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[Archive] - Split Notes - Band Newsletter (1997-2006)

GOOD INTENTIONS The Split Notes revival is launched with this issue. We intend to publish issues on a more regular basis than in the past (when was the last time you saw a copy?) and widen its readership. Please let me, or any band member know of anyone who would like to be added to the band's mailing list. Any feedback on the newsletter, suggestions or items for future issues are warmly welcomed. [Editor]

PLAYER OF THE YEAR Every year at the Annual General Meeting the band make an award to the most improved player, nominated by the conductor in recognition of the hard work and commitment of an individual member of the band. Previous winners have included Steven Whitwam (who has recently been promoted to the position of solo trombone in the band) and Neil Cole (who continuous to progress and now sits on the solo cornet rank). And in 1997 the award went to...Sadie Randle, another of the band's excellent solo cornet team. Sadie is currently a final year student at the University College of Ripon and York St John completing a BA degree in Communication Arts and specialising in Music and has played with The Harrogate Band since coming to the area in 1994. She hopes to find work teaching music in Special Schools and is presently in the midst of plans for her wedding, in Ripon Cathedral in August, and of course The Harrogate Band will be providing the music on the day.

LOTTERY The band is in urgent need of replacing many of its ageing instruments to underpin its continuing development and to enable expansion of the Brass Class. It has requested funding from the Arts Council, under the National Lottery scheme, to acquire a new set of instruments together with a trailer to transport the percussion. David Lancaster, Ian Bristow and Gavin Holman prepared the bid which was submitted at the end of 1996 - we await a response.

PLAYERS Several new players have been welcomed to the band in the last few months. Jamie McVicar (euphonium), Claire Hastings (horn), Karen Shore (cornet), and Holly Garrett (trombone). We are also delighted to welcome back David Gall (euphonium) and Jason Harper (flugel). The band is always glad to welcome visitors to the bandroom - players or otherwise - normal rehearsal times are: Wednesday 7.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m., and Sunday 10.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.

CONTESTING Fourth place in the Northern Regional Finals in March was not quite good enough for the band to qualify for a place at the National Finals in Birmingham later this year - but it did ensure that the band had sufficient "points" to secure promotion to the 2nd Section from January 1998. The band was previously promoted to the 3rd Section in January 1992 and has qualified for the National Finals twice since then. For the last two years the band has competed in the 1st Section of the Yorkshire & Humberside Brass Band Association's Annual Contest - and was in danger of being "promoted" to their Premier Section after its success in last year's contest. This year, in Scarborough, the band won 2nd prize in the Hymn contest and 3rd prize with the own-choice test piece Triumphant Rhapsody by Gilbert Vinter.

WHITE ROSE CONCERT BAND Perhaps surprisingly, The Harrogate Band and the town's other senior band had never appeared in concert together, but this was put right when they recently shared the stage in a concert at Christchurch Hall, Harrogate. The White Rose Concert Band's first half programme featured a range of musical styles including a performance of their newly commissioned White Rose Overture by Philip Sparke and a selection of themes from Phantom of the Opera. Under their conductor John Farthing the band has made great improvements in recent years and their performance was musical and fluent. The Harrogate Band took the stage in the second half with a varied programme which included Denis Wright's suite Tintagel and concluded with an upbeat performance of Riverdance. Soloists included Jason Harper (flugel) who played Rodrigo's Concerto d`Aranjuez and the gentlemen of the bass section in Basses on the Beat, an arrangement by David Lancaster of Sir Arthur Sullivan's Policeman's Song. It was certainly interesting for members of the audience to compare the sound, style and repertoire of Brass and Concert Bands in close proximity. Both bands agreed that this should not be the last time they should appear together and look forward to future collaborations.

WHERE AFTER PRAGUE? After our very successful concert tour to Prague in the Czech Republic a year ago we are now contemplating our next excursion beyond the boundaries of Yorkshire. No firm decisions have been made yet, and ideas or proposals are always welcome.

BANDROOM OPENING - When Michael Hymas (President of The Harrogate Band) first offered rehearsal premises the space available was barely large enough to accommodate the band, but thanks to Michael's generosity and hard effort by band members, walls were knocked down, floors laid and by 1994 the band had premises of which they were rightly proud. Black Dyke Mills Band who have rehearsed there prior to an important contest certainly thought so. So when Michael offered the band the use of a further available space last year he presented an opportunity to expand still further and develop a social area/committee room which is a welcome addition to the band's facilities. Band members, particularly David, Shirley and Neil Cole along with Ian Bristow worked miracles to transform the room. With utmost secrecy the committee agreed to call it the McKown-Hallums Room, in recognition of the long and dedicated service of two distinguished members, Les McKown - a founder member of the band, now librarian, and John Hallums, who served on the band committee and as Chairman for many years. Both Les and John were surprised and delighted. The unveiling was performed by Peter Littlewood, another member who has served the band with distinction for many years and whose "retirement" was marked that same evening by the presentation of a framed print of Harrogate. The McKown-Hallums room was immediately put to good use; drinks and an excellent buffet had been prepared to mark the celebration.

BREWERY TRIP - In addition to the busy round of rehearsals, concerts and contests, The Harrogate Band organises a number of social events during the year; these have included barn dances, quiz nights, dinners etc., and a first prize at the recent Camerons Band Contest in Hartlepool brought another opportunity to socialise, because a visit to the Camerons Brewery was a part of the prize for that victory. It should be said that The Harrogate Band have been particularly successful in this competition, winning top prize for three out of the last four years, so the opportunity to celebrate their victory in a brewery is obviously a source of considerable motivation for the players. So, on 23 April band members met early in the evening and travelled to Hartlepool by coach and were met at the door by Camerons staff. Ushered into the brewery's reception area we were shown Camerons' promotional video before being led around the brewery itself, with the opportunity to sample the beer and its ingredients at various stages of the brewing process. Camerons is a relatively small brewery and on the whole traditional brewing methods are still employed here. Following the tour we returned to the reception area where a huge buffet awaited us and, of course, the chance to try out the different beers produced there. Our thanks must go to the staff of Camerons Brewery for their hospitality, and we look forward to seeing them again next year (band members note: Hartlepool Contest - 30th November!)

WEB SITE - Always at the forefront of technology, The Harrogate Band Internet site, created and maintained by Gavin Holman, was one of the first brass band sites to be established and is attracting attention all around the world. As well as giving details of the band, its players and activities, it also provides the visitor with articles on brass band history, humour, a bibliography and a comprehensive set of cross-references to other brass sites on the Internet. Over 1,100 people have now visited the site, and one, Marcel Boom from the Netherlands, decided to combine his interest in The Harrogate Band with a personal visit whilst on holiday in England. Marcel, who has played with the championship section Brass Band Limburg, toured Yorkshire with his wife Ingrid and brought his own BBb bass too! Marcel joined the band for a rehearsal and commented on the high standard of playing, the friendly atmosphere in the band and the warm welcome he received. Marcel is still in touch with band members via the Internet.
Visit The Harrogate Band on

BRASS CLASS - This has been running now for eighteen months, largely through the unceasing efforts of Catherine Morland and Eddie Fearnley. There are six young players who are being tutored, and who will hopefully form the core of a training band. New learners are always welcome - and anyone willing to help with the Brass Class should contact Catherine.

RECORDING - Following the success of its cassette recording Brass for an Occasion made five years ago under the baton of Peter Wells, the players and committee of The Harrogate Band felt that it was time to make a sequel, and that this time the recording would be issued in both CD and cassette formats. Suitable locations were considered and various recording companies were approached for quotations, but by coincidence both venue and producer turned out to be the same as for the previous recording. And so it was that we all arrived at Granby High School on the morning of Sunday 6 April to be greeted by John Rowley. David Lancaster had selected an hour of music which showed the range of the band's ability and a variety of styles, including music by Harrogate-based composers Philip Wilby and Wilfred Heaton, along with two of his own arrangements. Once the initial sound and balance checks had been made, the actual business of recording began, and the band worked tirelessly (and virtually continuously) to complete the recording in the early evening. During the day the band were joined by composer Philip Wilby who had come along to provide an `extra pair of ears', particularly during the recording of his work Partita for Band, but in fact Phil soon found himself helping out with percussion parts. His advice and guidance proved particularly helpful. At the time of writing the recording is at the editing stage and the band hope that it will be ready to release in the late summer or early autumn. Watch out for details of availability in future editions of Split Notes.

The full programme the band recorded is as follows:
Fanfare and FlourishesJames Curnow
Partita for BandPhilip Wilby
Shepherds Songarr. Goff Richards
Lucy in the Sky with Diamondsarr. David Lancaster
Come Follow the BandCy Coleman
Concerto d`AranjuezJ. Rodrigo (flugel horn solo - Jason Harper)
Deep Inside the Sacred TempleG. Bizet (euphonium duet - Jamie McVicar and David Gall)
SummertimeG. Gershwin (soprano cornet solo - Andrew Jackson)
PraiseWilfred Heaton
Jesu Joy of Man's DesiringJ.S. Bach, arr. David Lancaster
James Bond Collectionarr. Goff Richards
The Day Thou Gavestarr. Philip Wilby
Saints on Paradearr. Bruce Gentry

(Band Trivia #1 - since the formation of the band in 1970 it has completed over 780 musical engagements which include 95 contests)

Saturday 31 MayRipon Market Place (lunchtime)
Saturday 31 MayTetley contest, Ripon Cathedral (evening)
Saturday 14 JuneGrosvenor House Nursing Home (afternoon)
Sunday 15 JuneValley Gardens, Harrogate (afternoon)
Sunday 15 JuneSongs of Praise, Goldsborough Hall (evening)
Saturday 28 JuneEasingwold March Contest (evening)
Sunday 29 JuneCentenary Lunch, Hovingham Hall
Friday 4 JulyMenwith Hill (evening)
Saturday 19 JulyRipon Races (afternoon)
Sunday 20 JulyCanal Gardens, Leeds (afternoon)
Sunday 27 JulyBirstwith Church 140th Celebrations (morning)
Saturday 16 AugustRipon Races (afternoon)
Saturday 23 AugustSadie's wedding, Ripon Cathedral (afternoon)
Monday 25 AugustSicklinghall Village Field Day (afternoon)
Sunday 7 SeptemberHardraw Scar contest
Friday 19 SeptemberSt James Church, Boroughbridge (evening)
Thursday 25 SeptemberBirstwith Church Harvest Festival(evening)
Saturday 11 OctoberThorner Church (evening)
Sunday 30 NovemberCamerons contest, Hartlepool
Monday 1 DecemberASDA, Harrogate (evening)
Friday 5 DecemberJoint concert with Tewit Band (evening)
Saturday 13 DecemberASDA, Harrogate (morning)
Sunday 21 DecemberFire Brigade Charity Concert, Royal Hall
Monday 22 DecemberBilton Cricket Club (evening)
Wednesday 24 DecemberOakdale Golf Club (evening)

CONTESTING - A little known fact about the recent Yorkshire & Humberside Brass Band Association's Annual Contest, in Scarborough, has come to light. The Harrogate Band was the only band in the top two sections to play with no borrowed players. We were playing against members of Carlton Main, Wallace Arnold, Wakefield Metropolitan, and Sellers bands amongst others!

CONTROVERSY AFTER RIPON CONTEST - The Harrogate Band found space in several national newspapers (the Sun, Daily Star and Telegraph) and was mentioned on Radios 1 and 2 following its performance at Ripon Entertainment Contest in June this year. The controversy arose from an article in the Ripon Gazette following the contest which claimed that the Band, defending champions, was denied first place in the contest on the grounds that prolonged audience applause had caused the Band's performance to exceed the time limit, resulting in two marks being deducted. This claim by organiser David Boase was repeated on the front page of the Harrogate Advertiser the following week (under the headline "The Band that was Too Good") and a Leeds-based freelance journalist relayed the story to the national press. In fact The Harrogate Band were very pleased with their performance and certainly enjoyed the audience's appreciative reaction, particularly following the final piece, Riverdance, in which the band were joined on stage by a line of nine Irish dancers from the Studio Three Dance Workshop in Knaresborough.

"Our biggest regret is that having won promotion to the second section next year, we won't be able to compete in the Ripon Contest in future" complained conductor David Lancaster.

OTHER CONTEST SUCCESSES - Since the last issue of Split Notes The Harrogate Band has entered three contests and won prizes in each of them. In May the Band played in the Spa Complex at Scarborough and won third prize in the First Section with a spirited performance of Gilbert Vinter's Triumphant Rhapsody.

The following month saw the band in Easingwold for the annual march contest. Here The Harrogate Band were awarded third prize for deportment and first prize for being the highest placed Third Section band in the competition. Overall the Band finished in tenth place, ahead of many higher graded bands.

Following their busy summer season the Band travelled high into the Dales to compete at the Hardraw Scar contest, held in the picturesque setting of a natural amphitheatre, close to the Hardraw Force waterfall, behind the Green Dragon Inn, near Hawes. Despite a gust of wind which nearly blew all the music away, a dog which wanted to join in and a couple of very persistent wasps, The Harrogate Band gave a most creditable performance which earned them third place overall and the prize for the top Third Section band. Adjudicator Roy Newsome was full of praise for the performance. The programme comprised the march Wellington, hymn tune Colne and test piece Triumphant Rhapsody; in addition each band was invited to play a short entertaining piece to conclude their programme and The Harrogate Band chose to play Pastyme with Henry, an arrangement of tunes by King Henry VIII.

NEW PLAYERS - We would like to welcome several new players. Lesley Bower (horn) has moved to the area from Derbyshire. Nick (brother of trombonist Holly) is taking time off from his studies in Aberystwyth and previously played cornet in the Theakston Wakeman Band. Both took part in the recent contest success at Hardraw Scar. Neil Davidson and Denise Suggitt have also recently joined our front row cornets.

On a sadder note, Barry and Steven Whitwam have "retired" from the Band after several years' playing, due to the pressure of other commitments, Barry's work which forced him to miss band engagements on Saturdays, and Steven's golf (he intends to become a professional golfer in the not-too-distant future). We would like to thank them both for their valued contribution to the success of the Harrogate Band in recent times and send our best wishes for the future.

BANDS IN THE MEDIA - Band followers have seen a remarkable surge of interest in Brass Bands since the release of the film Brassed Off some twelve months ago. The Grimethorpe Colliery Band (which becomes Grimley in the film) are enjoying celebrity status and have doubled their concert workload since the release of the film. Brassed Off is still showing in many cinemas and is now available for hire on video; it will be in the shops for sale in time for Christmas (that's a hint, Mum). Another band (in fact the Stocksbridge Band from Sheffield) feature in the more recent film The Full Monty which has attracted rave reviews in the last few weeks, and the Midlands-based Sovereign Brass have appeared on TV in a recent episode of Dangerfield.

At the same time, the Williams Fairey Band have gained wider public attention for their foray into Acid House music. Acid Brass came out of the work of `conceptual artist' Jeremy Deller who saw connections between rave music of the Manchester clubs he frequented, and the music and culture of the brass band . This has resulted in several live performances and a CD, with a further recording to follow. Whether or not the music is to your taste, the exercise has brought welcome publicity for the band movement and drawn attention to the versatility and up to date repertoire of the modern band, far removed from the Victorian stereotype which the media seem so keen to perpetuate.

GMK BAND VISIT - The Harrogate Band were pleased recently to welcome eight representatives of the Gerwens Muziekkorps (GMK) Band, from Neunen, near to Eindhoven in The Netherlands, who spent a weekend in Harrogate recently in preparation for a visit by the full band in 1998. During their weekend in England they were treated to a whirlwind guided tour led by Peter Wells (which took in not only Harrogate but also Ripon, Ripley and Knaresborough and a compulsory pub stop in under three hours!), an evening concert in Thorner, our regular Sunday morning rehearsal and a planning meeting cum Sunday lunch at the Smiths Arms.

GMK were formed in the 1960's, and currently have a playing membership of approx. 80 players - 50-55 in the main band, with the remainder in a smaller training unit. They are a Wind band, and primarily play for fun, with only one contest per year.

GMK will visit Harrogate from Saturday 24th to Monday 26th of October 1998 and will be giving two or three concerts during their stay. The trip is being organised on an exchange basis, with the Harrogate Band visiting GMK in 2000. There will be 50-55 people involved in the exchange. We need to be able to accommodate these players for the two nights of their stay, and hope that all band members will help. Offers of help from friends of the Band are very welcome! A separate letter about this will appear soon.

A draft outline programme for the visit includes:
Saturday: arrive 10:30 - transfer to hosts for lunch. Afternoon - go to evening concert location for rehearsal. Tea with the Harrogate Band at this evening venue. Evening - concert with a guest soloist.
Sunday: Possible day trip (for both groups) to include concert - possible venues - York, East Coast and so on. Evening - social event?
Monday: Guests leave hosts and assemble at Band Room for farewells and to load coach. Morning spent in Harrogate with possible concert. Depart Harrogate for Hull after lunch.

NEW MUSIC - In a recent issue of Brass Band World magazine, composer Philip Wilby wrote an article which highlighted the need for bands to work with, and commission new works from local composers, and in particular to develop links with universities and colleges to encourage young composers to write for brass. The Harrogate Band already performs existing works by local composers, notably Philip himself (an Associate Member of the Band, whose Partita the Band has performed extensively and recorded) and Wilfred Heaton, whose Praise will also appear on the forthcoming CD recording. In addition conductor David Lancaster has provided several new arrangements for the Band and is close to completing a major work, originally commissioned to mark the 25th anniversary of the Band's formation. Inspired by Philip's article, The Harrogate Band has invited two talented young composers, Ben McCullough and Paul Leigh to compose new pieces, which will hopefully be ready to perform next spring.

Both Ben and Paul are final year music students at the University College of Ripon and York St John and have composed music for a range of ensembles but never before written for brass band; Paul, from Barnsley, plays guitar and flute and has a particular interest in early music whilst Ben (a Scot) plays electric guitar and trumpet. The Band plan to present a concert to include the new music, alongside works by Philip Wilby and David Lancaster next spring, at a venue to be announced in a future edition of Split Notes.

COME FOLLOW THE HARROGATE BAND - This new recording made by the Harrogate Band is due to be released at the beginning of December. If you would like to order a copy and be amongst the first to receive this exciting new recording, please complete and return the enclosed order form. It is available as CD and cassette.

THORNER CONCERT - The concert which the Harrogate Band gave at St Peter's Church, Thorner on 11 October was a little out of the ordinary for a number of reasons. Not only were our Dutch guests in the audience but the band made presentations to two retired band members, both of whom had given valuable service to the band over a number of years. Both Noel Taylor and Ron Eastwood were surprised to be presented with framed prints of Harrogate landmarks by band chairman Steve Morland.

The concert, to a nearly full church, featured a number of soloists, including Jamie McVicar (euphonium) and Jason Harper (flugel) who both played Scottish folk tunes: The Wee Cooper of Fife and My Ain Folk respectively. Sadie Snowden (cornet) and Andrew Jackson (soprano) joined forces for the Flower Duet and David Lancaster swopped his baton for a post horn to play the famous Post Horn Galop.

Also on the programme (on this evening of England's World Cup triumph in Rome) was Guiseppi Verdi's patriotic overture Nabucco and, for reasons of balance, Variations on Laudate Dominum by the English composer Edward Gregson.

