If your soul is soothed and your spirits are inspired by the soaring sounds of brass band music, there’s only one place to be this weekend.

Top bands from all over the south will be setting their sights on Stevenage’s Gordon Craig Theatre, which hosts the London & Southern Counties Region of the National Brass Bands Championships of Great Britain on Saturday and Sunday.

Fans of the film Brassed Off will know that this hard-fought contest culminates in London’s Royal Albert Hall – but before that bands have to battle their way through regional qualifiers.

At the Gordon Craig musicians from all over the south will be showing that brass band brilliance is not confined to former coalfield areas – among those competing will be members of the Hitchin Band, promoted to the first section – the second tier of five divisions – this year to compete against rivals from as far afield as Jersey as well as neighbouring Bedford, Cambridge and Ware. Further down the pecking order, Letchworth Garden City Band competes in the third section.

Competition continues in the concert hall throughout both days – standard admission is £11.50 but you can bag a weekend ticket for £16.

Call 01438 363 200 or visit www.gordon-craig.co.uk for detailed times.