The history of the Enfield Citadel Band (formerly Tottenham I and Tottenham Citadel Band) is a tribute to the many personalities that have marked its leadership and membership over more than one hundred years of Salvationist music making. Its achievements in both Salvation Army and wider musical circles have led to much critical acclaim, but the purpose of its existence has remained unchanged – to bring the message of Christianity to all who hear it.
The Tottenham I Band was formed soon after the opening of the Corps in 1891 and like most ‘Army’ bands had a very humble beginning. Bandmaster Pemberton was its first leader and, after a short period of service, was succeeded by Jeff Sell. Other bandmasters in the early years were W. Brand, Will Devoto, Albert Jakeway, Arthur Dry and ‘Titch’ Dockray.
These early-day leaders ensured that the band, by now known as Tottenham Citadel, gained recognition not only for its high standard of playing, but also for its marching and deportment, in its own locality and through frequent campaigns up and down the country.
These early years included a number of appearances at national Salvation Army events and, in 1933, the band’s first overseas tour, to Denmark and Sweden.
In 1938, Ernest Edwards accepted the position of bandmaster and rapidly gained the respect of the band through his unstinting service and dynamic personality. He was to lead the band for 16 memorable years.
In 1939 the grim spectre of war limited activities to the home Corps and an occasional visit to a neighbour. Peace also brought its challenge and the band had to make almost a fresh start, but enthusiasm recognised no barriers and rapid progress was made. Post-war highlights included serving as demonstration band at Bandmasters’ Councils and providing a sound track for an Army film.
In April 1954 the band toured Holland and upon its return Bandmaster Edwards retired from the key position. Several months later he was succeeded by the then Captain Ray Steadman-Allen. The band continued to thrive under the brilliant musicianship and artistic sensitivity of the Captain, who later went on to become one of the Army’s leading composers.
Upon a change of appointment in 1960, the Captain relinquished his control and was succeeded as bandmaster by James Williams. Deputy Bandmaster to Ernest Edwards and Captain Steadman-Allen, and renowned internationally as a cornet soloist, he brought patience, poise, experience and inspiration to the position.
In 1961 Tottenham Citadel Band became the first corps band to record a long playing record,and the following April saw a return to Sweden for a ten-day tour led by Captain Dean Goffin. A North American tour followed two years later, in March/April 1964, and the band played in Toronto, Hamilton, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and a number of other centres, receiving the highest critical acclaim throughout. Several of the bandsmen who took part in the 1964 Tour of north America returned to Canada to take up employment, and many of them are today found in key positions in The Salvation Army in that country.
Despite these changes, in 1965 the band took part in The Salvation Army’s Centenary celebrations at The Royal Albert Hall and in 1967 celebrated its own 75th Anniversary with a weekend of special meetings led by Colonel (later General) and Mrs Arnold Brown. The following year the band was awarded first place in the Youth Year marching competition at Crystal Palace.
In 1973 the Tottenham Citadel Band began a new chapter in its history. Relocated to Enfield, an outer suburb of North London, the band changed its name to Enfield Citadel Band and became part of a smaller corps with comparatively little tradition of music making. However, it soon established its new identity and the standards and traditions previously associated with its predecessors continued as before.
Two years later the LP ‘Citadel Brass’ was recorded, shared with Kettering Citadel Band and 1975 was the year of the third visit to Scandinavia, this time for a 12-day tour of Norway. Programmes were presented in Oslo, Bergen and a number of other centres where audiences were thrilled by the band’s playing.
1977 was the next notable year for the band with the release of the ‘Banners and Bonnets’ record, shared with Hendon Songster Brigade. Later in the year the band took part in the Silver Jubilee Bandmasters’ Councils Festival at the Royal Albert Hall presenting Leslie Condon’s magnificent Tone Poem, ‘Song of the Eternal’. November saw the band’s first overseas weekend engagement with a visit to The Hague and whilst in The Netherlands, the first of many recordings was made for Radio Hilversum. The record ‘My Strength, My Tower’ was released in 1978.
The four week tour of Australia and New Zealand, undertaken in August/September 1980 was another first for the band as no other UK corps section had visited this part of the world previously. The band completed a busy itinerary including Auckland, Wellington, Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and supported General Arnold Brown at the Australia Centenary Congress in Adelaide. Click on the link to view the Tour itinerary and personnel list, picture gallery and Tour diary.
