The band was formed in Coventry in 1944 by the late Jack Major as the Air Training Corps Band. During the earlier years, the band had a number of name changes including the Coventry Boys Band, Coventry School of Music Band and the Coventry Festival Band.
Over the next forty years, the band was fortunate to receive sponsorship from two of the largest UK engineering brands. Between 1982 and 2002 the band was known as 'Rolls Royce (Coventry) Band' and between 2002 and 2022 the Band was known as the 'Jaguar Land Rover Band'. This successful period in the band's history established the band as one of the most acclaimed brass bands in the UK.
In 2023 the band embarked on its next chapter. As many of the band members travel from all corners of the midlands region, the band adopted a new name 'The Brass Band of Central England'.
Over the years the band has been led by a number of prominent conductors including Jack Major, Philip Cooper and Dick Arrand and Dave Lea.
The band has been fortunate to perform in concerts around the UK, USA and Europe in some of the most prestigious concert venues. The band's main activity is playing in concerts where the band has been invited to perform, often to support local and national charities. The band normally performs as a 30-piece brass band; however, the band can adapt into a 10-piece ensemble for smaller events and functions. In addition, the band has supported numerous corporate events providing entertainment at directors' meetings, product launches and reception dinners.
Some high-profile concerts the band has been recently involved with include Coventry and Birmingham Pride Awards, Memorial Concert for Jimmy Hill (Coventry Cathedral & TV) and the supporting artists for the indie band British Sea Power.
Uniquely the band has one of the very few remaining Fanfare Teams playing on a full set of seven traditional fanfare trumpets (the same as used by the military at events such as the Coronation and Remembrance Day concerts). The fanfare team has performed at numerous corporate events including those for Jaguar Land Rover, the NSPPC Charity Balls, and at Coventry Cathedral for the inaugural Major ceremony.
Radio & TV
The band has now been featured on the BBC’s Songs of Praise no less that twelve times including the ‘Big Sing’ in Millennium Square Birmingham to over 10000 people broadcast live on national TV. These TV programmes are repeated on a regular basis and reach as far as Australia. The band has done numerous recordings for BBC 2’s – ‘Listen to the Band’ as well as being featured on radio in Germany, USA and Australia. Annually the band supports the BBC Coventry & Warwickshire ‘Christmas at Coventry’ which is broadcast to over 300,000 people over the Christmas period. During the last 15 years, the band has recorded three CD’s both featured on national and international radio.
The band pro-actively supports the local community by assisting local charities. In the last 15 years, the band has helped raise funds directly for NSPCC, Baby lifeline, Mencap, Myton Hospice, Coventry Snowball Appeal, Round Table, Muscular Dystrophy, British Legion, The Salvation Army,
BEN and National Children's Homes to name but a few. In the last 4 years the band has raised in excess of £130,000 for local Charites and performed to over a 1.5 million listeners.
As a competing brass band, the band is classed as a championship brass band. (In football terms this would be the equivalent to being in the premier league.) Throughout the year, the band takes part in several competitions where our performance of music is compared to other bands. These competitions operate locally and nationally. Due to recent successes, the band has represented the midlands at the National Finals on three occasions and at the British Open four times. These contests are the pinnacle for all brass bands.
2014 saw the band enter into its 70th Anniversary and to celebrate the band has launched a CD entitled 'In Celebration'. This CD recognises both the band reaching its 70th milestone and the 25 years of dedicated service from former Musical Director, Dave Lea.