More Recent History

Name change to “Barnet Band”

In 1979, Mr Kevin Morgan, the Band’s Musical Director, formerly a cornet player with the Band of the Scots Guards, changed the Band’s name to Barnet Band – its present-day name.

Kevin Morgan left the Band in 1983 to take up a teaching post in New Zealand and the membership of the band fell to the extent that it was not possible to stage a viable performance.


Mr Denis Collings was then appointed as its Musical Director. Under his dedicated leadership it transformed itself into a wind band of some 30 players. This change was much more than skin deep and the band changed from being a competition band to a community wind band.

The new band set out to entertain its audience and to enjoy doing so. Along with this change came a policy of no auditions and a willingness to accept anyone in the community who could play and was willing to learn and improve.

Shown is a picture of him conducting the band in a performance at Hadley Church.

Image of the Band playing at Hadley Church in 1988

Centenary of The Barnet Band in 1989

The band celebrated its centenary in this year with a concert followed by a Centenary Dinner which was organised by Kate Worms, one of the band’s members. This was attended by over 100 members and band supporters, an indication of the scale of the renaissance of the the Band.

First Female Conductor

After Denis retired in 1998 and he and his wife moved to Devon, Jean Cottrell took over as Musical Director in 1998. Her leadership saw the band consolidating its strength and overseeing the formation of a marching band to play for the annual Barnet British Legion Remembrance Day Parade. This re-instated the Band’s tradition of playing for this event which it had done from the end of the Second World War until the late 60’s.

Return to competition?

When Jean left, in 2000, the baton was taken by Chris McGinity who had joined the band in 1999 and rose rapidly from second trombone to Musical Director. Chris brought considerable insight to the role and was very ambitious on the Band’s behalf, entering the band in the Wind Band Competition at Kneller Hall. From three pieces played, the band gained a silver award (All in an April Evening) and a bronze award (Folk Song Suite).

He is pictured on horseback with some of the current band members.

A New Conductor Takes the Reins

…. or not

Competition was not to everyone’s taste and, for the path to have been pursued, it would have meant a change of direction in recruitment as well as a reconsideration of the membership of some band members. When changes to the band rules were proposed at the AGM in March 2001, the matter threatened to split the band but these were not put to the meeting as the Directors saddle became empty.

…..and since then

Though not a horseman, Dave Payne stepped into the ring and conducted the band over the next two years. Unfortunately (only for the band), he decided to follow his heart and left for the Isle of Arran – a dramatic change of life style for a born-and-bred Londoner. Sad to see him go, the band nevertheless bid him a great farewell.

In 2002, the Band held its first day of children’s workshops, having received a grant to fund this from The National Federation of Music Societies.

With Dave’s departure, Simon Appleman took over to conduct the band and saw it through two seasons before family matters and the pressure of work forced him to resign. Simon did not leave the band totally, however, and turns up for many jobs with his tuba and keeps us all in step. Below is a picture of Simon with his tuba on the Remembrance Day March as the Band leads the British Legion Parade along Barnet High Street.

Simon on Tuba

James Wolfe took over the reins of the band in 2004. James succeeded in teaching an old band new tricks. It has been reported that on one occasion, nearly half the band was reported to be watching him! James widened the repertoire, while keeping the old favourites. The soloists, all friend of his, who gave up their time to perform at our concerts, brought a new dimension to our experience and added to the variety that our concerts from that time offered.

James left in 2007 to be replaced by Roger Greenwood, who led the band up till early 2012. He was replaced by Matt Smith.