Eastleigh is home to one of the top scout and guide bands in the country. The 14th Eastleigh Scout and Guide Band – “The Spitfires” – is a concert and marching band that was founded in 1968 by the then group scout leader of the 14th Eastleigh scout troop.
The band membership has expanded from its original base and is now open to members of both the Scout Movement and Guide Association from all over Hampshire – and beyond, in some cases.
As you would expect for a band that has been going for that long, its history has had high and low points. In the 1980s its numbers were so depleted that it might have folded were it not for the dedication and perseverance of a few members. The standing joke at the time was that the band only knew one tune. Since then, the band has gone from strength to strength. Its membership, skill, and repertoire have increased astronomically. Today it is probably the strongest it has ever been. In fact, in addition to the main band, today they have a training band, a saxophone quartet, a corps of drums, and a dance band.
They have played at a number of prestigious events and locations, including the national St George’s Day Parade at Windsor, the National Indoor Arena, and the Royal Albert Hall. Oh, and, of course our very own Thornden Hall where I saw them two weekends ago (in a joint concert with The Band Of The Hampshire Constabulary).
The band plays something for everyone. The weekend’s concert included “Over the Rainbow”; “Eve of the War” (from Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds); excerpts from Les Miserables; and “Music” by John Miles. All played with tremendous expertise and enthusiasm.
Don’t miss “The Spitfires” shows!
If this has whetted your appetite and you would lie to see the band for yourself (and I can thoroughly recommend it) you can catch them playing at the Butter cross in Winchester on 29th March, or at the St. George’s Day Parade in Eastleigh on 27th April. Later in the year they will be playing at the WW1 Commemoration Event in Eastleigh on 7th September, at Thornden Hall on 17th October (with the Thornden Community Wind Band), and the Carol Service at All Saints’ Church on 19th December. Here is a list of their performances this year.
Oh, and they no longer play that one tune from the 1980s. They don’t need to – they have so many more tunes to choose from.
Let’s enjoy the 14th Eastleigh Scout and Guide Band’s performance on St George’s Day 2012 parade in Chandler’s Ford.