Mark Ager is one of the most successful conductors in the region. He conducted Haverhill Silver Band for 18 years winning the First Section area Contest three times (2006, 2011, 2015), achieving top 5 placings in the Championship Section twice (2007 & 2017), winning the First Section at the Butlins Mineworkers Contest (2006) and winning the Crawley Entertainment Contest (2012). Before conducting Haverhill Mark conducted the Clacton-on-Sea Co-operative Band where the band was placed in the top 4 Championship bands at the Area Contest for three consecutive years (1996,1997 and 1998). Mark has conducted a number of high profile concerts with top name soloists at both Haverhill Silver Band and Clacton-on-Sea Cooperative Band including David Childs, Tom Hutchinson, James Shepherd, David Thornton, Steve Sykes, Don Lusher and Peter Skellern.
As a player Mark, under the Direction of Keith Wilkinson, John Berryman and Bramwell Tovey, competed in all the major British contests with GUS including winning numerous area contests and the Best of Brass and placings at the British Open, the National Brass Band Finals and Granada Band of the Year.
Mark also has a long-standing love of local Drama and Musical Theatre. He is appearing in Made in Dagenham in Haverhill in June 2018, being produced by the Centre Stage Company, and has recently performed in the Vicar of Dibley and Brassed off (where he was also the Musical Adviser). He has been the Musical Director of a number of shows produced by Haverhill Operatics Society and Dunmow Players including Guys and Dolls, Mikado, Merry Widow and My Fair Lady. This included taking Dunmow Players to the Gilbert and Sullivan Buxton Festival and conducting their professional orchestra.
Based near the Cambridgeshire and Suffolk borders, Soham Comrades Brass Band are a friendly and ambitious second section band who compete in the London and Southern Counties area.
The band reached the Second Section finals in 2014 and recent contest successes have included 2nd placings at the Crawley Entertainment Contest in May 2015 and at the Milton Keynes Contest in November 2015. More recently the band achieved the runner up prize of £1000 at the 2016 Butlins Mineworkers Open National Brass Band Festival held in Skegness. The band were placed 3rd in the 2nd Section LSC regional contest held in Stevenage in March 2016 receiving the Nelson Morris Memorial Cup and maintained this consistency of placings being awarded 4th place in March 2017, with the bass section receiving the Len Smith Memorial Trophy for the best bass section.
In March 2018, at the Regional Contest, the band achieved a respectable 7th position and also securing promotion into the First Section, based on the consistent high placings over the last three years. The band therefore will be contesting in the 1st section in 2019, a challenge we are very much looking forward to.
Soham Comrades Band was officially formed in 1921 with the amalgamation of the Excelsior Prize Band and the Town Band (formed in 1890). The first bandmaster was Mr Frederick.J.Talbot who was paid the sum of £1 per week for his duties including teaching the younger players. He was to hold this post for around fifty years and under his leadership the band competed in major competitions in venues such as Alexandra Palace, Belle Vue and Crystal Palace. Locally the band was also very successful in various competitions, including the title "Champions of East Anglia", which the band has to date won on fifteen occasions.
More recently the band has continued to perform concert work and to compete both locally and nationally with great success. During the last few years, under the leadership of Jayne Murrill, the band has reached the finals of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain, plus being awarded runner up at two or three key national competitions.
The band has a full and varied concert programme throughout the year which involves many charitable and community projects. Please visit the Events Page to see our current calendar of engagements.