The villages of Carharrack and St Day lie six miles south-west from the City of Truro. There has been a brass band connecting these two villages since 1912.
The villages lie at the heart of what was once a thriving mining industry, with some of the first practises taking place in the out buildings of Ting Tang mine. To this day the remnants of this industry can still be seen in the abundance of old mine workings in the area.
Prior to 1912 there was a village band, known as “ Carharrack Fife and Drum Band “ The formation of the Brass Band is credited to the Allen family, with six family members buying themselves instruments and having tuition from John Williams of St Day. They were soon joined by other young men and so the band was formed under the directorship of the Rev’d. W. T. Martin.
The first appointed band master was Robert Stephens in 1913, and uniforms were purchased by each of the 14 players. Contesting started soon afterwards, and continues to this day, although the mode of transport is now much more sophisticated. No longer is a Jersey car pulled by horses, or a char-a-banc called into service.
By 1919, the band were fulfilling many engagements now under the baton of Fred Bray, followed by T. J. Allen in 1920. Many were for Sunday School Tea Treats, in the surrounding villages and hamlets, which started with a lengthy march. Sadly, these have died out, down mostly to the cost of insurance, and Health and Safety concerns.
In 1928, T. Hubbard took over the reins as Musical Director with T. J. Allen assisting as bandmaster. Shortly after this it became clear that some of the instruments were in a sorry state and needed replacing. A meeting was arranged to meet with Mr. W. J. Mills, ( a former St Day gentleman who had moved away from the area to “ make his fortune “ ) who asked what exactly the band needed.
In 1933, Mr. Mills provided the band with not only instruments, but with new uniforms. The presentation was made by his great nephew, Commander Joe Mills, as Mr. W. J. Mills was experiencing ill health and unable to attend.
The following year he also provided the band with a property in which the band could rehearse. Today it is known as The Mill’s Hall, and is available for hire by other groups of people, but over the front door there is still the sign which states “ Carharrack and St Day. Band Headquarters “
By 1933 the band had another musical director, F. J. Williams, who stayed until 1938 when Clifton Allen took over, and became the second longest gentleman to hold the post, retiring in 1960. Contesting and concerts continued throughout his time with the band.
Thirty years after joining the band as a player the baton was then handed to Tommy Martin, who remained in post for five years before handing over to Clifford Bolitho in 1966, with C. Morris covering in the interim period of a few months. Clifford stayed for ten years developing the youth within the ranks, thus creating a very young band.
The band became quite successful under his directorship, when in 1970 they qualified in the regional contest to go to London for the finals where they gained eighth place in the second section. A great achievement for a small village band up against bands from all over the country.
The previous year they had travelled to the Westward Studios in Plymouth where they made their first television appearance.
Clifford Bolitho was followed by Phillip James as the next musical director. He was in post from 1976 until 1984. By this time many bands were holding “ Band Sundays “ when three or four bands would join together, each giving a short concert followed by a mass band performance. Contesting continued throughout this time.
By 1980, it became clear that storage was needed for the housing of music, the instruments not in use and also for the percussion instruments, ( which were too big to be taken home after each practise ) and so a store room was constructed to the rear of the Mill’s Hall.
Two years later after a fund raising drive the band was kitted out in new uniforms, but there were concerns about the health of Mr. James who later resigned ( 1984 ) due to failing health. Mr. Colin Pellowe stepped in on a temporary basis until later in the year, David Pascoe took over as musical director for the next two years, followed by Jim Richards who waved the baton from 1986-1989, when he felt he had taken the band as far as he could so resigned. The post was filled by Noel Harris who conducted them in the National Finals in London in the October of that year. He left soon afterwards.
Throughout the years, as the band could afford it, new instruments, and a drum kit were purchased. With the succession of musical directors staying for only short periods of time, Roy Trelease had taken charge of the youth band, alongside his post of tutoring for The Cornwall Youth Band, with Reuben Long conducting the senior band until 1994.
Following this, Jim Wyatt conducted the band for a few months until in January 1995 when Roy Trelease, took up the baton. This was a temporary arrangement until the post was filled. In 2020, Roy Trelease remains in post, with Samuel Constable having taken charge of the Youth Band from Roy in 2017.
In his first year, Roy and the band worked hard and filled enough engagements for them to be able to pay £3,500 outright for new uniforms. Uniforms for the Youth Band soon followed.
Also, in 1995, Roy introduced the first joint concert featuring both the Youth and Senior Bands with the St Day and Carharrack Community School Choir. This has become an annual event taking place at the Mill’s Hall on the first Friday of December.
After a few years of not going to contests as there were not enough experienced players, the Senior Band once again were registered and began contesting once more.
1997 saw the first female player march on St Day Feast Day playing the Bass drum. This was Linda Trelease, wife of the Musical Director.
In 2011, Roy received The Diploma of Honour from the Worshipful Company of Musicians, and in 2020 he was awarded The Cornwall Civic Award for his dedicated service to the two villages and to Cornwall, especially within the Brass Band movement.
The band, like so many others has had its ups and downs over the years, but once again Carharrack and St Day has a thriving senior and Youth Band, with beginners joining on a regular basis, so training their own, many of whom have parents that Roy also taught.