship has increased dramatically and members are now able to play their instruments in school bands, private lessons and exams as well as with BHMY.
Some of the music may be different, but the philosophy remains the same; discipline, teamwork, respect, leadership, musicianship, personal presentation, fitness, determination, resilience and passion are among some of our values.
BHMY has an open door to anyone who is interested. No experience is necessary. It remains one of the lowest costing activities in Burgess Hill and anyone who is brave enough will reap the rewards tenfold. We are looking forward to the next 30 years of banding with members – some of whom are the children of original members from 1986.
Tickets for the Tattoo are available at www.bhmy.org/tattoo