BAND TRIVIA #2 - There have been over 170 playing members of the Band during its 27-year history. Two of these, Les Mackown and Andrew Jackson are founder members still active in the Band, as Librarian and Soprano Cornet respectively.

It is only since 1924 that contesting bands have been allowed to be seated during their performances.

Percussion has only been allowed in the National Championships for all sections since 1976.

The first brass band contest was held in July 1845 at Burton Constable Hall, near Hull as part of a Magdalen feast, which also included medieval games, falconry, archery and athletics. It was won by the Wolds Brass Band playing Rossini's Barber of Seville.

Sunday 30 NovemberCamerons contest, Hartlepool
Monday 1 DecemberASDA, Harrogate (evening)
Friday 5 DecemberJoint concert with Tewit Band (evening)
Saturday 13 DecemberASDA, Harrogate (morning)
Saturday 13 DecemberScouts Carol Concert, Bilton Church, Harrogate (evening)
Saturday 20 DecemberMarket Place, Harrogate (afternoon)
Sunday 21 DecemberFire Brigade Charity Concert, Royal Hall (evening)
Monday 22 DecemberBilton Cricket Club (evening)
Wednesday 24 DecemberOakdale Golf Club (evening)
Sunday 22 March Northern Regional Championships, Darlington (all day)
Saturday 23 MayWedding, St James, Baldersby
Sunday 26 JulyBirstwith Showground
Saturday 24 OctoberGMK Band visit
Sunday 25 OctoberGMK Band visit
Monday 26 OctoberGMK Band visit

WEB SITE - Over 2,200 visitors have discovered the delights of the Harrogate Band's World Wide Web site on the Internet.

KEEPING IN TOUCH - If you have any news or information about the Band or bands in general that you would like to see in future issues, please let the Editor know. Also if you know of anyone who would like to be added to our mailing list, give their details to any Band member.


NATIONAL LOTTERY AWARD - Earlier this year we received an National Lottery award from the Arts Council which has enabled the Band to purchase a full set of new instruments and a trailer to help in their transport. The new instruments, most of which are now in full use, make a terrific difference to the Band's performance and were sorely needed.

Since The Harrogate Band was formed in 1970 it has accumulated a motley selection of instruments as required when new players joined, but these have been mainly second-hand and it is a credit to the Band that they have achieved so much with such worn out and ill-matched equipment.

The award from the National Lottery was the result of eighteen months hard work for the three committee members who took charge of the application. It wasn't simply a matter of completing a form, the Arts Council of England needed all sorts of information about the Band, from bank statements and membership records - right down to the width of the bandroom's toilet door! Some alterations to the building were eventually necessary to comply with disable access requirements.

However the Band's bid for funding would certainly have been unsuccessful had it not been for the contribution of Band President Michael Hymas who stepped in at a crucial stage to ensure that partnership funding was secure.

The Band's old instruments will be used to help form The Harrogate Band of the 21st century - the Band is committed to training young players and this award, with the release of the older instruments, will mean that many more young players can benefit from the opportunity to learn an instrument and to play a part in the Band's future successes. A new Training Band is planned to be launched in the early Autumn, comprised of learners (of all ages), to ensure the future of quality brass playing in the Harrogate district.

HENRY MOORE - The Harrogate Band were offered a prestigious booking after the Director of the Henry Moore Foundation had visited its web site. The Henry Moore Foundation was planning the celebrations to mark the centenary of the sculptor's birth and wished to engage a Yorkshire Band.

We had a very successful and enjoyable trip to Perry Green in Hertfordshire in June to provide music for the Centenary Celebrations at the Henry Moore Foundation Open Day. A commemorative service was held at the local church where both Moore and his wife are buried, followed by a concert at the Foundation, which now occupies the house and grounds of Henry Moore's former home.

Surrounded by many examples of the sculptor's work - from massive architectural pieces to small and intimate studio works, drawings and fabrics - the band entertained several thousand people who had come to see the work of the Yorkshire-born sculptor. The Open Day, held in glorious sunshine, was an event thoroughly enjoyed by the public, the band and the Foundation themselves. Our thanks go to the Foundation for the invitation - we look forward to being invited back for Moore's 200th anniversary!

PLAYERS - More changes to announce in our members. We were sorry to lose Phil Smith, Claire and Jamie McVicar all of whom have moved away from Harrogate - to Germany in Jamie and Claire's case.

Angela Robson, Ema Hankin and Kerry Norman, all students at the University College of Ripon & York St John, have joined us on horn, cornet and percussion. We also are very glad to welcome Carillon Glew (cornet) who is the daughter of Ken, a former tenor horn player with the band. Finally, David Oakes - for a long time an occasional, but very valued player, has taken up full membership of band and occupies the euphonium seats together with David Gall.

And of course we can't forget Daniel Lancaster who made his first noisy appearance with the band in February, though he is a little young yet to wield a cornet. The announcement of his birth, on a Wednesday - which meant that neither his mother nor father were able to attend the band rehearsal that night (what an excuse!) - was eagerly awaited by the remainder of the band. Of course, having been exposed, so to speak, to the band for the previous nine months, he should end up being an excellent instrumentalist - but probably on clarinet! Congratulations to Liz and David on their first-born!

Another departure, this time from the Band's Committee, is that of the Chairman, Steve Morland. Pressure of work has forced him to resign from his duties on the Committee for the time being. Steve has made a major contribution to the Band over the last four years as Chairman, in addition to being its principal percussion player, and he has shaped its current success in partnership with our Musical Director David Lancaster. We thank him for all his hard work over the years and hope it won't be too long before he returns to help with the administration of the Band.

SCRAPBOOKS - The Band has some scrapbooks that cover the early years of the band's life, but these have not been kept up to date. A fair amount of material has been collected to complete the books, but we would like to obtain more. Please can I ask anyone who has any material they are willing to give to the Band for its scrapbooks (press clippings, photos, programmes or anything else - of any age) to contact Gavin Holman. Once the books have been updated we will put them on permanent view in the Bandroom.

GMK BAND VISIT - Plans for the visit of the Gerwens Muziekkorps (GMK) Band are firming up.

They arrive on Saturday 24th October. The trip is being organised on an exchange basis, with The Harrogate Band hoping to visiting GMK in 2000. Offers of help from for accommodation are still very welcome!

The current outline programme for the visit is:
Saturday: arrive 10:30 - lunch with hosts for lunch. Afternoon - rehearsal. Evening - concert at United Reform Church, Victoria Avenue.
Sunday: Day trip (for both groups) to Beamish? Evening - barn dance, Ripley
Monday: Leave hosts. Morning in Harrogate. Lunchtime concert at University College of Ripon & York St John, Ripon. Depart for the ferry.

BAND TRIVIA #3 - The band was recently entertained at one of its rehearsals by Charles Hindmarsh, a former member of the Band who still helps us out from time to time. An engaging rendition of O Sole Mio was played, to band accompaniment, on the musical saw. Tubist with the Yorkshire Evening Post band, Charles also plays a mean violin - allegedly!

CONTESTING - Three First Prizes and Trophies were won in the Yorkshire and Humberside Brass Band Association's Annual Contest, First Section, at Scarborough in May. Wonderful! Marvellous! you might think - but the band, although being pleased at the awards, was also very disappointed. All the other bands in the first section had withdrawn and we had agreed with the organisers to compete in the Championship section and to be judged with them. However our status was communicated to the adjudicator and we were judged as the only first section band! Nevertheless, both the adjudicator and audience liked the performance, and we are sure that, had we been allowed to compete fairly in the contest, we would have surprised one or two of the other bands in that section!!

From the 1st January 1998 The Harrogate Band was promoted to the Second Section of the National Brass Band Championships - for the first time in its history. The Band's first contest in the Second Section was the Northern Region Championships at Darlington. We were very pleased to be awarded third place - particularly as the adjudicator admitted he could not really separate places two and three. This very strongly suggests that The Harrogate Band will be a force to be reckoned with in the future!

Unfortunately this also meant that we missed representing the home town in the National Brass Band Championship Finals being held in Harrogate in September - by one point! However - we shall be there, cheering on our brethren and friends in the contest - and will support the organisation in a number of ways, including letting our bandroom to competing bands. Brass bands from all around the British Isles will converge upon the Harrogate International Conference Centre. The National Finals is rotated around the country to different venues each year - in 1996 The Harrogate Band travelled to Cardiff to take part, and in 1997 Birmingham's magnificent Symphony Hall was selected. Around 65 bands (almost 1800 musicians) plus their supporters are expected: two bands qualifying in each of the four sections from the eight regions of the country. Anyone who would like to help with the Finals over the weekend of 19th/20th September (together with some of the band members) should contact Gavin Holman.

SPONSORSHIP - The cost of keeping a Band like Harrogate's going from one year to the next is constantly on the increase. The provision of instruments and uniforms for its players, and the demand for the latest music comes at a high cost. Travel costs - including coach hire - and rehearsal room rental charges add to the financial burden for bands, so many seek commercial sponsorship. The Harrogate Band undertakes some twenty five to thirty paid engagements each year but since many of these are in support of other organisations - many of them charities - these alone cannot guarantee the Band's financial security.

However in Michael Hymas and his Readydrive vehicle hire company the band have found valuable allies: Mr Hymas became the Band's President in 1993 and his generous support for the Band has been a major factor in its recent successes. The signing of a formal sponsorship deal this year for the Band's travel costs is a continuation of the help and support which Readydrive have given for a number of years and one which is very much appreciated by the Band's members.

CONCERTS - The charity concert for the Fire Brigade Service, in the Royal Hall last December was a great success. Over £3,000 was raised for the Fire Services Benevolent Fund, by the Band together with singers from St Andrew's Players, the York City Pipers and dancers from Studio Three Workshop who once again provided a wonderful visual dimension to Riverdance. We hope to repeat this event in 1998.

PRAIRIE BRASS BAND - A recent contact via the Internet has been the Prairie Brass Band who are based in the north-west of Chicago, USA. They were impressed by our publicity and music - from samples of our CD - on the web site, and have expressed an interest in forming a relationship with The Harrogate Band with the possibility of the two bands visiting each other. The Prairie Brass Band were only recently formed, and arose from the "discovery" of brass bands on the Internet by Roger Melling a trombonist. Advice and inspiration from the Illinois Brass Band, one of the USA's leading brass bands (in the traditional British style), were also instrumental (pun intended!) in the band's genesis. Their first contest appearance, in the North American Brass Band Association Championships gained them the first prize in the "Challenge Class".

30-Nov-97Camerons Contest, Hartlepool
18-Jul-98Ripon Races, 2.00 pm
19-Jul-98Canal Gardens, Leeds, 2.30 pm
26-Jul-98Birstwith Show Ground, 11.00 am
1-Aug-98Mowbray House, Kirkby Malzeard, 7.30 pm
2-Aug-98Valley Gardens, Harrogate, 3.00 pm
31-Aug-98Sicklinghall Village Field Day, 1.45 pm
11-Sep-98St John's Ambulance Conference, Harrogate, 8.30 pm
12-Sep-98Boroughbridge Church, 8.00 pm
13-Sep-98Service - St John's Ambulance Conference, Harrogate, 9.30 am
4-Oct-98Joint Concert with Granby Concert Band
24-Oct-98Visit by GMK Band
25-Oct-98Visit by GMK Band
26-Oct-98Visit by GMK Band
7-Nov-98UCRSJ - Concert with College Band
6-Dec-98Cameron's Contest, Hartlepool
12-Dec-98Scout Carol Concert, Bilton, 7.00 pm
20-Dec-98Fire Brigade Charity Concert, Royal Hall
24-Dec-98Oakdale Golf Club

Come Follow The Harrogate Band - The new recording was released at the beginning of December. Copies are available ( £10 CD, £5 cassette) from the Band.

WEB SITE - Nearly 4,500 visitors have browsed The Harrogate Band's World Wide Web site on the Internet, which continues to develop with details and pictures of the band together with a wide range of other information and contacts for "Internet Bandsmen".

KEEPING IN TOUCH - If you have any news or information about the Band or bands in general that you would like to see in future issues, please let the Editor know. Also if you know of anyone who would like to be added to our mailing list, give their details to any Band member.


Hartlepool Success - The Harrogate Band stormed to an unprecedented five-point win when they were declared winners of the recent Camerons Brass Band Championships in Hartlepool. Despite playing first (traditionally very unlucky!) of the nine bands entered in the Second Section of the Championships, the Band gave a polished and exciting performance of Philip Sparke's Land of the Long White Cloud - Atearoa which adjudicator Ian Craddock described as "one of the best performances I have heard at this level for many years". Musical Director David Lancaster was particularly delighted with the result since the band had worked exceptionally hard to prepare for the event, and especially since the last two contest outings had been somewhat disappointing following the withdrawal of all the other competitors at Scarborough Contest in May and the 'tornado' which seriously upset the band's performance at the outdoor venue of the Harry Ramsden Competition in June!

In their first year as a newly promoted Second Section band, Harrogate have achieved two first prizes, one second place and one third place from their four contest appearances in 1998.

New Players - In the last few months the Harrogate Band has seen a welcome influx of new faces, all of whom played a crucial part of the Band's success in Hartlepool and are now making a valuable contribution to the band; they are Chris Horton (baritone) from Wetherby Band, Anthea Eggleton (cornet) who moved to work in Harrogate from the South West where she played with Test Valley Brass, Geoff Taylor (BBb bass) from Ripon and Andrew Whitaker (percussion) who also plays with the Granby High School Band. Robert Illsley (principal cornet) makes a welcome return to the band, having played with the Harlequin Brass Ensemble in recent years.

Bands compete in Harrogate - Harrogate was the focus of the whole brass band movement in late September when the National Brass Band Finals were held in the town for the first - and hopefully not the last - time, attracting bands from all over the UK. This was one occasion when The Harrogate Band didn't play, having missed qualifying by just one point at the Regional Contest in Darlington last March. However the band members weren't idle and were involved both at the bandroom which was used as a rehearsal facility for guest bands, or as part of the team of stewards who contributed to the smooth running of the event at the Conference Centre, escorting bands to and from the stage area and organising the movement of percussion instruments on stage. The event was deemed by the organisers to have been the most successful in recent years, and the sterling effort of the Harrogate team was praised from the stage before the final announcement of prizes was made.

Gerwens Muziekkorps Band visit - Sixty or more members of the Gerwens Muziekkorps Band arrived in Harrogate for their short visit on what must have been the wettest day of the year. A mutual friend, Betty de Brouwer had introduced the two bands to one another, and the Dutch band had sent a 'reconnaissance party' to England last year to meet The Harrogate Band.

Saturday 24 October: Meet in the coach park in Dragon Road. The rain is heavy at first then becomes torrential, then just worse and worse... Hosts are introduced to guests and all go home for lunch and to dry out! Within a couple of hours we reassemble at the United Reformed Church on West Park to prepare for the evening concert. First problem: the stage is too small to accommodate the battery of percussion instruments that GMK have brought. Second problem: the concert programme is so long that it looks like we might still be playing tomorrow morning. Third problem: who is going to eat the mountain of cakes and sandwiches which are now piled up high backstage? Fourth problem: how will the Dutch visitors react to the headline in the Harrogate Advertiser which describes them as....German!!!? In fact the concert runs smoothly with the Deputy Mayor in attendance amongst an appreciative audience. The Harrogate Band began the programme with a march, some big band music and 'Elsa's Procession to the Cathedral' and are followed by Gerwens' percussion ensemble, who play an interesting programme of contemporary percussion music. After the interval the whole of GMK Band with conductor Mari van Gils squeeze onto the stage and entertain us with a varied selection of light music, including solos for bassoon and vibraphone and a quartet for saxophones. They evidently enjoy themselves in this music!

Sunday 25 October: One or two tales of all-night parties begin to emerge as GMK assemble for a day trip to York, to shop and see the sights. In the evening both bands converge on the Ripley Star Club for a Barn Dance and Fish and Chips. Harrogate's David Cole leaps into action when it becomes apparent that there are too many drinkers and insufficient bar staff. Presentations are made to hosts and visitors, (who cope surprisingly well with the peculiarities of 'stripping the willow' and other complex barn dance manoeuvres), and pledges are made to meet again in Holland in the year 2000.

Monday 26 October: Sight seeing and souvenir hunting in Harrogate preceded a lunchtime concert at the University College of Ripon and York St John. College students and staff and many Harrogate players (who have taken the day off work to support the concert) are particularly impressed by the playing of the percussion ensemble; again the programme is light and cheerful and the GMK Band appear much more relaxed. The audience responds by requesting several 'encores'. There is little time for a few 'goodbyes' before the visitors set off towards Hull and the ferry home.

It has been an exhausting but highly rewarding weekend for all concerned with many memorable musical experiences and new friendships formed. The Harrogate Band send their thanks and best wishes to all the members of GMK and look forward to meeting again in two years time.

Come Follow The Harrogate Band - Copies of this recording are available ( £10 CD, £5 cassette) from the Band.

Concerts galore! - Since the beginning of September The Harrogate Band has enjoyed one of its busiest spells, a period which has included a number of prestigious concerts and taken the Band to venues which have included Harrogate International Conference Centre, the University College of Ripon and York St John and the National Railway Museum in York and brought the Band into contact with several other groups of musicians, including Granby High School Concert Band and of course the Gerwens Muziekkorps, our guests from Holland. The Band also had the opportunity to work with Malcolm Brownbill, well known in band circles as a conductor and adjudicator, when he directed the Band in a 'Last Night of the Proms' concert for St James' Church Boroughbridge. The Harrogate players very much enjoyed the experience and hope that they will be able to renew their relationship with Malcolm in the future.

The Brass Class - Since The Harrogate Band received its award for new instruments from the National Lottery earlier this year the older instruments have been put to good use in training new players, and the Band now has boasts flourishing learners group. In addition, the publicity for The Brass Class has attracted two accomplished young players who will hopefully be able to join The Harrogate Band in the not-too-distant future. However, we still seek interested young players and potential players to boost the strength of the Brass Class and would be pleased to hear from anyone who would like to take part. Instruments, tuition and music are all provided free of charge!

College Concert - For the majority of their performances The Harrogate Band try to play 'something for everyone' in the audience by choosing carefully balanced programmes which include music from many different genres and styles. Usually this doesn't include the more serious side of the band repertoire - original compositions which are largely unfamiliar to the concert-going public but which nevertheless contains a significant quantity of wonderful music. Most of the great names of English music - Elgar, Holst, Vaughan Williams, Bliss, Howells and Ireland - along with many more contemporary figures have written for brass band but on the whole these pieces are reserved for contest performances or neglected altogether.

In November the opportunity arose for The Harrogate Band to share a concert at the University College of Ripon and York St John and in this academic environment it seemed appropriate that the audience should be treated to more weighty musical fare.

The College's Concert Band, sixty strong, opened the concert with Philip Sparke's 'Yorkshire Overture', a dazzling display piece which contrasted rhythmic and lyrical styles. Following a surprisingly stern 'Festive Piece' from the pen of American Clare Grundman we heard Malcolm Arnold's march 'Padstow Lifeboat' in which the composer includes the relentless blast of the Trevose foghorn, accurately portrayed by the euphoniums and horns. This young band performed with commitment and a real sense of understanding for the music, and with every performance appear to grow in confidence and assurance.

