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Halifax Youth Brass Festival sounds brilliant

A fantastic combination of youthful endeavour and commitment from five junior, training and youth bands was a huge success at Halifax Minster.

Elland
  The event has been hailed as a great success — with hopes it will be repeated in 2020.

The inaugural Youth Brass Festival, hosted by Elland Silver Youth Band at Halifax Minster has been hailed a great success.

Five junior, training and youth bands joined forces in the spectacular setting attracting an audience of over 200 people who came along to enjoy a feast of music making — with themes from space adventure to circus fun and even big band swing.

Warm welcome

The occasion also saw a warm welcome to volunteers from the charity Action Medical Research, who helped to steward the event alongside volunteers from the church and the band.

The event was arranged following the cancellation of the proposed Action Medical Research Youth Entertainment Championships -a huge blow to bands that had enjoyed going to the Winter Gardens in Blackpool for close on 30 years.

Wonderful atmosphere

The event was a first for Halifax Minster and Elland Silver Band, with a wonderful atmosphere created by all the young musicians enjoying performing in a spectacular setting. A raffle also raised £170 towards the charity.

Taking part were Elland Silver Youth and Training Bands, Wardle Junior Band from Rochdale, HD9 Youth Band from Huddersfield and the Red Admiral Youth Band from Mawdesley.

Smiles and laughter

Organiser Sam Harrison, told 4BR: "We had lots of smiles and laughter, particularly in the massed bands, where all 180 musicians came together for the first time to rehearse under each conductor.

The final performance was spectacular; especially the finale of 'African Funk' arranged by Alan Fernie which saw the whole audience join in clapping and getting to their feet for a standing ovation."

Special guests on the day included the Mayor and Mayoress of Calderdale, Chris Harris, Deputy Lord Lieutenant, the iconic cornet player James Shepherd and the hugely respected conductor and adjudicator Derek Broadbent.

The whole event was also captured in pictures by young photography student Poppy McCabe (picture above).

It really is a blue print for encouraging collaboration and development outside the competitive environmentSam Harrison

2020 repeat

Sam added: "We hope to repeat the event again in 2020, and are looking at commissioning a piece of music to be performed by the massed bands.

It really is a blue print for encouraging collaboration and development outside the competitive environment. We are also looking at incorporating free taster sessions for beginners.

My thanks got to everyone, including the bands, parents and players, and most importantly the team of volunteers who chaperoned the bands alongside the volunteers from the Minster. My thanks also go to Gavin Somerset from Pennine Music who supplied music for bands to use in the massed bands."

Sam revealed that it is hoped that the event will be run again in 2020, and any interested parties should get in contact with her at

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Mike Sheppard

B.A. (Hons) Music
Composer, conductor, teacher, author