Published Jun 21st, 2024
Time to Read 5 minute

A staple of the band’s outreach work

Black Dyke Band held their annual Brass Festival at Huddersfield Town Hall on Sunday, June 9th, 2024. The festival, which has become a staple of the band’s outreach work, provided an opportunity for music enthusiasts to enjoy spotlight features and workshops with the band.

An early start

The day began early, with the musicians of Black Dyke Band arriving in Huddersfield at 8:30 am to welcome delegates for a series of workshops. These workshops catered to musicians of all levels, from soprano cornets down to tubas, and aimed to support and develop aspiring musicians while giving them a chance to rub shoulders with champions. Led by prominent members of the band, such as Richard Marshall, Siobhan Bates, Gavin Saynor, Adam Bokaris, and Mike Cavanagh, the workshops covered various aspects of brass playing, including warm-ups, practice regimes, sight-reading sessions, and ensemble works. Delegates had the unique opportunity to interact with the band members, sit alongside them, ask questions, and learn from their expertise.

The most welcoming and inclusive of atmospheres

One delegate, who expressed their gratitude for the event, commented on the inclusivity of the banding world and how welcomed they felt despite starting to play the cornet at the age of 69. This sentiment echoed the band’s commitment to fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment for all musicians.

More than 140 musicians, working together

After a morning filled with workshops and learning, the festival moved into the afternoon with massed band rehearsals. In addition to the Black Dyke Band, the festival also invited the Yorkshire Youth Band to perform and share the stage during the afternoon’s concert. The stage was filled with over 140 musicians from bands such as Armthorpe Elmfield, Delph, Hatfield and Askern, and the Murley Silver Band from Northern Ireland.

The Gala Concert

The highlight of the festival was the Gala Concert, which featured an impressive lineup of musical pieces. The concert began with performances of Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, the evocative Crimond, and Peter Graham’s new finale, Triquetra. The second half of the concert showcased the talent of the Yorkshire Youth Band, who entertained the audience with renditions of “Don’t Stop Me Now” and James Curnow’s “Legends in Brass.” The massed band items included iconic pieces like “633 Squadron,” John Rutter’s “For the Beauty of the Earth,” and the finale of Dvorak’s New World Symphony.

Inspiring moments shared

The concert left a lasting impression on both the performers and the audience. Attendees praised the incredible sound and the sense of unity created by the massed band. The dynamics of the performance captivated the audience, showcasing the power and versatility of brass bands. For many, the experience of performing and sharing moments of inspiration together will be cherished for a lifetime.

Enduring love of brass bands

In conclusion, the Black Dyke Band Brass Festival at Huddersfield Town Hall was a resounding success. Through their workshops, massed band rehearsals, and the Gala Concert, the festival not only showcased the talent and passion of the Black Dyke Band but also provided a platform for aspiring musicians to learn and grow. The event brought together musicians from different backgrounds, fostering a sense of community and highlighting the enduring love for brass bands. The festival was a testament to the band’s dedication to their craft and their commitment to sharing the joy of music with others.

Photos: John Stirzaker

Article: Les Driver