Sound of music: Rochdale to break 14-year silence with brass band bonanza

Rochdale Town Hall will break a 14-year silence when it once again hosts a brass band bonanza this weekend. 

Many years have passed since the traditional chimes of brass echoed inside the gothic walls of the town hall.

Since then a public demand for Rochdale’s very own brass association grew, with townsfolk putting their ambitions together with the 60-year-old North West Amateur Brass Band Association.

NWABBA Chairman, Richard Milton said: “Since we brought back brass here it’s snowballed really. 

“Eventually, I’d love for this to become an annual event, with bands competing from all over the UK over but for now I am very pleased with response we’ve had.”

Paul Keogh chairman of Denton Brass association for 15 years, is no stranger to the hardships that have hit the brass scene. 

He said: “There were three contests that we used to have this time of year, but they all disappeared down to lack money and younger people not getting involved with organising.  

“We now hope Sunday could be a turning point. We’ve rebuilt over the last few years and there’s some good bands so were expecting a tough challenge.”

Since the announcement of this Sunday’s competition brass sections from all over the North West have showed a desire to showcase their credentials.

The Pennine divide has long been an area of intense rivalry, with respective town’s from both sides of the border competing for the crown of this year’s championships, with bands arriving from St Helen’s to Barnsley involved.

Mr Milton said: “We had interest from as far afield as Jersey, so it just shows we are doing the right things.

“We have a real love from brass here in the north so it would be wonderful to repay that faith again this weekend.”

The event is also an ode to the faith and income placed in art and music nationwide.

In April 2012 Arts Council England (ACE) committed to make an investment of £176,000 in the British Federation of Brass Bands (BFBB), choosing them as their chosen national strategic partner for developing and supporting brass band music making in England until 2015.

Since then an almighty 400% increase on their £45,000 core revenue funding for BFBB has occurred over the last three years.

Cabinet member for culture in Rochdale, Daalat Ali, said: “There are about 30 bands expected and it’s great to have it back at Rochdale town hall, and you hope it will become annual in the near future.”

The event opens doors from 9.30am with tickets for the contest will be available on the day priced at £5.

Image courtesy of Mossley Brass association, with thanks.

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