Come and Play: a Brass Instrument

Young participant at the 2015 Come and Play: a Brass Instrument event (photo: Keith Meadley Photography)

Make some noise  at the NCEM on Sunday 31 January, where there’s a chance to try out brass instruments as part of our family-friendly ‘Come and Play’ workshop for the York Residents’ Festival 2016.

Drop in to the informal workshop at any time between 11.00am and 1.00pm to have a go on brass instruments from cornets and tenor horns to trombones and tubas. The workshop is suitable for complete beginners of all ages, but we would also like to encourage people who already play a brass instrument (or who used to) to come along and try our range of instruments and discover the fun of playing in a brass band.

The workshop will be followed at 2.30pm by a short concert called ‘A Young Person’s Guide to the Brass Band’, a fun introduction to the instruments of the brass band through a selection of popular tunes. It’s performed by the York RI Golden Rail Band and the York RI Development Band and players from the morning session can choose to join in with the Development Band on one easy number if they wish. There will be another chance to have a go on the brass instruments after the concert for those unable to make the morning session.

Both events are free. There is no need to book for the workshop but pre-booking is advised for the concert through the NCEM box office on 01904 658338 or online. The NCEM (National Centre for Early Music) is at St Margaret’s Church, Walmgate, York YO1 9TL.

Read a review of last year’s successful Come and Play: a Brass Instrument workshop at the NCEM here.

Young players from the RI bands tuning up for last year’s York Residents Festival (photo: Keith Meadley Photography)

Come and play: a brass instrument (lessons and family concert)

Katie NCEM 2012

Brassed On York Ltd is pleased to announce that our 2015 programme commences on Sunday 1 February with ‘Come and play: a brass instrument’  as part of the York Residents Festival 2015.

The event, at York’s NCEM, offers free lessons in the morning, followed by a family-friendly concert, ‘A Young Person’s Guide to the Brass Band’  in the afternoon. It’s an opportunity for all ages to ‘have a go’ on a brass (or percussion) instrument, as well as to enjoy a relaxed and fun concert demonstrating the range and versatility of brass-band instruments.

Both the lessons and the concert are free.

Lessons commence in the morning on Sunday 1 February from 10.30am and run in 30-minute slots from 10.30am-11.00; 11.00am-11.30; 11.30-12.00 and 12.00-12.30pm. They are available on a first-come, first-served basis.  You don’t need to have to have played a brass instrument before, nor do you need to be able to read music. There’s an opportunity for players to learn a simple tune and join in with the afternoon concert, if wished. Lessons will be taken by the Music Directors of the York Railway Institute Bands and instruments will be provided. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

The concert, A Young Person’s Guide to the Brass Band, commences at 2.30pm and features performances by the York RI Golden Rail Development Band (some of who began their playing careers after coming along to a session like this!) and their sister band, the York RI Golden Rail Band. The afternoon will conclude with another chance for audience members to have a go on brass instruments in an informal setting. The event finishes at 4.00pm. (Advance booking through the NCEM advised.)

For further information, email or go to Brass Bands and Young People to read more about this and previous Young Person’s Guide to the Brass Band concerts organised by Brassed On York Ltd and York brass bands.

York Residents Festival is a weekend of events co-ordinated by Visit York




Tour de Force!

Our Tour de Brass for the Yorkshire Festival 2014 saw Brassed On York Ltd presenting nine regional brass band concerts across Yorkshire over the weekend of 21 and 22 June 2014 on, or close to, the two routes of the Grand Depart of the Tour de France.

We are very grateful to the participating bands, who took on the job of organising the concerts in their locales, from bandstands to carnivals and from car parks to town squares, Yorkshire’s brass bands were out in force and proved there really is nothing like a brass band for drawing the crowds!

Albums of all the band photos we received from that weekend have been posted on the Brassed On! York Facebook page, but we’ve put up a selection here to give a flavour.

