There is never a more interesting time for a group of musicians than preparing for a national competition.
Members of Brindle Brass Band are gearing up to show what they are made of as they are to compete the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain on September 16.
They won their place after coming third in the regional heat in Blackpool earlier this year and are confident they can bring home the trophy.
Band member Laurence Kellet says: “Getting this far is a huge achievement for the band.
“Spirits are high, motivation is through the roof and seeing the fruits of our labour pay off is an incredibly rewarding feeling. Placing third in the regionals and qualifying for the nationals in itself is a proud moment - where we place in Cheltenham will be the icing on the cake.”
This is just one pinnacle of the band’s 213-year history, which has included entertaining crowds at Preston North End matches and playing with comedian Russ Abbott.
Brindle Brass Band can be traced right back to 1814 as a drum and fife ban.
The group was formed by local grocer John Rigby and he was soon backed by local land and mill owners.
The band changed to brass instruments around 1835 and was soon gaining a reputation around the area for its performances at local fetes and church walking days.
Members started entering contests and made steady progress up the rankings competing against famous bands such as Black Dyke and Brighouse and Rastrick.
During the 1950 and 60s the band would entertain the crowds at Preston North End and as the players ran out on to the pitch, they’d play the signature tune Margie. Around the late 60s a need to buy new instruments meant a change of direction was needed.
Under the leadership of the then conductor Richard Evans, Brindle Show Band evolved, which consisted of 35 performers including guitarist, singers, dancers and a compere and they soon gained rave reviews through out club land playing to packed house were ever they were booked.
For a while during the 1980s the band was sponsored by the Lancashire Evening Post, playing at many events throughout the country such as the first flight of Concorde at Manchester Airport and at St Catherine’s Dock in London, where Russ Abbott conducted the band.
Like many bands, Brindle suffered with lack membership in the late 1980s and stopped competing and often struggled to fulfil its engagements.
But the group prides itself on never folding, as it witnessed many others disbanding or merging with others.
Member Dave Jordan adds: “Over the last 18 months the band has seen an upturn in fortunes. The band now boast having 35 members a mix of youngsters and older players have seen the band starting to build its reputation on the contesting stage collecting eight trophies in the last 12 months, culminating in qualifying for the national finals in September the first time since 1968. The whole band can’t believe how quick things have turned around but know that the hard work is only just beginning.
“We are currently raising money for this and recently walked from the band room at Walton-le-Dale around the Guild Wheel and back, raising around £1,000.”
Brindle Brass Band meets on Thursdays from 8pm until 9.45pm at Walton-le-Dale Community Centre, in Higher Walton Road.
In the run up to big event, such as the championships next month, members extend the practice to Monday nights also.
Laurence adds: “Brindle Brass Band is a great little community of like-minded people and musicians.
“Not only is it a creative outlet but also a great laugh with a fantastic bunch of people. It’s a hobby that opens doors to meet new people, play new pieces, go to new places and progress.”