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About the band

Click for the "Constitution" of the Crystal Palace Band

About the Band Today

Crystal Palace Band (CPB) is one of the few traditional Brass Bands remaining in London. It consists of between twenty and thirty musicians and plays at a variety of events, including open-air concerts at Royal Parks and at the seaside, fetes, carol concerts, parades, brass band contests, parties and indoor concerts. Performance fees are charged and depend on location, time and number of players required. The band also plays and contests in smaller groups of four to ten players.

The Main Band at Broadstairs - 2011

We also have an active 'Progress' Band of over twenty players of all ages and abilities. This training and development section is ideal for new and returning players or those wanting to enjoy band playing without committing to the standards and rehearsals of the main band. An ideal entry point for those inspired to try their hand having seen the 2010 BBC programme A Band for Britain.
Visit the Progress Band Web Pages
The Progress Band at the Holy Trinity Church Penge 2009


Crystal Palace Band was founded as the Upper Norwood Temperance Prize Band by the Upper Norwood Temperance Society in 1901, and lived up to its name in its first year by securing prizes at all three contests it entered. Over time it became closely linked with the Crystal Palace and played there for many years. After the First World War. permission was granted in 1924 by the Crystal Palace Company to change the name to "The Crystal Palace Band". Read an article from the The British Bandsman dated 12th January 1902.

The old Crystal Palace Bandstand

In 1936 the band's close association with the Crystal Palace Company came to an end when the Crystal Palace burned down. Until 1936 the National Brass band Championships were held at the Crystal Palace with the band winning the Grand Shield (Second Section) Twice in the 1920's. The band reached a peak during the 1930's as a Championship Section Band under the baton of Dr Denis Wright, the well-known composer, arranger and conductor.

The Band in the mid 60's. Click for more detail.

After the Second World War the band's fortunes gradually declined as membership dwindled. At one time in the 1970's there were only a handful of players left, but the band kept going with the determined efforts of a few die-hards Today there are over 30 playing members in the main band with a thriving 'Progress Band' as well. The band's resurgence in fortunes can be measured by their extensive summer bandstand programme under the enthusiastic musical direction of Michael Gray.This reflects the relatively low turnover of players, and the popularity of the annual band trips!

In 1996 the band received an extra boost after being awarded lottery funding from the Arts Council for England which, together with its own funds, enabled the purchase of a whole new set of band instruments. Further internal investment in the band has followed since then with the acquisition of new timpani in 2003, new banners in 2001 and new uniforms in 1997 which means that the band not only sounds the part but looks the part too!

CPB has performed at numerous venues over the years including Royal Parks, seaside bandstands, concert halls, carnivals, shows, BBC Radio and has even recorded a soundtrack for a film. The band has also made numerous successful trips to Europe including concerts in Belgium. Holland, Germany, France and Switzerland.

In the band's centenary year (2001) over 1,800 was raised for St Christopher's Hospice via two concerts at St John's Church, Penge and a Gala Centenary Concert at Ravensbourne School in Bromley (concert review). The Band has continued to support the Hospice for most of the years since and the total raised is now over 10,000.

For the future, the band is looking forward to improving musical performances, further contest successes and continued involvement with the local area. One particular aim will be to find and acquire a permanent rehearsal room for the band so that it can continue to provide musical entertainment.

Read also some interesting items on our archive News Page
If you would like a traditional Brass Band to play at your event why not get in touch with us? Click to see where we have played in the past.