The Harrogate Band chose a challenging programme which included short works by two local composers: Wilfred Heaton and Philip Wilby, the latter providing a distinctive march entitled 'Dacre Banks' which featured solo flourishes from the entire cornet section. Andrew Jackson was the immaculate soloist in the 'Rhapsody for Eb Soprano Cornet' by Robert Eaves. Two more substantial pieces completed the programme, the first of which was the premiere of 'Claro Toccata' by David Lancaster. In a more contemporary style than the works around it, this complex and highly charged music bristled with energy in the outer fast sections but also included some sparse and delicate moments in its central part which drew controlled, lyrical playing from David Gall (euphonium) and Jason Harper (flugel). Mention should also be made of the outstanding contribution of Robert Illsley (principal cornet) who stepped in at virtually the last minute to lead the Band through this demanding music. To complete the programme, Philip Sparke's early masterpiece 'The Land of the Long White Cloud' provided a thrilling conclusion to this enterprising concert.

Hopefully this was just the first of a series of annual College Concerts in which serious band repertoire and new music can be explored and enjoyed.

Fire Brigade Concert - Over £4,000 was raised by the Fire Services Benevolent Fund Charity Christmas Concert which took place in the Royal Hall in December to a packed audience. With the Harrogate Band were the City of York Pipe Band, St Aidans Chamber Choir and the Studio 3 Dance Workshop providing an excellent mix of musical and terpsichorean styles. Traditional carols from the choir, band and audience were interspersed with a number of other pieces from the Harrogate Band, traditional bagpipe music and a stirring selection of Irish dancing from Lord of the Dance. An arrangement for brass band and bagpipes of Highland Cathedral was particularly appreciated by the audience. This was the second year since the revival of this concert, and we look forward to its continued success next year.

Plans for 1999 - There are already a good number of concerts and competitions in next year's diary. Perhaps the most unusual engagement has come from the International Association of Music Librarians who have requested that the Band presents a 'lecture recital' to illustrate the history and development of brass band music when they hold their annual convention in North Yorkshire next year. Conductor David Lancaster is currently planning a programme for the evening which condenses one hundred and fifty years of musical history into a programme lasting no more than ninety minutes, and hopes that other organisations might be interested in booking the band to repeat the performance, which will include demonstrations and multi-media presentations in addition to live music.

Another project for the coming year is to attempt to raise sufficient money to buy new uniforms for the Band which will begin in earnest in January when uniform manufacturer Roger Handley will visit the bandroom to present a display of current designs to Band members.

Future Engagements -
12-Mar-99St Peter's Church, Harrogate
21-Mar-99National Championships Regional Contest - Darlington
24-Mar-99Harrogate Band AGM
10-Apr-99Lecture Recital - Int. Assoc. Music Librarians, Ripon College
18-Apr-99YHBBA contest - Scarborough
31-Jul-99Mowbray House - Kirkby Malzeard
1-Aug-99Canal Gardens, Leeds
11-Sep-99St James Church, Boroughbridge

Web Site - Visitors now exceed 6,000, and the site continues to attract comment and enquiries from friends, players, and organisations. It is now also widely regarded as a prime source of brass band information on the Internet.

KEEPING IN TOUCH - If you have any news or information that you would like to see in future issues, please let the Editor know. Also if you know of anyone who would like to be added to our mailing list, give their details to any Band member.


Uniforms "2000" - The Harrogate Band needs new uniforms! The current burgundy-coloured blazers have served the Band well for many years but are now reaching the end of their useful lives! To buy smart new uniforms for all thirty-five players (with a few spares) will cost the Band in the region of £6000. A major part of this newsletter is to let you know what we have done so far to raise money and tell you about our future projects with which you might be able to help!

We are very excited to see young talent striding forward to help our fund-raising in the shape of Karen Shore and Neil Cole. They bring with them some sparkling ideas and lots of enthusiasm. The rest of the team include Peter Andrews, Steve and Catherine Morland, David Cole and our treasurer, Ian Bristow.

So what has happened so far? Our first event was a cake stall held in Ripon Market Place. Thanks to the hard work of players and supporters we managed to raise £150. Many people spent lots of time baking and the results were obviously very tempting as we sold all of our wares. Thanks to Peter Andrews for all his organising. At the same time the Northern Regional Committee made a donation to the band following our help with the stage management at this year's contest, making our first mark on the uniform chart at £250.

Our next event was a 'racing' success at the first Harrogate Grand Prix. This event was organised by stewards Steve Morland and David Lancaster, both of whom are Scalextric enthusiasts! The Grand Prix started with qualifying stages before a knockout and final team event. The whole evening was full of thrills and spills with games galore and even a bookie: "Honest Ian" Bristow. The food was the pits!! That is, food was served in the pits and liquid fuel was available all night, courtesy of Daleside Brewery! The hard work and good crowd meant that close to £200 was raised.

What Next?

Our next venture is very soon and needs your immediate support. On July 10th we are holding an Auction at Harrogate Grammar School and we need your help to find "lots" to auction. To make this a success we are asking people to provide goods or promises to go "under the hammer". We need over 100 items to make this auction attractive to buyers. Please have a look around for unwanted items which others may want, or think of ideas for pledges. Nothing will be wasted, as we will take all remaining items to a Car Boot Sale on the following day: Sunday 11th July. Please contact David Cole (01423 540526) or any other Band Member to arrange collection.

Early August will see our uniform appeal go nation-wide as flugel horn player Jason Harper begins a sponsored cycle ride from Land's End to John O'Groats. Jason will be supported on this gruelling ride by David Cole and we wish them both every success. If you would like to sponsor Jason please speak to David Cole to make your pledge.

Band member David Pye has offered to hold a Wine and Cheese Party in aid of our funds on Sunday 22nd August at his home in Bilton. Tickets ( £5 each) will include fine wines, fine cheeses and fine music supplied by our own Harrogate Band. Book early to avoid disappointment, and bring your friends to this unique occasion.

Our "Copper Amnesty" is proving to be a big success - the bucket in the bandroom is quickly being filled. Take this opportunity to lighten your pockets of all that loose change, copper or even silver, helping the band in the process. Save it in a jar or box and when it is full, contact any Band Member to add it to the bucket!

The Harrogate Band will present a major Gala Concert in the impressive setting of Ripon Cathedral on Friday 24th September, as the opening event of the Cathedral's Autumn Festival. The programme will include music to suit all tastes and will conclude with a performance of Tchaikovsky's magnificent 1812 Overture. For further details and ticket availability please contact David Lancaster (01765 608211).

If you can help with any of the above fundraising projects your support would be most welcome!

Millennium Dome

Visitors to the Millennium Dome will see life-size photographs of The Harrogate Band in the National Identity Zone representing the important role that brass bands play in Britain's culture. The band was chosen after organisers of the Dome's exhibits wrote to companies throughout the UK requesting suggestions for features they regarded as traditionally British. Chris Horton, baritone player with the band, works for Sam Smith's Brewery and was one of those contacted. He proposed a brass band and, naturally enough, he mentioned The Harrogate Band as a possible contender. A photo-shoot was arranged in the Sun Pavilion in Harrogate's Valley Gardens to provide the images that will be used in "a multi-dimensional way" in the Dome. The Band feels honoured to represent the brass band movement and the thousands of other brass band players throughout the country in the UK's main celebration of the new millennium.

Lecture Recital

On 10 April the Band gave a lecture recital to the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres who were holding their Annual Study Weekend at the University College of Ripon & York St John. David Lancaster presented "The World of the Brass Band", a history of the brass band movement illustrated with readings from band members and performances by the band. The lecture was a great success and was thoroughly enjoyed by the audience and band alike. In roughly chronological order, and to illustrate the various styles, technical aspects and range of brass bands, the pieces played were: Brilliant - J Ord Hume, Die Zauberflöte - Mozart arr. Rimmer, Labour and Love - Percy Fletcher, Elegy (Downland Suite) - John Ireland, Star Lake - Eric Ball, Elegy (Entertainments) - Gilbert Vinter, I Wish I Knew - Billy Taylor arr Chris Horton, Ticket to Ride - Lennon and McCartney arr. Alan Fernie, Vitae Lux - F Anaes arr. Aagaard Nilsen, Land of the Long White Cloud - Philip Sparke.

Northern Championships

The Northern Region Championships were held at Darlington on Sunday 21 March. There were 53 bands competing for a chance to attend the National Finals in Nottingham in September and the Championship Section Final in London in October. The test piece in the Second Section was Symphonic Suite by Leighton Lucas - a very interesting and enjoyable piece to play. The Harrogate Band was pleased and confident in its performance as it left the contest stage and was convinced that it would be placed among the prizewinners, but disappointingly was only awarded 6th place out of the 11 competing bands.

Concert at St Peter's

Audiences in Harrogate were able to enjoy a feast of band music earlier in the year including a visit to the Royal Hall by the Black Dyke Band; the local school bands in the annual Competitive Music Festival (won this year by Tewit Youth Band); the International Youth Music Festival; and The Harrogate Band, who entertained a large and enthusiastic audience at St. Peter's Church, helping to raise money for the church's organ restoration fund.

The highlights of the band's programme included three excellent soloists: principal cornet Robert Illsley dazzled the audience with his exuberant and stylish rendition of Harry James' Trumpet Concerto, David Gall gave a demonstration of virtuoso technique in Monti's Czardas and Jason Harper showed off the lyrical voice of the flugel horn in a haunting arrangement of a Scottish folksong entitled Mull of the Cool Bens. Cornet and horn sections were also featured in Trumpet Blues and Cantabile and Vivaldi's Winter respectively.

The most weighty musical items were provided by Leighton Lucas' fine Symphonic Suite which was given a robust and well-shaped performance in anticipation of the forthcoming regional competition and a sprightly overture to Mozart's Zauberflöte in William Rimmer's arrangement. The Harrogate Band also included a rare performance of the lovely Elegy from Gilbert Vinter's suite Entertainments in their programme. The Band was clearly in good form and the acoustics at St Peter's allowed the audience to savour their rich tone.

Since the evening was all about raising money to support the church organ, MD David Lancaster selected Ray Farr's arrangement of Bach's Toccata in D minor to conclude the programme.

Scarborough Triumph !

The Band won first prize in all three contests within the First Section at the Yorkshire and Humberside Brass Band Association's Annual Contest in Scarborough on 18th April. It took first place, by a margin of five points, in the hymn tune, playing Eric Ball's arrangement of Jesu Meine Freude. The march trophy was gained by a sparkling rendition of Eric Ball's march Star Lake, and the selection prize, with a convincing lead of three points, was won with another superb rendition of Philip Sparke's Land of the Long White Cloud. The day was thoroughly rounded off by the presentation to Musical Director David Lancaster of the "Conductors' Cup" for the conductor of the band gaining the highest aggregate score of the whole day! For those with long-ish memories, you may recall that we last performed this particular hat-trick in 1985 under the baton of Peter Littlewood who, coincidentally, played with us at Scarborough to complete the trombone line up.


Welcome to Jennie Roberts who has joined the Band on Trombone recently. But a sad farewell, for the time being, to Denise Suggitt, who has had to give up the Band to concentrate on her work. We will miss her contribution to the solo cornet line-up and wish her well, hoping to see her back with us in the future.

John Hallums' 80th

The recently restored Sun Pavilion in Harrogate provided a suitably spectacular setting in which to celebrate John Hallums' 80th birthday, and The Harrogate Band provided a short programme to begin the evening's entertainment. John is a founder member of the band and has served as chairman and committee member for many years. He continues to dedicate much time and effort in supporting the band and it seemed fitting that so many former players and supporters were in the audience.

The evening also included a presentation to John from the band, and a few well-chosen pieces played by John's four grandchildren, one of whom, Ashley, is a member of Harrogate's training band, The Brass Class. The only note of sadness was that John's wife Joan was unable to be present, having recently undergone a major hip operation.

The band - in relaxed mood and clearly enjoying the occasion - played several light pieces to get the party under way before demonstrating their skills (!) on the dance floor. Many thanks to John for inviting the band to his special event and for all the support over the last 29 years.

The Brass Class

This continues to develop well and the young players are gaining confidence and skill in their playing. We still seek interested young players and potential players to boost the strength of the Brass Class and would be pleased to hear from anyone who would like to take part. Instruments, tuition and music are all provided free of charge!

Web Site News

Visitors now exceed 7,500, and it continues to keep the world informed of the Band's activities. The Internet Bandsman's Everything Within, which forms part of the website, now consists of over 1,500 contacts and links to brass bands and organisations around the world together with various reference articles, humour, and the definitive brass band bibliography.

Future Engagements -
20-Jun-99Recreation Field, Pateley Bridge (3.00 p.m.)
26-Jun-99Easingwold March Contest (evening)
4-Jul-99RAF Menwith Hill - Independence Day (5.00 p.m.)
10-Jul-99Auction - Harrogate Grammar
11-Jul-99Nidd Hall Hotel (12.30 p.m.)
25-Jul-99Recreation Field, Pateley Bridge (3.00 p.m.)
31-Jul-99Mowbray House - Kirkby Malzeard (evening)
1-Aug-99Service, Birstwith Show Field (11.00 am)
1-Aug-99Canal Gardens, Leeds (2.30 p.m.)
22-Aug-99Wine & Cheese Party (p.m.)
11-Sep-99St James Church, Boroughbridge (8.00 p.m.)
12-Sep-99Widnes Open Championships
24-Sep-99Ripon Cathedral (evening)
21-Nov-99Northern Open Championships (St Helens)
6-Dec-99ASDA, Harrogate (6.00 p.m.)
11-Dec-99ASDA, Harrogate (10.00 a.m.)
24-Dec-99Oakdale Golf Club (evening)
26-May-00Visit to GMK, Holland

KEEPING IN TOUCH - If you have any news or information that you would like to see in future issues, please let the Editor know. Also if you know of anyone who would like to be added to our mailing list, give their details to any Band member.


Millennium Dome - It's official! Our photograph, which was taken last year in the Sun Pavilion in the Valley Gardens, was spotted by Peter Wells when he visited the Dome recently. The Band is featured in the Self Portrait Zone, which is "a celebration of all things British - objects, places, people, attitudes, sounds, tastes - expressed through the views and perceptions of ordinary British people". We are proud to represent the brass band community in this way.

30th Anniversary - 2000 is the Band's 30th Anniversary and we intend to celebrate it in various ways. We are planning some social events (e.g. a "games" evening and a barn dance) and will be holding a gala concert later in the year. We will let you know of more news when it is available. If you know of any old members or friends of the Band, who may have lost touch with us, please let us have their details - we would love to see them again. Also if you have any memories, memorabilia, or photos you would like to share with us please let me know. Any suggestions for additional ways to mark this anniversary are also welcome.

Players - Welcome to Keith Graham and Charlie Hanover who have joined the Band on Baritone and Trombone recently. Their contribution will be most welcome in our next contesting foray, the Regional Championships at Darlington, where we will be playing the set piece "Sword, Jewel and Mirror" by Philip Harper. All of the National Finals this year are being held at the Royal Albert Hall over the three days 20-22 October - and it is our firm intention to qualify this time. Neil Davidson has left the Band to take up further education in Huddersfield. We wish him good luck in his studies.

Majestic Fireworks - We played prior to the banquet of the National Garden Centres Association Conference at the Majestic Hotel earlier in January. This was a fairly normal sort of concert to an audience who were appreciating the good music in anticipation of a good meal. Towards the end of our playing it became rather apparent that the audience had found another entertainment form, and we found ourselves largely deserted. There was a huge fireworks display in the grounds of the hotel - staged on behalf of the conference - but it equalled some of the local displays at the Millennium.

Rochdale Triumph - The Band made its first contest foray across the Pennines to challenge brethren in Lancastrian bands at the Town Hall in Rochdale in a day of lashing rain. The competition was stiff, with good performances from all the other seven bands in the second section, but adjudicator Lloyd Landry awarded Harrogate first prize for our excellent rendition of James Curnow's Trittico for Brass Band. The venue was a glorious example of Victorian gothic decoration and made a superb setting - despite its echoing acoustic qualities. The cheer in the hall as the results were announced was somewhat more muted than usual, as virtually all of the Band were still in the pub, having totally misjudged the timing of the results!

Netherlands Tour - The Band is visiting the Netherlands from Friday 26th May to Saturday 3rd June. The first few days will be spent in Nuenen with the Gerwens Muziekkorps GMK Band (who visited Harrogate in 1998), and then on to Het Meerdal (Center Parc) for the remainder of the visit. Concerts will be performed in various locations during the week. There are some places available on the trip and players or non-players are welcome. For further details please get in touch with any band member.

The Brass Class - A short recital was given to Band members and parents prior to Christmas, which demonstrated the progress the young players had made over recent months. We still seek interested young players and potential players to boost the strength of the Brass Class and would be pleased to hear from anyone who would like to take part. Instruments, tuition and music are all provided free of charge!

Theatre Centenary - On January 13th the Band was pleased to open the celebrations at the Harrogate Theatre, 100 years since the first opening night. The events of the evening closely followed those of the original with performances from various dramatic and musical groups. A packed theatre enjoyed a wide range of entertainments to commemorate this important occasion. Unlike the 1900 event, when we started playing the processional music to welcome the VIPs, who included the Harrogate MP Phil Willis, the stage curtain suddenly descended, grazing our MD David Lancaster, and the stage lights were extinguished. With extreme presence of mind and concentration the Band managed to busk the remainder of that piece of music in the dark whilst frantic verbal and non-verbal signals were being flung from David to the wings where the stage technicians were somewhat oblivious to our plight. Happily the audience did not realise that anything had gone wrong and the rest of the programme went off perfectly!

Hartlepool Again! - For the second year running the Band has been awarded first place in the Second Section at the Hartlepool Borough Contest (the Borough Council in Hartlepool have now taken on the sponsorship of this contest following the withdrawal of the original sponsors, Cameron's Brewery). The Band gave an excellent performance of its own choice test piece - Trittico for Brass Band by James Curnow - an exacting and challenging selection, but one which the band, audience and adjudicator, Colin Hardy, enjoyed. The Hartlepool contest, now in its seventh year, is a firm favourite with the Harrogate Band - not surprising given our record of wins: 5 first places, one second and one third!

New Uniforms - Thanks to the sterling efforts of many band members and supporters, particularly Jason Harper and David Lancaster (see separate items), we have raised the money required to obtain new uniforms for the band. These are in the more traditional "quasi-military" style in black with burgundy lapels and cuffs, gold braid and incorporating a redesigned badge. The "new look" Harrogate Band was launched at the Fire Brigades Charity Christmas Concert in the Royal Hall, Harrogate in December, at which the Band once more was pleased to play its part in raising over £3,000 for the charity at this sell-out event. Our old jackets will continue to serve as "walking out" wear when not on stage.

End-to-End Success - Jason Harper completed his gruelling cycle ride from Land's End to John O'Groats to raise money for our new uniforms. Supported by Dave Cole, he covered the 900-mile route in eight days and was actually cycling for 58 hours - an average of over 15 miles per hour. Jason had trained hard for this event and made excellent time, beating his own estimate of 10 days for the journey. All our congratulations and thanks to Jason on his achievement and to Dave for providing the motor support together with the Band trailer containing spares and supplies. Well done both!

Championship Band? - Following the Band's success over the last two years in the Yorkshire and Humberside Brass Band Association's Annual Contest, the Association has promoted the Harrogate Band to the Championship Section for the year 2000. The Band will still play in the Second Section for contests adhering to the national grading scheme, but looks forward to the challenge of competing at the higher level in the Association contests. Look out, Grimethorpe etc.!

