Artist: EYMS Brass Band

by on 25th October 2016

(Photo: EYMS Group)

Years Active:

1989 – present


The East Yorkshire Motor Services Brass Band is one of the top brass bands in the world and is probably the most successful band ever in its twenty-five year history. In soccer terms the Band started as a Sunday League team in 1989 and achieved promotion in almost consecutive years through the 4th, 3rd, 2nd and 1st divisions and then to the Premier league! Having been promoted to the North of England Championship Section (the Band equivalent of the Premier league) in 1996, the Band then earned the title of Northern Area Champions for a remarkable three successive years.

The Band, which was formed by local musicians under the baton of Robert Childs, was originally called The City Of Hull Band. The aim then was to revive the tradition of brass banding in the city and provide an adult band to build on the superb standards of brass instrument teaching in the local schools and colleges. Most people aren’t aware that Hull was once a thriving brass band centre – before the outbreak of the Second World War, there were over 30 competing bands within the city boundary, and this figure didn’t include several Salvation Army Bands, the Police Band, and the Territorial Army Band. Many of these bands were factory-sponsored bands – such as the Hull Kingston Cotton Mills Band, Holmes Hull Tannery Band – railway bands – Hull Railwaymen’s Band –, or bands from the different areas of the city – Hull Waterloo Prize Silver Band, The St. Georges Silver Band. One of the first organised Band Contests was held at Burton Constable Hall, Sproatley in 1845, and Hull was one of the major music publishing centres with companies such as T. Haigh & Company on Anlaby Road. This was hard to believe in the 1980’s, as there were no brass bands in the city with the exception of the Hull Music Service junior bands, and the Salvation Army Band. Brass musicians in the city had to move away, or travel to continue playing once age had barred them from staying with the youth bands. There were two local bands just outside the city boundary – Hessle Royal British Legion Band, and The Cottingham Band – that began to enjoy some contest success during the late 1980’s. This was largely down to their two conductors Graham Townsend and Richard Grantham who were both talented, and enthusiastic. It was the momentum that these conductors created that attracted several players from the city to join those bands. It was this drain of talent that prompted local teachers Dixon Laing and Robert Childs to form the new band – mainly from local players, but even initially attracting players from further afield, such was the interest.

Several members of the original City of Hull Band were still students playing in the Hull Music Service Brass Band, also conducted by Dixon Laing and Robert Childs, others were drawn in by the challenge of being in at the start of something new, coming from both banks of the Humber. The Band started to rehearse in September 1989, and by February the following year were good enough to enter and win their first contest, the Yorkshire Area 4th Section. This qualified the Band to play at the 1990 National Brass Band Finals. The Band isn’t all about contesting though, fund raising had to be done in order to meet the costs of running the Band, and concerts were staged, both as a way of raising the profile of the Band, and also to raise money for various local charities. In June 1990, the Band gave a fundraising concert for the North Humberside Hospice Project – now known as Dove House. This association with Dove House has continued with the Band regularly giving fund raising concerts, as well as playing at their summer fete and the Christmas light switch on. During these early days of the Band’s history, the local bus and coach company East Yorkshire Motor Services supported the Band, providing coach travel to their playing engagements, and a new set of ‘walking out’ blazers. As a result of this connection, Peter Shipp the EYMS chief executive was invited to become the Band President – a role that he still holds today. In 1992, following further support from the company, it was decided to change the name of the Band to the East Yorkshire Motor Services Brass Band. 1991 saw the Band promoted from the 4th to the 3rd section, and this improvement continued in the following years, 1992 up to the 2nd section, 1993 to the 1st section, and then in 1996 to the Championship section. It is at this level that the Band regularly competes against bands with such household names as Brighouse & Rastrick, the Grimethorpe Band, and the Black Dyke Mills Band, all of whom have many years of success and history behind them. Since its formation in 1989, the East Yorkshire Motor Services Brass Band has competed at the National Brass Band Championships on no fewer than 16 occasions, a truly remarkable statistic, winning in 1992.

Besides the contest success (102 entered to date, including 27 1st places, 13 2nd places, 6 3rd places and 9 4th places), other highlights for the Band include appearing on the BBC programmes ‘Songs Of Praise’ in 1993, and ‘Look North’ in 2003 & 2006. In 2002 the Band were invited to play a specially commissioned new piece at the opening, of ‘The Deep’, Hull’s Submarium, and in 2006, played a joint concert with the massed choirs from the ‘Friends Northern Schools’ in the magnificent setting of Wakefield Cathedral. The Band has recorded several CD’s, and have also featured on CD’s recorded by The Beautiful South. Highlights in 2007, saw the Band join again with the massed ‘Friends Schools’ choirs, to perform Karl Jenkins Requiem Mass ‘The Armed Man’. The Band also had another work specially commissioned by them, ‘Reformers’ by Philip Wilby received its premier performance at The City Hall, Hull as part of the 2007 Wilberforce Festival. The Band has visited Europe on several occasions, including the Netherlands in 2007, and France in 2009.

As well as the support given by the East Yorkshire Motor Services Group, the Band is also indebted to the Hull branch of St John Ambulance, who since 2001, have provided the Band with rehearsal facilities – initially at their premises in Popple Street, and since 2010 at their headquarters on Citadel Way.

(EYMS Brass Band)



Brass Excursions (Cassette) – Amadeus, 1993

Brass Compass (CD) – Belburn, 1998

Jubilee (CD) – Blue Book Recordings, 2008 (with St. Mary’s RC Primary School, Market Weighton)

The Deep (CD) – Amadeus, 2005

Reformers (CD) – Amadeus, 2007

The Old Rugged Cross (CD) – Blue Book Recordings, 2008


Time Travel (CD) – EYMS Band, 1999