Christ's Hospital Band

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Christ's Hospital Band participating in the Lord Mayor's Show in 2011
Christ's Hospital
School Christ's Hospital
Location Christ's Hospital, Horsham, England
Founded circa 1880s
Director Terry Whittingham
Members 116
Uniform The CH uniform 'Housey' (Although ceremonial wear is worn when necessary)

Christ's Hospital Band is the marching band of Christ's Hospital. It is conducted by Terry Whittingham who is a housemaster at CH and the previous bandmaster of the Queen's Own Highlanders. The band is the leading UK school marching band and performs a wide variety of engagements nationally and internationally.


The band's origin dates back to the mid-19th century when some of the pupils requested that instruments be purchased to enliven their marching drill. The Treasurer of Christ's Hospital agreed and, with money from his own pocket, purchased a few instruments and paid the salary of the first Band Master. Over the years, the Band has grown from a small static group to a dynamic and highly trained group of musicians.[1] At some point in the history of the band, the march 'Sussex by the Sea' was adopted as the celebratory march and is played as a finale at special occasions usually as the band marches off.


  • Marching band
  • Concert Band
  • Big band


Christ's Hospital Band Formation Format[edit]

  • Drum Majors (who do not conduct the band but are there purely to direct marching, to place halts, step offs and for show)
  • Marching percussion
    • Snare drummers
    • Bass and tenor drummers
    • Cymbals
  • Trombones (1st, 2nd, and bass)
  • Tubas and Euphoniums
  • 1st and 2nd Trumpets
  • French and tenor horns
  • Alto saxophones (1st and 2nd)
  • Tenor saxophones
  • Oboes
  • Bassoons
  • Flutes (1st, 2nd and 3rd)
  • Piccolos
  • Clarinets (1st, 2nd and 3rd)

The band is normally formed in ranks of four for daily lunch parade and ranks of six for proper engagements.


The band plays for the daily lunch parade, weather permitting, at the school and other events both nationally and internationally.

Within the school the band is the central attraction for Open days and it also plays a vital role in any Royal visit and for the annual speech day, when the Lord Mayor of the City of London and Sheriffs visit the school. As well as these, the band is called upon to provide music for the CCF Biennial inspection in the form of both background music during the inspection and marches during the march on and march pasts. At the end of each academic year the band puts on a marching display in the school's main quandrangle consisting of intricate movements in quick and slow time as well as static pieces.

Outside the school, the band performs in the annual Lord Mayor's Show in the City of London. The band also has a regular engagement each summer at Lord's Cricket Ground. The band played in the prestigious Rose Bowl Parade in California in 2002. The band led the procession at the Queen's 80th birthday in London on 21 April 2006 and has played at Twickenham Stadium on a number of occasions. Christ's Hospital Band have performed in Disneyland Paris, Horsham and in the streets of London on St Matthew's Day as Christ's Hospital is the only school that is permitted to march the streets of London. The band is due to go on tour again in July 2014 in Germany and Belgium where the band will play, for a second time in recent years, under the Menin Gate in Ypres.


The bandmaster of the Christ's Hospital Band is Terry Whittingham LTCL, who is in his fifteenth year of leading the band. Whittingham was previously a bandmaster in the Queens Own Highlanders Band[2][3] before leaving the army having served in Northern Ireland and during the Gulf War. Whittingham was a Warrant Officer l upon leaving the army after 24 years of service where he also received a Long service and good conduct medal to recognise this. Whittingham received a record number of prizes during his training at Kneller Hall. Whittingham is also the head of football at CH and housemaster of boarding house Maine B.

The Band Captain is the senior pupil in the band, and a new person is appointed each year. For this year, the Band Captain is Freddy Wordsworth (Trumpet). As Band Captain, Freddy receives a buttoned Housey coat with extra buttons up the forearms.

The Senior Drum Major leads the band on all public engagements. The senior drum major also receives a button coat, much like the band captain. For the first half of this year the Senior Drum Major is Tomas Higginson, with the position being held in the latter half of the year by Henry Carter.

The senior drummer is the lead drummer in the band, assuming this position when marching on the front rank on the left hand side. The senior drummer also arranges "The Splits", a complex display of drumming, each year for the Beating retreat. This year the position is held by James Hogg, who is also drummer for the Christ's Hospital Big band.

Assistant Band Captains assist the Band Captain and Bandmaster with the sorting of march cards and other business. For this year, there are four Assistant Band Captains: Fiona Blair (Alto Saxophone), Sicily Fiennes (Bassoon), Charles James-Cheeseman (Clarinet) and George Manning (Trumpet).


See also[edit]