Gala Concert - A large and appreciative audience packed Ripon Cathedral for the Band's Gala Concert to help complete the fund raising for the new uniforms. Alan Morrison, the world renowned cornet soloist and Principal Cornet with the JJB Leyland Band, was our guest soloist, performing six pieces to the acclaim of the listeners. The programme also included music from the hit show "Lord of the Dance", James Curnow's Trittico, and Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. This was another major success for the band and made a significant contribution to the fund. Many thanks to David Lancaster for single-handedly promoting the event.

Dales Tour - To the Band's great disappointment, the Widnes Open Brass Championship had to be cancelled following a large number of last minute withdrawals. Our first contesting foray across the Pennines was not to be - and we would surely have won with our sparkling rendition of James Curnow's Trittico! Not to be daunted, or waste a perfectly good coach booking, and with swift organisation by David Gall, we ventured forth instead on a tour of the Yorkshire Dales. Three open-air concerts were given to very appreciative audiences in Leyburn, Reeth and Hawes. The day was completed by a non-competing visit to the Hardraw Scar Brass Band Contest (which we had skipped this year in favour of pastures new in Widnes!). A very enjoyable day's touring and concerts which I'm sure we will repeat in the future.

Boroughbridge Proms - As an alternative to the Royal Albert Hall event the Harrogate Band provided the people of Boroughbridge with their own "Last Night of the Proms" style concert. A rousing success in all aspects, the concert was greatly enjoyed by an enthusiastic audience. The first half followed fairly traditional concert lines and included solos from Robert Illsley playing Alan Morrison's Buster Strikes Back, David Gall with Monti's Czardas, and David Lancaster with the Post Horn Galop. The second half was a celebration of the century with a piece of music from each decade - 1990s, Cry of the Celts, 1980s, Goff Richards' Pastorale, 1970s, Star Wars, 1960s, Ticket to Ride, 1950s, Bernstein's Somewhere, 1940s, The Way You Look Tonight, 1930s, The Continental, 1920s, Puttin' On The Ritz, 1910s, Jerusalem, 1900s, Pomp & Circumstance (Land of Hope and Glory). The concert ended with an encore of "An Irish Blessing" a beautifully evocative air.

PR and Web Site News - We had a good series of articles in the newspapers and band press earlier this month with a press release about our recent activities, and our MD, David Lancaster, gave a live interview on Radio York. Visitors continue to flock to the web site, which has recently won a second successive "Brass Oscar". New engagements arise from the web site, the most recent being for a private party in Haworth. The local bands in West Yorkshire were all unable to help out - the date being the weekend after their Regional Championships and they naturally want a weekend off - and a search on the Internet turned up our web site.

The Brass Band Bibliography, which forms part of the site, has been linked via an "affiliates" programme to the Amazon Internet bookstore. This enables visitors using the bibliography to order books from Amazon, and the Band receives a small commission on each sale. The quantities involved will not make the Band rich, but will probably subsidise one or two new sets of music each year!

A new address can now be used to reach the band web site (the old one is still valid). The new domain name has been registered for the Band and gives us a personalised and meaningful address on the web. Many thanks again to Bernie Cook and friends at Harrogate Online for hosting our web site and also arranging the new domain name for us.

Future Engagements -
3-Mar-00Concert with Tewit Youth Band, Christchurch - Evening
19-Mar-00Northern Regional Championships, Darlington
22-Mar-00AGM - bandroom
15-Apr-00Grinton Church, Swaledale
7-May-00YHBBA Contest, Scarborough
19-May-00Games evening - the bandroom
26-May-00Netherlands tour (to 3-Jun-00)
4-Jun-00City of York Millennium Tattoo
18-Jun-00Valley Gardens, Harrogate - p.m.
1-Jul-00Ian Bristow's Wedding
2-Jul-00Recreation Field, Pateley Bridge
16-Jul-00Castle Yard, Knaresborough
23-Jul-00Nidd Hall, Nidd
29-Jul-00Peter Andrews' Wedding
29-Jul-00Millennium Proms at Mowbray House, Kirkby Malzeard
30-Jul-00Canal Gardens, Leeds
30-Sep-00Barn Dance - Evening
16-Nov-00Concert with Harrogate Grammar School Band
These are confirmed engagements. For further details of any of these, please contact the Band.

Keeping in touch If you have any news or information you would like to see in future issues, please let the Editor know. Also if you know of anyone who would like to be added to our mailing list, please give his or her details to any Band member. For queries about our engagements or to book the band, please contact Sue Morland on 01423-887996, for any other information contact Gavin Holman .


Northern Champions - The Band has become the Second Section North of England Regional Champions by winning first place in the contest held at Darlington on 19th March. A convincing performance of the test piece, Sword, Jewel and Mirror by Philip Harper, persuaded the adjudicator, Gary Cutt, to award Harrogate the honour in the face of stiff competition. Many, in fact, thought it was the best rendition of any test piece over the whole weekend. This piece of music refers to the sacred treasures of Japan and depicts dreams of the three objects between the opening and closing sunset and sunrise movements. The influences of Japanese music are strongly represented in the piece, which includes vocal passages for the band to add to the colour of the music! This win qualifies the band to compete in the National Brass Band Championship Finals, which are being held in the Royal Albert Hall over the weekend of 20-22 October 2000. It will be the Band's sixth appearance at the National Finals since 1985. Rehearsals have now started on the Finals test piece - Abstractions by Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen. Anyone who would like to accompany the Band to the Albert Hall should let us know as soon as possible.

Other Contests - A trip to the Buxton Brass Band Festival in April resulted in a disappointing fifth placing. However the band played much more convincingly at the YHBBA Annual contest in Scarborough in May, competing for the first time in the Premier Section. We achieved one first place and two second places against keen competition. The adjudicator, Derek Broadbent, expressed his opinion that we were very close to taking first place overall. Maybe next year!

Fundraising - We're proud to be performing at the Royal Albert Halls this year, but there's a considerable cost for making that trip. We are aiming to raise at least £4000. A number of further fundraising events are being held, not least of which is the Gala Concert on 30 September. A "grand prix" night and a "Seventies" evening were great successes, and the "interactive concert" idea has also gone down well - but we still have a lot more to do. Some band members are planning a sponsored bungee jump, and others are on a sponsored slim. We are hoping to hold a barn dance in the autumn with other social events later in the year. Any support for our fundraising or further ideas will be very welcome.

E-zine Feature - The Band features in the April 2000 edition of the online brass music magazine Brass World International ( The article, entitled "The Millennium Brass Band", reports our pictorial presence in the Millennium Dome and describes the success of the Band through interviews with David Lancaster and Gavin Holman.

The Composer Conducts - Composer Philip Wilby visited the Bandroom in April in order try out a new composition with the Band and iron out any 'gremlins' prior to publication. Entitled 'The Seasons', the music depicts three episodes from the yearly cycle of the elements and it proved highly popular with the Harrogate players. During the evening Philip also directed the Band through his Paganini Variations, a modern classic of the band repertoire. He has subsequently returned to play through the final proofs and to introduce the band to another of his works 'The Trolls Ladder', based on a Norwegian folk melody. The Band was subsequently delighted to learn that The Seasons has been chosen as the test piece for the Fourth Section of this year's National Championship Finals and we are pleased to have played a small part in the genesis of this music. More of Phil's music can be heard in the Royal Albert Hall in the near future as his suite A New World Dancing is to be featured in this year's Proms concerts on August 12.

Angela's Recital - Horn player Angela Robson who has been a member of the band for the past two years whilst a music student at the College of Ripon and York St John, employed the band to accompany her final recital in May. She chose to play three very demanding solos with band accompaniment: Eric Ball's 'September Fantasy', Gareth Woods' 'Concertino' and the more traditional 'Iona'. The distinguished panel of assessors who visited the bandroom for the occasion included Dr. Franz Niermann, Professor of Music at the University of Vienna. Angela played with style, panache and technical control to impress the examiners who were full of praise for soloist and band alike.

Cathedral Concert - Following the Band's hugely successful concert in Ripon Cathedral last year we received many requests for a repeat performance, so, as a part of the effort to raise money to travel to the Royal Albert Hall in October we will present a second Gala Concert in the Cathedral on 30th September. This time the soloist will be trombone virtuoso Nick Hudson who has played for many of the top brass bands in the country and now travels all around the world as soloist and teacher. The concert will start at 7.30 p.m. and tickets will cost £5.00 and £3.00. Last year's concert was virtually a sell-out and so in order to make certain of your seat, book tickets in advance by phone: 01423 522643.

Players - A very warm welcome to Julie Bedford and Daniel Cliffe who have joined the Band recently. Congratulations to Catherine and Steve Morland on the birth of their son, Luke, who has already become a regular attendee at band concerts this summer! Further congratulations to Marion and Ian Bristow who were married earlier this month - the Band was pleased and proud to play at their wedding and reception. And furthermore - congratulations again, this time to Daniel Dickinson (trombone) and Georgina Grant who have announced their engagement. Georgina accompanied the Band on our Netherlands tour and lent a very welcome extra pair of hands to the percussion section. Welcome also to Precious Lowe, Heather Gagen and Claire Davenport who have all recently started playing with the Band.

Netherlands Tour - The Band have recently returned from their week-long "millennium" visit to Holland, as guests of the GMK Band who had visited Harrogate in 1998. During their stay the Band gave several concert performances to enthusiastic audiences, some of whom were hearing the sound of an English brass band for the first time, and the trip was judged to be a great success by band members and audiences alike. The musical highlight was a concert in Nuenen (in a new, state-of-the-art concert venue built within the ruins of a monastry in the town) which was a joint effort between the Harrogate and GMK Bands, and on this occasion both bands 'pulled out all the stops' to present their most entertaining repertoire. Principal cornet Robert Illsley gave a blistering performance of Harry James' Trumpet Concerto and the encore, Bach's Toccata in D minor, resulted in a noisy standing ovation for the band! Other memorable moments included a visit to a Dutch brewery, an afternoon of ten-pin bowling and a surprisingly enjoyable tour of the local clog museum! For the second part of the stay the band moved to the very relaxed setting of the Centre Parks complex at Het Meerdal which served as the base for other concert visits, notably the bandstand in Valkenburg and the lovely town centre setting in Roermond, but also allowed band members to take time off from playing to enjoy the swimming and boating at the park or to take explore the locality on foot or bike, and to sample the local hospitality! In years past the band has visited Norway, Germany and the Czech Republic as musical ambassadors for the Harrogate District but many well-travelled bandsmen felt that this had been the best tour yet, and the question on everyones lips as the band journeyed home across the North Sea was "when can we do this again"!

100 Years of the National Championships - 2000 is the first year for some time that all sections of the National Championship Finals will be held over the same weekend in the Royal Albert Hall. The return to the old format is in deference to the millennium and also to the fact that it is the 100th Anniversary of the first National Contest in 1900. This competition was conceived and inaugurated at the Crystal Palace in London by John Henry Iles who was, among other things, proprietor and editor of the British Bandsman. Prior to this time the British Open Championships, held at Belle Vue in Manchester, had been the only regular major national competition - and of course was biased towards the northern bands. Sir Arthur Sullivan, then a director of the Crystal Palace, was quickly convinced of the scope of this growing national pastime particularly after he had conducted several of the best prize-winning bands from the north in a fund-raising concert in the Royal Albert Hall. Early winners of the first contests were rival bands from Lancashire and Yorkshire - Denton Original, Lee Mount, Black Dyke Mills, Besses o' th' Barn in 1900/1/2/3 respectively. They became the proud possessors, for a year at least, of the fabulous "Thousand Guinea Trophy" a potent symbol of their victory. The prize monies were very good by today's standards and winning bands were loyally feted in their local areas, further popularising the whole movement. As time went on the National Championships became so popular that seven sections were established. No formal grading structure existed and some bands could decide for themselves which section to enter, and there was no qualifying process in advance. Up to two hundred bands competed on those occasions. In 1913 a major step forward was taken with the commissioning of an original test piece for the contest. Percy Fletcher's Labour and Love became the first of a distinguished line of original music composed for competions. Contest music prior to this time had been arrangements or transcriptions of other works. During the years between the two World Wars the contest went from strength to strength, only marred a little by the disastrous fire at the Crystal Palace in 1936 which razed it to the ground. The contest moved to the Alexandra Palace in North London, only to be suspended for the period of World War II. In 1945, John Henry Iles was asked to re-establish the contest, which he did with the help of Vaughan Morris and the sponsorship of the Daily Herald newspaper. This time however the competitors were twenty invited Championship section bands only. The event was held in the Royal Albert Hall with a massed bands concert in the evening - setting the basic trend of the competition for the next fifty years. Further initiatives were the establishment of the eight Regions which held Area Qualifying Finals and the four graded sections - Championship, Second, Third and Fourth. More recently the addition of a new "First Section" brought the Championships to their current format.

Bagpipes Galore - The Harrogate Band recently fulfilled one of its more unusual engagements when it took part in the York Millennium Tattoo, a celebration of all things Scottish held at the York racecourse. There, the brave musicians of Harrogate (and the Stape Silver Band from Pickering) shared the stage with nine pipe and drum bands from all around the region, more than one hundred and fifty in all. "From the moment we arrived for our rehearsal at one thirty in the afternoon right up until the moment we left at the end of the performance, the sound of the pipes never stopped" said conductor David Lancaster "and the pipers thought nothing of playing offstage right through our rehearsal and performance!" But the large and appreciative audience were treated to an astonishing visual and aural spectacle, and all the members of the band are eagerly awaiting the next Millennium Tattoo in the year 3000!

Wilf Heaton - We were all saddened to learn of the death of the Harrogate-based composer Wilfred Heaton earlier this year at the age of 81. Heaton had written extensively for brass, primarily for the bands of the Salvation Army, but also composed the superlative Contest Music which many regard to be amongst the finest pieces in the band repertoire. The Harrogate Band recorded his march Praise and presented Wilfred with a CD in 1998 and by way of a small tribute will include his meditation Just As I Am in their programme at Ripon Cathedral on 30th September.

Keeping in touch - For further information see the Band's award-winning and world-famous website: If you have any news or information you would like to see in future issues, please let the Editor know. For queries about our engagements or to book the band, please contact Sue Morland on 01423-887996, for any other information contact Gavin Holman


Champions Again!! - The Band became the First Section North of England Regional Champions by winning first place in the contest held at Darlington in March. Eric Ball's seldom heard tone poem The Undaunted was the test piece which proved to be a popular choice with bands and audiences. This win qualifies the band to compete once again in the National Brass Band Championship Finals, which this year are being held in the Guild Hall, Preston on Sunday 23rd September. It will be the Band's seventh appearance at the National Finals since 1985. Rehearsals have just started on the Finals test piece - A Fantasy for Brass Band by Malcolm Arnold - a challenging composition for the band to master, but one which will be enjoyable to play and listen to. Anyone who would like to accompany the Band to the Finals should let us know as soon as possible.

Concerts coming up - Saturday 9th June, 7.30pm - Music from the Stage and Screen - a concert with the soprano Deborah Richardson at Christchurch Centre, The Stray, Harrogate. Tickets £5.00 (including refreshments) - available from 01423 508918 or on the door.
Tuesday 5th June, 7.30pm - A major concert with the Houston Choral Society, directed by Betty Devine, as part of their UK tour, at Ripon Cathedral. The programme includes Overture - Force of Destiny, Also Sprach Zarahustra, Tricot Rouge, Heroic Elegy, Year of the Dragon, Cortege from Mlada, Elsa's Procession to the Minster. Proceeds in aid of St Anne's Shelter and Housing Charity. Tickets £5 and £3.
Friday 3rd August, 7.30pm - a concert in the grounds of Fountains Abbey. Come and hear the band in the evocative and historical surroundings of this magnificent ruin.

Champions Yet Again!! - A new format to the Yorkshire and Humberside Brass Band Association's annual contest in Scarborough was welcomed by all participating bands. Harrogate continued their run of success with a convincing, if slender, win over stiff competition in the Premier "A" section. The performance of our chosen programme of the hymn tune Stella, march Bramwyn and test piece Year of the Dragon persuaded the adjudicator to award the band the first prize, even if the final movement of Year of the Dragon was a little hurried! In all we gathered FOUR trophies to add to our bulging cabinet - including one for the day's "best conductor". A further trophy was won by Daniel Dickinson for the best trombone player - a well deserved accolade for his sterling work in leading the band in the solo passages in the second movement of the piece. Daniel also is to be congratulated on being the runner-up in the "Young Driver of the Year" competition - nothing to do with brass bands!

Anniversary Concert - To conclude the celebrations of our 30th anniversary year we presented a special joint concert with the Granby High School Concert Band in March. Former players in the HGS Concert Band were responsible for the formation of the Harrogate Band back in 1970. The concert included pieces chosen and conducted by the Band's previous Musical Directors (Neil Richmond, John Higginson and Peter Wells); Dragon Parade - a piece specially composed for the band's 30th anniversary and a nostalgic reminder of music from the 1970's when The Harrogate Band was very young!; and of course a performance by the Granby High School Band themselves. A musical tribute to the memory of John Hallums followed the announcement of the donation of a trophy in his name, which was subsequently awarded at the Northern Region Championships. We were especially pleased that Joan Hallums, together with her daughter Catherine and several other family members were able to attend the concert.

Brass Class and Tewit - We have recently amalgamated the Brass Class with the Junior Band and Training Group of the Tewit Youth Band. It was becoming increasingly difficult for the trainers in the Harrogate Band, whose commitments had changed, to give sufficient time to ensure the Brass Class flourished and that the children were given enough support. We are very pleased that Tewit Band were able to accommodate the Brass Class members, and the Harrogate Band will carry on its support of the youth training programme through its continued friendly links with the Tewit Band and provision of spare instruments. We are planning a major concert at Harrogate Ladies College on 30 November featuring both bands together with members of James Shepherd Versatile Brass.

John Hallums - John Hallums died in hospital on the 9th January, aged 81, following a short illness. Always a brass band enthusiast - though never a player - John was involved at the formation of The Harrogate Band in 1970 and subsequently became its chairman, a position he held for 16 years. He was an active committee member of the Bradford and District, Harrogate and Yorkshire and Humberside Brass Band Associations and was one of the many 'unseen workers' of the brass band world. John's chairmanship of The Harrogate Band covered the tenure of five conductors and spanned a period of steady musical and economic progress. He was still an active member of the Band in his 80's and participated in the Band's millennium tour of Holland. An ensemble from the Band provided a fitting musical tribute at John's funeral, and the standard of the Dunkirk Veterans' Association was lowered as the Last Post was sounded. He is survived by his wife Joan, his two children and four grandchildren.

Publicity - The Band continues to obtain good coverage in the local media and on the internet. An article on the band is due to appear on the new brass band news website.
A recent visitor from the USA spent the evening with us at a band rehearsal. Steve Sherrill from the Georgia Brass Band and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra was keen to meet us during his UK visit, having seen all about us on the internet, and even brought his parents along!

