12 top-class bands from England, Norway and Wales will take to the stage at this year's Brass in Concert. Find out more about them here.
With high quality original and arranged brass band music, unique, innovative and entertaining sets, and innovative lighting and choreography adding an audio-visual experience of the event, this top quality day of banding is not to be missed.
The South Elmsall Village Brass Band can be traced back to humble beginnings
in 1884. In 1905, the band was adopted by the local Frickley Colliery, which in turn was to become owned by the Carlton Main Coal Company, and by 1923 the band became known by its present name. During the band’s long and successful history, it has both competed and triumphed at many of the most prestigious competitions in the world. Most notably, the band has held the titles of British Open Champion, Granada TV Band of the Year, BBC Best of Brass Champion, Spring Festival Grand Shield Champion and British Open Quartet Champion.
The band’s more recent achievements include being crowned Yorkshire Champion in 2013 and 2015, 3rd place at the British Open in 2011 and the Royal Albert Hall in 2013. The band added the Grand Shield to its collection in 2016. In 2017, it represented England at the World Championships in Kerkrade, Holland, finishing in 3rd place. In June 2018, the band was crowned French Open Champion. 2018 and 2019 saw the band achieve its highest ever finishes at Brass in Concert, finishing in 2nd place.
The band has built a reputation as one of the finest concert bands in the country through a combination of innovative programmes, partnered with quality of performance. In 2015, the band took up the position of the feature band of the Gary Clarke Company, with his groundbreaking contemporary dance production and National Theatre award-winning COAL. This position saw the band tour both the UK and Europe throughout 2016, 2017 and 2018. The band has continued this role in Gary Clarke’s sequel, Wasteland, with tour dates throughout 2019 and 2020. With regular appearances on the BBC’s flagship programme Songs of Praise and performances with the world-renowned Rambert Dance Company in 2015 and 2016, the band is currently experiencing one of the most successful periods in its history.
Cory Band, from the beautiful Rhondda Valley in South Wales, is the most successful contesting brass band of the 21st Century. Ranked number one in the world for the last 13 consecutive years, in 2019 Cory won another Grand Slam, simultaneously holding all the major titles (for the second time in four years). Formed in 1884, it originally bore the name Ton Temperance. In 1895 Sir Clifford Cory, the local colliery owner, heard the band and offered to provide financial assistance, resulting in the band’s change of name to Cory.
In 1980 the band became European Champion for the first time and in 1984 it won the third in a hat-trick of UK National titles, conducted by the charismatic Major Arthur Kenney. In 2000, conducted by Dr Robert Childs, the band achieved an historic double by winning both the Nationals and, for the first time in its history, the British Open.
Since 2012 the band has been conducted by Philip Harper, winning another three European titles (2013, 2016 & 2019), four Nationals (2013, 2015, 2016 & 2019), three British Opens (2016, 2018 & 2019) and six Brass in Concert titles (2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2018 & 2019).
In recent times the band has toured Australia (2013) and the USA (2016 & 2019). Cory was to become the first brass band to tour South Korea in 2020, now postponed by the pandemic.
During the Covid lockdown, Cory Band has led the world of brass bands by appearing on the BBC and ITV news, holding two online international brass band competitions and reaching over seven million viewers with its distanced videos. It also won the Foden’s Band Online Whit Friday Contest from a field of 109 bands.
Flowers Band, from Gloucestershire, is now in its 53rd year of outstanding musical excellence. Flowers is the No. 1 band in the West of England and consistently in the top 10 in the world rankings.
Flowers Band was formed in 1968 as a result of the disbandment of the Royal Gloucester Hussars (Territorial Army) Brass Band. After negotiation with the Ministry of Defence, the instruments were purchased and most of the former R.G.H. bandsmen, together with other local players, formed the City of Gloucester Band.
The band has held a variety of names via generous sponsorship, including Whitbread in the Community, Polysteel, and most famously Flowers Brewery. In 1998 the Flowers brewery closed, but the band kept the name it had become so well respected under.
Paul Holland is the band’s current Musical Director, and together they continue to re-write their own record books, achieving their highest ever results at the National Championships of Great Britain, British Open and Brass in Concert Championship. Paul became the first conductor to achieve seven West of England regional titles (five consecutive), the only conductor to have six wins (including a hat-trick) at the popular, and lucrative, Butlin’s Mineworkers contest, as well as three French Open titles and a hat-trick at Yeovil Entertainment Contest.
Krohnengen Brass Band are from Sandviken, Bergen in Norway and one of the country's foremost bands, consisting of 31 members between 13 and 45 years.
KBB is run on a non-profit basis and is fully managed by its own members. All members are at all times involved in the corps' operation, and it is commitment, community, innovation, quality and joy of playing that characterise their work.
