DERBY TELEGRAPH - Actor David is on the march to make film tribute to grandad Moz

Lucy Stephens

28 Oct 2021

Golden memories of carnival bands needed

They marched through the city and towns in their eye-catching costumes, bringing music and togetherness to Derbyshire's carnivals. Brian Clugh even requested one to play in front of a huge crowd at the Baseball Ground in 1971.

Now Derby born actor, writer and director, David Chabeaux, who has just finished filming for the next Peaky Blinders season, is urging former members of his home town's colourful carnival bands to share their stories and pictures for a documentary he's making.

And it's all in tribute to his grandad, Maurice "Moz" Ward, who led The Derby Serenaders Showband to three European and 23 UK marching band titles and an appearance on BBC1's Generation Game.

Hollyoaks and Bulletproof star David, 45, who was just two days old when he was taken by his parents on his first carnival band tour, wants to celebrate the movement's East Midlands heyday in the latter half of the 20th Century.

He says his gradad Moz, a welder for British Rail in Derby, inspired thousands of other musicians in carnival and marching bands across the region.

“Moz was my grandfather so I literally grew up around this extraordinary man and musical community. I’ve been attracted to the idea of this project for a long time because the subject matter has never left me.

“We all want to belong, to have purpose in our lives, and in this hyper-materialistic world, the more we discover that trying to fill the void inside us with ’stuff’ doesn’t work, the more there’s a tendency to search for authentic ways to find belonging and purpose without it.

“My grandfather’s story is obviously very important to me and I’m interested in the journey he took – as a musician, leader and a working-class man – inspiring me and so many others, with the promise of money and ‘stuff' nowhere in sight. The film is an exploration of what it really means to belong, and what that might mean in today’s world.”

At one time there were around 100 carnival bands across the area, with thousands of players aged from 6 to 70 performing in fabulous eye-catching costumes at carnivals in the UK and abroad.

In Derby alone, along with the Serenaders, there have been the Derby Midshipmen; Derby Rangers (the band requested by Clough) and The Derby Regalia as well as bands from Spondon, Borrowash, Chaddesden and Alfreton.

Similar to colliery brass bands featured in the film Brassed Off, the carnival bands were made up of workmates at local factories as well as their families and friends, who gave up hours of their spare time to practice playing instruments and marching giving perfomances and travelling to competitions.

David, who performed alongside his parents Shirley and Brian Bell in The Derby Serenaders, will share behind-the-scenes and archive footage and photographs in his documentary to tell his grandad's story.

He will also reflect on how the demise of the movement in the 1990's left many members, including his dad, with a huge sense of loss, and how the sense of belonging it provided is still missed.

He said "I was two days oldwhen my mum and dad took me on the Serenaders band bus for the first time. My grandad taught me to read and arrange music as well as to play the trumpet, the euphonium and the trombone.

" I have never known a belonging or a community like it. I miss what it means, and I particularly miss the Serenaders. I can only imagine how many of the thousands of other members of the bands we used to come across at events and competitions feel the same way.

I want to celebrate that in my documentary but also promote and preserve the legacy of Moz, my grandfather. He was a hard taskmaster, but he also inspired so many people and the banding movement brought people together.

I want to protect the legacy of the band movement before it's all forgotten, which is why it would be brilliant to reach out to other former band members to find out about their experiences too".

David has already raised £35,000 and pre-production of the film is now complete. He needs to raise £250,000 in order to complete the filming of the documentary, which will also involve contributions from the USA, South Africa and Scandinavia, where marching bands are still extremely popular.

He hopes to hold the premiere in Derby next summer.

Anyone who can share memories or engage with the 'Moz's Band' film project is asked to visit www.mozs.band