Further plans - We aim to record a new CD later on this year, and possibly also a second recording together with a choir of Christmas music.
The Royal Hall in Harrogate is still under threat, and we are hoping to promote a major concert, probably early in 2002, in support of the appeal. This will include other Harrogate musical groups and feature music of composers from or associated with the Harrogate area - of whom there are a surprising number. Arthur Wood, for example, is most famous for Barwick Green (the theme tune to "The Archers") from his My Native Heath suite. His Three Dale Dances are also well known, and we have recently discovered Three More Dale Dances which comprise 1) Wharfedale - Ilkley Moor, 2) Nidderdale - Knaresborough, 3) Airedale - Fountains Abbey.
Two such composers will be featured in our concert with the Houston Choral Society on 5th June. John Farrar, wrote a number of pieces of music before being killed at the Battle of the Somme. We will play his last work, Heroic Elegy, specially arranged by Neil Richmond. Wilfred Heaton, also a Harrogate resident, will be represented with his march written for Tewit Youth Band, Tricot Rouge.

A Big Day - Looking ahead to the National Championship Finals in Preston in September, we have been approached by a television company making a documentary series about people preparing for a "big day". One of the programmes will feature the Harrogate Band and the contest in Preston. It is hoped the series will be broadcast early in 2002. Watch this space!

People - A very warm welcome to Gemma Pitt (tenor horn) who has joined us from the Vernon Building Society (Poynton) Band, and Helen Worley and Precious Lowe (cornet) who have also joined us since the last Split Notes. We are also very pleased to welcome back Nick Garrett and Steven Whitwham on cornet and trombone respectively.
Catherine Morland's excellent work on baritone was recognised at the recent band AGM where she was presented with the award for the "most improved player" by David Lancaster.
David Lancaster has been appointed an External Examiner for Music at the University of Salford. This work brings him into regular contact with a number of other tutors, players and figures in the brass band scene, as Salford is perhaps the major centre for brass band studies in the UK.
Gavin Holman recently took part in a gala celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Cheshire Youth Brass Band. Not quite a founder member, by a few months, he joined some 150 existing and past members at a rousing (in all senses of the word) concert.

Good start to 2001 - Our first contest of the new (true) millennium pitted the band against a very strong combined contingent of eleven bands from the Championship and 1st Sections. Year of the Dragon won us fifth place which, against such competition, was a very good achievement. Congratulations to the contest organisers - their last minute rearrangements worked perfectly and produced a very enjoyable event.
January 2001 saw the band promoted into the First Section of the National Brass Band Championships for the first time in its 30-year history. This step represents a huge challenge for the Band, but we are working hard to continue the run of successes which the band has enjoyed over the last few years. So far so good!!

More 2000 Highlights - Some highlights of last year include another memorable concert given in the Royal Hall in December in aid of the Fire Services Benevolent Fund. The band shared the stage with the choir from St Aidans' School in Harrogate and formed the highlight of the festive season for many in the audience and the band.
Second place in the First Section at the Hartlepool Borough Brass Band Contest in December was a great achievement for the Band. We fought off stiff competition from seasoned residents of this section in a close competition which the adjudicator, Alan Exeley, judged to be of high standard. The Band had entered the First Section, rather than the Second Section which was held the previous weekend, due to a clash with a long standing concert engagement (which in the event was cancelled at the last minute). The contest at Hartlepool was brought to a close with an excellent concert by the Ever Ready Band in lieu of the Championship Section contest which was abandoned due to a number of withdrawals. Another superb result in what is our most successful and enjoyable competition - over the eight years of the contest's history the Band has won 5 first places, 2 seconds and 1 third - never being out of the prizes - and on two of those occasions playing in a section above our national grading. Unfortunately this contest is unlikely to run in 2001.
The Band visited the Harrogate Grammar School in November for the first time to play in a joint concert with the school's concert bands and musical groups. A highly enjoyable evening was spent and we were all very impressed with the verve and proficiency of the school musicians. Two of our leading cornet players, Neil Cole and Karen Shore, are fairly recent ex-Grammarians and we hope this event will be the first of many similar and that closer links are maintained between us.

Keeping in touch - For further information see the Band's award-winning and world-famous website: If you have any news or information you would like to see in future issues, please let the Editor know. For queries about our engagements or to book the band, please contact Sue Morland on 01423-887996, for any other information contact Gavin Holman


Made in Harrogate - The Harrogate Royal Hall Restoration fund is to receive a welcome boost on Friday the 9th of November, when the Harrogate Band give a special performance in the hall itself. Made in Harrogate is the title of the concert, which comprises purely of work by musicians who have had links with the town. Prominent in the programme will be the work of local composers such as Wilfred Heaton, Phillip Wilby, Ernest Farrar, Delius, Finzi, the band's Musical Director David Lancaster, and other composers who have either lived in the area or have been regular visitors. One such person was Edward Elgar, who came to Harrogate every year to 'take the waters', and whose second symphony had its provincial premiere in the town.
In addition, the concert will feature compositions and arrangements by the band's own members, plus band founder and prominent local musician Neil Richmond. Neil's research into local music has been central to this event, and his arrangements of some of the pieces unearthed will also be heard on the night. The range of music on offer promises something for everyone, from old to new, classical to modern, plus some light-hearted moments along the way.
The Royal Hall, originally known as The Kursaal, dates from a time when Harrogate was a popular spa resort with its own professional orchestras and bands, so it seems natural that one of Harrogate's leading groups is now to draw on that wealth of history to stage this event. The Harrogate Band is grateful to Harrogate International Centre, who have donated the venue free of charge - this ensures that all proceeds from the evening go directly toward assuring the future of Harrogate's elegant Edwardian concert hall. The concert starts at 8pm and tickets are £6 and £4 (concessions), from the box office: 01423-537230.

Much Ado about Hadham - The Band made the long journey south to pay a return visit to the village of Much Hadham, Herts in June to present a concert in the lovely setting of St Andrew's Church. The band first played there in 1998 during the celebrations held to mark the centenary of Henry Moore's birth - the Yorkshire-born sculptor had made his home there - and the band were pleased to accept the invitation to return. The first half of the concert included Arthur Wood's Three Dale Dances - once very well know but seldom heard today - music by Philip Wilby and Ernest Farrar and solos from Keith Graham (baritone) and Steve Morland (percussion). It concluded with Elsa's Procession to the Cathedral, and such was the audience's enthusiasm that the band's entire stock of CD's was sold out within minutes during the interval! The second half was a lighter affair comprising music from the stage and screen. After a memorable night (!) in the Moat House, Harlow, the Band travelled north again via Peterborough where a second concert awaited as part of the popular Peterborough Festival. Following a warm greeting from the Mayor and Mayoress of Peterborough and the Japanese Cultural Attaché, the band gave a performance in glorious weather in the shade of a huge willow tree. The audience was a large and appreciative one and the band clearly enjoyed playing in this perfect setting. On return to Harrogate, both Band and supporters agreed that it had been a great weekend with two very well-received concerts and plenty of opportunities to relax together.

National Finals - On the weekend of 22/23 September, the Harrogate Band together with 67 other bands from across the country competed in the Nationals Brass Band Championship Finals. Over 1,800 players converged on the Preston Guild Hall in their bids to become National Champions. The 1st Section National Champions title sadly was not achieved as our performance did not meet with the adjudicators' full approval, but we were pleased with our rendition of Malcolm Arnold's Fantasy for Brass Band - a super test piece both to play and listen to. We can look forward to defending our Regional Champions title in Darlington in March 2002.

People - Welcome to Kate Hawkins who has recently moved to Harrogate (from Brent Brass) and joins us on tenor horn.
Goodbye and best wishes to Angela Robson who has left the band to sign up with Pride Valley Brass. Angela spent several years with the band whilst a student at college in Ripon, and during the last year, despite living back in Hartlepool, still gave the band considerable support at rehearsals and engagements.
Many congratulations and best wishes to Katie and Rob Illsley on the birth of their daughter Bethan Kate on Friday 24th August. With her lineage we expect her to be pushing her dad for the top seat in a very few years time!

A Grand Night Out - Harrogate Band was filmed during its preparations for the National Finals at Preston by a television crew from NMTV. They are making a half-hour programme for Yorkshire TV in a series called "A Grand Night Out" which follows Yorkshire people getting ready for a big event. The crew was with the band on the bus and during the contest in Preston. The programme is due to air some time in early 2002.

Wansbeck Win - A 25 minute entertainment programme gained the band first place at the Wansbeck Brass Band Contest at Newbiggin by the Sea in October. Despite the sauna-like conditions on stage the band shook off any trace of despondency of the Nationals result and bounced back with a vengeance in their first visit to Northumberland. The programme opened with Degroove by Idar Torskangerpoll, followed by Royal Border Bridge one of the three movements of Arthur Butterworth's Three Impressions for Brass. Robert Illsley then delighted the audience with his scintillating Concerto for Trumpet by Harry James, which won well earned cheers in response. A quieter reflection with Wilfred Heaton's sublime meditation Just As I Am preceded the finale Macarthur Park by Jim Webb.

Yorkshire Challenge - The Harrogate Band took the top prize in the inaugural Nostell Priory Yorkshire Brass Band Challenge in May. In spite of a small entry of bands, the organisers (the AMI Laser Restoration Sharlston Band) were keen for the contest to go ahead in order to help establish the event for future years. The competition took place in the grounds of the newly restored Priory - a superb setting for such an event. Trophies were presented to the winning bands by Lord and Lady St. Oswald of Nostell Priory. Harrogate's programme for the event included Wilfred Heaton's march Le Tricot Rouge, Barry Gott's Lightwalk and the finale from Year of the Dragon, plus solo features from Robert Illsley (cornet) and Steve Morland (xylophone and tuba!).

Lynne's Big Day - Many congratulations and best wishes to Lynne Stockdale and Matthew Stobbart who were married on 15th September. Lynne has played with the band since she was very young, brought along by her father Stan (then the band's 1st euphonium). The band was delighted to be invited to share in her wedding by playing at the service in Knaresborough then at the reception. The NMTV film crew filmed the event as part of their schedule of appointments with the band and its players.

Publicity - A profile of the Harrogate Band has recently been published by This new internet based magazine provides a range of articles, news features, results and reviews.

Cascade at Fountains - A glorious summer evening welcomed the audience with their picnics in the cloister at Fountains Abbey in August The acoustic was ideal for the event and the packed cloister reverberated with the strains of a wide selection of music ranging from the grand operatic Elsa's Procession to the Minster from Wagner's Lohengrin to the poignant Heroic Elegy by Ernest Farrar, from the contemporary, quirky and local march Le Tricot Rouge to several internationally famous pieces from stage and screen. A delegation of Japanese tourism representatives were in the audience, being hosted by the National Trust as part of the drive to win back overseas tourists to Britain. This event was a marvellous experience for audience and band alike, and one which we very much hope to repeat in the future.

Houston? No problems! - A uniquely enjoyable concert was held in Ripon Cathedral in June with the Houston Choral Society, directed by Betty Devine. The Choir, on a 10 day tour of the UK, sang beautifully in the resonant acoustic of the Cathedral, with pieces sacred, spiritual and popular. The Band contributed with a first half that included Overture - Force of Destiny, Cortege from Mlada, Elsa's Procession to the Minster, and what is probably only the second ever public performance of Ernest Farrar's Heroic Elegy. This piece was composed shortly before Farrar's death at the Battle of the Somme, and only given a single airing by the Harrogate Symphony Orchestra. It has been resurrected and arranged by Neil Richmond, the founder musical director of the Band, and is a moving and poignant piece, dedicated to "Soldiers" which weaves the "Agincourt Song" theme through its music. A second half of mainly popular, show pieces culminated with a joint rendition with the Choir of Gustav Holst's A Festival Chime and the Band serenading our Texan visitors with a performance of Stars and Stripes Forever under the baton of Betty Devine herself. Proceeds from the concert went to St Anne's Shelter and Housing Charity.

Ron Eastwood - We were sorry to hear of the death of Ron Eastwood, a former member of the band. For many years Ron was the band's bass trombonist - an instrument he took up in his 50s. He was an accomplished pianist and did not need any prompting to play and entertain others whenever a piano was in a room. Joining the band in 1980, Ron retired from playing in 1996 due to ill health. One of his treasured memories was from 1985 when the Harrogate Band swept the board at the YHBBA annual contest at Tadcaster, winning all the prizes in its section and returning laden with trophies. To complete his joy his first grandson was born that very same day. Ron selected two of his favourite pieces to be played at his funeral - Handel Parker's wonderful hymn Deep Harmony and TJ Powell's march Castel Coch - one of the winning pieces in 1985.

New CD for 2002 - The music featured in the Made in Harrogateconcert will be the focus of the band's next CD due to be recorded in November and scheduled for release in January 2002. Please let us know if you wish to reserve a copy or would like to be notified when the CD is available.
Copies of the band's latest recording, Come Follow the Harrogate Band, are still available ( £10 CD, £5 cassette) from the Band at most engagements, or contact Gavin Holman - see below.

Keeping in touch - For further information see the Band's award-winning and world-famous website: If you have any news or information you would like to see in future issues, please let the Editor know. For queries about our engagements or to book the band, please contact Sue Morland on 01423-887996, for any other information contact Gavin Holman


Torquay here we come !! - The Harrogate Band will be representing the North of England Region in the National Brass Band Championship Finals in Torquay in September. Second place in the Northern Region First Section Championships assured the band's invitation to the Finals for the third year in a row. A winning performance of George Lloyd's Royal Parks narrowly missed gaining the band a hat trick of Champions trophies and we had to settle for runners-up to winners Gateshead Brass. Another, great pleasure was the award of the trophy for "Best Percussion Section" to Katie Illsley and Steve Morland. This is the John Hallums Trophy which was donated by the Harrogate Band to the Northern Region Championships in John's memory in 2001. One quote from the press said the band "as usual, produced an absolute stunner of a performance". Our excellent result in this contest assures our promotion to the Championship Section from January 2003 - a first for the Band and a superb achievement for all the players, but particularly thanks to the inspiring leadership of MD David Lancaster.

Made in Harrogate - The Harrogate Royal Hall Restoration fund received a welcome boost in November, when the Harrogate Band gave a special performance in the hall itself. Made in Harrogate was the title of the concert, which comprised purely of work by musicians who have had links with the town. Prominent in the programme was the work of local composers such as Wilfred Heaton, Phillip Wilby, Ernest Farrar, Delius, Finzi, the band's Musical Director David Lancaster, and other composers who have either lived in the area or have been regular visitors. One such person was Edward Elgar, who came to Harrogate every year to 'take the waters', and whose second symphony had its provincial premiere in the town. In addition, the concert featured compositions and arrangements by the band's own members, plus band founder and prominent local musician Neil Richmond. Neil's research into local music was central to this event, and his arrangements of some of the pieces unearthed were heard on the night. The range of music provided something for everyone, from old to new, classical to modern, plus some light-hearted moments along the way.
The Royal Hall, originally known as The Kursaal, dates from a time when Harrogate was a popular spa resort with its own professional orchestras and bands, so it seems natural that one of Harrogate's leading groups drew on that wealth of history to stage this event. The Harrogate Band is grateful to Harrogate International Centre, who donated the venue free of charge - this ensured that all proceeds from the evening, some £2,000, go directly toward assuring the future of Harrogate's elegant Edwardian concert hall.

You Choose the Music - You can support the Band's attempt to bring the National Championship trophy back to Harrogate simply by attending a concert and enjoying the band's performance - what could be simpler or more fun? The programme will be varied and entertaining and will feature our innovative Interactive Jukebox where you, the audience, will be able to have a say in selecting the music we play! St Peter's Church, Harrogate, Saturday 7th September at 7.30 p.m.

Heartbeat - Ten Harrogate players and conductor David Lancaster have recently made the big break into media stardom when they performed in an episode of Yorkshire TV's popular Heartbeat programme. Recorded in November, it was aired in late February. The players spent two arduous days on location around Yorkshire, recording a number of pieces and acting a key role in several scenes in the drama. The opportunity to take part was a very exciting one for the band; however it did pose a number of problems. Music needed to be specially arranged, players needed to be available during the daytime on both Monday and Tuesday and the producer specifically requested that a number of the performers should be 'middle aged men'. However the production team and Yorkshire TV's Head of Music Sue Clarke declared themselves to be entirely satisfied with the group's performance and the players found the whole experience not only fascinating but highly enjoyable. Having already completed a documentary for Yorkshire TV earlier last year, who can predict where Harrogate Band's bid for television stardom will take them next? Actually we can! Look out for a group from the Band in a future "Golden Jubilee" episode of Emmerdale, due to be filmed soon.

People - A very warm welcome to Sophie Rhodes who has joined us on Euphonium.
Congratulations to Karen Shore, the band's Repiano cornet player, who was awarded the trophy for the "most improved player" at this year's AGM in March.
We were very sorry to see two players leave the band recently. David Oakes has been an excellent and stalwart member and euphonium player, and recently made major contributions to fundraising for the Band. Jennie Roberts, trombone, has gone to South Korea for one year, teaching English in a school. She's currently looking for a band out there but had no luck so far! We wish them both all the best for the future.

Recent concerts -
Limbs For Life - Harrogate Soroptomists invited the Band to give this concert in aid of Limbs for Life, a charity supporting casualties of anti-personnel landmines. A wide range of musical pieces from the Band were very nicely contrasted by our guest artists in the concert, The Four Degrees, a talented barbershop quartet from the University College of York St John.
Brass Band Conductors Convention - The Band gave an illustrated concert in Wetherby for the National Association of Brass Band Conductors Annual Convention, concluding a weekend of discussions, talks and music. Philip Wilby introduced his works The Seasons, played by the band, and his most recent test piece Atlantic. Three additional works by Harrogate based composers were played by the band and were discussed by Neil Richmond who related their place in the musical history of Harrogate. Following an illustrated talk on Early Harrogate Bands by Gavin Holman, further pieces linked to Harrogate were introduced by David Lancaster and the Band.
American Guests From Concordia - Our first concert of 2002 was held with the Concordia University Wind Ensemble from Wisconsin, conducted by Dr Louis Menchaca, who were in the UK for a concert tour. The audience thoroughly enjoyed a varied programme of contrasting styles, illustrating the combined musical heritage of both bands.
Fire Services - A capacity audience in the Royal Hall enjoyed a seasonal concert by the band and the St Aidan's Choir. A brass quintet serenaded people as they arrived at the door and then moved into the Hall to join the main band in the first carol. Over £3,000 was raised for the Fire Services National Benevolent Fund
Scottish Celebration - St. Andrew's Day may have passed unnoticed by most English Bands but the Harrogate Band, along with the talented Tewit Youth Band and the highly professional James Stretton Brass Quintet marked this occasion with a joint concert - almost a mini brass festival - in the prestigious setting of Harrogate Ladies' College. The bands combined in several pieces with a Scottish theme: Skirl, Jamie's Patrol and Highland Cathedral, featuring the bagpipes of Christopher Small. The groups' individual items were more varied in style and included works by Peter Graham, Arthur Butterworth and Malcolm Arnold, alongside lighter fare from Robbie Williams and Neil Diamond. The performers were well received by the enthusiastic audience - it should become an annual event, possibly celebrating St. George, St. Patrick and St. David in the future! Harrogate Band were joined for this concert by Brian Winter, principal cornet of the Ransomes Band, stepping in at short notice to deputise for Robert Illsley who had been rushed in to hospital earlier in the week and emerged minus appendix. Brian did a wonderful job and thankfully Robert made a speedy recovery! The concert concluded with a rousing massed bands' performance of Wilfred Heaton's march Le Tricot Rouge, which was originally composed for the Tewit Youth Band.
Return To Starbeck - A warm and appreciative audience welcomed the Band to the Starbeck Methodist Church for its first concert in the village for over 8 years. A wide range of music was played which was clearly enjoyed by those who attended. Despite missing its key bass trombonist, Ian Bristow, the band commenced its programme with vigour and style. During the second or third piece in the programme Ian arrived and quietly joined the band on the stage. The reason for his late arrival, which was gleefully communicated to the audience after the interval, was due to him mistakenly awaiting the rest of the band at the Gracious Street Methodist Church in Knaresborough, three miles away, until he realised his error!