In 2017, they won the elite division during the Oslo Brass Festival. In addition, they received the audience award for best and most entertaining program for their two concerts in Kulturkirken JAKOB and Gamle Museet, where they performed the competition programs "Mozart Mirrors" and "A Tribute to Michael Antrobus".
During the Norwegian brass band championship in February 2018, the Krohnengen Brass Band was awarded the Norwegian Composers Association's honorary award for best performance of a Norwegian work in the elite division for their performance of "Aubade - Dawn Songs of the Fabulous Birds" by Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen.
Hammonds Band has an impressive pedigree, with an unbroken sequence of 73 years under various names, and roots going back 150 years to when, in 1855, a brass band was formed as one of the amenities for the people of Saltaire.
In recent years the band has contested throughout Europe, recorded numerous CDs and performed at some of the best concert venues in the world as the Yorkshire Building Society Band. Prior to that the band (as Hammonds Sauce Works) enjoyed contest and concert success under the baton of Geoffrey Whitham for nearly 30 years.
Hammonds Band has enjoyed great success on the contest platform. As the Yorkshire Building Society band it was European Champion eight times in nine years and won the British Open and All England Masters on several occasions. The band was also crowned Yorkshire Champion in 1994, 1999 and 2004.
In March 2011 it was crowned Champions of Yorkshire for the fourth time in its history and the first time with its current name, Hammonds Saltaire. Under the guidance of its musical director Morgan Griffiths, the band is looking forward to a successful future which builds upon the rich heritage of its past. This has recently seen the band form a partnership with the multi-instrumentalist Shri Sriram to fuse brass band and traditional Indian music together, leading to the chance to perform at the 2015 London Jazz Festival and Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.
On the contest stage, 2014 saw the band return to the British Open Championships, gaining a highly credible sixth place. This success has proven to be a building block for the band as 2016 saw it achieve one of its long-term contesting goals of a top six finish in the Yorkshire Area contest. In March the band was delighted to break into the top six, finishing in fifth place overall.
NASUWT Riverside Band was formed in 1875 in the former mining village of Pelton Fell. Since 2008 it has been sponsored by the National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT).
Over recent years the band has been a principal performer at the Durham International Brass Festival, including a key role in the internationally renowned Miners Hymns. 2019 saw another first for the band as it performed in a live concert over the internet with Concord Band, the Danish Champion band.
The band has won the North of England Championships in 2013, 2017, 2018 and 2020. The band has qualified for the National Championships at the Royal Albert Hall six times in the last 10 years. 2022 sees the band’s third appearance at Brass in Concert. The band is also looking forward to performing at the British Open contest in 2022. The band hopes in 2022 to get back to working for its excellent sponsors, which takes it all over the UK. The band already has a very busy diary scheduled for next year.
In addition to having a first class and formidable reputation for performing highly entertaining concerts of wide public appeal, the Brighouse and Rastrick Band has many other notable triumphs to its credit in the highly competitive contesting field.
One extra ‘purple patch’ in this fine record came in 1998 when the band held concurrently the English Masters, British National and European Championships, a unique ‘Triple Championship’, still not equalled today! Amongst the general public Brighouse and Rastrick is perhaps most popularly known for its famous 1977 hit parade success ‘The Floral Dance’ for which it won both Silver and Gold Discs for massive record sales and tremendous national and international acclaim.
Very firm roots were re-established in the town of Brighouse in 1995 with the building and opening of its own purpose-built ‘West Ridings’ headquarters. In 2010 and 2011 the Band won the highly competitive Yorkshire Area Championship before being crowned ‘Champion Band of Great Britain’ at the Royal Albert Hall in the same two years. So successful was 2011 that Brighouse and Rastrick were voted ‘Band of the Year’ and Professional Conductor David King, ‘Conductor of the Year’, by the readers of the 4BarsRest brass band website.
Today, the band continues to make its mark on the new century with all the promise that holds.
The GUS Band is a world-famous brass band, based in Kettering, England. Originally known as the Munn and Felton Works Band, it was formed by Fred Felton in 1933. Since then, the band has won many prizes and competitions over the years.
In January 2007, the band secured a sponsorship deal with Virtuosi England Ltd. The deal secured the future of the band and included provision of a band-room and commercial resources, as well as a financial package that enabled the band to continue to compete at the highest level.
The band’s first contest success under its new sponsors came in the first month at the National Mineworkers Brass Band Championships, where the band won the set test-piece “Northern Lights” and scooped the top prize for the “Most Entertaining Championship Band of 2007” with Musical Director David Stowell.
Since then, The GUS Band has won many Midland regional contests, as well as having many successes with concerts and contests regionally and nationally.
