Book review: The Essence of Time

Celebrating One Hundred Years of Lydbrook Band: 1923 — 2023
Author: Andrew Mason
Price: £10.00

The Essence of Time has been written by Andrew Mason 

In recent years there has been a welcome growth in the number of amateur historians taking an informed interest in writing about brass bands.

Advances in research technology has helped enormously; old newspaper reports can now be readily accessed by search engines that can find  gems of information previously hidden away in acres of dusty leather-bound archives. 

Not only that, but there has been a major change in the way the histories are written.

Context has become essential – placing the highs and lows of bands, great and small, into a wider social and cultural landscape: It places the meat on the bare statistical bones of contest results and brings to life the names and characters who have been the dedicated lifeblood of community bands in particular. 

Andrew Mason’s centenary celebration of the history of the Lydbrook Band is a case in point. 

Keen eye for detail

An area of the country with a rich brass band history to unearth (much linked to its mining heritage), he has an obvious love of his subject matter. A Forest of Dean bandsman through and through, he has a keen eye for detail and the ability to broaden its scope. 

He has certainly trawled through a vast amount of the band’s own memorabilia, brass band records and the archives of the local and regional press to draw the achievements of Lydbrook off the page.  

He has certainly trawled through a vast amount of the band’s own memorabilia, brass band records and the archives of the local and regional press to draw the achievements of Lydbrook off the page.  

It is also one well worth the telling - his style concise and clear in telling an engaging and story of musical endeavour and determination - from contest wins to building a new bandhall. And whilst they cannot boast the type of high profile contesting accolades of others, there is a great deal to be proud of. 

Justifiable pride

Originally a reed & brass band, they quicky dispensed with the non-brass. Ever since they have maintained a close link to their local community yet also embraced an innovative approach to their music making (and media opportunities) – including several overseas trips as far afield as South Africa and Poland. 

They have also produced players of note and excellence (such Lyndon Baglin BEM and Robert Morgan MBE) and have maintained a high level of competitiveness that now sees them enter their second century firmly embedded in the Championship Section.

It is a story of deep-seated roots, commitment, determination and inventiveness told with a great deal of understandable and fully justifiable pride. 

Iwan Fox 

To purchase the book go to: http://www.lydbrookband.co.uk/newsitem.aspx?id=72

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