Composition Win - David Lancaster recently won the brass band category for his work Cuba in a new competition organised by the Leeds University Music School in conjunction with Black Dyke Band, The British Trombone Society and The Society for the Promotion of New Music. His score was one of 72 received for judging in the competition which, according to Philip Wilby, "were of exceptionally high standard making the judging very difficult". Cuba is to be given its premiere performance and recorded for CD by the Black Dyke Band later this year. Well done David!

All welcome! -
Race Night. The annual Harrogate Scalextric Grand Prix will take place on Saturday 15 June in the bandroom, to raise money for the National Finals fund. The previous years' races have been lots of fun with many band members and their guests enjoying the thrills and spills and showing off their...erm...driving skills. Details from David Lancaster (01423-522643) or Steve Morland (01423-526746)
Treasure Hunt and Barbeque - Saturday 3rd August, starting at the bandroom. Details from David Lancaster (01423-522643)

Email News - If you would like to receive occasional news from the Band via email, just send a message with your name and email address to Gavin Holman - see below.

New CD for 2002 - The music featured in the Made in Harrogate concert will be the focus of the band's next CD. The recording date in November had to be postponed and we recorded most of the tracks during a session in February. A second recording session is planned for mid May to complete the project. The CD itself will be released as soon as possible after that. Please let us know if you wish to reserve a copy or would like to be notified when the CD is available.
Copies of the band's latest recording, Come Follow the Harrogate Band, are still available ( £10 CD, £5 cassette) from the Band at most engagements, or contact Gavin Holman - see below.

Keeping in touch - For further information see the Band's award-winning and world-famous website: If you have any news or information you would like to see in future issues, please let the Editor know. For queries about our engagements or to book the band, please contact Sue Morland on 01423-887996, for any other information contact Gavin Holman


Festive Brass & Voices - Ripon Cathedral is the venue for our Gala Concert this year. Our guests include the York St John Chamber Choir and guest soloist Lucy Rhodes, who recently won the BBC Radio 2 Young Chorister 2002 competition. Saturday 7 December, 7.30pm. Tickets £6, £4 (concessions) from Ripon Tourist Information (01765 604625) or 01423 522643/887996. Interval refreshments will include "Ripon Jewel" beer tasting sponsored by Daleside Brewery. A splendid evening's entertainment is assured!

Malton Success - The annual Entertainment Contest at Malton, run by the Yorkshire & Humberside Brass Band Association, proved that the Band could hold its own against the best of the region. A strong entry in the "A" class produced a great afternoon's entertainment across the board, and Harrogate Band were delighted to be awarded 2nd prize, narrowly missing the top placing. Our 25 minute programme included music by Neil Diamond, the march Arabian, Gaelic Blessing by John Rutter, Cartoon Music - which kept our four percussionists on their toes, and ended with the rousing finale from Year of the Dragon.

People - We're delighted to welcome Rachel Higginson to the Band on cornet. Her father, John, was the Band's second musical director, following Neil Richmond. After studying at Newcastle, Rachel is now practising dentistry and in an ideal position to continue her interest in musicians' dental health. Trombonist Martyn Wormald, of the Tewit Youth Band, has joined us recently and is still a mainstay of Tewit, rehearsing with both bands on a Wednesday evening! Jo Campbell, another (ex) Tewit Band member has joined us on what is perhaps the most challenging seat in the band - that of soprano cornet, an instrument renowned for its difficulty. Andrew Jackson, the Band's Eb soprano cornet player for many years, is now playing Bb cornet. Also, welcome back to Neil Davidson, cornet, who has returned to the area following the conclusion of his university course.

Made in Harrogate - The long-awaited new CD is almost ready. We apologise to all those who have been anticipating its arrival. It contains a selection of music from Harrogate composers and others associated with the town, including Gerald Finzi, Ernest Farrar, Edward Elgar, Arthur Wood, Amy Woodforde-Finden, Arthur Butterworth, Wilfred Heaton, Philip Wilby and our very own David Lancaster. Arrangements by Neil Richmond and Steve Morland are also featured, together with three items from The Harrogate Song Book which illustrates life in the spa town in the early years of the last century. Several of the items have not been recorded previously and had their premier performances at our Made in Harrogate concert for the Royal Hall last year. We are sure the CD will be worth the wait and we will let everyone know the minute it is with us.

Torquay Double! - We have often been in the position of defending our title at contests in the past. This time at the National Finals in Torquay, as luck and fate would have it, we successfully defended our last placing. Not only that, we again drew number 1 in the running order - not a good place to be in a field of 18 bands. Problems with the organisation meant that it was nearly 11 hours from the draw (and seclusion of the judges) to the results - not surprising they forgot how good our rendition of Philip Wilby's Leonardo really was! We were, however, pleased with our performance and thoroughly enjoyed the weekend of music in Devon.

Recent concerts -

Choice Brass - A departure from the normal programming for a concert was a great hit with the audience in St Peter's Church, Harrogate. Instead of the musical director selecting the music, the pieces were chosen by individual band members. A wide range of musical tastes were catered for, ranging from classical (Procession of the Sirdar, Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring, Polotsvian Dances) to popular (With You I'm Born Again, New York New York, Puttin' On The Ritz) and several others. In the second half, the audience chose an item via the Band Jukebox. There was a tie for first place and the Band played both the Post Horn Galop and Nimrod. The Band also gave their first public performance of Leonardo by local composer Philip Wilby, used as the test piece for the National Brass Band Championship Finals in Torquay this year.
Majestic Brass - The big band sound featured at the Majestic Hotel. Music from the 30s, 40s and 50s, classic swing numbers and modern interpretations of earlier pieces provided a change to the traditional brass band programme. Performers and composers whose contributions to the genre were highlighted included Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington, Stan Kenton, Neil Hefti, Count Basie, Ted Heath, Frank Sinatra and Neil Diamond.
Nidderdale Brass - We were very pleased once again to participate in the Nidderdale Festival with a concert at the Joe Longster Bandstand in Pateley Bridge. The weather smiled on us and the audience, and a splendid afternoon's music was enjoyed by all. Helping us out on 2nd Trombone was Arthur Layfield, conductor of the Summerbridge & Dacre Silver Prize Band and ex-member of the original Harrogate Silver Band, who has recently published a book, Nidderdale Brass, celebrating the centenary of that band. It is filled with pictures and reminiscences of Nidderdale bands over the last 100 years.
Mowbray Proms - For the fourth year the Band led a Proms style concert with choir at Mowbray House in Kirkby Malzeard. A range of suitable items were performed as the audience enjoyed their picnics during a warm summer evening on the lawns in front of the house. Traditional "proms" pieces closed the concert which culminated with a veritable barrage of fireworks
Askham Bryan - A popular open day at the local agricultural college at Askham Bryan was rather overshadowed by the England world cup match on the same day. The band entertained the rather meagre audience that only started to pick up later in the afternoon. A wide range of attractions was available - not least, of course, ourselves - and we look forward to the opportunity to perform there another year without the competition of soccer.
Golden Acre Park - In glorious hot, sunny weather, in a pleasant corner of the park, we entertained visitors enjoying the delights of this park at Bramhope. It is nine years since we last played there and the park is well worth a visit with its lake, gardens and woodlands - even if there is not a band playing!
Rotary Conference - As well as many public concerts, the Band perform various private engagements. One such recently was music for a service at the Rotary International Conference in Harrogate. Despite the early start - getting the equipment from the bandroom down to the Conference Centre for 8.30am for a 9.00 start, we all made it - except for one player (who will remain nameless, but who just happened to have turned up at the wrong church last year), who had forgotten altogether and had to be phoned from the stage. We then discovered the organisers had made a mistake in the timings and we weren't required for another half an hour - just giving the missing player enough time to join us!
Singing In The Rain - It is not inappropriate that this piece of music was the second item in our concert in the Harrogate Valley Gardens. A small audience braved the flaming June drizzle and downpours to listen to the concert. A wedding reception in the Sun Pavilion, up-slope from the Bandstand, had a more enjoyable (at least dry) position to enjoy the band's performance!
MG Dales Rally - A wet, cold, early Sunday morning found the band entertaining the arrival of members of the MG Owners' Club as they gathered for the start of their Dales Run. Unfortunately the weather probably kept the more elderly cars away - there were none of a pre-1960 vintage - however we sent them on their way with a variety of rousing and suitably "Yorkshire" melodies.

Helen and Nick - All our congratulations and best wishes to band cornetists Helen and Nick Garrett on their wedding. The band was delighted to provide music for the service at St Mary's church in Thirsk and to join the bride and groom for the celebrations later. One of the highlights was the processional music chosen by Helen - Elsa's Procession to the Minster from Lohengrin by Wagner - the timing of band and bride were impeccable and the sound absolutely magnificent!

High Peak Performance - A very strong field of Championship and 1st Section Bands were arrayed against Harrogate at the Buxton Brass Band Festival. Amidst the splendid backdrop of the Pavilion Gardens and Opera House, in glorious spring weather, the band gave a strong and spirited performance of their chosen test piece - Spectrum by Gilbert Vinter, to win fourth place. This is one of Vinter's finest works and consists of seven distinct sections each representing a colour of the spectrum, from fiery red through to brooding purple.

Barbeque Treasure - The Band's Annual Treasure Hunt was held around the streets of Harrogate in the summer. Taking in the more salubrious and verdant parts of the town and, to the disappointment of at least one team, not passing a single pub, a most enjoyable and puzzling afternoon concluded with a barbeque held in the grounds of our President's home. Anyone who fancies an afternoon's clue hunting in Harrogate next year should contact the band!

Emmerdale - Last April a group of Harrogate Band players spent a week recording an episode of Emmerdale for Yorkshire TV. In unusually fine weather for the season, the special Jubilee programme was filmed with the band members playing the role of a local brass band at the village celebrations. It was aired during the Golden Jubilee week and was a great success. This TV appearance follows closely on the Band's starring role in Heartbeat earlier on in the year.

Harrogate Champions - From January 2003 Harrogate will officially have a Championship level band for the first time ever. This superb achievement, the culmination of a steady series of promotions over recent years, makes the Harrogate Band the first such organisation in the area to reach the top echelons of its chosen field. Congratulations to all the band members for achieving this - particularly David Lancaster, MD, who has led the Band to these heights.

Email News - If you would like to receive occasional news from the Band via email, just send a message with your name and email address to Gavin Holman - see below.

Rhineland Tour 2003 - The Band will be setting off for Germany, between 19 and 25 April next year, for a concert tour in the Rhineland. Based at St Goarshausen, a number of concerts will be played around the region. This will be the Band's eighth overseas tour - the fourth to Germany.

Keeping in touch - For further information see the Band's award-winning and world-famous website: If you have any news or information you would like to see in future issues, please let the Editor know. For queries about our engagements or to book the band, please contact Sue Morland on 01423-887996, for any other information contact Gavin Holman


Made in Harrogate - Our new CD is now available. It contains a selection of music from Harrogate composers and others associated with the town, including Gerald Finzi, Ernest Farrar, Edward Elgar, Arthur Wood, Amy Woodforde-Finden, Arthur Butterworth, Wilfred Heaton, Philip Wilby and our very own David Lancaster. Arrangements by Neil Richmond and Steve Morland are also featured, together with three items from The Harrogate Song Book which illustrates life in the spa town in the early years of the last century. Several of the items have not been recorded previously and had their premier performances at our Made in Harrogate concert for the Royal Hall in 2001.

Gala Concert coming up - Make a note in your diary: the Band's next major public performance in Harrogate will be an evening of 'Music from the Stage and Screen' to be held on Saturday 20th September at 7.30pm in St Peter's Church. The Band will perform classics from the world of opera and ballet alongside favourites from musicals, some stirring film music and television themes. We welcome as our guest soloist soprano Claire Cave, the 'singing waitress' from Betty's, who recently performed for Prince Charles during his recent visit to the town. Tickets are £6 and £4, concessions, and are sure to be in short supply so reserve yours now by telephoning Band Secretary Liz Lancaster on (01423) 522643.

Michael Hymas - It was with great sadness we learned of the sudden death of Michael Hymas, President of the Harrogate Band, on Sunday 9th February. A long-time patron of the Band and other organisations in Harrogate, his friendship and guidance is greatly missed. A memorial concert is being planned for early next year, to celebrate Michael's contribution to the cultural and business life of Harrogate.

Buxton & Glossop - This year's competition at the Buxton Brass Festival Contest was particularly strong with the bands in the Championship section playing a wide range of own choice test pieces to a very high standard. In the sauna-like atmosphere of the Pavilion Gardens we managed to gain fifth place with our performance of Cloudcatcher Fells - a very acceptable achievement. We had to request an early draw to play so that we could get away in time to play a concert at the Glossop Band Club. To a small but enthusiastic audience, the band displayed its concert skills with a selection of items covering many styles of music.

Rivers of Song & Brass - We were delighted to join the Two Rivers Chorale, from Anoka, Minnesota, at the Sun Pavilion for part of their concert tour of the UK. This setting, in the midst of the Valley Gardens, on a warm summer's evening, was perfect for the blend of programmes from the band and choir. As the music floated out of the open doors and across the Gardens it attracted people out for an evening's stroll to stop and enjoy the concert.

The Band is drafted - Our most recent foray into the world of television came as extras in a new drama currently being filmed by YTV. Set in 1914 it stars Martin Kemp as the serial killer George Joseph Smith, perpetrator of the 'Brides in the Bath' murders. A selection of the more "youthful" looking members of the band were engaged to play the part of an army band. The weather was hot during the filming at Ripley Castle and the heavy WW1 uniforms were not the best outfits to keep cool in! We look forward to seeing the finished product when it is screened later in the year.

Rheinland Tour - Easter saw the band visiting Germany on a concert tour in the Rhineland. Based at St Goarshausen near to the Lorelei Rock in the Rhine Gorge, we spent a week visiting the nearby towns, sights and attractions, sampling the local food and beverages, and of course, playing music! Four concerts were given in Bad Bertrich, Bad Ems, Roes and Bad Schwalbach, to enthusiastic audiences who were clearly impressed by the range of repertoire, standard of playing and accomplished solo items.

Northern Championships - For the first time the Band competed in the Championship Section in these qualifying championships for the National Finals. Arrayed against us were the top bands in the North of England, playing Prague by Judith Bingham - a contemporary piece of music that many found difficult to like. We did, however, come to appreciate the musical qualities of the piece and the picture the composer was depicting of the history and culture of that city. A solid performance gained the band a respectable 6th position - assuring our stay in the Championship section for 2004.

Latest arrival - Congratulations to Catherine and Steve Morland on the birth of their second son, Elliott Miles, on 3rd April.

Lucy in the Nave with Jewels - It is hard to imagine a better way to start the celebrations for the Christmas season - the Band's gala concert "Festive Brass and Voices" brought together the combined talents of the Harrogate Band, York St John Chamber Choir and our guest soloist Lucy Rhodes - the BBC Radio 2 Young Chorister 2002. Add a programme of music to delight a wide range of musical tastes, a near-capacity audience in the splendour of Ripon Cathedral, the premier performance of a new work by David Lancaster, Ripon Jewel and, finally, the not inconsiderable attraction of free tasting of the beer of that name produced by Daleside Brewery, it all added up to a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Lucy demonstrated beautifully those skills and qualities that won her the BBC competition. Her performance of a number of seasonal items, accompanied by the Band and Choir, was magical. York St John Chamber Choir provided a first half selection of Christmas music and followed that with some songs from Gershwin, Porter and Kosma. The Band's programme included The Kingdom Triumphant by Eric Ball - which was particularly effective in the Cathedral setting - and Peter Graham's Cartoon Music whose comical effects were a great hit with the audience - especially when the MD "shot" the bass trombonist, who played his death scene most convincingly.

Rush to Rochdale - The Band arrived at Wardle High School at the very last minute, just in time to take the stage as last band to compete in the top section of the Rochdale Contest. A mistake by our coach company delivered our transport an hour late, just as we had given up and were all piling into cars to cross the Pennines. Unfortunately, despite a good performance of Cloudcatcher Fells by John McCabe, and very appreciative comments from members of the audience, the adjudicator failed to place us - well, he had had a long day.

Race Night - The band recently held it's fifth annual 'Harrogate Grand Prix' - for Scalextric cars - organised once again by the band's resident motor racing fanatics, Steve and David. A great turnout ensured that there was an action-packed night of racing in aid of band funds, augmented by 'pit stops' for Beer and Chilli! Racing took part on a giant track that occupied the floor space of the whole band! Prizes went to Liz Lancaster as fastest lady, Scott Thompson as fastest junior, and (for the second year running) fastest qualifier Andy Whitaker. The fastest qualifier has never gone on to win the event though, and predictably this curse struck again, with Andy narrowly beaten on the way to the final, won this year by 2002 runner-up Dave Nichols whose smooth and fast driving deservingly took the 2003 crown.

Augustana in Ripon - Ripon Cathedral resounded with the joint performances of the Harrogate Band and the Augustana College Symphonic Band. This wind band, from Rock Island, Illinois, visited the area during its UK tour. The Augustana Band, which was one of the first US collegiate wind band to tour in Europe, performed a selection of music by Holst, Grainger, Sparke and others, following the Harrogate Band's performance of alternating American and British music.

Fire Brigade Concert - The Band's annual fund-raiser for the Fire Brigade Benevolent Fund raised over £3000 for the charity. In addition to the St Aidan's School Choir, who performed a selection of carols, we were delighted to welcome Lucy Rhodes, BBC Radio 2 Young Choirgirl of the Year 2002, to sing with us again. Once again she captivated the audience in the Harrogate International Centre and helped to make the evening a great success.

Instruments for Tewit - A number of surplus brass instruments belonging to the Band were recently donated to Tewit Youth Band in Harrogate. Tewit Youth Band, led by Malcolm Dibb, not only provide a high standard of musicianship, but also have a strong teaching tradition in their Junior and Training bands.

A Big Night - A further TV appearance by the Band brightened up an early Sunday tea-time slot on Yorkshire Television. "Big Night" was a half-hour documentary following the Band's preparations during the summer of 2001 for the National Championship Finals in Preston and concluding with the day of the contest itself. Following the Band's appearance on "Heartbeat" last year, one of the Band's cornet players, Neil Davidson, was invited back to film another episode in the series for YTV.

Future Engagements -
19-Jul-03 Ripon Races, 1.45pm
20-Jul-03 Wetherby Riverside Bandstand, 2.30pm
27-Jul-03 Golden Acre Park, Leeds, 2.30pm
03-Aug-03 Valley Gardens, Harrogate, 3pm
20-Sep-03 Gala Concert, St Peter's Church, Harrogate, 7.30pm
02-Nov-03 Malton Brass 2003
16-Nov-03 Wilkinson's Northern Championships, St Helens
13-Dec-03 Harrogate Town Centre
14-Dec-03 St Michael's Hospice
20-Dec-03 Harrogate Town Centre
21-Dec-03 Harrogate New Life Church, 10.30am
21-Dec-03 Fire Brigade Charity Concert, International Centre, 7.30pm
17-Mar-04 Starbeck Methodist Church
21-Mar-04 Northern Championships
These are confirmed public engagements. For further details of any of these, please see the website or contact the Band via the numbers below.

