The Farnborough Concert Band of the Royal British Legion was formed in March 1987 by a group of ex-military musicians under the baton of Mr Eddie Brown as the bands first Director of Music. They rehearsed in the Farnborough Royal British Legion Clubhouse on Sunday mornings and over the years as the band membership steadily grew, rehearsal venues changed until its present home became Aldershot.
Being based in Aldershot (The Home of the British Army), it naturally transpired that the band started providing musical support to the local Garrison for events such as Regimental Dinner Nights and Church Services. This started to raise the public profile of the band.
During the band's early years, it performed at many prestigious events - for example, providing music for the annual dinner for a City of London Livery Company.
In 1994, during a band performance at an Aldershot Garrison Mess, the then Garrison Sergeant Major Joe Fairbairn MBE, discussed with the bands conductor, the possibility of producing a traditional British Proms concert to raise money for the benefit of local charities and the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.
The first concert was a huge success and the concert has been held every year since. The band has invited guest bands to accompany them such as, The Band of the Parachute Regiment, The Band of the Royal Logistics Corp, The Band of the Royal Army Medical Corps and The Central Band of the Royal British Legion. In the 14 years that the concert has been running, the band has been able to raise around £84,000 which has been shared between the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal, the Army Benevolent Fund and other local charities.
In 2003 Eddie Brown retired and handed over the baton to David Smart who became the band's second Director of Music.
Since 2003 the band has given performances all over London and the South of England, including performances in France, Belgium and Poland, all received to high acclaim.
The most unusual event the band performs at is an invitation to play in Victoria Park London for the Field Day Music Festival. The band performs on the bandstand in a "village green" setting, with an average audience age of 22 who thoroughly enjoy the music, which is in total contrast to the indie rock music at the event. An NME review of the 2009 festival praised the band as "the hardest working musicians on site".
The band performs regularly on one of the last original Victorian bandstands in England, at Eastbourne. This has the band performing 4 concerts over 3 days at the seaside.
In 2006, the band was invited back to perform at the Surrey Ambulance Service awards ceremony and as a result of their performance was invited back in 2007. This was to be the Service's last ceremony prior to its merger with Sussex and Kent services and form the new South East Coast Ambulance Service. David Smart was asked to compose a march to mark the occasion. The march was given its premier at the 2007 award ceremony and is called The Rod and Serpent (The March of Surrey Ambulance Service), named after the crest of the service.
Today the band has over 40 members and is formed of ex-military musicians and civilians who all enjoy performing music together.
Some of the regiments represented in the band today are current and ex members of the following bands:
The Royal Artillery, The Life Guards, The Royal Horse Guards, The Irish Guards, The Scots Guards, The Royal Corps of Transport, The Women's Royal Army Corps, The Royal Air Force, The Royal Marines, The Parachute Regiment, The Somerset Light Infantry, The Wessex Regiment, The Regimental Band of The Royal Hampshire Regiment.