Video: York’s oldest brass band has won its way the national finals – but needs your help to get there

4 Dec 2020 @ 8.00 am
| News

In March, the York Railway Institute Band qualified to represent the North of England at the National Brass Band Finals in September.

Because of Covid the finals were rescheduled to September 2021.

The band has lost all its engagement and donation income through 2020. And any opportunity to raise income through concerts and other fundraising is likely to be severely impacted by Covid government restrictions for months to come.

That means the band may is struggling to cover the cost of travelling to the National Finals.

So to get there they have turned to crowdfunding. They have raised more than £700 as we publish this article.

They have produced a video to explain why they need the crowdfunding

If the National Finals are postponed again in 2021 because of Covid, cash raised from this appeal will be used for the benefit of the York Railway Institute Band Section as a whole for other running costs such as insurance, bandroom rental, instrument maintenance and new music.

You can visit the fundraising page here.

About York RI Band

York Railway Institute Band was established in 1883 by Noah Bruce and is York’s oldest and most successful brass band.

Originally named Chaucer Street Mission Band, it was later known as York and District Mission and Temperance Band, York Excelsior Brass Band, York Home Guard Band and Ebor Excelsior Silver Band.

It took on the name of York Railway Institute Band after allying itself to York Railway Institute in 1952 – the majority of members being railwaymen at that time.

York RI Band is part of a family of bands, together with York RI Golden and York RI Development Bands.

The three bands comprise of almost 80 members, offering opportunities from complete beginners to more seasoned players to perform music together and for the enjoyment of the people of York and the surrounding areas.

Band members are often to be found out fundraising

The band does not receive any financial support from the national railway companies but is mainly funded by performing concerts  and through public donations in particular carol playing sessions.

Because of Covid restrictions the band’s income has dried up as we are unable to do any of these activities.


Brass bands exist in every corner of the UK, with over 30,000 people of all ages and standards taking part in weekly activity – rehearsing, performing and providing entertainment for their local community.

But there is a risk of losing this forever.

Brass Bands saw their main source of income disappear in an instant when they ceased being able to perform in March in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Months later, they still don’t know when normal performances will be able to take place.

A significant loss in income over the Summer months, paired with necessary expenditure needed to make rehearsal spaces Covid compliant means that many Brass Bands are in a perilous financial situation.