Graphic illustrating leighton buzzard salvation army hall



Leighton Buzzard Salvation Army Band has been around since the late 1880s proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ in its own unique way with sonorous and well-loved hymn tunes, vibrant marches, gospel selections and extended classical compositions.

More recently many Salvation Army bands have used some "big band" style arrangements of traditional gospel songs which many people may remember from their Sunday School days. One such, "Daniel" arranged by Australian composer Barrie Gott, is a real foot-tapper and provides new life to the original words:

Dare To Be A Daniel by Philip Paul Bliss (1838 - 1876)

 1. Standing by a purpose true,
Heeding God's command,
Honor them, the faithful few!
All hail to Daniel's band!

3. Many giants, great and tall,
Stalking through the land,
Headlong to the earth would fall,
If met by Daniel's band.

Dare to be a Daniel,
Dare to stand alone!
Dare to have a purpose firm!
Dare to make it known.  

 2. Many mighty men are lost
Daring not to stand,
Who for God had been a host
By joining Daniel's band.

4. Hold the Gospel banner high!
On to vict'ry grand!
Satan and his hosts defy,
And shout for Daniel's band.

Like many similar groups Leighton Buzzard Salvation Army Band used to be seen marching through the town on Sunday morning, afternoon and evening. However, modern traffic conditions and the hectic pace of contemporary life have taken their toll and this activity is not possible today except for special and exceptional occasions.

Each member of the Leighton Buzzard Salvation Army Band is a committed Christian and their service – both men and women – is given freely without payment or expenses. In fact, each member of the band provides their own uniform and subsidises the band through personal subscription on a weekly basis. 

Before each band rehearsal the band joins with the songsters for a time of contemplation, devotion and refreshment. During this spiritual oasis individuals read from the Bible and offer a personal testimony on the influence of Christ in their lives. 

You can join in rehearsals on Tuesday evening at 9.00pm and experience the unique fellowship of the Leighton Buzzard Salvation Army Band.


leighton buzzard salvation army band history

Leighton Buzzard Salvation Army Band was formed in 1889 under the leadership of Bandmaster Jesse Kipping and thus became one of many Salvation Army Bands following in the footsteps of Consett, County Durham, which was the very first Salvation Army Band, commissioned in 1879.

If the local press is anything to go by the playing of the band was not too well received because in May 1889 a rather adverse report appeared in the local paper. The gist of the report was that most townsfolk did not appreciate their Sundays being disturbed by the sounds of squeaky clarinets, brass instruments being blown out of tuneā€¦and an insufferable drum.

The press demanded to know what this villainous noise had to do with religion! 

Such was the beginning of Leighton Buzzard Salvation Army Band. However, another report followed a few weeks later stating that the Band’s playing was a pleasure to listen to.

George Reeve Leighton Buzzard Salvation Army Bandmaster for 48 yearsBetween 1889 and 1912 the Leighton Buzzard Salvation Army Band was led by no less than eight Bandmasters. However, stability was achieved with the appointment of George Reeve as Bandmaster in 1912; a position he held for the next 48 years.


The Bandmaster went into military service in 1915 and, during the time he was away, Deputy Bandmaster Jack Swan assumed responsibility for the Band. During the First World War six Leighton Buzzard Salvation Army Bandsmen made the supreme sacrifice. 


During the years Bandmaster George Reeve was in charge the band undertook many engagements travelling many miles throughout the United Kingdom. And this at a time when long distance travel was more of an adventure than an experience. 


Sunday 21st March 1931 has a special place in the history of the band. During the Holiness meeting news reached the hall that the Royal Scot had been derailed just outside Leighton Buzzard railway station. The Bandmaster immediately requested that the band be allowed to leave the meeting to see if they could be of any help. The full band, without instruments, marched the mile and a half to the station where they remained until late in the evening helping the passengers. 


graphic of bandmaster Bram Evans leighton buzzard salvation army bandThe retirement ceremony of Bandmaster George Reeve in 1960, when he handed the baton to Bandmaster Bramwell Evans, took place in the Leighton Buzzard Market Square and was televised by the BBC. Since 1960 the Leighton Buzzard Salvation Army Band has had five Bandmasters; the present leader is Retired Songster Leader Gordon Camsey who took over from Richard Guess in 2011. 


Now in its 120th year the Leighton Buzzard Salvation Army Band still thrives although the personnel has declined from the mid thirties to mid twenties although the average age has increased. Nevertheless, the band continues to take part in the general life of the town by assisting at civic occasions and helping other organisations when necessary. The band’s favourite event is the Christmas Eve carol singing, organised by the Rotary Club, in Leighton Buzzard High Street attended by up to 3,000 people. Leighton Buzzard Salvation Army Band has participated in this occasion for over 50 years accompanying the singing of the traditional Good News about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 


It is the hope and desire of each member of the band that it will continue to be of service for the Lord Jesus Christ and the Good News will remain the primary motive for the continued existence of the Leighton Buzzard Salvation Army Band.  

Leighton Buzzard Band
Cheryl Horne - Pianoforte

120th Anniversary Concert
Friday 27th November 2009







 1910 GS 609 March - The Battle Cry Fred J Hawkes
 1919 GS 816 March - Under Two Flags Bramwell Coles
 1938 GS 1138 Suite - The Pilgrim Way Eric Ball
 1947 GS 1278 Meditation - Hyfrydol Gunnar Blomberg
 1955 GS 1409 Cornet Trio - The Veterans
Stuart Bulmer - Robert Foster - Don Dennis
Ray Steadman-Allen
 1959 FS 243 Bass Trombone Solo - The Passing Years
Gordon Camsey
Kenneth Cook
 1973 GS 1652 March - Norwich Citadel Albert Drury
 1981 TS 845 Suite - Blyth Heritage Leslie Condon
 1990 TS 971 Hymn Setting - Fewster Noel Jones
 2003 TS 1126 Praise Party Steven Ponsford
 2009 GS 2079 Round-Up Martin Cordner


 Buzzard Salvation Army Band history was prepared by Ken Aris, a lifelong bandsman, songster and local officer at Leighton Buzzard who, in retirement, is still playing tenor horn in the band.