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Historic links inspire inventive celebration of brass and coal

A wonderfully innovative artistic collaboration celebrating the 20th anniversary of the film 'Brassed Off!' joins art installations and music to poetry and remarkable re-constituted instruments — all inside a giant white cube in Yorkshire.

  The wonderful instruments of Paul Jeffries formed part of the innovative project

Yorkshire Third Section band Barnsley Brass recently performed in an Arts Council England funded world premiere in a project created to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the iconic film 'Brassed Off!'

However, it was not a simple celebration of the familiar themes and music from the film, but a ground breaking commemoration of the historic links between brass bands and the coal mining industry.

Collaborative project

'Brass ReMade' was the creation of Moved by Art, an arts organisation who specialise in bringing alive the installations at the Civic Theatre, with the musical ideas behind the collaborative project first beginning with workshops for children from each of South Yorkshire's four music hubs.

The children visited The Gallery at the Civic to experience Cornelia Parker's controversial exhibition 'Perpetual Canon', made from a series of industrially flattened silver-plated brass instruments, as well as Jeremy Deller's well-known artwork 'The History of the World', which inspired the Fairey Band's innovative 'Acid Brass' musical link.


In a collaboration brokered by Brass Bands England Liaison Officer Rachel Veitch-Straw as part of their support of the project, British Composer Award winner Lucy Pankhurst taught the youngsters about music theory, composition, and physics — all with the help of some amazing boomwhackers instruments — alongside specialist instrument-maker Paul Jeffries and poet James Nash.

The final composition, 'Lux Redux', showcased poetry written by the children and music played by them on beautiful instruments created by Paul from ones that were originally broken and severely damaged — and so become 'ReMade'.


Rachel Veitch-Straw told 4BR: "The pioneering young 'imagineers' as they were called were supported in the performances by Barnsley Brass, in evocative performances directed by MD William Rushworth."

And to connect with the region's rich brass and coal heritage, a filmed performance took place at Phoenix Park near Thurnscoe, on the site of the former Hickleton Colliery, inside a giant, white, inflatable cube installation.

he 'Brass ReMade' project echoes the resilience of communities following the closure of the coal mines and shows that when people and organisations work in partnership, great things can happen! BBE Liaison Office Rachel Veitch-Straw

Great things

Rachel added: "The 'Brass ReMade' project echoes the resilience of communities following the closure of the coal mines and shows that when people and organisations work in partnership, great things can happen!

The music hubs and Moved By Art have a chance to work together on new ventures, and Barnsley Brass are now seeking to build on their new connection with the youngsters."

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