Shortly after the memorable Australian Tour the band made its first visit to Northern Ireland and later participated in the first of four visits to the annual Easter convention at Boscombe. The recording ‘Kaleidoscope’, released in 1984 is considered by many as one of the band’s finest.
In 1986 the band returned to Canada, undertaking a coast-to-coast tour from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Vancouver B.C, via Halifax, London, Toronto, Winnipeg and Calgary. View the brochure produced for this tour.
In 1989 The Salvation Army invited Enfield Citadel Band to produce the first compact disc made by a corps band, including highlights from previous digital recordings, called ‘The Enfield Collection’.
In 1990 the band toured all four Territories of the USA, including Washington, New York, Atlanta, Clearwater (Florida), Dallas, Los Angeles and Chicago. A highlight was marching down ‘Main Street’ and playing to Mickey Mouse and a large crowd of onlookers at Disneyland in Los Angeles. The recording ‘Toccata’ made for this tour celebrated the band’s association with this particularly difficult piece of music written by Wilfred Heaton. View the brochure produced for this tour.
In 1991 the band returned to The Netherlands for a weekend, visiting Vlaardingen (near Rotterdam) and taking part in the Gala Concert of a Brass Band Contest in the north of the country. This was the first of a series of short tours to Europe including Germany and Switzerland in 1993, Denmark, Norway and Sweden in 1995 and Norway again in 1997.
In the meantime, the band celebrated its centenary in 1992 with a gala concert at the Regent Hall, London, in partnership with the Black Dyke Band and a grand reunion weekend.
During the early 1990’s three CDs were released; ‘Victors Acclaimed’ in 1992, ‘The Lord is King’ in 1995 and ‘Milestone’ in 1996. The band was also featured in live recordings in partnership with Williams Faireys Band and Fodens (Courtois) Band.
In November 1997, after 38 remarkable years, James Williams retired from leadership of the band during a memorable weekend of celebration and recognition.
Richard Phillips was appointed as bandmaster and, under his leadership, two further recordings were released. Joyous Brass in 1998 and Eternal Brass, awarded the Brass Band World CD of the year 2000. The band also took part in the Northern Festival Brass in Manchester’s famous Bridgewater Hall.
In the spring of 2000, Richard Phillips relinquished the position and James Williams took up the baton once more. In June 2002, James Williams was appointed MBE in Her Majesty the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Birthday Honours list in recognition of his service to the brass band movement and The Salvation Army.
The Pre-Contest Festival 2005 marked another change of leadership when Andrew Blyth assumed the position of bandmaster. Under his leadership the band continued to thrive, welcoming a number of young band members progressing from the junior band, releasing another CD entitled American Anthology and undertaking a tour of the USA eastern coast.
A move away from the Enfield area required Andrew Blyth to leave the band in early 2008 and Jonathan Corry, was appointed Bandmaster in January 2009.
Under the leadership of Jonathan Corry the band twice visited Switzerland and in May 2015 undertook a trip to Ireland taking in a visit to Cork, with guest soloist Les Neish (Tuba), Dublin, where the band met up with former CO’s Major’s Stuart and Gillian Dicker before spending the weekend in Belfast with guest vocal soloist Peter Corry.
During this period the band recorded 4 CD’s including the ground breaking Faith which featured a silent black and white film made in the early 1900s portraying the work of The Salvation Army in USA. This film, which had recently been rediscovered, had a score composed by Dorothy Gates and for which the band recorded the soundtrack. This film along with the soundtrack has been converted to DVD and included with the CD.
The band worked with Trombone soloist Brett Baker to record the CD Novus Vox
Following an offer to work for The Salvation Army in Chicago, Jonathan Corry left the band in September 2016.
In June 2017 Bandmaster James Williams MBE was Promoted to Glory and on 3 February 2018, on what would have been his 93rd birthday, thd band presented a concert to celebrate his life and music in The Guards Chapel which recognised both his military and civilian service. The concert included many former bandsmen who had served under him in both at Tottenham and Enfield.
The band is currently under the interim leadership of Bandmaster Don Jenkins.