Our thanks to Ripon City Band, Leyburn Band, Otley Band, Muker Silver Band, Elland Silver Band and Elland Silver Youth Band, Hade Edge Band, Hebden Bridge Band and Knaresborough Silver Band for taking part. If we haven’t featured photos of your band, please send us some!

  Hade Edge Band outside their state-of-the-art bandroom (photo: Kay Brown)
Tour De Brass at Otley and Brighouse Tom Arber-26
Otley Brass Band at Otley Carnival (photo: Tom Arber)
Tour De Brass at Otley and Brighouse Tom Arber-107
Elland Silver Youth Band at Brighouse, conducted by Samantha Harrison (Photo: Tom Arber)
Muker Silver Band played on the village green in tiny Muker, in Richmondshire
TourdeBrass 21June2014 011
Ripon City Band in the Market Square, Ripon
Hebden Bridge Band in St George’s Square, Hebden Bridge (photo: Judith Baron)

Brassed On – on film!

We are pleased to announce that our film of the Brassed On weekend in York, which included the Yorkshire Prom at York Barbican with the world-famous Black Dyke Band, is now available to view on the Brassed On York YouTube channel.

The short film shows clips of most of the brass bands playing in York on Saturday 21 June 2014, including Shepherd Group Brass Band, Shepherd Group Concert Brass Band, Shepherd Group Brass Academy, Shepherd Group Youth Band, York Railway Institute Band, York RI Golden Rail Band, York RI Golden Rail Development Band, Ebor Brass and Wetherby Silver Band. It also features New York Brass Band, which played in Parliament Street on Sunday 22 June.

The footage was shot by photographer Ryan Sandford-Blackburn and edited by Karl Birrane . It’s a great memento of the weekend, which was part of the Yorkshire-wide Tour de Brass organised by Brassed On York Ltd for the Yorkshire Festival 2014. We hope you enjoy it!


Bands fill York with sound of brass

Photos from the brass band showcase in York for Brassed On, part of the Yorkshire Festival 2014

It’s been a couple of months since our most successful Brassed On festival to date, which was part of the fantastic Yorkshire Festival 2014, and now we’ve had the chance to sit back and recover we would like to share some of the images with you. The following is a very small selection from the Brass Bands Showcase in York on Saturday 21 June 2014 – you can see all the albums on our Facebook page.

York RI Golden Rail Development Band has players of all ages
York RI Golden Rail Development Band has players of all ages
Kippax Brass Band give a lively performance in the Entertainment Marquee
Kippax Brass Band give a lively performance in the Entertainment Marquee
Shepherd Group Youth Band underway in Coppergate
Shepherd Group Brass Academy - a band for beginners of all ages
Shepherd Group Brass Academy – where the bandsmen and women of the future start!
Ebor Brass complete the day’s banding in Coppergate
York Railway Institute Band in Parliament Street
York Railway Institute Band in Parliament Street
York RI Golden Rail Band in Coppergate (with Brassed On director Kate Lock on trombone)
York RI Golden Rail Band (with Brassed On directors Kate Lock on solo trombone and Bruce Jackson on solo euphonium)
Shepherd Group Senior Band wow the audience
Shepherd Group Senior Band wow the audience in the Entertainment Marquee
Shepherd Group Concert Brass Band in action
Shepherd Group Concert Brass Band in action
Wetherby Silver Band
Wetherby Silver Band opens proceedings in the Entertainment Marquee in Parliament Street

Yorkshire spirit celebrated in brass and bikes

Cyclist Mike Hughes gives the yellow baton to compere Ian McMillan, watched by Prof Nick Childs and Yorkshire Youth Brass Band (photo: Robin Jackson)