Bay Area Chorus - The Band shared the stage at the Galtres Centre in Easingwold with the Bay Area Chorus from Houston, Texas. Their vocal clarity and sensitive performance of a range of spiritual and folk songs were a joy to listen to. The Band's performance in the first half of the concert covered a wide range of items from the furious Czardas by Strauss to the beautifully contemplative Irish Blessing, with a number of American compositions in homage to our Texan guests. A very warm welcome from the people of Easingwold made for a thoroughly enjoyable evening for all.

Light up a Life - The Band's first Christmas engagement took them to St Michael's Hospice for the annual "Light up a Life" service. In a fine December evening, totally contrary to the weather forecast of driving rain, a large crowd celebrated the work of the Hospice at Crimple House, with the magnificent vista of the Crimple Valley and its viaduct as a backdrop.

Email News - If you would like to receive occasional news from the Band via email, just send a message with your name and email address to Gavin Holman - see below.

Keeping in touch - For further information see the Band's award-winning and world-famous website: If you have any news or information you would like to see in future issues, please let the Editor know. For queries about our engagements or to book the band, please contact Liz Lancaster on 01423-522643, for any other information contact Gavin Holman


Festive Engagements - Our major Christmas concerts this year are for St Michael's Hospice at their Light a Life service on Sunday 14th December, 3pm, and then the annual Fire Brigade Charity concert at the Harrogate International Centre, which this year includes Lucy Rhodes (BBC Radio 2 Chorister of the Year), on Sunday 21st December, 7.30pm at the Harrogate International Centre.

Brides in the Bath - New Year's Eve, ITV1, 9.00pm - The Harrogate Band makes its latest television appearance as members of an army band in Brides in the Bath, a TV drama which was recorded at Ripley Castle earlier in the year. The story of the serial killer George Joseph Smith, who married three wealthy women and then drowned them in their baths, the drama stars Martin Kemp, and it should be worth watching for that alone even without the added attraction of the Band!

Christmas is Coming - We know that is obvious! However this is not just a reminder that December 25th is rapidly approaching, but the launch of the Band's new CD of the same name. Christmas is Coming is an ideal present to give or keep! It contains a mixture of seasonal music, carols and arrangements, with the icing on this particular Christmas cake being the vocal contributions of Lucy Rhodes (BBC Radio2 Young Chorister of the Year), who is a particular friend of the Band. The CD costs £10 and is available from any Band member, at our engagements or by post via the address at the end. Sound samples of some of the tracks are available on the website. The band assembled at St John Fisher Church in Harrogate at the end of August to make the recording - some wearing "Santa Claus" hats, one even sporting musical carol socks, and accompanied by a supply of mince pies and Christmas cake. Hopefully some of this strange behaviour helped to ensure there was a real Christmas feel to the recording!
And don't forget the Band's earlier CD "Made in Harrogate" which contains a selection of music from Harrogate composers and others associated with the town, together with three items from The Harrogate Song Book which illustrates life in the spa town in the early years of the last century.

Thank you for the Music! - A major concert festival is being held at the Majestic Hotel on 15th February 2004. The Harrogate Band together with St Andrew's Players will remember Michael Hymas, who had supported both organizations so fully before his death earlier this year. As President of the Band, a long-time patron of the Band, St Andrews Players and other organisations in Harrogate, his friendship and guidance is greatly missed. Two concerts will be held, a matinée at 2.30pm and a Gala evening concert at 7.30pm. Further details will be available nearer the time. Please make a date in your diary!

Malton Triumph - With a performance that had the adjudicator, Roy Sparkes, searching for second and third place bands from the very start, Harrogate Band took the top prize at the Malton Brass 2003 Entertainment Contest. In addition the Band's Principal Cornet player, Robert Illsley, was awarded the "best soloist" trophy for his performance of Hello Dolly. Other items in the Band's programme were La Mourisque by Susato, Shostakovich's Festive Overture, All Around the World by Alexander Owen, 'Mid All the Traffic and the jazzy, New Orleans style of Hallelujah Parade.

New Band President - We are delighted to announce the appointment of Neil Richmond as our Honorary President. Neil is well known locally as a dedicated teacher and conductor, and has been involved with the Band since the very beginning, as it was he who in 1970 formed the band from former Granby School Band players who wished to continue their playing after leaving school. Neil was the Band's first Musical Director, and quickly led it to success at its first contest in November 1970 at York - the first of many contest successes over the last 33 years. Neil handed over the reins to John Higginson in the late 1970s, but maintained a high local profile as he continued his renowned work with Granby High School Concert Band, helping to launch the musical careers of many youngsters, several of whom have moved on to The Harrogate Band over the years. Neil has retained his links with the Band throughout, and since his retirement from teaching has been able to add further value to our activities - particularly via his research into local music. This work formed the basis of our Made in Harrogate concert, held in aid of the Royal Hall restoration, and also the CD of the same name. His arrangements of the pieces unearthed, some featured on the CD, have been received with great interest from the band, which is forever on the lookout for new and interesting material. In inviting Neil to be our Honorary President, The Harrogate Band recognises not only Neil's continuing support, but more significantly the immense contribution made to the band and its members past and present through it's founding and formative years.

Stage and Screen - A feast of music from films, television, musicals and opera delighted a crowded St Peter's Church in Harrogate in September. From the sublime such as Silent Worship from Handel's Ptolemy to the (not quite) ridiculous The Simpsons theme tune, via a whole range of show music from the likes of Gershwin, Berlin, Bernstein and John Williams. The Band was delighted to welcome guest soprano vocalist Claire Cave who sang several songs accompanied by Katie Illsley on the piano. Solo items by various members of the band were featured during the concert - in particular Jo Campbell's appearance as James Bond in her soprano cornet solo performance of Live and Let Die was excellent. A double act of Rachel Higginson (flugel) and MD David Lancaster re-enacted the scene from Brassed Off where Gloria arrives at the band rehearsal and, unrehearsed, plays the Adagio from Rodrigo's Concerto d'Aranjuez. Rachel's rendition was, of course, wonderful - but it has to be said that the duo's acting was a little on the hammy side! We were also very pleased to see Leighton Rich in the audience. The founder of Harrogate's Tewit Youth Band, Leighton had for many years conducted the very successful Hampshire County Youth Brass Band.

People - We're delighted to welcome Cliff and David Smith on cornet, Phil Harris - horn, Adrian Gibbs - Eb Bass, Malcolm Holmes - BBb Bass and Craig Stevenson - cornet. Departures include Gemma Pitt who has taken up First Horn with Rothwell Temperance Band, Neil Davidson who is having a gap year in South America and Precious Lowe -we thank them all for their support of the band over the years and wish them the best for the future. Welcome back to Lynne Stobbart, cornet, from her Antipodean adventures.

Dragon Music - Dragon Music Publishing has been formed to market and supply the original brass band music and arrangements by the Musical Director of the Harrogate Band, David Lancaster, together with other composers and arrangers associated with the Band. A wide selection of music for all tastes and occasions, and to suite bands of various abilities, can be ordered at Samples of the music and scores can be played online.

St Helens - Wilkinson Northern Championships - For once the band was not drawn number 1 in a contest - playing 10 of 12 - from an original field of 17, the Band's performance of Exodus by Eric Ball unfortunately failed to inspire the adjudicator, David Read. The Wilkinson Northern Open Championships this year had asked all competing bands to select an own-choice test piece by Eric Ball, in honour of the centenary of his birth. As a result the day was a feast of some of the best of writing for brass bands.

Friends of the Band - This new group has been set up for those supporters of the band who wish to be kept up to date with what the band is up to, and also for those who would like to support the band in any of the many ways that can help us. Of course, receiving this issue of Split Notes means you are already on our mailing list, but if you'd like to play a more active part in supporting the band - there are a whole range of possibilities, you don't need to be able to play an instrument! - then please let us know. Further details can be found on the website or you can contact Gavin Holman.

Future Engagements -
13-Dec-02 Victoria Centre, Harrogate, 10-12 and 1-3pm
14-Dec-03 Light up a Life Service, St Michael's Hospice, 3pm
20-Dec-03 Market Place, Harrogate, 10-12 and 1-3pm
20-Dec-03 Victoria Centre, Harrogate, 10-12 and 1-3pm
21-Dec-03 New Life Church Carol Service, St Aidan's Chapel, 11am
21-Dec-03 Fire Brigade Charity Concert, (Harrogate Conference Centre), 7.30pm
24-Dec-03 Carols round the lamp post - Kielder Oval, Harrogate, 7pm
8-Feb-04 Brass at the Guild Contest - Preston Guild Hall
15-Feb-04 Thank you for the Music - Majestic Hotel, 2.30 & 7.30pm
17-Mar-04 Starbeck Methodist Church
21-Mar-04 Northern Championships - Darlington
25-Apr-04 Wetherby Races
23-May-04 Centre Vale Park, Todmorden, 3pm
27-Jun-04 Recreation Ground, Pateley Bridge, 2.30pm (tbc)
25-Jul-04 Golden Acre Park, Leeds, 2.30pm
1-Aug-04 Valley Gardens, Harrogate, 3pm (tbc)

For further details of any of these, please see the website or contact the Band via the numbers below.

Email News - If you would like to receive occasional news from the Band via email, just send a message with your name and email address to Gavin Holman - see below.

Keeping in touch - For further information see the Band's award-winning and world-famous website: If you have any news or information you would like to see in future issues, please let the Editor know. For queries about our engagements or to book the band, please contact Liz Lancaster on 01423-522643, for any other information contact Gavin Holman


For One Night Only! - A concert is being held at the Harrogate Theatre on Sunday May 16th at 7.30pm, together with the Harrogate St Andrews Players, to raise funds for the Theatre Trust. An evening of superb music is guaranteed and tickets are available from the Theatre on 01423 502116

High Peak Honours - At our fourth annual trip to the Buxton Brass Band Festival, on a gloriously sunny day, the Band won the Championship Section contest with a stirring performance of Philip Sparke's Tallis Variations. Not content with being the champions of Buxton, the band was also awarded the soloist's prize for the exquisite solo work by the Band's flugel horn player, Rachel Higginson. Sadly Rachel will be leaving the Band very soon, as she has moved away with her work. Since joining the Band she has made a great contribution on cornet and flugel and also been most proficient in her role as bandmistress! We wish her all the very best and congratulations on her soloist's award.

Harrogate International Festival Concert - For the first time the Band has been invited to perform as part of the Harrogate International Festival. This world-class Festival attracts many international orchestras, soloists, ensembles and stars each year and we are delighted to be able to participate. In previous years the Band has performed as part of the "Festival Fringe". The concert will take place on Wednesday 4th August and will feature David Childs, the internationally acclaimed euphonium soloist. David will also be starring in one of the BBC Promenade concerts at the Royal Albert Hall on 2nd September.

North of England Championships - Our second year competing in this event in the Championship Section delivered a good sixth place, which also maintains our position in this section for 2005. The test piece, Tristan Encounters by Martin Ellerby is a set of variations on Richard Wagner's Tristan and Isolde and is a significant test for the band overall as well as individual players. We were pleased that the adjudicator thought one variation was "magical"! said: "Harrogate made a good impression in the prelude and opening variations. The solos were all nicely shaped and played well. Brass Band World said: "... and finally to the [North of England] region's fashion guru David Lancaster and his Harrogate team. They will be disappointed with sixth, but you can't say they didn't put their heart and soul into it. They improve every year, are capable of holding their own in the highest company, and their time will come."

Brassed Off! - The Band has been invited, together with the Shepherd Building Group Band (formerly known as Rowntrees Band) to provide the music for a production of the stage play Brassed Off! - based on the hit film of the same name. The production will be at the Theatre Royal, York, from 6th to 25th September this year, with the two bands sharing the performances.

Happy Anniversary! - 40 years ago the Harrogate Granby School Concert Band was formed, and it was a group of former Granby Band players that formed the Harrogate Band in 1970 in order to continue their playing. Since that time the links between the bands has been strong with many players from Granby Band joining us - a third of our current band has followed the Granby route - and our President, Neil Richmond is a former conductor of that band and founding conductor of the Harrogate Band. The strength and depth of youth (and adult) bands in the district is due in no small part to the pioneering work of the Granby band, and its continuing efforts in providing an opportunity for young people to develop musically and socially. Hearty congratulations to Granby Band on reaching this historic milestone.

Brass at the Guild - This contest held in Preston is a new one for the Harrogate Band and, although the result was not as good as we felt we deserved, the competition was keen and we enjoyed our excursion across the Pennines.

Ripon Cathedral Gala Concert - Look out for news about our annual Gala Concert in Ripon Cathedral. This year we will be marking the occasion of David Lancaster's tenth year as Musical Director of the Band. David will be choosing a special programme reflecting upon some of the highlights of the last ten years and including some music specially composed and arranged for this concert - it promises to be a wonderful occasion of favourites old and new, in a most spectacular setting.

500,000 and counting - These days, as the web has matured, counters and statistics of website usage are usually regarded as passé or of little relevance. However, we cannot let this particular milestone pass without briefly mentioning that the Harrogate Band website, incorporating the IBEW (Internet Bandsman's Everything Within) has, since its launch in June 1996, attracted over 500,000 visitors. To all those who have landed awhile on these pages - thank you and we hope you will return often!

Racing at Wetherby - The Band was engaged to play at Wetherby Racecourse to entertain the racegoers at a meeting in April. This was our first time at the Wetherby Races and the weather was warm and sunny providing an enjoyable backdrop to the Band's concert. All was going well until the unexpected launch into the air of an large tethered inflatable "radio" advertising a local station. It suddenly lifted off the ground, broke its moorings and, after floating around the bandstand, went sailing off for a couple of hundred yards. Only the Band's sheer professionalism allowed it to keep on playing at the same time as "corpsing" with laughter at what was happening around it!

Thank you for the Music! - On 15th February the Majestic Hotel rang with the sounds of the Harrogate Band and the St Andrew's Players in a pair of concerts to celebrate and remember Michael Hymas, who had supported both organizations so fully before his death last year. The concerts contained many of the musical items that Michael had particularly liked. Proceeds from the concerts have been donated to the Harrogate Hospital MRI Scanner Appeal.

Band Room Renovation - Work has started to give the band room a much needed face lift. The main changes will be the construction of a dedicated "kitchen" area and some extra storage and racking for music and equipment. This will separate the playing from the non-playing areas of the room, something that was lost when we expanded into the "Hallums/MacKown" social room a couple of years ago.

Ararat Band - Recently we were pleased to welcome Petross Jamkochian to one of our rehearsals. Petross is the musical director of the Ararat Band from Armenia, who were visiting Harrogate as part of the International Youth Music Festival. A number of band members were involved in hosting players from abroad and we were very impressed with the Ararat Band in particular - having endured a six day coach drive just to get to Harrogate and having perhaps the oldest and most battered set of instruments any of us had seen, they nonetheless produced music of the highest quality. The Harrogate Band hopes to be able to feature one of the Armenians' pieces of music in a future concert.

Harrogate National Finals - This year the National Brass Band Championships for sections 1-4 will be held at the International Conference Centre in Harrogate on the weekend of 11-12 September 2004. The Harrogate Band will be assisting with the organisation of the event in various ways and are looking forward to this major competition. Harrogate will be the venue for these Finals for the next three years.

Euphonothon - Euphonium player Joe Symonds is cycling from Lands End to John o' Groats for Cardiovascular Research, playing a concert at each overnight stop. He will be in Harrogate on 4th August and we hope to include Joe in our International Festival concert that night

Friends of the Band - This new group has been set up for those supporters of the band who wish to be kept up to date with what the band is up to, and also for those who would like to support the band in any of the many ways that can help us. Of course, receiving this issue of Split Notes means you are already on our mailing list, but if you'd like to play a more active part in supporting the band - there are a whole range of possibilities, you don't need to be able to play an instrument! - then please let us know. Further details can be found on the website or you can contact Gavin Holman.

Future Engagements -
16-May-04 Harrogate Theatre, 7.30pm
23-May-04 Centre Vale Park, Todmorden, 3pm
5-Jun-04 Askham Bryan Agricultural College Open Day, afternoon
27-Jun-04 Recreation Ground, Pateley Bridge, 2.30pm
2-Jul-04 Harrogate Ladies College, with Harrogate Male Voice Choir
10-Jul-04 BUPA Hospital Garden Party, Roundhay, Leeds
18-Jul-04 Riverside Bandstand, Wetherby, 2.30pm
25-Jul-04 Golden Acre Park, Leeds, 2.30pm
31-Jul-04 Proms at Mowbray House - Kirkby Malzeard
1-Aug-04 Valley Gardens, Harrogate, 3pm
4-Aug-04 Harrogate International Festival + David Childs + Euphonothon
6/25-Sep-04 Brassed Off! - Theatre Royal, York
11/12-Sep-04 National Finals - Harrogate
2-Oct-04 Gala Concert, Ripon Cathedral, 7.30pm
9-Oct-04 Coffee Morning, St Peters Church, Harrogate, 9am-3.30pm
7-Nov-04 Malton Brass 2004
21-Nov-04 Northern Open Championships - St Helens
4-Dec-04 Christmas Lights, Harrogate
4-Dec-04 Co-op Carols - Majestic Hotel
18-Dec-04 New Life Church Carol Service

For further details of any of these, please see the website or contact the Band via the numbers below.

Email News - If you would like to receive occasional news from the Band via email, just send a message with your name and email address to Gavin Holman - see below.

Keeping in touch - For further information see the Band's award-winning and world-famous website: If you have any news or information you would like to see in future issues, please let the Editor know. For queries about our engagements or to book the band, please contact Liz Lancaster on 01423-522643, for any other information contact Gavin Holman


Two editions in a row! - This copy of Split Notes contains news covering the period since the last issue (too long ago!), and will be rapidly followed by a fresh, up to date edition with our latest news. In the meantime, please see the forthcoming dates below or the website for latest information.

Brassed Off! - York Theatre Royal's production last year of Brassed Off, based on the famous film of the "Grimley Colliery Band" and its struggles with its local pit closure, was a great hit with audiences and the Band alike. One of the most successful shows in that theatre for some years had its music provided by the Harrogate Band together with the Shepherd Group Band, who shared the performances over the three weeks of the run. The Band members played the parts of players in the Grimley Colliery Band on stage in various scenes in musical and supporting roles, and also provided off-stage music for the production.

Harrogate Festival - Our concert for the Harrogate International Festival in 2004, with our guest David Childs, delighted the large audience who attended. David, of course, was superb with his rendition of Philip Wilby's Euphonium Concerto and various "showcase" items, and the programme of alternating British and Russian music was clearly enjoyed by all. We were also pleased to be able to help Joe Symonds with his Lands End to John O'Groats Euphonothon when he joined us to play Rule Britannia. The concert review was effusive in its praise, ending "a fine band, a fine - and very full - programme and a worthy addition to the Festival all-star line-up. Let's invite them back."

