Courtney Bosanko

Bandmaster Courtney Bosanko

1950 to 1964

The festival which marked the retirement of Bandmaster Mountain also saw the commissioning of Courtney Bosanko ALCM. He was a member of a well known Salvation Army musical family, his father being the retired BM at Bargoed, and his brother BM at Cardiff Canton. In early life he was greatly influenced by his mother's Godly example and was converted during his school days. In his teens he played solo euphonium in the Men's Social HQ Band, under the leadership of Col. Arthur Goldsmith, and at the age of 21 was commissioned bandmaster at Walthamstow. After two years he transferred to Salisbury where he served as BM for 17 years.

During the war he was bandmaster of the 7th (Haytor) Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment and was congratulated by Field Marshall Alexander upon the performance of his band in Rome. He held very sacred the fundamental principles of S.A. banding. In writing to a friend in 1943 he stated that he had rededicated his life to God some three years before on the eve of going into Tunisia.

A personal relationship with God is the thing that matters and my relationship today is stronger, richer, deeper, firmer than ever before. A little musical ability is only one of the many things needed to be a bandmaster.

With experience gleaned from 19 years as bandmaster and expertise acquired from Col. Goldsmith's instruction he soon proved his capabilities as a band trainer with an ability to give confidence to those who doubted their own abilities and to extract extraordinary performances from ordinary players. The band was soon much in demand with engagements being requested up to two years in advance.

Band at Royal Albert Hall 1962

In June 1962 the band was honoured by a second appearance in the Royal Albert Hall at the Bandmasters' councils festival. As in 1949 they shared the platform with Coventry City Band and the ISB, with Tottenham Citadel being the other guests. A report by Michael Kenyon details Boscombe's performance:

The tone poem When they Crucified my Lord (Ray Steadman-Allen) was an ambitious choice by Boscombe Band (Courtney Bosanko) and the dramatic qualities of the music were not always made apparent. For the band's second item, a spirited rendition was given of a Soderstrom march Army of God, a choice from the American Band Journal and not from the extensive repertoire of Band Journals published in London.

Musician 9th June 1962

Although not appealing to Michael Kenyon's tastes, the playing of the band was generally considered to be very good, but perhaps the first piece was unsuitable for the occasion.

The retirement of Bandmaster Bosanko in January 1964 closed the chapter on probably the busiest period in the band's history. During his 13 years leadership the hand had travelled extensively, being highly complimented on its spiritual deportment, fine singing and top quality playing, which more than once had been described as 'precise and soulful'.

He had not only maintained the standards set by his illustrious forbears at Boscombe, but had taken the band to greater heights of achievement, proving himself to be an excellent band trainer.

Quite apart from his Salvation Army activities, Courtney Bosanko founded a band at Boscombe Secondary (later Beaufort) School, and also served as Music Master at Oakmead School. His services to banding were later recognised by his award of the MBE in June 1975.

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