Stalybridge Old Band getting ready for their deportment march.

You Know You’re Pining for Brass Band Music When…

The middle Saturday in May means Spring Festival day

Since the pandemic began last March, any form of normality was put on hold. Pub pints became dependent on the weather (till the 17th May at least). Theatres and cinemas went dark; concert halls, likewise.

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Manchester Arena by Matthew Hartley, 2012

Is Manchester Ready for Two Indoor Arenas?

East of the M60 asks, “Is Town not big enough for both of them?”

Manchester’s credentials as a musical centre of the universe is unimpeachable, though it is a claim that could be disputed by our friends in Liverpool. For many listeners, Liverpool is associated with The Beatles, the muse for Burnage’s finest musical export. Greater Manchester could also claim The Hallé Orchestra as well as Oasis, New Order and Stalybridge Old Band (the oldest brass band in the world, no less).

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Stalybridge Old Band getting ready for their deportment march.

Don’t Forget our Brass Bands!

East of the M60 hopes brass band music isn’t forgotten by HM Government funding pledge

On a normal Monday night, I would be writing a review of the previous night’s concert at Boarshurst Band Club. Since lockdown, The Mecca of Brass Banding has been quiet, leaving a significant cultural void in the hearts of brass band players and concertgoers.

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Trombone CG Bach 42AG

In Vision: The Ultimate Sunday Brass Night at Boarshurst Band Club

A Greatest Hits compilation of the best performances

In times of tragedy, it is music that matters. It can soothe the savage beast and make us happy for the best part of two minutes or two hours. With the Coronavirus situation, it has meant the cancellation of various concerts and music festivals. Even Whit Friday, The Greatest Free Show on Earth – has been postponed till next year.

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Whitworth Vale and Healey Band, 16 March 2020: Sunday Brass at the Boarshurst Band Club

Another fine concert with Alan Widdop behind the podium

In spite of the spectre of the Coronavirus, Whitworth Vale and Healey Band chose to fulfil their concert at Boarshurst Band Club last night. For the dedicated live audience, and several more that watched the live stream, it was a most enjoyable concert.

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Mass Brass IV image

Mass Brass IV: The Review (Uppermill Civic Hall, 07 March 2020)

120+ reasons why Mass Brass IV delivered and entertained its audience

Last Saturday (07 March), over 120 brass band players, plus families and spectators descended on Uppermill Civic Hall for what was Saddleworth’s biggest night in the brass banding calendar. Like previous Mass Brass nights, the four bands gave us yet another great concert.

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Trombone CG Bach 42AG

Stockport Silver Band: Sunday Brass at the Boarshurst Band Club, 08 March 2020

Joyous Boarshurst return for Jim Hunter and Co. makes for another captivating programme

With the live and streamed audience marked safe from stultifying Sunday night entertainment and rolling news, Stockport Silver Band returned to Boarshurst Band Club with another fantastic concert. A year into their tenure at Kimberley Street Day Centre, Shaw Heath, last night’s concert showed a band whose stance and performance was solid. One with improved confidence and bounce.

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Mass Brass IV advert

Mass Brass IV: Saddleworth’s Brass Banding Bonanza Goes Forth

May the fourth Mass Brass be with you on Saturday

Once upon a time, in a part of Saddleworth far far away, an enterprising brass band hit upon the idea of a concert featuring themselves and three other brass bands. Three others from the Saddleworth area, from Junction 22 of the M62 right down to Well I’Th’ Hole Road, thought it was a good idea.

Come the 2017th year of our Lord, the initial concert was a success. So much so there was another the year after. Then another. And another one… The one-off event spawned a monster and – like a certain Science Fiction film franchise – could spring several spin-offs and sequels.

Was the first Mass Brass event really three concerts ago? This year sees the fourth Mass Brass concert. As well as Boarshurst Silver Band, there are (as usual) three other bands from the Saddleworth area.

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Is the World Ready for Autie-Friendly Brass Band Concerts?

Could autie-friendly brass band concerts catch on?

If you pop in to your local supermarket or discount store, some chain stores have what is known as an ‘Autism Hour’. Each Saturday from 9am to 10am, your local Morrisons store turns off the background music. The lighting is toned down to avoid sensory overload triggers.

Some cinema chains have Autism Friendly Screenings. In your local multiplex cinema, the adverts are cut; the sound is turned down a bit; and the lighting is set at an amenable level. Many of the films are family-friendly, which is good for younger people with autism spectrum conditions.

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Cleveleys Promenade, 2016

Thornton-Cleveleys Brass Band, 02 February 2020: Sunday Brass at the Boarshurst Band Club

A neat concert with a good mix of old favourites and modern classics

Over the last week, the village of Thornton and its neighbouring town has been in the news. That being the small matter of a railway line which saw its last passengers in 1970 and its last freight train in 1999. If successful, trains could return to Fleetwood town centre for the first time since 1966.

Back in 1966, a band that was formed in the wake of Thornton-Cleveleys Silver Band’s demise had begun to find its feet. They had had entered the Golborne Contest the previous year in the Section C and Section D competitions. By 1999, when the last trains ran to Burn Naze ICI works, Thornton-Cleveleys Brass Band started picking up respectable results in the NWABBA contests. Two years later, they would become a Third Section band.

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