Ripon Cathedral Concert - Our Gala Concert held in Ripon Cathedral in October last year was a great success. The Band, together with guests Ripon Grammar School Big Band, delighted the audience with performances ranging across the musical spectrum and included solos from Harrogate's Principal Cornet, Robert Illsley and Saxophonist Rachel from the Ripon Big Band. The event also celebrated the 10th anniversary of MD David Lancaster's association with the Band.

Award for Marimba - The Harrogate Band is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a grant through the 'Awards for All' scheme. The money is to be used to purchase a marimba for the band's percussion section and to commission a new piece of music for marimba and band which will receive its first performance at a major concert in Ripon Cathedral in February. Thanks must be extended to the band's treasurer Ian Bristow who wrote and submitted the application on the band's behalf. The Gala Concert, on Sunday 26th February, will also feature the brilliant percussion soloist Simone Rebello as our guest for the event.

Contesting - The Band were delighted with their 5th place gained in the Championship Section of the North of England Championships in Darlington - just two places away from qualifying for the National Finals in the Royal Albert Hall. Wagner's Overture to Rienzi was an excellent test piece which demanded great stamina from the bands. We were delighted to welcome Jim Shepherd into Harrogate's cornet section for this contest. A 'legend' amongst cornet players, Jim was for many years the principal cornet player of the Black Dyke Mills Band before forming his own Jim Shepherd Versatile Brass ensemble. Oddly enough Rienzi was Jim's first contest piece with Black Dyke way back in 1962! The Yeovil Entertainments Contest is traditionally the first event in the year's contest calendar and many of the top bands are invited to take part. This year The Harrogate Band were invited to compete, another sure sign of the Band's growing reputation and national stature, and in spite of the long distances involved we did not hesitate in accepting the invitation. We were generally satisfied with the 9th place: quite an achievement amongst such impressive competition and enough to qualify for a return invitation in 2006. Naturally Band members took full advantage of a weekend away and a good time was had by all! The Band then defended its title as "Buxton Champions", unsuccessfully as it turned out, but with a spirited performance of Connotations by Edward Gregson. This piece was also our test piece for the following Saturday's contest in Blackpool, the "Senior Trophy" - part of the Spring Festival which leads ultimately to the Grand Shield and the British Open. It is a very exciting contest attended by Championship section bands from all around the UK and competition was fierce! This is the first time the Band has competed in this event, and our placing secured our continuing entry for next year.

Whit Friday - Another first for the Band was its attendance at this year's Whit Friday March contests in the villages around Saddleworth. Individual members of the band had competed before, but not the Band as a whole. The band entered 6 of the 12 contests in the Saddleworth area (with another 11 taking place around Tameside) and was delighted to be awarded 3rd place at Dobcross against stiff competition across the contests from veterans of Whit Friday, such as Brighouse, Fodens, Black Dyke and YBS.

David's Decade - It is 10 years since David Lancaster took up the post of Musical Director for the Harrogate Band. Chairman Steve Morland explained: "It's hard to believe that it's a decade since I had the pleasure of inviting David to become our MD. He has proven not only to be a superb MD for the band - evident in our variety of triumphs in concert and contest alike - but also a hard-working and passionate band member, an industrious composer/arranger and a fine ambassador within Northern Banding circles." A decade of constant progress, achievement and diversification has followed, and we look forward our many future successes together.

Band Room Renovation - A new kitchen area was added to the band room last summer. More recently the redecoration and other finishing touches were completed. A "Grand Re-Opening" of the band room is planned for Saturday 29th October, in the evening. Any friends of the Band who would like to attend are more than welcome. Please contact any member for further details.

Harrogate National Finals - As with all major events and particularly contests, there is a need for many people to help make the event run smoothly. Members of the Harrogate Band were on hand over the weekend of the National Brass Band Championship Finals at the Harrogate International Conference Centre. In addition to assisting with stewarding duties, the Band also provided two rehearsal facilities for visiting bands - which 22 of the bands took advantage of. Bands are already making bookings for our rehearsal facilities for the 2005 contest in September.

For One Night Only - In a reprise of our successful joint concert, Thank You for the Music, earlier this year - with a few programme changes, the Band and the Harrogate St Andrews Players raised over £2000 for the Harrogate Theatre Forward Appeal. The song and dance of the Players was equally matched by some deft and jazzy footwork by the band in some choreographed numbers such as Kongolea and Swing, Swing, Swing.

Ladies hit 100 - The Band was delighted to help Harrogate Ladies College celebrate its centenary last year. Together with the Harrogate Male Voice Choir a splendid joint concert was given in a large marquee in the grounds of the college. Fortified by a pre-concert "hog roast" the Band and Choir demonstrated the best of Harrogate music making to a large and appreciative audience

Castle Howard - One of our more unusual engagements took place at Castle Howard when we were asked to play for the departing guests at a private party. Arranged on the lawn in front of the main entrance, after we'd set up and had some refreshments, we awaited the end of the party. As with all such events the timing was somewhat awry and it was well past midnight when our fanfare trumpeters finally got the signal to lead the guests, in an impromptu triple canon, out onto the terrace to be greeted by the band's torch-lit performance.

Les Mackown - Les, who was one of the original members of the Band in 1970, has retired from his position as Librarian of the Band. After many years as a player, on tenor horn and, even more importantly, as the Band's Secretary for a good part of its first 20 years, Les can truly be regarded as one of the Harrogate Band's founding fathers who was responsible for much of the Band's organisational strength, a legacy we continue to enjoy and maintain today. In recognition of his services and to mark his retirement, the Band were delighted to give a presentation to Les last year during our concert at the Wetherby Riverside Bandstand. We wish him the very best for the future and would take this extra opportunity to thank him for all his work over the years.

Friends of the Band - If you'd like to play a more active part in supporting the band - there is a whole range of possibilities, you don't need to be able to play an instrument! -please let us know.

Email News - If you would like to receive occasional news from the Band via email, just let us have your name and email address.

Future Engagements - 29-Sep-05 Music for Fireworks, Leeds
8-Oct-05 St John's Church, Bilton, 7.30pm
29-Oct-05 Band Room Re-Opening
6-Nov-05 Malton Contest, Malton
13-Nov-05 Remembrance Service, Stonefall
20-Nov-05 Wilkinsons Contest, St Helen's
24-Nov-05 Christmas Lights, Harrogate
3-Dec-05 Christmas Market, Harrogate
9-Dec-05 Memorial Hall, Pateley Bridge
11-Dec-05 St Michael's Hospice, Harrogate
17-Dec-05 Mart Theatre, Skipton
21-Dec-05 St Mark's Church, Harrogate (with Tewit Youth Band)
14-Jan-06 Starbeck Methodist Church
4-Feb-06 Yeovil Contest
26-Feb-06 Gala Concert, Ripon Cathedral
19-Mar-06 Northern Championships
For further details of any of these, please see the website or contact the Band via the numbers below.

Keeping in touch - For further information see the Band's award-winning and world-famous website: If you have any news or information you would like to see in future issues, please let the Editor know. For queries about our engagements or to book the band, please contact Liz Lancaster on 01423-522643, for any other information contact Gavin Holman


Ripon Cathedral Gala Concert - Our forthcoming Gala Concert to be held in Ripon Cathedral on Sunday February 26th 2006, will be feature our guest percussionist, Simone Rebello, who is internationally acclaimed for her solo performances and also her work with percussion groups. She will be playing a newly commissioned piece for marimba by Damien Harron together with other items. This promises to be a great afternoon's entertainment

Swing! - The Band's latest CD, "Swing!"is now available. The Harrogate Band has chosen a broad selection of jazz and swing music, centred around the classics of Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller, Count Basie, Benny Goodman and Ted Heath but also exploring the more modern sounds of Brubeck, Kenton and Abdullah Ibrahim. Brass bands and big bands are from very different musical traditions: the heritage of the traditional British brass band draws largely upon European classical and military music whereas the big band whose swing music became popular in the 30's and 40's were descended from Afro-American jazz and blues. But there are similarities too: both were originally the music of working class peoples and both have survived and continued to evolve and develop in spite of changing fashions and the dominance of pop and rock music. The modern brass band is eclectic in its approach and takes its repertoire from a wide range of musical styles. A typical concert might include marches, solos and serious original band music alongside classical transcriptions, music from stage, screen or television and all kinds of popular styles. This recording is very different: here the Harrogate Band is attempting to cross a musical boundary and in doing so create something quite new, neither one thing nor another but hopefully incorporating the best of both. The Harrogate Band's previous four recordings have each met with great success and we are sure that this one will provide as much pleasure for the listener as we had producing it. The CD is now available from any band member, at concerts or via the website.

Whit Friday CD - The performances at the Delph Whit Friday Contest were recorded and a selection of the best issued on a new CD on the Doyen label including, of course, Harrogate's performance of William Rimmer's march Arabian. The recording also features marches from such famous bands as Black Dyke, Fodens, Besses o' th' Barn and YBS, and it captures the unique atmosphere of Whit Friday. Available from record shops or from or

Contesting - The Band are now looking forward to the 2006 contesting season, which started with a return visit to the Yeovil Championships, and is followed by the North of England Championships and the Spring Festival in Blackpool.

The Big Meeting - The Band took part in the Durham Miners' Gala - the "Big Meeting" - where around 40 bands from the north-east parade through Durham City heading the various miners' organisations and their banners. After a very early start from Harrogate and refreshed on arrival at Trimdon Grange with bacon sandwiches, the band marched through the villages of Trimdon Grange and Kelloe before tackling the long march through Durham itself. En route the band entertained the dignitaries on the balcony of the County Hotel with a rousing performance of Sing, Sing, Sing before marching off to the Racecourse meeting field to enjoy a rest in the sunshine. Later in the afternoon the process was followed in reverse, leaving the band extremely tired, hot and bothered, but having thoroughly enjoyed a unique occasion. It was such a success that the band was quickly invited back to take part in the 2006 Gala by another miners' lodge.

Bar Lines - First in a series of (probably) one.
Following Band practice a number of us go for a drink, and after the usual moans and groans (work, partners, Inland Revenue etc.) the old Banding stories start coming out. It is my intention to record some of these - no names will be mentioned but all are true, and come from Bandsmen who do or have played with Harrogate Band.

  • A band was so sick of practicing a piece (that they had no chance of ever playing well) that one member advertised the full set of music for free in a local newspaper.
  • During a contest performance the Solo Cornet player got lost - The Conductor kept telling him where he should be, "we are at letter E!", "we are at letter G!!". As he brought the performance to an end, and the audience applauded, the Conductor turned to the Solo Cornet player and shouted "YOU STILL DON'T KNOW WHERE THE *$%@#! *@ £ £ WE ARE!"
  • A Soloist was persuaded to wander amongst the Audience as he played his solo. Slightly worried, he asked if the music could be put on a stand in case he forgot some of it. This was duly done, and halfway through his performance he wandered back to the music stand just to refresh his memory. It was hilarious to see him trying to read the music that had been placed on the stand upside down!
  • The place - Wetherby Bandstand, The band - Harrogate, The Soloist begins his performance. The first few bars were his alone and as his sonorous tones entranced the audience he held them spellbound, waiting for the bass line to come in and move the music along. He waited and waited, and eventually the band joined in with Happy Birthday To You. It was his birthday, and he was stitched up good and proper. He thought they were his friends - he should have known better!
    Collected by Keith Graham - baritone extraordinaire.

Tom O'Connor Show - The Band had a busy weekend in the autumn, starting with an appearance in "The Tom O'Connor Variety Show". This Spectacular variety show took place in Harrogate's International Centre, and saw the band sharing billing with Shahid Malik, Andy Eastwood, and the SLP Showstoppers along with the star of the show, Tom O'Connor. The one-night only event was arranged in aid of the Royal Hall Restoration Trust which is working towards restoring Harrogate's magnificent Royal Hall which has faithfully served the people of Harrogate and the surrounding district in many different roles over 100 years, but is currently closed and in need of considerable restoration. The Royal Hall, known originally known as The Kursaal, dates from a time when Harrogate was a popular spa resort with its own professional orchestras and bands, so it seems natural that one of Harrogate's leading groups took part in this event. In fact the Band was one of the last performers in the Royal Hall prior to its closure, in a special concert to raise funds for the appeal.

Whit Friday - Each year on Whit Friday bands from all around the UK (and sometimes further afield) travel to the Saddleworth and Tameside districts around Oldham to take part in the much celebrated Whit Friday 'Quickstep' march contests. The bands travel by coach from one village to the next and upon arrival at each location march a short distance to the arena then play a contest march to the assembled crowd before rushing back to the coach and on to the next village and so on. Brass Bands of all grades take part, from the very best championship bands (Black Dyke, Fodens and YBS were all taking part this year) to the youngest school band, but it is more like a festival than a seriously competitive event and the atmosphere is like nothing else on earth! The Harrogate Band attended for the first time this year, playing William Rimmer's strangely neglected march Arabian. We received many favourable comments for our six performances and were delighted to win third prize at Dobcross, (just behind winners Brighouse and Rastrick and second place Dobcross Silver) and to finish in the top ten at Scouthead and Uppermill contests - not a bad debut at all!

Welcome! - We are pleased to welcome Ian Bryant and Simon Crick to our front row cornet line up, and Andrew Hodge on euphonium.

Flocking to the Mart - The Band was pleased to be the first brass band to perform at the new Mart Theatre in Skipton, when we gave a Christmas Concert there. The Auction Mart which, during the week and daytime is a livestock auction market, is hosed down and converted with staging and ring stall seating into a very presentable theatre holding some 300 people. Both the Band and audience thoroughly enjoyed the experience and we look forward to a return visit this coming Christmas.

Christmas Lights - The Band provided a memorable evening for the audience which filled St John's Church, Bilton, recently. The concert had been organised by the ladies of Harrogate Soroptomists in order to raise money to pay for the town's Christmas lights. The Band began with the rousing O Fortuna from Carmina Burana and included in their programme a wide range of music, from Londonderry Air to a new arrangement of the march from Things to Come by Sir Arthur Bliss. The Band featured a number of soloists too, notably Adrian Lowes who dazzled the audience with his rendition of Rhapsody for Euphonium by James Curnow, and Jo Campbell whose brilliant playing of Queen of the Night's Aria from The Magic Flute anticipated the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth next year. The first half ended with a musical magic carpet ride which explored the exotic sounds of the middle east, including Duke Ellington's Caravan, The Sheik of Araby (featuring principal cornet player Robert Illsley), The Wedding by Abdullah Ibrahim (with Lynne Stockdale on flugel) and to end the first half: Bacchanale from Samson and Delilah by Saint-Saens. In the second half the band accompanied guest soloist Laura Jackson, whose lovely voice was hear in three contrasting songs: Over the Rainbow, Somewhere from West Side Story and Rusalka's Song to the Moon by Dvorak. The second half also included a selection of music from the band's recently recorded 'Swing' CD and concert ended with the lively Can-Can. The warm reaction from the appreciative audience drew an expected encore from the band: Sing, Sing, Sing which not only featured the band's percussion section but also some stylish (?) dancing from the cornets!

Cupboard to Contests - The band's youngest member, front row cornet player Dave Smith, owes his band career thanks to a chance finding in a cupboard. Just imagine if you were playing football for the youth team and suddenly a week later you found yourself strutting your stuff on a pitch with the premiership seniors. Such has been the progress of Dave Smith known, in a band full of Davids, as 'Baby Dave'. Dave started playing aged just 7 after finding a trumpet in his Dad's cupboard. He joined Harrogate Band from Tewit Youth Band in 2003 playing in his first contest just months later. Lobbing Dave a flippant question asking him if he'd found a clarinet in the cupboard how his life would be different, elicits an unusually serious answer, 'I'm sure I would have practised it, maybe I could have played the clarinet who knows?' On reflection Dave confesses that the reason he loves the brass band world, thankfully devoid of clarinets, is the not just the variety of music, his current penchant is for jazz, but for the sheer thrill of competing. He becomes animated when asked about next years Areas, "I'm really looking forward to them" he says eagerly, " I can't wait, it's what brass bands are all about." Such an upbeat response about the band's most important but nerve racking competition is rare compared to a more seasoned band member who may be more battle-scarred from years of grind on the competition circuit. Ask him for his favourite banding moment and the response is instant, "winning that time at Malton, absolutely fantastic, it was my first contest with the band and we won, you can't beat that feeling of getting it right on the contest stage, everything clicks together, brilliant"y. Getting it right on the contest stage is one of the best qualities Dave has to offer, perhaps because youth is on his side. There are many good older players out there who in rehearsal give the conductor no concern but under the bright lights of the contest stage suffer from nerves and anxiety. He has increasingly shown it is borne of natural talent and hard work (he practices most days). Dave features on the new band jazz CD with the cornet solo "I know why and so do you", arranged by David Lancaster, the first time another cornet soloist has made it onto a band recording other than principal cornet player Robert Illsley. Putting yourself up on a CD against the best cornet player the band's ever had takes courage but, listening to the recording, he holds his own, demonstrating with ease his ability to switch from a muscular trumpet style to a sweeter cornet sound throughout the piece. So what's next for the 19 year old? "My ambition is always to learn, to be a better player - to improve", something he can clearly do according to principle cornet player Robert Illsley, "He's got potential and with concentration and a structured approach to his playing he is a principle of the future" something Rob will be hoping, at least at Harrogate Band, won't be for while yet.

A Piece of History - The Band has recently been given an early photograph of one of the original Harrogate Bands. Thought to be that of Harrogate Temperance Prize Band from around the 1890s, not long after that band was formed. The picture shows the full band outside a large tent - possibly at one of the various shows or galas at the time. Anyone with any further information about this picture, or with any similar material from local bands of earlier days is invited to contact Gavin Holman.

Harrogate National Finals - The 2005 National Brass Band Championship Finals were held once again at the Harrogate International Conference Centre. The band provided two rehearsal facilities for visiting bands - which some 20 of the bands took advantage of.

Friends of the Band - If you'd like to play a more active part in supporting the band - there is a whole range of possibilities, you don't need to be able to play an instrument! -please let us know.

Email News - If you would like to receive occasional news from the Band via email, just let us have your name and email address.

Future Engagements - 26-Feb-06 - Gala Concert, Ripon Cathedral, with Simone Rebello
19-Mar-06 - Northern Championships
29-Apr-06 - Ripon Races
7-May-06 - Buxton Contest
13-May-06 - Spring Festival, Blackpool
20-May-06 - Holy Trinity Church, Ripon
3-Jun-06 - Lancaster Cathedral
9-Jun-06 - Whit Friday March Contests
17-Jun-06 - Askham Bryan College
24-Jun-06 - Easingwold March Contest
8-Jul-06 - Durham Miners' Gala
21-Jul-06 - Harrogate Theatre
23-Jul-06 - Wetherby Bandstand
30-Jul-06 - Valley Gardens, Harrogate
3-Sep-06 - Horsforth Hall Park
10-Sep-06 - Hardraw Scar Contest
13-Nov-06 - Stonefall Remembrance
23-Nov-06 - Christmas Lights, Harrogate
11-Dec-06 - St Michael's Hospice
16-Dec-06 - Skipton Auction Mart
For further details of any of these, please see the website or contact the Band via the numbers below.

Keeping in touch - For further information see the Band's world-famous website: If you have any news or information you would like to see in future issues, please let the Editor know. For queries about our engagements or to book the band, please contact Liz Lancaster on 01423-522643, for any other information contact Gavin Holman

Editor - Gavin Holman - Email: