Desford Colliery Band is considered one of the world's finest exponents of the brass medium, combining British Brass Band playing with an entirely new concept of programming. Its wide range of styles and flexibility of performance has brought it world-wide fame.
Founded in 1898 the band was originally named Ibstock United by George Underwood. In 1912 the band engaged its first professional musical director Mr Albert Lawson, who made a twice weekly trip from Leicester, by pony and trap. The band steadily flourished until the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 when most of the players were sent to the trenches. They regrouped
at the end of the war to win a host of gold medals and cups and become the most successful band in the Midlands. The Second World War again called a halt to their activities. When they reformed they were faced with an urgent need to replace dilapidated instruments and in 1956 the band was assisted by the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation (CISWO). Because of this and the fact that the majority of the players were miners the band was renamed the Desford Colliery Band. Progress continued under various conductors and in 1970 Desford was promoted to the Championship Section. The band enjoyed legendary success by winning no less than thirty-one Championship titles.
The decline of the mining industry has meant that the traditional membership of the band has changed. Many of Desford's players are now drawn from the top music colleges in England. With only the very best players and conductors the band has achieved a degree of musical awareness and technical ability to play music of all styles at the highest standard.
Desford has achieved great popularity and success as an ambassador for British Culture and heritage abroad. Accolades have been received from Moscow, Chicago, Toronto, Singapore, Bangkok and all western European capitals. In addition to the concert platform, the band is in demand at major music festivals across the globe. It also premieres many new works for notable composers such as Eric Ball, Arthur Butterworth, Robert Simpson, Wilfred Heaton and Raymond Pemru. The Desford Band is committed to a policy that future generations will have music from this period to enjoy.