Celebrating Alf Wileman’s Banding

Alf Wileman is a name synonymous with Salvation Army banding, recognised the length & breadth of the country by countless Salvationist who have been taught & inspired by him.  After over 65 years service as a Bandsman at Sheffield Citadel, Alf has decided to hang up his instrument case and retire from active participation in the Band.

Alf was commissioned into the Senior Band back in 1943 starting off on solo horn, moving onto solo cornet and then soprano cornet before finally taking up his place on the Euphonium bench in 1949.  Some 60 years later, Alf is the Principal Euphonium player at Sheffield Citadel and his playing has blessed and inspired countless listeners over those years.

Alf’s service has not been confined to the ranks of the Senior Band at Sheffield and he is perhaps better known in Army circles for his work with young people.  In 1967, when there was no YP Band Leader in Sheffield, Alf volunteered to take on this task and hence began his 23 years in a role where many describe him as “the best Bandleader in the world”!  Such was his influence upon so many youngsters, that even now, decades later so many of them count it a privilege to have played under his leadership and are grateful for the positive influence and encouragement which he had upon them as youngsters.

Alf was the first Bandmaster of the South Yorkshire Divisional Youth Band, which he set up with Captain Jack Flounders, Divisional Youth Secretary at the time, back in 1980.  He was a natural choice for this role since he had been one of the original musical staff at the South Yorkshire Divisional Music School since its commencement in the 1960s, working alongside Maisie Wiggins for many years.

Alf finally put down his baton in 1990, retiring from the YP Band, Divisional Youth Band and Music School after many years working alongside the young people in South Yorkshire.  He continued in his peripatetic brass teaching until this summer, having taught & encouraged 100s if not 1000s of young people along the way.

As Alf now chooses to retire from active Salvation Army banding, Sheffield Citadel Band is celebrating his 60+ years of service with a festival at Sheffield Citadel on Saturday 10th September.  It is hoped that many will want to come along to share in this event and to mark everything that Alf has done for so many musicians within the Army world.

For more details about the Celebration email us.

This article appears in the current issue of The SA Bandsman

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September 2011
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