A special Yorkshire Prom with the Black Dyke Band as part of the festivities for the Tour de France featured almost 700 people singing Yorkshire’s ‘anthem’ ‘On Ilkla Moor Baht’at’, a poetic brass-band love story and a cyclist pedalling on stage to present a yellow baton to conductor Nicholas Childs.
The Black Dyke concert at York Barbican on 22 June was the highlight of a weekend of concerts presented by Brassed On York Ltd showcasing brass bands for the Yorkshire Festival 2014 – the first arts festival to precede the Tour de France in its 111 year history.
The first half of the programme, compered by BBC Radio York and Leeds presenter David Hoyle, was broadcast on 13 July on his show, Yorkshire Brass and featured a blistering opener of Black Dyke’s signature march Queensbury, followed by Mendelssohn’s Ruy Blas and the hymn tune Crimond. Solos were by flugel player Zoe Hancock, who gave a lyrical performance of Philip Harper’s Dreams and Dances, a piece written specially for her, and Gary Curtin who, as one audience member noted, ‘Did things you shouldn’t be able to do with a euphonium’ in Carnival of Venus. The set wound up with a Big Band medley that saw Dyke let their collective hair down and swing to the beat of Song of the Volga Boatmen (arr. Sandy Smith), Alan Fernie’s arrangement of Wonderful World and Sing Sing Sing (arr Dan Price), which had the audience cheering to the rafters.
Hoyle handed over to Yorkshire poet Ian McMillan for the Yorkshire-themed second half, who reprised his concert poem Brass, set to music by Philip Wilby (an original commission that premiered with Black Dyke in 2010).

Poet Ian McMillan chats with Nick Childs in rehearsal at York Barbican
Poet Ian McMillan chats with Nick Childs in rehearsal at York Barbican

The poem – an evocative, humorous, moving and magical commentary in words and music – centres on a romance in a brass band and captured the essence of brass bands, their music and their place at the heart of communities with McMillan’s down-to-earth affection, unsentimental honesty, Yorkshire grit – and not a little awe.
Before that, the set was opened by the Yorkshire Youth Brass Band playing Jonathan Bates’ innovative Old London Town. The talented teenagers were joined on stage – and in the percussion section for Dan Price’s Blue Thunder – by cyclist Mike Hughes, who was riding in the Marie Curie Power Peloton ahead of the first stage of the Grand Depart. After handing over a specially made yellow baton he pedalled off, leaving Professor Childs to pick up the Yorkshire theme with Haworth Impression by Gordon Langford and Flourish by Paul Sherman (featuring cornet legend Richard Marshall), followed by the Yorkshire Festival song, The Big Wide, arranged by Brassed On York director and composer David Lancaster. The evening, which closed with Parry’s Jerusalem, a sing-song of On Ilkla Moor and a gallop through the William Tell Overture, received a standing ovation and its enthusiastic reception was broadcast on BBC Radio York on 6 July to round off Tour de France celebrations.
‘It was an amazing event,’ said Brassed On York director Kate Lock. ‘People came who wouldn’t perhaps normally come to hear a brass band, because it was part of the Yorkshire Festival 2014, which gave it lots of additional exposure. And they were absolutely blown away by what they heard. One of the themes for the festival was world-class talent, and Black Dyke certainly gave them that.’
The concert was the finale of the Tour de Brass, a series of concerts in locations that were on, or close to, the two routes that the Tour de France took through Yorkshire. Twenty-two brass bands took part in the weekend of events, which organisers Brassed On York Ltd estimate reached a total audience of 6,000.

Black Dyke with Nick Childs performing at the Yorkshire Prom



Thank you for being part of it!

New York Brass Band at the Food Festival Marquee in York’s Parliament Street


We have been thrilled by the success of this year’s Brassed On York and the Tour de Brass. And we hope you have enjoyed being part of it as much as we have!

The programme was presented as part of the Yorkshire Festival 2014, the cultural festival for the Tour de France. The festival organisers and sponsors, Yorkshire Water, are keen to hear from people who attended the events and get your feedback on the experience.

Can you take a few minutes to give us your views, please? There’s a simple survey online here. Everyone that enters stands a chance of winning prizes, from overnight accommodation to theatre trips and much more!

Thank you!