Remembering Joe Smith


Joe Smith  1931-2022

It is with great sadness that we learned of the death of Joe Smith at the age of 91.  Joe passed away peacefully after a short illness in the Woking Hospice just before midnight on Monday 5 December.

He was one of the longest serving members of The Cobham Band, having joined at the age of 15 and was its principal cornet for some 60 years. SCABA presented him with 75 years long service award shortly before he died. Members of the band went to the hospice and played carols outside for Joe. 

He taught a number of other band members to play the cornet, including his wife Ruth, who occupied the number two position on the front bench for many years, a position his daughter Beryl McMillan fills currently. An excellent sight-reader, his knowledge of the brass band repertoire was extensive; his playing accurate and lyrical, which resulted in several awards in competitions over the years.  He was nominated Bandsman of the Year in 2019. In addition to making music Joe was an accomplished dancer and took part successfully in competitions.

The band has lost a key member; no one is likely to surpass his contribution.


Porridge oats for breakfast,
Different things for tea.
Play 6 days, take 1 day off,
"Helps you get good grades" you see.

"If I may be so bold" he'd say,
"C'mon, give it some welly!"
He'd encourage all new learners,
"Breathe from the diaphragm" (the belly!)

"Breathe in for 8, hold for 8",
He'd done it walking to school.
He was a great music teacher,
Encouraging and never a fool. 

I remember him mixing up names,
But "somehow" always remembering mine.
He ignited in me a love for brass,
I'd known him since I was nine.

I joined the band when I was 10,
It taught me many things.
That people across all ages,
Have each got good skills to bring!

Joe was an amazing  player,
In many orchestras and the band.
Singing sweetly through his cornet,
As he'd solo on the stand.

He lived to be a ripe old age..
He danced, he laughed, he played.
He'll be missed, but remembered well
For the music and joy his life made!

By Jo (June 2023)