Harley ‘Frank’ Brewer – 103rd Birthday Celebration

St Dennis Band were passed a band photograph recently via The China Clay History Group with a request to potentially name the Band conductor and players and to estimate the period that the picture was taken at the front of St Dennis Rectory.

Senior members of the St Dennis Band organisation agreed that the picture was almost certainly pre-war and with research from the fine array of competition trophies displayed in the photograph, in time could ascertain an accurate date.

St Dennis Band 1929

Imagine Phil Willcocks surprise to obtain confirmation that the photo was indeed taken in 1929 and the privilege to meet, and talk banding of yesteryear with a St Dennis Bandsman proudly stood as a member of the cornet section in the actual picture.

The meeting was on the occasion of Mr Frank Brewer’s 103rd birthday celebration at Amberley House, Truro with Frank displaying an enlarged framed identical picture on his living room wall. Aged 14 yrs at that time, Frank followed his father, Frank Brewer Snr (bass trombone) in the band moving to solo euphonium until the 1950’s, then continuing his end chair seat position touring all over the world with The Central Band of The RAF. His one regret during this time was not playing under the baton of Eddie Williams who he agrees was a massive asset to St Dennis. Frank has always retained a strong interest in the progress of the band from this time on.

Frank, better known as Harley Brewer during his time at St Dennis, recalls with great affection the musicianship and comradeship he experienced initially under his father’s wing and the renowned Bandmaster, also in the photo, Mr Charley Baker. Younger brothers Terry and Melville followed Frank in the band thus completing a long association of the Brewer name in the playing ranks of the band.

Frank spends leisure time listening to Brass Band music and would welcome an early afternoon visit from St Dennis Band supporters who will enjoy his amazing memory of concerts, occasions and fellow players from the late 1920’s onwards.

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