Beer mat brings American brass band to Dobcross

AMERICA’S top brass band used a cheeky beermat as a unique invite to play in concert at a picturesque Saddleworth village.

Andy Black with Helen Harrelson at Dobcross Band Club

The colourful beer mat which claimed to be “Stolen from Dobcross Band Club” was given to Fountain City Brass Band by a local on a visit to America.

After getting in touch, the band flew more than 4,000 miles from Kansas City to entertain an enthusiastic capacity audience at the 100-year-old club.

For the Americans, who shared the stage with Dobcross Silver Band, it was the finale of a whistlestop British tour which saw them scoop up top prizes at high flying contests.

And delighted Dobcross villagers decked out their single storey headquarters in star and stripes to welcome the guests.

Proud Dobcross Silver band chairman Andy Black said: “The players always wanted to finish their tour with a visit to the authentic brass band heartland.

“Heritage is very important to them and they were fascinated to learn the village had brass band roots going back such a long way.

“It’s been a real honour to host them. They are all terrific musicians and the played a wonderful selection of tunes.”

Fountain City playing at Dobcross Band Club

Yorkshire-born Helen Harrelson, President of Fountain City Youth Brass Academy, is an old friend of the current Dobcross Musical director, Grenville Moore.

She said: “We forged a friendship with Dobcross some years ago but when we won a major US national championship in Chicago, we picked up one of the club’s legendary beer mats.

“That acted as a trigger as we were performing at Brass in Concert, the Scottish Open plus a couple of other stand-alone concerts in the UK, so we contacted Andy at the club.

“Our 30 players were really excited about playing at such a renowned venue. They wanted a full cultural experience in the UK.

“They absolutely adored the club and everyone made us so welcome. It was very gratifying… and we’ve taken some beer mats back to the States at memento of our visit.”

On their UK tour Fountain City, one of the world’s top bands, competed against top bands including Brighouse and Rastrick.


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