Is that Ben Stratford with a Baton?

Ben Stratford and Tom Dunne before FODB concert at Scarr Bandstand

It was definitely fitting that Ben Stratford took the conductors baton during the Forest of Dean Brass performance at Scarr bandstand this summer as he is only one month older than the band itself.

In September 1994, Ben was born just one month before the amalgamation of Coleford Town Band and Yorkley Onward Band which became Forest of Dean Brass.

His father Roger had himself since a lad, played for Yorkley and Ben’s Aunty Hayley Marangon (Teague) was a member of Coleford so he is as much part of our band as any member will ever be.

Ben’s formative playing years began with Parkend Silver, playing alongside his Mum Sharon and always present supporting him, were his proud grandparents, Stan and Meryl Teague. Meryl is now more commonly referred to as Nancam, with Ben regularly broadcasting her latest tales!

It was clear from an early age that the boy had some true talents and it wasn’t long until Ben joined the Euphonium team with us at FODB.

Not to be held back, Ben started his journey into the championship section, firstly with Lydbrook and soon afterwards into Flowers Band Gloucester. Ben now proudly, holds the principle Baritone position with the mighty Welsh, Tredegar band.

Ben went off to Uni in Cardiff studying Music performance at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and now runs his own successful web business Mango Designs.

Ben has competed within Brass Bands and individually at the highest level and is internationally known within the banding world, so we were highly delighted this summer when Ben agreed to be our MD for a couple of summer gigs. With his Mum, Dad and brother George all playing with FODB, it was great to have the whole family back together. Ben has always been part of the FODB family and it’s fair to say that this Forest lad really knows a thing or two about brass banding, which we make sure we take complete advantage of!

From our band’s perspective, we couldn’t be prouder of Ben’s talents and achievements. Well done.

The band would like to extend it’s heartfelt thanks to Ben for his continued support and help to the band. It is very much appreciated.