About CSD

The band’s origins

In 1991, three musicians met together once a week to play their brass instruments in the offices of Cambridge Soft Drinks, a company based in the village of Shepreth. By 1993 their numbers had grown, and CSD Brass (Cambridge) was formed by Howard Garner, Managing Director of the company and brother of Wesley, the Musical Director of Solent Concert Band.

Up until September 1998 the band rehearsed regularly in Shepreth. Weekly rehearsals are now held in Cambridge. For many years, the band was better known as Cambridge Soft Drinks Band. Following Howard’s death in May 1999, the members chose to revert to the original name of CSD in his memory, and in 2010, the members voted to also reflect the band’s wide support base and focus on local communities by adding the sobriquet of Cambridge and Surrounding District.

We are proud to be Cambridge’s premier non-contesting traditional brass band. As a community band, our focus is on making music together, to a high standard, in a supportive and inclusive environment. Among brass bands, we are unusual in not participating in brass band contests, preferring instead to focus our energies on our biannual public concerts and our programme of seasonal events in the summer and at Christmas.

Musical directors

In September 1995, Antoinette Cann (International Duo-Pianist and one of the famous Cann Twins) became the Musical Director of CSD Brass. Toni continued in this role until March 2000. Bill Maddams and Alan Bartle took responsibility of the band until September 2001. Lisa Wright conducted from December 2001 until April 2003. Philip Mead took over in June 2003, but had to take a break due to illness (during which time Alan Egginton and Daryle Taylor conducted). After returning to the band, Philip remained MD until leaving at the end of 2011. He was succeeded by Howard Burrell, Emeritus Professor of Music at the University of Hertfordshire.

Following Howard’s resignation in October 2012, Paul Garner bravely agreed to step in at short notice and conduct some challenging pieces in concert. We were so impressed with Paul’s tenacity and musical skill that we asked him to take up the post permanently. Paul Garner is a brass player and teacher perhaps best known for his work with Prime Brass.

In Spring 2017, after a very successful five years with the band, we bid a fond farewell to Paul who moved on to musical pastures new, and welcomed local organist and flugelhorn player David Sait to take up the baton. David led us to perform a variety of interesting brass music and took us through the Covid Pandemic before moving on to different adventures in Spring 2022. From May 2022 we have been led by Chris Lawrence, former tuba player in Prime Brass and conductor of Junior Prime Brass – see Band Members


The band has been a member of the Cambridge-Heidelberg Partnership Association since 1996 and is twinned with the Orchesterverein Heidelberg-Handschusheim, a long-established wind band from the outskirts of Heidelberg. The bands undertook their first joint concert in Cambridge during the Easter Festival Exchange 2000, and met in Heidelberg for Easter 2001.

The annual exchange has continued ever since. In even-numbered years, our German friends visit Cambridge over the Easter weekend, and in odd-numbered years we are hosted in Heidelberg for what is always a fun, social and enriching few days abroad.

Band Constitution

Thinking about joining the band or already a member? Take a look at our constitution.
CSD Brass constitution 2016 PDF (522KB)