The YMCA Glasgow Wind Orchestra was founded in February 1982 when Jim Fraser, a local businessman and keen amateur musician, approached YMCA Glasgow to inquire about renting hall accommodation in order to start a Wind Band. Ken Mathers, General Secretary of YMCA Glasgow (also with a personal musical background) saw this as an opportunity to re-establish music-making within the YMCA and the two men worked together on the project.
From small beginnings with a handful of players, the band quickly grew until the orthodox line-up of a ‘military’ or concert band was established. Rehearsals were initially in the YMCA’s Saltmarket Neighbourhood Centre in Steel Street. After a few months, the first Musical Director was appointed. Major H.C.R. ‘Ben’ Bently held the post for 18 months or so and did invaluable groundwork by building repertoire and conducting performances. This included the first Tour, which was to The Hague at Easter 1983.
Michael Philip, an early member of the clarinet section, served as Musical Director from 1984-87 and was in turn succeeded by George Kerr. George was a founder-member of the band and brought to bear his considerable experience as an ex-military bandsman and clarinet teacher during his seven years in post.
When George stepped down in 1994 Michael Philip, who had spent some years pursuing other interests, re-applied for the post and was appointed Musical Director for the second time.
In 2011 Michael decided to leave, and Martin Thomson, a former member of the brass section, was asked to step in on a temporary basis. After a few successful months, Martin agreed to take up the Musical Director position permanently and he remains in the post to the present day.
In 2017, the band formally changed its name to The City of Glasgow Wind Orchestra. We continue to give concerts throughout the year in and the number of players is at an all time high.