Band Profile: Hazel Grove
Hazel Grove Brass Band was originally formed in 1850
and for 100 years was an active part of village life, playing at
all the anniversaries during the reign of Queen Victoria. They also
established a tradition playing every Christmas Day for 100 years
at the local Liberal Club. Over the years the Band played at an
enormous variety of venues and events, most notably representing
the same Sunday School in Ashton-Under-Lyne at 50 consecutive Whit
Marches. In 1950 however the band folded, partly due to the closure
of a local factory which employed many of the players and also housed
the rehearsal venue.
band was reformed in 1992 by Les Hall. He took an enthusiastic mixture
of older players from Poynton Youth Brass Band (which he founded
back in 1982) and some more experienced players which started the
Band in the form it is in today. Music, stands and instruments were
all borrowed and rehearsals started in Hazel Grove Civic Hall, still
the base of the Band today. From there onwards the Band has made
steady progress fulfilling a wide variety of engagements ranging
from traditional Brass Band concerts to Bavarian nights starring
the Band in their other capacity as the ‘Alpen Horns’.
On the contest scene the Band has had many successes, winning six
consecutive first prizes during 1997 and 1998. Their hard work and
dedication was rewarded in 1998 when they won the regional qualifying
contest at Blackpool and were subsequently chosen to represent the
North West at the National Finals in Harrogate. This achievement
led them to be promoted to their current position in the 3rd section
both locally and nationally.
Les Hall announced last year that he would be retiring after 9
years of conducting the Band and taking up a seat on the front row
of the cornet section. Hazel Grove promptly appointed Andrew Hirst
as their new Musical Director.
was born in Clayton West, West Yorkshire in August 1961. He began
playing at the age of nine and was taught by his father Jeffrey.
Playing trombone he won the North of England and Huddersfield Association
junior slow melody competitions before joining his first band, Clayton
West and Emley.
In 1976 he moved to the then championship section Slaithwaite Brass
Band. During his three years with the band he won numerous slow
melody and air vaire competitions including becoming NABBC trombone
champion of Great Britain.
In 1979 he moved to Brighouse and Rastrick Band, winning the National
Brass championships in 1980, and the European Championships in 1981.
Immediately after his victory, he moved to Grimethorpe Colliery
Band, where he stayed until 1997. During his time there he won the
British Open, BBC Band of the Year, Granada, Rothmans, Yorkshire
Area and National Mineworkers titles. Also during this period he
became National mineworkers Trombone Champion of Great Britain on
two occasions. He also recorded the music and appeared in the film
Brassed Off. He studied conducting with Elgar Howarth, and also
had a successful period conducting the Askern Band in the North
He joined Y.B.S. at the end of 1997 and stayed for two years. The
band won the British Open, European, English Masters and Yorkshire
Area championships during this period.
Since 2000 he has been freelancing, both conducting and playing
trombone, and is very involved with both teaching and education
work. He has been conducting Hazel Grove Brass Band since 2001.
Under the direction of Andrew this year the Band has enjoyed further
success, taking 2nd prize at the Rochdale Festival of Brass as well
as being awarded first prize at the Buxton Brass Band Festival in
May where they gave a stunning performance of Peter Graham’s
The Band celebrates its 10th Anniversary this year and will be
holding a concert to mark the occasion on Sunday 8th September 2002
at St. Peter’s Church Hall, Hazel Grove, Stockport which will
commence at 7.30pm. For more information please visit out website:
or contact Suzy Fearn on 07810 795794.
Suzy Fearn© 4BarsRest