From Bach to Boogie and Everything in Between

J25 is named after the junction on the M5 nearest to where the band regularly meets to practice, though the band members are spread far and wide, South, West,  North and East across the country.  It is a concertina band which is available for functions, fun and frolics.  We can tailor our programme to suit your event.

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J25 Band Members
  • Andrew

    A 3 month sabbatical was looming in 2000, so it seemed the time finally to learn to play an instrument.  My ambition was to be able to play the tunes I'd known from childhood from scottish dancing and listening to the pipes as the band payed in the square on saturday mornings.  I didn't want to have to tune it, blow it, strap it on or to be irritated by the foolishness of different notes from the same button or the limitations of being stuck with G and D.

    My son, working and playing music in Edinburgh, found a reasonable Lachenal to begin on, and I finally ended up in a caravan in the Highlands for five weeks with no one to complain.  I used to go to the friday evening session at the Hood Arms in Kilve.  Hilda Gibson (with Hugh) was sometimes there and she said, "Didn't I know about WCCP and the concertina weekends?"  Glad Thorpe was a great help in the early days, and I remember floundering about in the workshops at the Kilve weekends.

    Stumbling progress - helped by upgrading to a good Wheatstone - eventually led to discovering the band workshops and everything fell into place.

  • Claire

    Back in the mid-80s a friend lent me a concertina and said “learn this – it’s fantastic”. I did and it was! I was soon hooked into concertina band. I love playing band music but I also love writing, arranging and directing. I now direct as much, if not more than, I play … it’s hard to know which I enjoy most.

  • Colin

    I bought my first instrument, a Lachenal tutor, from Crabb’s in Islington for £17 in 1967.  I didn’t make much progress untill I discovered WCCP’s workshops at Sidmouth, c1989 and started going to Kilve.  I teamed up with 3 players I met at Kilve and formed a group which met monthly. I also played for Kemp’s Men Morris Dancers, Norwich, for about 20 years then, moving to Bristol, I joined J25 in 2010, which has vastly improved my musicianship! I mostly play baritone in the band, and reserve bass!

  • Esther

    I started ‘playing’ the concertina in 1998 at Sidmouth Folk Festival. I was dancing with a morris side at the time and had the mornings off so went along to the concertina workshops where I had an instrument put in my hands and was given my first instructions. I went home from there with a borrowed concertina and a sheet of music and proceeded to teach myself to play. I loved it and could hardly put it down: by the following year I was teaching a beginners group at Sidmouth and at the Kilve residential weekend! I regularly play in our Church music group and I joined J25 at its inception where I particularly enjoy playing the bass in the band. My journey from Kent to Taunton for the monthly rehearsals can be a bit tedious but to be with such a lovely group and to play such exciting music means it is well worth the effort. Thank you Claire!

  • Hazel

    I was lent a concertina at the age of 12 years while attending the Sidmouth festival - later this concertina was gifted to me.  I went on to play with Morris teams and at the circus where I worked.  After a gap in playing while bringing up my family, I discovered banding, and J25.  I love the people and the music.

  • Helen

    Music was already a big part of my life having played the violin in folky groups and a community orchestra for a number of years.  I was given a concertina as an unexpected present and with no idea how to play it I found the WCCP online and went along to their next Ruishton meeting. I immediately gained access to their fantastic teaching and support and I haven’t looked back. I discovered Banding at the Sidmouth drop in sessions and the October Quantock Lodge weekend. I was given the chance to play a bass and baritone and I was hooked. I was amazed at the full expressive sound that a group of these little boxes can make and I loved the way that concertina players can swap between parts so easily - potentially playing the piccolo line in one piece and the bass line in the next - creating great ensemble players with a real understanding of the way all the parts fit together.
    I was thrilled to be invited to join J25 and am looking forward to the fun and challenges ahead.

  • Liz

    I was stewarding a 'Spare Parts' beginners' concertina event at Chippenham Folk Festival when I said "Can I have a go?"  My concertina has opened lots of exciting doors and given me my joy of playing back.  After borrowing one from some friends, I then found I was on a camping field at Sidmouth Folk Festival where other concertina players were and persuaded them to seek me out a treble to buy. 
    Then I was hooked and have made lots of friends and played lots of different pitched English concertinas.

