Alnwick Playhouse Concert Band

Celebrating 25 years of playing in Alnwick 1994-2019


Next Concert Aln Valley Railway May 26 2019.


Where musicians enjoy playing together.

Drinkies after presentation to Ray for 25 years.


Who We Are



The Band was founded in November 1994 by Ray Thompson and Glen Hogg. Since its formation the band has provided playing opportunities to over 200 musicians. As well as being proud of the musical contribution we have made to the Alnwick district since 1994, we look forward to providing music making opportunities to successive generations of local musicians.

The Band’s conductor, Ray Thompson is well known in the district for his many interests which include playing the French Horn and keyboards as well as arranging music for small groups and conducting and managing his new group The Alnwick Symphonic Wind Ensemble, a 10-15 instruments group that plays mainly classical all arranged by Ray Thompson himself.

Although Ray is responsible for the musical side of the Band there are a number of members who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes managing the various activities, fund raising and administration to ensure the smooth running of the Band. Without them over the years the Band could not exist so we say a big thank you to them as well as Ray for the dedication and commitment they have shown.

Our 25th Year

This year we celebrate our 25 years of making music with a concert in November when we will perform a specialy commissioned piece of music written by Philip Sparke for the Alnwick Playhouse Concert Band.


Alnwick Playhouse Concert Band was founded in 1994 by Ray Thompson and Glen Hogg who, having previously been members of the disbanded North Northumberland Orchestra, decided to form a concert band.

An advertising campaign to recruit members was commenced and a selection of music was borrowed from the local high school and a neighbouring concert band in readiness for the first rehearsal.  It was a great delight that 24 musicians attended the Playhouse on the 2nd November 1994 for the inaugural rehearsal.  This higher than expected level of interest provided the necessary assurance that a concert band in Alnwick was a viable proposition.

Having made successful grant applications to local arts and charitable organisations to purchase more music, the Band began preparing for its concert premiere.  On the 18th March 1995 in the Playhouse, to a near sell-out audience and to great critical acclaim, the Band performed its first ever concert.  Since then the Band has gone from strength to strength and is now an established musical group of repute within the town.

The Band takes its name from its adopted home, Alnwick Playhouse, where rehearsals take place on a weekly basis and where the Band performs its main concerts.  The Band is very fortunate to have such an excellent venue as its base and is grateful for the continuous support it receives from the management and staff of the Playhouse.

The Band members, whose ages range from 12 to 60 plus, come from throughout Northumberland. None of them receive remuneration for playing in the Band.  They play because they enjoy music making with likeminded people in a friendly environment.

Notable Achievements

Community Concerts

Queen's Visit

We were excited to play for the Queen and Duke on their visit to Alnwick in 2012 to open the new Youth Hostel. Standing in the grounds of the Castle we played a selection of well known pieces and them enjoyed mixing with the Queen as she walked among the people of Alnwick.

Band on the Bus

Some of the most enjoyable concerts over the last few years have been our 'Band on the Bus' in which we travelled to local villages and played outside on the Green or as in the case of Bamburgh, at the bottom of the Castle, after we had first played at Alnwick Castle.


Dreadnought Bus Tour

This Bus trip took us to Alnmouth, Howick Hall and Embleton.


Major Fund Raising and Significant Concerts

Help for Heroes 2010


Last NIght of the Proms 2009

20th Anniversary Concert


Cowboy Concert 2016

Small Band Soiree Concert 2016



The Band is administered by elected Band Officers who collectively form the Band Executive.  Again, none of the Band Officers receive personal remuneration for fulfilling their respective roles.  They take on this extra responsibility because of their commitment and dedication to the Band. 

The Band is funded from proceeds it receives from concert performances, from donations and grants from charitable organisations and from members’ subscriptions, all of which go to meet the continuous expenditure on music and instrument maintenance. 


In 1995 the Duchess of Northumberland agreed to become the Band’s Patron.  The Band members are grateful that Her Grace wishes to be associated with the Band in this way.

As well as performing its main concert in the Playhouse in the spring of each year, the Band has played at many other venues including churches, village halls, parks, schools and village fairs at locations throughout the North East of England.

A successful bid by Alnwick Playhouse to the National Lottery Board in 1998 to purchase a selection musical instruments has added significantly to the overall range of sound produced by the Band’s playing.


A major milestone in the Band's history occurred in May 1999 when, for the first time since its formation the Band performed a concert overseas.   At the invitation of L’Union Musicale de Lagny, an amateur orchestra based in Lagny sur Marne, near Paris, the Band made the long trip to France over the May bank holiday week-end. This visit was important not only for the musical opportunity it provided for the Band but as an opportunity to enhance the spirit of unity and friendship that exists between musicians the world over.

The Band’s semi-quaver logo, designed by Glen Hogg, one of the Band's co-founders , features the red and yellow vertical interlocking bars of the Northumberland County flag and the ‘Percy’ lion.  Characterised by its straight tail, the lion appears on the Duke of Northumberland’s family coat of arms and is a symbol which has become associated with Alnwick for many generations.

Designed by Paul Penman . All photography by Paul Penman.



Designed by Paul Penman . All photography by Paul Penman.