Brass band a mine of musical talent
A BRASS band whose sounds started from the mines and have continued for more than a century will be blowing away a Stevenage audience this weekend.
The Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band come to the Gordon Craig Theatre on Sunday with musicians intent on continuing a 127-year-old tradition.
The band was started on May 22, 1884, in the village of South Elmsall, West Yorkshire. The original bandsmen worked in the local limekilns, quarries and brickyards and spent one of their first engagements playing at Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee celebrations.
Following the sinking of Frickley Colliery in 1905, the band was known as the South Elmsall and Frickley Colliery Band and won its first major title under that name in 1922, The British Open Championship.
A year later the band adopted its current name from the then mine owners, the Carlton Main Coal Company. The next 50 years saw the band at the very top of the brass band movement, winning almost every major title.
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Following the miners’ strike in 1984/1985 and the eventual closure of Frickley Colliery in 1993, the band was reduced to just six members.
Despite numerous other mining bands folding as a result, Frickley Colliery fought back and were crowned Yorkshire champions in 1999.
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More than a decade on, the band continues to compete at the highest level. Last year it was ranked number 10 in the world and will be representing Yorkshire at the Royal Albert Hall National Finals later this year for the fourth consecutive occasion.
Since its formation the band has made more than 200 BBC broadcasts and performed at many of the top UK and European venues.
Members have also accompanied artists including Paul Robeson, Cleo Lane, Julian Lloyd Webber, Nigel Kennedy and Tony Capstick, with whom they reached number three in the UK charts with Capstick Comes Home.
In their current ranks is multi-award-winning principal cornet player Kirsty Abbotts, who has been crowned the solo champion of Great Britain and best soloist at the English Nationals.
So expect majestic sounds live and loud when the Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band take to the stage at 7.45pm on Sunday, March 25.
For tickets, which cost �19, contact the box office on 01438 363200 or visit www.gordon-craig.co.uk