DUCB Fortieth Anniversary Celebration Concert

As we draw to the end of the epiphany term celebration looms – DUCB are however celebrating something far greater than the end of 9 weeks. The Durham University Concert Band turns Forty this year and they are hosting an ‘Anniversary Celebration’ concert to commemorate their achievement. Epiphany has already seen Music Durham put on a plethora of fantastic performances Tri-Uni, DUBB winning the UniBrass shield and many more .

On the 8th of March DUCB will take to Durham Town Hall to present an array of pieces that their conductors Evan Penn and Laura Scott felt matched the occasion. The concert will be followed by a drinks reception – it is after all an anniversary!

DUCB Anniversary Concert

The DUCB Anniversary celebration concert poster. The poster features the artwork of Durham Alumnus Ian Scott Massie, who kindly allowed the band to use his artwork.

Durham University Concert Band is a non-auditioning ensemble open to all brass, woodwind and percussion players. Its ultimate aim is to create a relaxed and informal atmosphere where everyone feels welcome, while at the same time as playing music to an excellent standard. The conductors always seek to choose music that is both accessible and musically challenging, and the band’s repertoire is vast and varied – it has previously included film scores, Broadway musicals, full concert band suites, contemporary compositions and classical works. The pieces to be performed on the 8th follow in that stead.

The band rehearses weekly on Sunday afternoons and usually performs at least three concerts per year. In recent years, DUCB have also developed links within the local community and hope to run an annual outreach event working with children from local primary schools.  

It all started with Peter.

When Peter came to Durham in 1976 he was keen to join the university orchestra as an oboist. Unfortunately, there were twelve oboists auditioning that year, including some studying music, so he was without a group to play in for the first time in quite a few years. At the start of his second year, Peter got in touch with one of his neighbours in Hatfield College, a clarinettist called Steve who practiced regularly, and the two of them started a band.

The format of the group was really a military band, but Durham University Military Band (DUMB) didn’t seem to be quite right, so they settled for Concert Band instead. In June 1978 they performed on Palace Green one afternoon for the first time. 

They began finding others by various means, including a drummer (Tom) from Castle and a trombonist (Nick) from Collingwood and were able to start practising as a group. Peter got some music from his old school and they scrounged a little money from somewhere and bought a few marches and bits.
Very democratically, Peter became conductor and Steve 1st clarinet! 

There were no auditions for new members, anyone could join. They practised in the rooms opposite the Library on Palace Green. Steve and Peter discussed a name for their band. The format of the group was really a military band, but Durham University Military Band (DUMB) didn’t seem to be quite right, so they settled for Concert Band instead. In June 1978 they performed on Palace Green one afternoon for the first time. 

In 1978/9 they were able to have a stand for the Freshers Fair and gained quite a few members. In Peter’s final summer they used Castle’s Hall for their first proper concert and had fun on Palace Green again. To try to ensure that the band continued, they attached themselves to the Music Society and appointed an assistant conductor to take over from Peter for the following year; his name was Eric. 

Since the founding group left, Durham University Concert Band has continued to grow and flourish and we are proud of what we have achieved and continue to achieve.


Concert Band will be treating you to an evening of fascinating music ranging from Bernstein’s movie scores to the Dukes Jazz. The band will be displaying mighty arrangements that everyone will be able to palate. The concert follows a series of stellar reviews, one reviewer recently recommended “future Concert Band performances to any avid music fan across Durham and further afield”

We can only hope that you will join us to commemorate the big four’o, and kick of the next decade in style. Take a break from assignments and come and see the amazing work that your peers have produced. 

Concert details:


Ticket price:

Standard: £8

Concessions: £6

Music Durham members: £5

Tickets can be purchased from the Music Durham website but will also be available on the door  www.musicdurham.org/event/ducbanniversary/ 

Facebook event: www.facebook.com/events/265710203867324/

When: Wednesday the 8th  of March. Doors open at 6:45pm for a 7pm start, Drinks reception afterwards

Where: Durham Town Hall, Durham, DH1 3NJ

Durham University Concert Band:

Twitter: @TheDUCB

Facebook : www.facebook.com/DUConcertBand

Website: www.concert-bandsociet.wixsite.com/ducb

Email: concert-band.society@durham.ac.uk

Rehearsal details: 2-4:30pm, Palace Green Music Department

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