Brassed Off: Bands look forward to Christmas

Cornet player and brass tutor Mark Rodgers gives us an insight into the band world with his column, Brassed Off.

AUTUMN IS well under way now and the diaries of our bands will be looking a bit healthier and hopefully booked up through to next year.Mark Rodgers

The weeks up to December also see a return to the contest arena for the more competitive of our bands, with The Northern Open in St. Helens and the Fleetwood Contest both popular events. I think some of our musicians prefer to work on some serious, competition music before the lighter, festive fare of December.

Uppermill Band gained an impressive second place overall at the final Whit Friday style March Contest of the season, held at Huddersfield’s picturesque Beaumont Park. Beaten to the overall title by Elland Silver, they also collected prizes for best Percussion and Trombones.

In my September column I mentioned the likelihood of seeing new faces around ourbandrooms due to players leaving for university.

Uppermill have appointed Rebecca Warrior as their new Principal Cornet player, but this is actually due to her return to Saddleworth after studying at Bangor University. Rebecca held the same position at Dobcross Youth for several years and I’m sure Uppermill will be pleased she has chosen to resume playing locally.

A musician from ‘over the tops’, Tim Sidwell, has been appointed as conductor at DobcrossSilver. As a percussionist with Championship band Hepworth for several years and with experience as Musical Director at Crofton Silver, the band committee feels they have the right man to lead them forward again after an uneasy couple of months. I am sure Saddleworth will join me in wishing this new team the best of luck for the future.

A special mention really should be made about the recent successes of our neighbours inMilnrow, as several Saddleworth players have featured in the band’s steady rise to the top over the years.

After two successful qualifying performances in Blackpool earlier this year, this small village band has just competed against some of the biggest names in the business at the British Open Championships and are currently preparing to represent the North West at the National Finals, to be held at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

At the turn of the Millennium the band was languishing in the lower sections at competitions but with hard work and with a strong community spirit, they are now rubbing shoulders with the finest. The stuff of musical dreams really can come true.

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