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A 2nd Section Brass Band based in Stockport (NW England), we rehearse on Thursday Evenings from 19:45 - 21:45.
Musical Director: Nigel Beasley
Hazel Grove Brass Band was originally formed in 1850 and for 100 years was an active part of village life, playing at all the anniversaries during the reign of Queen Victoria. A tradition was established, with the band playing every Christmas Day at the local Liberal Club for over 100 years.
Over the years the Band played at an enormous variety of venues and events. Notably, the band represented the same Sunday School in Ashton-under-Lyne at 50 consecutive Whit Friday Marches.
In 1950 the old band folded. The closure of a local factory which employed many of the players and also housed the rehearsal venue caused problems which the band was unable to survive.
The old drum seen in the picture below (see website - History) turned up recently in a local Stockport school – somewhat in need of repair, but still more or less in one piece!
Happily in 1992 the Band was re-formed by an enthusiastic mixture of players from Poynton Youth Brass Band and plus some more experienced local bandsmen. Music, stands and instruments were all borrowed and rehearsals started in Hazel Grove Civic Hall; the Band’s headquarters for 11 years. In June 2003, the Band relocated to Davenport Methodist Church and then finally came back to the Hazel Grove Civic Hall, which remains it’s home today.
The Band has made steady progress fulfilling a wide variety of engagements from traditional brass band concerts to Bavarian evenings with an Oompah Band – we will try anything!
On the contest scene the Band has had many successes, winning six consecutive first prizes during 1997 and 1998. Our hard work and dedication was rewarded in 1998 when we won the Regional qualifying contest at Blackpool to represent the North West at the National Finals in Harrogate, a success which we have recently repeated in 2010. This year’s Regional win is one of 4 consecutive contest wins along with a win at Pontins Brass Band Championship and Buxton Contest, a title that was regained following success there in 2009.
In September 2010, after qualifying for the National Finals by winning the North West Regional Contest in Blackpool, the band’s hard work and commitment was rewarded when they were crowned 4th Section National Champions of Great Britain at the National Finals at Harrogate International Centre.
Brass Band Contests / Festival
Often described as 'the greatest free show on Earth', the Saddleworth & District Whit Friday Brass Band Contests take place every year on the afternoon and evening of Whit Friday.
From the earliest recorded contest in 1884, the event has grown in popularity. Last year well over a hundred brass bands participated in some twenty different contests at venues scattered around the moorland villages and towns on the western edge of the Pennines. All of the contests are open-air, many in delightful surroundings. The area has a very strong tradition of brass band music. In the weeks before Whit Friday, the sounds of rehearsals echo across the hillsides from the various band rooms and village halls. There are thriving bands in some of the tiniest villages. And the best bands are world class.
The contests are open to all-comers. So the local youth bands get to match their skills against the top bands of the country. For bandsmen, the dash from contest to contest makes for an exhilarating (though exhausting) evening. See the comments in the guest book. This is a major event in the brass band calendar and bands travel the length of the country to participate, some even turning up from overseas.
Contests typically start at about 4.30pm. Bands play two pieces (marches), one on the march and then their well-rehearsed show-piece on whatever passes for a rostrum. Each performance is scored 'blind' by an adjudicator, hidden in some adjacent darkened room or caravan.
Each contest offers prizes for the best band, best youth band, best soloists etc. At one of the busier venues, you could expect to hear over 50 bands, before the winners are announced shortly after close (10.30 pm or 11.30pm, though the most popular contests can go on well into the early hours).
It is possible to look in at several contests during the evening. But with over 100 bus-loads of bandsmen about, with many of the roads closed to traffic and the inevitable parking problems, it pays not to be over-ambitious.
Each contest is organised by local volunteers. All the running costs and prize money are raised by local donations and through fund-raising events. Most provide refreshments. Helpers are always needed on the night. If you can spare a couple of hours at any of the contests, please email.
Each contest sets its own rules. Bands are required to play a published march, an unmarked copy of which should be handed to the Contest Steward on arrival at the signing-on point. Normally, no more than 25 players may play the contest piece, plus the conductor.
On the morning of Whit Friday, the traditional Whit Walks take place. Dobcross contest have introduced a Henry Livings memorial prize, open to bands who have played on any of the morning's walks.
Whilst every effort goes into ensuring this gig listing is accurate and up to date, always check with the venue before you travel.