Peaky Blinders actor seeks photos and stories of Derbyshire's carnival bands for new film

A professional film-maker is drumming up support from Derbyshire communities for a documentary he is making about carnival bands.

Wednesday, 27th October 2021, 5:56 pm

David Chabeaux is appealing for photos and stories for the film which will celebrate the heyday of these colourful groups in the latter part of the 20th century.

Derby-born David, who is also a TV actor and has just finished filming Peaky Blinders, is hoping that his plea will strike a chord with the thousands of people in the East Midlands who were associated with carnival bands such as the Chesterfield Musketeers.

At one time there were around 100 such bands in the region and they comprised players, aged from six to 70, who performed at carnivals in the UK and abroad.

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Derby Serenaders Showband with David pictured on the back row, second from left, and Moz on the second row from the front, far right.

Carnival bands were made up of workmates at factories, their families and friends, who devoted hours of their leisure time to practises and performances and travelling to competitions.

David, 45, is making the film in memory of his grandfather Maurice “Moz” Ward, who led the Derby Serenaders Showband and whose music and leadership inspired players in carnival and marching bands across towns and cities – including Chesterfield and Alfreton.

He said: “I grew up around this extraordinary man and musical community. My granddad taught me to read and arrange music as well as to play the trumpet, the euphonium and the trombone.

"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."

David Chabeaux needs to raise £250,000 to complete his film about carnival bands.

Born into the Derby Serenaders, David was just two days old when his parents, Brian and Shirley Bell, took him on the band’s bus for the first time. He said: “I have never known a belonging or a community like it.

“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.”

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. If he gets the funding, David hopes to premiere the film in Derby.

The demise of carnival bands in the 1990s in the East Midlands left many members with a huge sense of loss, which the film will reflect. David said: “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.

The film is being made in memory of Maurice “Moz” Ward who led the Derby Serenaders Showband.

“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.”

Anyone who would like to share memories or otherwise engage with the 'Moz’s Band’ film project should visit www.mozs.band

David in the Derby Serenaders with his mum, Shirley Bell, and dad, Brian Bell.