Echo 42 (Four Two) Band started in back in 1984 following an advert in the local newspaper asking for musicians to form a dance band.
Following that first meeting in Starbeck, 10 players and their supporters decided to form the band.
Echo Four Two Band (1985)
Many of the brass section came from The Harrogate Band and the saxophones from The White Rose Band and Granby School Band.
Founding member, Derek Usher, remains playing Tenor Sax (and sometimes Clarinet) with the band today.
The Band is called ECHO FOUR TWO as in a “Call Sign” with the band gaining the name from the first chart it played at that first rehearsal.
It was an arrangement by Ian Davey of then popular TV show theme ‘Cops & Robbers’ written by Laurie Johnson entitled ‘Echo Four Two’.
The band’s first few gigs were local pubs, Bilton Cricket Club, CEGB and a concert at Starbeck’s methodist church.
Arthur Woodthorpe was one of the band’s early band leaders and added his fun sax playing as well as many new arrangements to the band. At the time, Arthur’s daughter was a pub landlady in Bishop Monkton, so the band played there every month. It was a bit of a struggle to get 18 players plus an audience into that small pub, but it was worth it as the band got a free pint each at half time.
The band is delighted to be playing for Arthur’s grand-daughters wedding day in June 2017.
Big bands fell out of fashion for a time and Geoff Grant, then band secretary, worked tirelessly to keep the band together. Time passed and more changes followed, including band leaders. Mike McCreath who took over for a couple of years, and later Ross Simpson, who played lead trumpet, becoming the bandleader and then Echo’s Musical Director – a position he still holds today.
Ross is supported by Matt Clayton as our deputy MD and lead alto sax player.
Echo 42 today has an extensive music library of almost 800 numbered charts ranging from the 1920s to the present day,
such as Robbie’s Williams “Let’s Face the Music and Dance” and Adele’s “Skyfall”
So we can offer a monster selection of music to suit almost every event.
Some of our many musical highlights over the years have been:
- Strict Tempo Dances including the Blackpool Winter Gardens
- Big Band Ball at Leeds Town Hall
- Duke Ellington’s Sacred Songs Service Concert – Ripon Cathedral (band plus massed choirs)
- Harrogate Sun Pavilion Dance Nights
- 1940s wartime themed weekends in Grassington
- Harrogate Dance Festivals – with the Strictly Come Dancing stars
- Featuring as the Army Swing Band in the hit UK movie “A Royal Night Out”
- Supporting The John Miller Orchestra In Concert (Glenn’s Miller’s nephew)
We have now celebrated over 34 years of music making and look forward to many more.
From those early beginnings as a small community big band, Echo 42 now plays for a wide variety of events and is known for musical professionalism and a sense of fun on and off stage.
The band is passionate about keeping great music live and remains an active supporter of national & local community charities.
We all would like to thank you for your continued support.