The band was formed in September 1976, originally as an evening class organised by West Bristol Community Education, based at the Public Hall in Shirehampton. The rationale behind starting the group was to provide a musical outlet for that part of Bristol and in particular students and ex-students from the local Portway Secondary School, which under the outstanding leadership of its Head of Music, John Berry, was responsible for inspiring large numbers of pupils to get involved in instrumental music (I played in the Portway School Band).
After ten years the band had to leave the Public Hall due to major maintenance work, and so began a slightly nomadic existence for the next twenty plus years involving Lawrence Weston, Portway Lower and Upper, the new Brightstowe and Little Mead Primary Schools as the rehearsal bases. Since 2010, the band's home was the Bristol Plays Music (formerly Bristol Centre for Music and the Arts) in Southmead. In October 2021 the band moved to a new home at Amberley Road Baptist Church, Patchway. The venue moves do not mean the links to our spiritual home have been lost as the band still performs in Shirehampton at least three times a year in our Summer and Winter Concerts at St Mary’s, as well as the now famous (or is it infamous?) Carols on the Green on Christmas Eve.
Philip Sims was the Conductor and Organiser from the beginning and earned parole in 2019 when Rachel Hinchliffe joined as Co-Musical Director and the band became a charity.