University's Top Brass

Date: 1 July 2009

On Friday 5th June, Lancaster University Brass Band made their first appearance at the Whit Friday Marches in Saddleworth.

For over a hundred years, the villages of Saddleworth have hosted open-air brass band contests, which are attended by bands from across the world. In each village the bands are judged on their marching ability, but also on their performance of a 'show piece', or Contest March.

The band, which has only existed for two years, was delighted to have been able to take part in the event, alongside some of the country's leading ensembles such as Black Dyke Mills Band, who were the overall winners of this years contests, and Brighouse and Rastrick Band, whom the band followed at Grotton village. Over 150 bands took part in the event this year.

The debutants had to brave the worst weather at these contests since 1972, in what many people have dubbed "Wet Friday". Despite the heavy rain, and at one point hail, the band was determined to carry on.

Lancaster University Brass successfully managed to perform at six of the twelve villages, and therefore qualified for overall rankings, resulting in a position of 43rd, the highest placed University Band in attendance this year.

Having received a number of very favourable comments from the adjudicators at each village, as well as some much valued constructive criticism, the band are determined to attend next years contests, using these remarks to perform even better.

Conductor, Mike Turner said, "I am so unbelievably proud of the band. Their whole attitude to the contest, despite the awful weather, was fantastic. This result makes it all the more worthwhile, as we were the highest ranking University Band, ahead of Leeds, Huddersfield, Durham and Warwick.

"Special thanks should also go to Laura Emsley and Christopher Osborn who helped to organize the band's trip, and all of the band members who gave up hours of their time to rehearse, even as exams loomed".

For the band's next engagement they will join the other ensembles of the University's Music Society, including their award winning Big Band, in the society's annual Proms concert on the 21st July, in the University's Great Hall, at 7pm.


Further information

Associated departments and research centres: Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts