Residents plan day of music across Saddleworth

SADDLEWORTH residents are being urged to let their musical talents shine, despite the coronavirus lockdown, after the annual Whit Friday Brass Band Contests were cancelled.

A Facebook Group called ‘Saddleworth Day of Music’ is calling for locals to upload videos of themselves singing or playing instruments on the day the contests were supposed to take place.Carol Oldham, leading the rallying cry, said: “Due to the current circumstances concerning coronavirus, the Whit Friday Band Contests has been very sadly cancelled this year.

“But we don’t have to let that stop us. On June 5 we want as many people as possible to post in our Facebook Group short films and links of themselves playing music.

“It doesn’t have to be a brass instrument. All instrument types are welcome, including the human voice! Let’s make June 5 a day of music in Saddleworth!”

The cancellation of the Whit Friday band contests was a massive blow to the community, being only the second time in more than 100 years the event has been called off.

The decision was not taken lightly but organisers had to admit defeat as a result of the UK government tightening measures to control the spread of Covid-19.

Chairman Bob Rodgers, on behalf of the Saddleworth area contests, said: “We know this is one of the highlights of the calendar not only for locals, but also for Brass Bands nationally and internationally.

“Following much soul searching between the 11 Saddleworth and Oldham Whit Friday Contests, we have reluctantly decided we must follow Government guidelines and guidance from Brass Bands England.

“With this in mind, we will not hold the contest in 2020. We look forward to running a fantastic event on May 28, 2021 and hope everyone keeps safe throughout these unprecedented times.”

Cllr Jamie Curley, chair of Saddleworth Parish Council, added: “The spirit of Saddleworth and Whit Friday is not beaten, and I have had a discussion with Greenfield contest chairman Frank Rothwell.

“If we are able, we will organise a musical event for Greenfield later this year to bring some of the spirit of Whit Friday back and let the sounds of brass resonate through the valley again.”

Anyone wanting to join in with the Saddleworth Day of Music on Facebook can do so by joining the Facebook group: https://bit.ly/2w4Qs0R.

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