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Back Row Cornet
Bb Bass

Where to find us

York Railway Institute, Queen Street, York, YO24 1AD (close to York Station) map

Rehearsal times

Mondays and Thursdays from 8pm to 10pm

Contact details

Please telephone our Secretary, Martyn Williams, on 07921 568826 or e-mail



All photographs are by members and friends of the Band, unless otherwise stated.

Booking The Band

This guide is intended to help you to make a success of your event by hiring York Railway Institute Band. The Band prides itself on high standards of music and presentation. We enjoy performing and sharing our music with others and you can read some of the excellent feedback we have received from our clients here. The performance itself, however, is only part of the overall event and in order that we make the best possible contribution we ask that you spend a few moments to check through this guide.

How to get the best from the Band:

What do you want the Band to do?

It's best to have a clear idea of what you want the Band to do at your event

  • What is the event – date, times, location?
  • Do you want a full concert?
  • Do you require a full band or a smaller group of players?
  • Will there be a formal audience for the Band, in which case we may want to prepare a programme in advance?
  • Do you want the Band to perform a programme with a theme e.g. A Night at The Movies, Last Night of the Proms, Traditional Bandstand Programme, etc?
  • Do you just want background music? If so, for what kind of event?
  • Is the Band accompanying singing or other activities? In this case, greater detail and liaison will be required.
  • Are additional groups (musical or other) also taking part in the same event? How will the time be shared?
  • How long do you want the Band to play for? With what intervals?

What to provide

  • For nearly all events the Band will require seating (usually around 20-25 brass and 3 percussionists).
  • Chairs with arms make things difficult for brass players, so it's best to avoid them if at all possible, although if that is all you have, no problem.
  • The Band would ideally expect to occupy a space of around 10m wide x 8m deep, though smaller spaces may be accommodated. We are able to play on some 'tiered' stages, but this is dependent entirely on the size and location of the tiers.
  • The Band will need a back room or similar space to congregate and warm up before playing, including somewhere to store the instrument cases.
  • It is useful to inform the players how they will access the venue – will there be a long way to carry equipment, or can the hall be accessed more easily? Is the venue at ground level, or is it on a higher floor, in which case is there a lift available?
  • The Band will usually arrive by private cars and will need somewhere to park. Instructions detailing where is suitable will be useful. Close vehicular access to the venue for the Band's larger instruments and equipment would be appreciated. A coach may also be used by the Band for longer journeys.
  • Light refreshments are always welcome – particularly at intervals – as playing is thirsty work! However, this is not essential.

Outdoor engagements

The open air is a good place for a brass band in the summer, but attention should be given to the location.

  • Drums particularly are vulnerable to extreme heat and rain, so a shady spot or under cover of some kind is preferable.
  • It is useful if the playing area can have some shelter from wind. Music stands carrying music are particularly difficult to deal with in even breezy conditions, so any shelter is always appreciated. The Band will bring pegs to hold the music on the stands.
  • In the case of wet or inclement weather, what will happen? Will the event be cancelled, or moved indoors? Will the Band still be required? If the Band's services are cancelled, what notice would we receive, and would there still be payment available?
  • From a practical point of view, the ground needs to be relatively flat. Not only is it important for the physical position for somebody who is to work sitting down for an hour or two, but music stands are top heavy and can be unstable if the ground is not good. If you want the Band to play on grass, please bear in mind that chairs with thin legs on soft ground quite easily sink into the turf.
  • You need to think what will be going on around the Band. For safety, we should not be placed next to a busy road. Think also of animals – some of which can be startled by a band if they are not used to them.


York Railway Institute Band is an amateur organisation and most of their players have full-time jobs, so it is often difficult to get the Band together during working hours, but not always impossible so it is always worth enquiring as to our availability.

We take bookings up to a year in advance, occasionally longer. Please book early.

As a minimum please can you give four weeks' notice of a booking. A list of engagements for the current year can be found here.

Once at the venue, the Band will require time to set up – at least an hour prior to the playing time, possibly longer in certain circumstances. If there is a shared arena, then details will be required on how and when the interchange between performances will take place.

The Band prefers engagements that have a reasonable length of playing required. An event that only demands 15 or 20 minutes of music is not ideal. An hour or two is more usual, and ensures that you get the best value from the Band. A typical format concert would be 45 minutes playing in each half, with a 15-30 minute break, however, ultimately, we will play to your requirements.


You will not have to pay professional rates for the services of the Band. However, our performances are always carried out to a professional standard and our presentation is also excellent. An appropriate fee will be quoted to you once we know what your requirements are, however, we can assure you that we provide excellent value for money.

You will be sent an invoice in advance of the concert and payment can be made by cheque on the day or following the concert by cheque or BACS transfer (within 28 days). We would prefer not to be paid in cash, however, if that is your preference that is also fine by us.

Contacting us

Please Martyn Williams with your contact details and he will phone you to talk through your requirements or you can phone Martyn on 07921 568826.

If you have any queries whatsoever about this guide, or any other aspect of hiring York Railway Institute Band, please contact the Secretary.