To celebrate the relief of Mafeking during the Boer War in 1900, a brass band was established in the village of Elworth, near Sandbach in Cheshire. The band was adopted by local industrialist Edwin Foden and was named The Foden’s Motorworks Band. From these humble beginnings, few would have thought this band would go on to win 12 British Open titles, 15 National Championships of Great Britain and an unparalleled double hat-trick in 1932, 33, 34 and in 1936, 37 and 38. The band currently holds the record for the number of Area Contest wins with an unprecedented 23 North West Area titles.
Around the world, Foden’s Band is a trademark that musicians associate with inestimable class and musicianship. This fact is reflected in the wide variety of countries that the band has toured: Italy, Switzerland, America, Ireland, France, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Israel.
In 2012 Foden’s set up a Youth Band to nurture the very best youth musicians in the are, and in 2015 set up a Junior Band to act as a feeder to the Youth Band. The Foden’s Solo Competition (held annually in November and staffed by players of the band) regularly attracts over 170 players from around the world. Foden’s also has partnerships with all the various youth organisations in Cheshire.
In 2012 Foden’s cemented itself as one of the leading brass bands in the world, winning a rare and exceptional ‘Double’ by being crowned 2012 British Open and National Champions.
As well as being very successful on the contest front, the band has won numerous awards for CD releases, regularly appearing on BBC television and radio and performing at all the country’s leading concert halls.
In recent times, Foden’s became the 2018 ‘National Champion of Great Britain’ and reclaimed this title in 2021.
After making its Sage debut in 2015, Friary Brass Band returned to Brass in Concert in 2019, winning the Audience Entertainment Award, with soloist Isobel Daws taking the Don Lusher Trombone Award.
Crowned First Section National Champion in 2010, Friary Brass Band has been London & Southern Counties Regional Champion since 2015, with honours including the British Open Senior Trophy in 2014, and the Most Entertaining Band at the Butlin’s Mineworkers Championships in 2015, 2017 and 2019.
Founded in 1983, Friary takes its name from initial sponsor, Guildford’s Friary Meux brewery, and is now based near Woking. The band has played at special events, including major sporting occasions such as the British Grand Prix and rugby internationals at Twickenham and Wembley, and a local theatre company’s production of Brassed Off.
A registered charity, Friary raises funds for the British Heart Foundation and the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance Trust, and in April 2015 was honoured to receive the Mayor of Guildford’s Service to the Community Award.
Joint concerts have been staged with Fairey, Brighouse & Rastrick and Cory, as well as with the North East Hants East Schools Bands, where two of the band’s principal players started their banding careers.
The origins of Tredegar Band can be traced back to 1849, although it wasn’t until 1876 that they were formally constituted. History shows that early contest success was sporadic, although since the mid-1970s it has become one of the world’s elite performers and multiple winners of major competitions.
A self-supporting organisation with a renowned reputation for innovation, it proudly represents the town that bears its name - literally so with its contribution to the BAFTA Award winning film, Pride.
Further significant artistic achievements include the world premiere of Gavin Higgins’ acclaimed Dark Arteries production with the Rambert Ballet at Sadler’s Wells, performances as part of the ‘Changing Britain’ series at London’s Southbank and in playing a major role in the 70th anniversary NHS celebrations. That included the world première of the specially commissioned work, Legacy, both in the birthplace of the NHS in its home town and in becoming the first brass band to perform in The Speakers House in the Palace of Westminster.
It has also received critical acclaim for its recent CD releases Dark Arteries and War Memorials, as well as for its world première at Llandaff Cathedral of the renaissance masterpiece Spem in Alium by Thomas Tallis.
In contrast, the band has performed with Tim Minchin at the Old Vic Theatre’s 200th Anniversary Bicentenary Ball, as well as making several television appearances – from Britain’s Got Talent to Brassic.
Formed in 1917, during the First World War, Grimethorpe Colliery Band is a British institution. National and British Open Champions on numerous occasions, the band’s contest successes remain legendary. These include 16 Brass in Concert Championship titles, 11 times Yorkshire Regional Champion, two English National Championship victories, four times British Open Champion and four times National Champion Brass Band of Great Britain.
Grimethorpe’s diverse noted concert performances include those at the FIFA World Cup, BAFTA Awards, BBC Proms, Eurovision and London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, together with a wealth of national and international television and radio appearances, and professional recordings. The band has been the recipient of two gold discs, as well as a BAFTA nomination for its contributions to the global hit movie Brassed Off, for which Grimethorpe was the focal point.
The Royal Albert Hall, Symphony Hall, Barbican, Westminster Abbey, European Parliament, Sydney Opera House and more, have all played host to Grimethorpe. With tours to Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, and with concerts and festival appearances throughout Europe, the band’s performance reputation remains unsurpassed.