Olney Brass was formed by David Greig (later to become Head of the Milton Keynes Music Centre) from a brass quartet when the then Stantonbury Music Centre was opened in 1974. With the development of the Music Centre a full brass band emerged from students taught in the Milton Keynes schools. Success came with the winning of many music festivals in the area and establishing itself in the Youth, and later lower sections of the National Brass Band Championships. It has qualified for the National Finals of the Great Britain Championships in London and Cardiff on four occasions. It has also played with many leading musicians including the Childs brothers, Don Lusher, James Watson, Gordon Higginbottom, Alan Morrison, Russell Gray, Chris Jeans and The Fine Arts Brass.
In 1993, the leading composer Goff Richards wrote a special commission for the band to mark the Festival Week Celebrations of the newly established Milton Keynes Music Centre. Goff conducted the premiere and called the piece ‘Celebration’.
The band has made three tours to Germany and in 1993 made a very successful tour to Holland, Luxembourg, Belgium & Germany and again in 1998 to Italy.
The band enjoys playing with massed choirs and had an enjoyable time playing in the Royal Marines Chapel at Deal with massed choirs as well as popular Promenade Concerts at the City Church in Milton Keynes.
In October 1999 they had an invitation to open the new state of the art Milton Keynes Theatre and had the honour of performing the first music there. Early in 2001 the band recorded the backing music for a video film made of the Theatre as well as participating in a large scale ‘Community Oratorio’ by Tunde Jegede at the same venue.
In June 2001 the band performed with 200 schoolchidren Malcolm Arnold`s ‘Song of Freedom’ at the Theatre to mark Sir Malcolm’s 80th birthday, which the composer attended.
2002 saw the band play music by astronomer Sir Patrick Moore arranged by the bands music director Alan Jenkin, and during Xmas of that year they were invited to play on Channel 4’s Breakfast Programme.
In March 2003 they performed at the Royal Albert Hall a concert for Barnardos, which gave them the opportunity to perform the demanding ‘Cry of the Celts’ by Ronan Hardiman complete with Irish Dancers & Fiddlers, and a large array of percussion.
There is a large turnover of players each year with students leaving for university, music colleges and the like, but many students return after their studies to boist the playing capacity and the band has now developed into a community band with about 50% adult membership. Currently vacant positions can be found on the Vacancies page.
To book the band for an engagement please see our Contacts page or phone the MK Music Service on 0845 200 0096.