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Browsing through the archives, we discover that a Catholic Brass Band was already active in Nieuwkerke from 1932 onwards. From this early period, however, not much documentation remains and with the outbreak of the Second World War its activities stalled.

It is only in 1961 that everything started up again. The Saint Cecilia Catholic Brass Band was founded and it played in the streets for the first time on the 4th of June, 1961. They took part in a Catholic procession. In August of the same year, the party committee for the first time organised a folk parade on the Sunday of the village fair. The band performed on that occasion as well.

The eye catcher of this parade was giant Knight Jacques de la Douve, who saw the light of the day in that same year.

First parade of Jacques de la Douve in the year 1961

In the beginning of 1962, the idea started to grow of dressing the musicians in traditional folk costumes, based on the clothes of common folk from Pieter Breughel’s time.

In the same year, the brass band was joined by a group of dancers, which meant that the first girls joined our band. At the same time, our second giant named Father Breughel was born.

The harmony in 1962

In 1965, the Saint Cecilia band was outfitted in gala uniforms. The band became more formal in the following years, and even the traditional costumes disappeared from view. On top of this, the folk dance group was replaced by a group of majorettes in the seventies.

Twenty years later, in 1985 the brass band was expanded into a concert band under the influence of some youngsters. That same year, the band chose a new gala uniform to celebrate its 25th birthday. The grey uniforms from the sixties disappeared and were replaced by the grey-blue uniforms that are still worn to this day.

With the revival of folklore in the eighties, the band started wearing their Breughel costumes again. In 1992, they were completely renewed and both giants were also refurbished.

The first move towards the Saint Cecilia concert band as it is known today started at the end of the eighties and the beginning of the nineties. From then on, they started investing heavily in young people. At first, music teachers were hired to train the younger generation. Some years later, the band started sending its youngsters to the music academy of Poperinge. Joining forces with parents to organise transportation meant that the academy suddenly wasn’t as unreachable as it used to be for many. To this day, the concert band still motivates youngsters to go to the music academy.

The rejuvenation that took place over the last few years has also changed the band. The average age has decreased to 20-25 years old and, because of that, this concert band is without a doubt one of the youngest and most vibrant groups in the region.