Band of the Grenadier Guards heading for unique concert in Uppermill

MANY a band has marched down Uppermill High Street over the years – but it will be a historic first when the Band of the Grenadier Guards visits in April.

The 35-strong band, which performs around the world as well as at royal residences around the UK, has been filling the streets with music and colour for more than three centuries.

Now, thanks to a link with Saddleworth School, they are bringing their instruments and iconic red uniforms to the village next month.

Garrath Beckwith, Head of Music at Saddleworth School, revealed the event has been 18 months in the planning with friend and Grenadier’s first trumpeter Gavin Hall.

“The band has visited Saddleworth School before to work with pupils,” Garrath explained. “But performing in our community will be a historic first.

“This has been two years in the planning with literally hundreds of emails, telephone conversations and several meetings taking place to bring this wonderful world class military ensemble to our musically rich community.

“I cannot wait for our students to work with these wonderfully inspiring professional musicians.”

On Friday, April 5, the Band of the Grenadier Guards will march at 11am from the Civic Hall down to Uppermill Playing Fields to give a free, 30-minute open air concert.

Garrath said: “We’re working with police on a road closure and we want everyone to come down and line the streets to see the band and watch them perform in the park.

“I would like to invite as many local residents as possible to come and support this special event. I really hope you can make it!”

If weather is too poor for the parade and open air performance to go ahead, there will instead be an indoor concert for local primary school pupils and guests at the Civic Hall.

The band will spend the afternoon delivering sectional workshops at the Civic Hall to Saddleworth School pupils, including brass, woodwind and percussion.

Then the day will conclude with a grand finale concert at the Civic Hall, starting at 7pm. Tickets are now sold out. In the event of any returned tickets please email g.beckwith@saddleworthschool.org to be placed on the rapidly growing waiting list.

The first half of the concert will see Saddleworth School Brass Band and University of Salford Symphonic Wind Ensemble perform.

Then the second half will be a 60-minute performance by the talented Grenadiers band, who have performed to large audiences worldwide, including, Australia, Japan and Belgium.

Garrath said: “We are really excited about the band coming up. They have tailored their programme to suit us and the children, which is fantastic.

“It will enhance the students’ musical experiences and learning and is something the community can enjoy as well.

“The day is part of the band’s commitment to education initiative so we can’t charge for any tickets but there will be a raffle and retiring collection in aid of Saddleworth School’s music department.”

The band is making a two-day visit to the north, and the previous day they will be visiting the University of Salford.

Sergeant Gavin Hall, Grenadier Guards Band, said: “The Band of the Grenadier Guards is very much looking forward to appearing as guests of Saddleworth School and working alongside their students.

“This event marks a truly historic first for the Band who will march along the hallowed streets of Uppermill.”

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