TWO Saddleworth brass bands are celebrating after producing promotion winning performances at the North West Area finals in Blackpool.
Both Boarshurst Silver Band, Greenfield and Uppermill Band finished runners-up in their respective sections and will now go forward to the National finals in Cheltenham this September.
From 2020, Boarshurst will compete in the Championship – the banding world’s equivalent of the Premier League – with Uppermill Band moving up to the second section in its 40th anniversary year.
“The band hasn’t been in the Championship section for 30 years,” said proud conductor James Garlick. “Only eight years ago we were in the fourth section.
“So, in the last four years the band has risen through the ranks which is an absolutely amazing journey in such a short space of time.
“I have nothing but absolute respect for the players. The work and commitment they put in is second to none.
“I honestly could not have a better group of players to work with, better still, I get to call them my friends.
“We have such a good sense of team work and unity and when these results come our way it really is a big confidence boost and makes the work worthwhile.”
The NW Area finals followed on from Boarshurst’s major success at the annual Butlins Mineworkers brass band festival in Skegness.
There was no time for the band to rest on its laurels as they began rehearsing their set work for the Areas-Gilbert Vinter’s Symphony of Marches.
“This particular piece is very demanding on the band in terms of stamina but even more challenging in creating the correct style throughout,” said James whose leadership has seen the band qualify for the National finals four out of five years.
Uppermill’s promotion winning piece, placing them second out of 18 bands, was Gustav Holst’s First Suite in E flat.
As an extra bonus, Andrew and Katie Woodward and Jenny Ward were winners of the best percussion section prize.
This contest success was an excellent start to the 40th anniversary year, the highlight of which will be a celebration concert at Uppermill Civic Hall on Saturday, May 4.
Dean Redfern MD of Uppermill Band: “I’m so proud and pleased for the players. This result is down to hard work, team spirit and the desire to give a musical performance.
“I have a fantastic group of players that truly work as a team and are a pleasure to work with.
“The band morale is excellent and we all have the desire and ambition to deliver ongoing great results. The future is looking very positive.”
Band Chairman John Ward: “It’s a fantastic result and achievement for all the players and our musical director, Dean Redfern. What a way to celebrate the band’s 40th anniversary.”
• Rainford and Valley Brass, Haydock were the respective winners of the First and Third sections.