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Welcome faces return to Black Dyke

The Queensbury bandroom is a hive of activity as Black Dyke prepares for more high profile appearances on stage an screen.

Black Dyke
  An oratorio trio — John Pryce Jones, Philip Wilby and Prof Nicholas Childs at Black Dyke's bandroom this week

The famous Black Dyke bandroom in Queensbury was a hive of activity this week as the band prepares for a series of high profile appearances on both the stage and screen.

Just a few days before they can be seen as part of Sky Atlantic's major documentary 'The Beatles, Hippies and Hells Angels — Inside the Crazy World of Apple' (being aired on Saturday 17th June at 9.00pm) Director of Music Prof Nicholas Childs welcomed conductor John Pryce Jones and composer Philip Wilby as they started work on Philip's oratorio 'The Holy Face', written to celebrate the bicentenary of the Halifax Choral Society later this year.

Fond memories

John has worked with the band before on the acclaimed recording of 'The Messiah', which featured the great Maurice Murphy on trumpet — an experience he remembers fondly.

"What a player," he said when speaking to 4BR. "He turned up without an instrument to play the famous trumpet part, but just nonchalantly borrowed one and played like an angel. He was a truly remarkable musician."

He added: "It's also wonderful to be back again and to work on such a wonderful piece by Philip. It's always a pleasure and a thrill to conduct Black Dyke."

First experience

John also recalled his first brass band experience in Wales, when he was taken to listen to the Markham Band. "I was conducting at Welsh National Opera and one of the chorus asked me if I wanted to come along. I thought I was going to have a listen, but when we got there and I asked what time they usually started he replied '...whenever you are ready!'"

That was the start of a brass band association that has remained ever since — and saw him lead Yorkshire Imps to the British Open title in 1980, with a certain Nicholas Childs in the ranks.

Having to work with musicians such as John and Philip is one of the great perks of my jobProf Nicholas Childs.


He was also delighted to link up with John once again, especially on such a significant project. "Having to work with musicians such as John and Philip is one of the great perks of my job.

The oratorio is simply magnificent and it will be a great honour to help the Halifax Choral Society celebrate its 200th anniversary in such a way later this year.

It was a bit of a busy night as we also had a film crew here for a feature on our forthcoming performance at Glastonbury — and we have another television programme coming on Thursday evening to film us for another feature, so watch out for that too."

British Open

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Youngsters to be encouraged to compete at Music Festival

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Foden's Band - BBC Radio 'Young Brass Award Final'

Friday 20 April • RNCM, 124 Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9RD

Crofton Silver Band - Theatre Royal Wakefield

Friday 20 April • Theatre Royal Wakefield. Drury Lane . Wakefield WF1 2TE

Thundersley Brass Band - TBB Quiz Night

Friday 20 April • Richmond Hall, Richmond Avenue, South Benfleet, Essex SS75HA

Black Dyke Band - Conthey - Switzerland

Saturday 21 April • tbc tbc

Gresley Colliery Band - Gresley Colliery Youth and Senior Brass Bands

Saturday 21 April • Gresley Old Hall,. Gresley Wood Road . Swadlincote DE11 9QW

Blidworth Welfare Band

April 20 • Assistant Principal Cornet and Percussionist. Having recently secured 5th place at the Midlands Area Championship Section and a new Principal cornet we are looking for applications for the above positions. The band operate a sensible diary of engagements.

Enderby Band

April 19 • Enderby Band are looking for a SOLO TROMBONE. We are a hard-working and sociable band and are looking for committed players to fill these key seats. The band are current Wychavon and Shirebrook Champions and National finalists.

West Somerset Brass Band

April 19 • West Somerset Brass is looking to strengthen its cornet section, if you are a front or back row player we would be delighted to hear from you, you may even still have a chance of coming along to our French tour later in the year.

John Ward

Conductor, Adjudicator