At a time when many bands are facing problems in developing strategies or recruiting players to secure their future, the past 18 months of hard work by Haslingden & Helmshore Band should give cause for optimism.
At that time, and as reported on 4BR, the band was down to just 6 players. However, instead of taking the painful decision to end over 100 years of joint of brass banding history, it was decided to reinvigorate the organisation — and over the past year in particular the results have been remarkable.
The key as Band Manager Phil Smith told 4BR was to appoint a charismatic new MD, who brought both expertise and incredible enthusiasm to his role. That person was Simon Cowen, the Principal Trombone of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.
"That really was the key appointment for us," Phil said. "It's been an absolute pleasure working with Simon, as his approach is so professional and focussed. He works tirelessly for the band and as a result it's rubbed off on everyone else.
Now we have people wanting to join the band, enjoy coming to rehearsals and we are all eager to improve together as a team for the long, not short term."
In the past few months the band has welcomed players of the quality of former Fairey trombonist Paul Coupe, Kate Howard, Jenny Goy and Alison Waring on cornet, Ray Waring on tuba, and their daughter Eleanor, on back row cornet.
Now we have people wanting to join the band, enjoy coming to rehearsals and we are all eager to improve together as a team for the long, not short termPhil Smith
And as a happy MD Simon Cowen told 4BR: "I've been overwhelmed by the hard work and endeavour the band has put in for me and the desire to make long term progress. My thanks go to all of them for what they have done to make my role so enjoyable."