I gather that Grimethorpe Colliery Band is to invite me to be their honorary president, which would indeed be a great honour. In any case, I was delighted to meet and learn about one of Yorkshire’s, and indeed Europe’s, top brass bands.
It turns out that brass bands, rather like football teams, have a national league system with regular contests, promotion and relegation. Grimethorpe has been successful for decades in these contests, having won the (UK-wide) national championships four times and the English championships twice. They are the current British Open champions, and recently represented England in a European contest in Norway, finishing in second place. (As in football, and indeed many things, qualifying for Europe is a top aspiration!)
The band also recorded the soundtrack for the smash-hit British film Brassed Off (thinly disguised as “Grimley Colliery” in the script), and has premiered several major musical works in its 99-year history.
At the moment they are working with composer Nigel Clarke, who is also closely involved in the new Creatives4EU campaign. Nigel introduced me to Grimethorpe’s musical director, Bob Childs — a distinguished conductor and former euphonium player for the world-famous Black Dyke band (which is directed by his brother!).