  • Lizzie

    I learnt to play the piano to a basic standard when I was at school, but I found there was never enough time to practice as dance was a big part of my life. 5 years ago, I was on the river Thames and mum showed me the concertina she had bought when she was expecting me in 1977. I had a go and found it easy to play a scale, I found The Skye boat song in a book as it had no sharps and flats in. That was it “Why have you never shown me this before?".... I cried. I was hooked. I went to WCCP’s October Kilve weekend and joined Sally Barrett’s beginners' group - by the end of the weekend I was playing all sorts of sharps and flats, using the bellows for volume control and unleashed the music theory from when I was younger.......... Just goes to show, the right instrument, the right teacher and anything is possible. I continue to learn and love playing with other people and playing in parts.

  • Penny

    I was led astray M’lud. I fell in with a bad crowd, bandits all and they kept tempting me. I stayed strong for weeks but I finally cracked when they showed me one. Well, what can I say! It was lust at first sight! The glorious wood grain, the intricate fretwork, the gleaming keys, the soft sheen of leather and the oh, so beguiling and mellow sound. I had to have it! I couldn’t resist! Being light and small it slipped easily under my jacket. I became a permanent member of the gang and banding was all I wanted to do - morning, noon and night. I know I have a long sentence ahead of me but I promise to practice and try to get better.

  • Peter

    I can't remember why I thought playing concertina would be a good idea. It had something to do with folk music, size (so much more portable than a guitar and much more fun), and probably a musician with more fingers and hands than us normal people (yes, Rob Harbron and John Kirkpatrick, I blame you). It took me on many adventures in folk - morris dancing, sessions, festivals - until, eventually, I came across a very special box that played faster than was reasonable and went lower than anything I’d heard before. That concertina showed me new doors to go through, particularly the one held open by Claire and marked 'concertina band'. I walked through and happily found the welcoming arms of J25 on the other side. 

  • Roger

    I acquired my first concertina as a Christmas present to myself in 1987, so long ago now that I can’t quite remember why. By the early 90s I was ready to venture out to Concertinas at Whitney where I quickly decided the concertina band was the thing for me - this despite hardly being able to read any music. Since then I’ve had many happy times playing in the Hawkwood band and when it came time for a pre-retirement house move, it just had to be to the South West where I was honoured to be invited to join the wonderful people in the J25 band.

  • Rosemary

    My husband bought me a concertina as a surprise birthday present in 2010, probably as a result of me moaning about tuning my mandolin!  After that, I found out that concertinas came in lots of sizes and congregate in bands. I am totally hooked. Playing with J25 is a privilege and the most enjoyable hard work I've ever done.

  • Sue

    What do you do when eventually you have to hang up your dancing clogs? I was encouraged about 6 years ago to provide for my retirement by having a go with a concertina! It has changed my life! I have had so much fun with Kettle Bridge Concertinas, and now, being part of J25, the fun, learning and challenge have intensified! I never dreamed I would be making music with such accomplished musicians - I feel very privileged.

  • Sally

    The concertina came into my life just at the time when I was offered early retirement. I loved playing it and took every opportunity to learn. Having had the opportunity to play in a concertina band that love became a passion. Concertina Band is now my life; nothing is more fulfilling than playing your part whilst others play theirs under the direction of the conductor. Currently I play in concertina bands in Kent and Bristol as well as J25. I just LOVE it.

  • Jan

    A chance encounter - my cousin lent me her concertina in the 70s and it was love at first sight. I had to give it back of course but another chance encounter led to me meeting my husband and being given an instrument of my own. Years later, another chance encounter, this time with Jenny and Peter Cox and my introduction to the fantastic world of the Concertina Band. There followed wonderful opportunities to play with fellow enthusiasts. What huge pleasure and satisfaction to work as a group with a shared musical goal in mind. A return to Devon in 2009 and here I am with J25 playing treble and baritone under the expert leadership of Claire. Constant challenges, but that's how I like it. And concertina players are all such good people!

J25 at Sidholme Dec-2019