Following several of our members and a sponsor reading Charlie Robb’s letter (Eastwood Advertiser, Friday, November 23) I was instructed to pen a response. In response to his comment, I would like to first praise the Arcadian Marching band for their performance at the Eastwood Remembrance Parade. Unfortunately, we were otherwise engaged and could not attend or witness the parade, although one of our members was there. Secondly, I would like to correct a few misconceptions that he commented on after obviously being misinformed. In 2007, a collection of members from the Arcadians had a difference of opinion with the committee of their band and they decided to leave and start their own band up based in Eastwood. The Eastwood Phoenix Band was born formed by Natalie Hill, Sarah Sansom and Billy Mundell and therefore no “defection to the Chesterfield Band” as you referred. After six months of existence and due to lack of funds, instruments, engagements and uniform, they contacted the Chesterfield Musketeers Showband for support and assistance. After several conversations and a meeting it was agreed between both parties that for 12 months the Musketeers would provide instruments, uniforms, engagements, training and support for all the ex-Arcadians members, thus allowing them to gain experience by performing equally as both bands, whilst raising their own funds for uniforms etc. In return the Musketeers gained extra members but would perform as the Eastwood Phoenix Band at several engagements like Colliers Wood (twice), Coronation Park (twice) and Eastwood & Kimberley Lights. This involved twice weekly practices in Eastwood at Coronation Park. Such was the success and enjoyment of the venture, the Eastwood members requested that a further 12 month amalgamation was undertaken, but under the joint name of The Phoenix Musketeers Showband. Again, the success was beyond anyone’s belief and over 30 engagements were undertaken but at all times it was publicised that the band were from both Chesterfield and Eastwood. None of this would have been possible without the assistance and guidance of the Musketeers. After this period several members left to pursue there own interests and as a result just three ex-Arcadian members remain to date but we have nine members from Eastwood and the surrounding area who have joined, ranging in age from nine years and up. As recognition of the members still involved from Eastwood, we still carry the name of Eastwood in our official title, The Chesterfield Musketeers Showband of Chesterfield & Eastwood. We still practice weekly at Brookhill Leys School and Coronation Park and support Broxtowe Borough Council throughout the year where possible. At no time were there any defection or intention to poach any of the Arcadians members, in fact on the contrary as we have volunteered support in the offers of meetings, workshops and even engagement recommendations to help keep them active and promote the Eastwood Arcadian Band. For the record I would like Cllr Robb to know that we are not a competitor of the Arcadians, but simply a charity registered marching band that gives children, teenagers and adults alike from Eastwood, Chesterfield and the surrounding areas, the opportunity of performing, travelling and furthering their interest in the performing arts, rather than roaming the streets and vandalising cars and other people’s property. Maybe Cllr Robb would like to meet the members on Tuesday night at The Eastwood Lights and witness the efforts of some of the youngsters of Eastwood and give them their support rather than take a back handed swipe in the Advertiser.
Kevin Oldfield BMMD
Chesterfield Musketeers Showband (of Chesterfield & Eastwood)