Our History

Following the establishment of “The Cocoa Works” in 1890 by Joseph Rowntree it was suggested in the Cocoa Works Magazine of June 1903 that “the formation of a Brass Band in connection with the Works would be welcomed by many musical enthusiasts in our midst” and so shortly afterwards the first Cocoa Works Band was formed. Soon after in 1907 a Junior Band was also created.

The Band played in many high profile contests and garden parties during this period.

Name changes

In 1908 to Rowntree’s Cocoa Works Prize Band

In 1930 to Rowntree’s Cocoa Works Band

In 1966 to Rowntree’s Works Band

In 1977 to Rowntree Mackintosh Band

In 1998 to Nestle Rowntree Band

In 2002 the Nestle Company informed the Band that sponsorship and support would cease in 2003. After one hundred years of support this caused much consternation within the Band. A sub-committee was urgently set up to organise for this change.

In the Spring of 2003 the subcommittee had drawn up a Band Business Plan and approached Patrick Shepherd of the Shepherd Building Group with this plan together with a promotional booklet and the Band Accounts. It was fortunate that at this time the Shepherd Building Group were looking to re-establish themselves as a local York Company and soon offered the Band a very generous sponsorship deal including a grant, marvellous rehearsal and storage facilities, a reasonable stationery allowance and use of a Company van. The Band were delighted and the committee unanimously accepted this offer. A Concert was organised at the Theatre Royal in April 2004 to celebrate this change and the handover took place on the stage between the CEO of Nestle and Mr Patrick Shepherd and the Band formally then became the Shepherd Building Group Brass Band.

A slight change of name took effect some years later when the word Building was omitted and our name became ‘The Shepherd Group Brass Band’. The sponsorship deal and the continued interest and support of Mr Shepherd and the Shepherd Group has helped the Bands to prosper and increase and we now have 5 Bands under the umbrella of The Shepherd Group Brass Band and are probably the largest Brass Band organisation in the country.