There are plenty of great concerts, contests and musical attractions on offer around the banding world in the first three months of the year - but these are our five to try and make sure you don't miss.
RNCM Brass Band Festival
Friday 27th – Sunday 29th January
The shop window display of excellence and relevance for the brass band movement in the UK and beyond.
Curated by Paul Hindmarsh for the final time, he has come up with a Willy Wonkeresque weekend of delights featuring world class bands and soloists as well as a number thought provoking presentations and discussions.
The music spans the generations – from the core classics of Ireland, Howells, Bantock and Goffin to major contemporary additions to the repertoire from the likes of Birtwistle, Bingham, Pickard and Higgins.
All this and the legacy of Bramwell Tovey who made such an impression on this event over the years will be celebrated by a series of new works.
More information and purchase tickets:
Norwegian National Championships
Grieg Hall, Bergen
Friday 10th & Saturday 11th February
The Norwegian National Championships return after a two year enforced Covid-19 break with the promise of two days of fantastic music making in one of the great brass band contest venues in the world.
76 bands in six divisions of competition – headed by the 10 band Elite Section who will finally get the opportunity to perform ‘The World Rejoicing’ by Edward Gregson as well as their own-choice selection in their bid to claim the title and the chance to represent the nation at the 2024 European Championships.
So much to enjoy about the atmosphere, passion and ambition of the performers, as well as the sense of inclusion and enjoyment that permeates the running of the event too.
The beer is expensive, but Bergen is a wonderful city to drink it in.
RNCM Young Explorers: Wallace & Gromit – The Wrong Trousers
WFEL Fairey Band
Sunday 12th February (2.00pm)
What a brilliant way to inspire youngsters with the fun that can be had with a brass band linked to two plasticine stop-motion heroes in Wallace and Gromit battling a devious penguin.
2023 incredibly marks the 30th anniversary of the Academy Award winning film – and it’s still a delight for audiences of all ages.
The band will get everyone in the right pop-corn mood with a first half of family friendly favourites, before you sit back and enjoy the fun and thrills of Wallace and his Wrong Trouser escapades…
All this and you can also make your own Gromit with an animator from Aardman Animations team.
If you can’t make it to Manchester, it on again in Birmingham in March.
Yorkshire Regional Championships
Huddersfield Town Hall
Saturday 4th & Sunday 5th March
All the regional championship events have their unique atmosphere, but if there is one Area you must add to your banding bucket list before you reach your own final bar of banding life then you can’t beat the battles to raise the White Rose standard in triumph.
Huddersfield Town Hall offers a fine venue to enjoy the action and the event is slickly presented by a hard-working set of volunteers.
It's all imbued by that tangible sense of Yorkshire pride – especially in the Championship Section that rounds things off on Sunday evening.
Ticket prices: Call 01484 225755 or go to: http://www.kirklees.gov.uk
Tickets available from Monday 16th January
National Youth Championships of Great Britain
Stockport Grammar School
Saturday 25th March
A revitalised event, the Championships offer a full day of hugely enjoyable music making that lives up to its ethos of being designed to celebrate, unite and promote youth music making in brass bands at all levels.
The non-competitive Showcase Section offers a wonderful opportunity for youngsters to simply go along and enjoy themselves playing the type of music that puts a smile on everyone’s faces, whilst the Performance and Championship Sections offer competitive steps on a ladder that will hopefully link to the UniBrass Championships and beyond.