The original Police Band was formed in Salford after the funeral of a police officer in 1877. Originally made up of serving police officers, the band performed military-style music at a range of events in the Manchester area.
The band continued on following the amalgamation of Salford City Police with the City Of Manchester Police in 1968, and the subsequent creation of Greater Manchester Police in 1974, but was briefly disbanded. However it was reformed a couple of years later by several of the previous members (including current serving volunteer, George Pinnington) and was opened up to volunteer musicians, in order to perform at police and community events far and wide.
Since then, the band has grown into an acclaimed 40 strong Symphonic Wind Band, coupled with a Marching Band who undertake many high profile concerts, parades and public ceremonies. In 2005 we formed a Big Band in order to expand our repertoire and appeal to new audiences. We're now celebrating making music for 140 years!
Twelve years ago our highly successful Big Band was formed playing music made famous by many of the great big bands of the swing era, including Glenn Miller, Count Basie and Duke Ellington. Demand for the band has rocketed in recent years and we've now expanded the repertoire to include hits from the 60s, 70s and 80s that really get audiences singing and dancing along! We have several lead vocalists: George Pinnington, Chief Inspector Clara Williams, Sean Perkins, Andy Fenton and Helena Hornby, who, together with our fabulous backing singers including Carol Rogers, Sarah Kent and Clare Prior, bring a variety of popular music to our many audiences.
We also have a number of smaller groups including a small-group Jazz Ensemble, a Saxophone Quartet, a Dixieland Jazz Quintet, and a team of Ceremonial Fanfare Trumpeters. All these groups play regularly at many GMP events, formal civic ceremonies, both private and corporate functions, together with supporting a whole range of both community and charity engagements.
The band is currently formed of five serving police officers, together with over fifty volunteers, most of whom have day-jobs and play for GMP in their spare time. Our volunteers have varied careers, from music teachers to IT consultants. Other volunteers include retired police officers, Government staff, retired musicians (including a former member of the Halle Orchestra), and a member of Police Support Staff. Together they give over 12,000 hours of time every year, to fulfill the 80 or so engagements we undertake each year.
Our ensembles are coordinated by Band Manager Barry Frost.
Barry organises the band's busy schedule, liaising both with GMP and private clients, and makes sure we have volunteers to play at the many performances we're asked to attend. He also runs the Big Band and organises the music we play. Barry is a retired police officer and has been a band member for over 18 years. He plays the soprano, alto, and tenor saxophones with the Symphonic Band, Big Band, and our smaller groups.
Interested in joining the band?
We are always keen to hear from musicians who would be interested in playing with GMP band. With a demanding schedule, challenging music and huge variety of gigs, volunteering with GMP band is hard work but fun and very rewarding! If you'd think you'd like to join, please email us and tell us a bit about yourself, and our Conductor will be in touch to find out more and arrange an audition.