Nationally, brass band enthusiasts have heard of The Woodfalls Band, but most are intrigued to know where they are situated. Woodfalls is a small village 9 miles South of Salisbury and just one mile from the beautiful New Forest. There are under 1000 people living in the village, but the enthusiasm for music is traditionally very high and musical talent is in abundance.
The original idea to form a band at Woodfalls was by Charles and George Mitchell in 1874 at the foundation ceremony of the new Methodist Chapel. Soon, with John Green and other young men from the village they met to form the band, in fact most were from three families, the Greens, Warners and Mitchells. In the early days the members met as often as they could in the house of William Green and in the summer at the request of Mr. Mark Warner in the local chapel. George and Charles Mitchell gave the first music instruction. At first they could only master hymns and eventually attached themselves to the local “Band of Hope” organization, playing hymns at their meetings and for local school treats. The earliest recorded event was in 1882, when Captain Foster, of the Salvation Army was improperly imprisoned and on his release was marched through Salisbury to a tremendous reception by the Woodfalls Temperance Band.
The band started contesting in 1906 as the South of England Temperance Band at the South Wiltshire Association Band Contest at Wilton Park, although it was unsuccessful, at the same event the following year it won every section it competed in. The band soon became a force to be reckoned with in the contest field and over the years it has won literally hundreds of prizes. Notable successes include twice winning the “Grand Shield”, Manchester; five times invited to play in the elite “British Open”, eleven appearances in the prestigious “Royal Albert Hall” and numerous victories at local competitions including 23 times retaining the title of “Wessex Champions”. Its most notable success came in 2004 when it was placed fourth at The All England Masters, Cambridge. All this competitive success has not gone unnoticed and after its Cambridge success it was elevated into the top twenty rankings of bands in the UK for the first time in its history.
Contesting aside, the band is also proud to show off its many achievements as a concert band, these include concert performances with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, two live broadcasts on “Friday Night is Music Night” for the BBC and numerous broadcasts on national and local radio. It has also appeared in all the major concert venues across the south including Portsmouth and Southampton Guildhalls, Poole Arts Centre, Basingstoke Anvil, Bournemouth Pavilion, Winter Gardens and International Centre and both Salisbury and Wells Cathedrals. It promotes annual concerts in Salisbury including “Salisbury Festival of Remembrance” with The Royal British Legion and “O Glorious Christmas” with Age Concern.
TV appearances include for TVS the filming of “Music Makers”, “Country Ways” and a live transmission from the “New Forest Show”. For BBC the band was proud to be featured in the making of an “Omnibus” programme, which compared the advantages of a northern sponsored works band (Black Dyke) over us, the then unsponsored village band – both competing in the National Finals in 1967.
The band has toured Switzerland four times and has also been band in residence at the Howard Davies Park, Jersey. In 1998 it went as part of a successful commerce delegation to Saintes in France with Salisbury District Council to further develop links with our twin-town.