A stalwart of not only Launceston, but other local brass bands, was thanked for 50 years’ dedication to music during the Mayor’s Civic Service on Sunday (February 4).
Members of the community gathered at the town hall before processing in the traditional manner through the town to St Mary’s Church where Ann Brown, well known musical director of Launceston Town Band was in for a surprise.
As part of this year’s Mayor’s Civic Service, Cllr Helen Bailey had decided to create a new award, which looks to reward those who have gone above and beyond for their community.
Ann has supported not only Launceston Town Band for 50 years but many others in the area including Bude and Holsworthy, all while helping to train the next generation.
The High Sherriff of Cornwall Toby Ashworth was on hand to present the award to Ann, who was clearly in shock.
Following the presentation, Ann said: “I started when I was eight or nine years old. I came as part of the youth band and sat on the principle comet chair, when I was 12, and I was there up until I became musical director about six years ago. I have always been here with the band, through thick and thin.”
Despite taking on the role of musical director, Ann was still keen to continue playing when she could and has helped inspire a number of youngsters to follow in her footsteps and take up a musical instrument.
“I wanted to see the band go forward and we have always had a very high and good quality of youth players in the band, many of whom you can see here today. We have a lot in our training and learning band - it is getting quite busy on a Tuesday night- but that is great!
“It is great to see the youth of Launceston and surrounding areas want to play music, that is what brings people joy, and we will play to entertain - that is what it’s all about, if people go home tapping their foot then we have done our job.”
Ann said the award had been a complete surprise, but was pleased to announce the band were set to perform a very fitting song next, ABBA’s “Thank you for the music”, which was welcomed by great applause.
A rousing rendition of ‘Cornwall My Home’ had seen the congregation kick off this service of joyful music, which made those in attendance ‘proud to be Cornish’.
With excellent performances from St Mary’s Choir, Launceston Pop Choir and Launceston Male Voice Choir the church was bursting with life.
After the successful service, mayor Cllr Bailey said: “It was a wonderful service and a true celebration of our town and its very many volunteers. The parade from the Town Hall included Town and County Councillors, the High Sheriff of Cornwall, visiting Mayors from around Cornwall and Devon and members of the Launceston Branch of the Royal British Legion.
“The highlight was to present a new award created by the Council to a member of our community who has made a huge impact on so many lives, who has shown passion and dedication to the organisation to which they belong. The High Sheriff of Cornwall Toby Ashworth presented the first Mayor’s Civic Award to Ann Brown of Launceston Town Band and he made a special journey to Launceston on Sunday to make the presentation a little extra special. Ann was for the first time speechless and overwhelmed, the congregation gave her a standing ovation and this was very well deserved.
“St Mary’s Choir, Launceston Male Voice Choir, Launceston Pop Choir and of course the Town Band were just outstanding and the congregation enjoyed the humour the mayor’s chaplain Reverend Sean Clancy brought to his inspiring Sermon. St Marys Church Wardens and Reverend Mary Williamson were so helpful and I would like to say thank you to them for setting everything up for the day.
“It was truly a day I will remember, it was uplifting and inspiring to see so many people in the Church to celebrate what a wonderful town we are and how we all work together to make things happen.”
The retiring collection was in aid of the mayor’s chosen charities Man Down and Launceston Leisure Centre.