Pennine Brass – A New Band with a Winning Touch
Who are Pennine Brass? The newest band in Yorkshire - in our knowledge
were formed in March 1999, will appear on the runners and riders
list in the Championship Section at the 2002 Yorkshire Area contest.
For a band that has just made the last great leap into contesting’s
hardest arena – and in Yorkshire for that matter, this is an amazing
achievement. But where did they appear from?
Given a 2nd Section grading by the Yorkshire Area Contest Committee,
they were formed by seven founder members and a Musical Director
to enable them to realise their playing ambitions free from band
politics often associated with well established bands. To this effect
all band meetings are open to members with a small Management Team
in place to deal with official matters where required. With such
a democratic start to their life, it is of no wonder they opt for
the age old latin motto to show the banding world what they are
all about. “Quo Flatus Impellerent, Promoveres” – “Go with the wind
dude” or 'Quo Plus Sunt Potae, Plus Sitiuntur Aquae – “The more
you drink, the thirstier you become” - True banding mottos!
So how did they start a band with absolutely nothing bar 7 players?
A fighting fund was set up within hours of the first meeting with
members, families and friends providing over £2500, allowing the
purchase of three 2nd hand basses. Fortunately most players who
have since joined have their own instruments and some have even
bought their own so even though there is a full instruments line
up, most of the instruments do not belong to the band. The ability
to provide instruments is a constant worry, with players bringing
any spares that they have for general use and general fundraising
is now a priority for the band to increase their stock. In the last
few months they have been able to purchase two new Eb Basses and
a full set of percussion!
Even though the band had early success there was still the need
to recruit more players and by the first years end the ‘magnificent
seven’ (a piece unbelievably not yet in the repertoire!) were joined
by friends and past playing colleagues, swelling numbers almost
immediately to 17. New signings quickly took the total of registered
players to the maximum allowed of 35.
The band fulfilled a hectic schedule of engagements throughout
the summer of 1999, with its then Musical Director, Paul Fligg,
waiving his fees with the bands first performance being under a
tarpaulin at a surprise birthday party in May 1999! The bands first
competition was at a local march contest in the freezing cold and
rain with no jackets to wear whilst their first contest success
was at the Northern Open in 1999 where the band rehearsed opposite
the Institute for the Deaf and shored up an Eb Bass for a borrowed
player with insulation tape!
Strangely, after the tarpaulin and march contest incidents all
members then agreed to buy their own jackets and in an attempt to
raise desperately needed funds the band performed seven times in
the August of 1999, including twice in one day! The band will unveil
stage jackets in their distinctive 'burnt orange' colours in May
Following the loss of their Musical Director due to relocation,
the band appointed Ian Porthouse to lead the band into the 21st
Century. The story goes that when he responded to the advert the
band secretary said, "Who? Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
The problem remained however of how to pay for a professional such
as Ian so Pennine Brass became a subscription band and formed a
100 club to cover the his expenses.
And so the band has gone from strength to strength since those
hard days – days that many bands can identify with. Since Ian Porthouse’s
appointment the band has tasted more and more contest success, with
2000 seeing them win the Yorkshire Area Second Section Championships
and go to Royal Albert Hall to secure the runners-up spot at the
Finals. 2001 less successful and in the past month the band secured
the runners –up spot in the First Section Regional Championships in
Yorkshire – a result that sees them again competing at the National
Finals, this time in Preston later in the year.
There is a good argument to suggest that band in the twenty first
century is going to be tough – both musically and financially. Pennine
Brass has shown that with commitment and dedication and a huge amount
of talent banding can be both rewarding and successful.
As their motto suggests – “Go With The Wind, Dude”
The tale of the tape:
Northern Open champions (Section B) in November 1999
3rd place (Section B) in the 2000 Rochdale Brass competition
Yorkshire Area champions (Section 2) in March 2000
Promotion to Section 1
Top 10 finishes, including 3rd at Greenfield and Best Section
2 Band prizes at the world famous Whit Friday March competitions
2nd place at the inaugural Brighouse March contest
Virtual clean sweep of the prizes at the Marsden March competition
2nd place at the Millennium National Brass Band finals (Section
2) held at the Royal Albert Hall in October 2000
2nd place (Section B) Northern Open 2000
Widnes Open Champions 2000 (Section B)
1st Section National Finalists 2001
Promotion to Championship Section
Information & Contact:
18, Grasmere Road, Marsh. Huddersfield. HD1 4LJ Telephone: 01484