A brand new and uplifting four-part docuseries has been announced by Sky Arts that will follow Britain’s biggest and most celebrated Brass Bands and their larger-than-life members as they prepare to compete in some of Britain’s most prestigious Brass Band competitions.
Battle of the Brass Bands is made by award-winning production company Twofour on behalf of Sky Arts and will showcase the extraordinary talents of some of the most skilled Brass Band players across the country. Each episode will document the highs and the lows of the featured Brass Bands as they go head-to-head against each other and their competitors.
Will it be Brighouse & Rastrick or the Fairey Band that triumph at the Whit Friday contest? Can Rhondda Valley’s Cory defend its title at the oldest musical contest in the world; The British Open? Who will reign victorious at the National Championships of Great Britain at The Royal Albert Hall? And how will the UK’s top Brass Bands fair against the US’s number one The Fountain City Brass Band at the The Brass in Concert competition in Gateshead?
This extraordinary new series will air from 20 August 2019 on Sky Arts, the UK’s only TV channel dedicated to arts, music and culture, and will also be available for streaming on NOW TV.
Speaking about this new, uplifting series, Phil Edgar-Jones Director of Sky Arts said: “We are delighted to be presenting Battle of the Brass Bands on Sky Arts in August, Brass Bands are one of the longest running music traditions in British history and we are looking forward to celebrating and highlighting the role that Brass Bands play in our cultural landscape, and to display the high level of skill and dedication that these musicians give to their art”
Speaking about the new series, Twofour Neil Edwards, Head of Specialist Factual Programming at Twofour Broadcast and Series Director said “Making these films was a total privilege and an absolute revelation. If you think the world of Brass Bands is all flat caps and whippets, think again. These are amateur musicians playing to an Olympic standard. The competition pieces feature some of the finest and technically challenging music I’ve ever heard, presented in some of Britain’s most prestigious and iconic venues. I challenge anyone to experience the thrill of these competitions and not be converted into a brass fan for the rest of their lives. I’m delighted that Sky Arts have chosen to highlight this talented, fiercely competitive, frighteningly committed and completely unique community of British musicians.”
Battle of the Brass Bands is commissioned for Sky Arts by Shirley Jones, and produced by Twofour, with David Clews as Executive Producer, Gill Hennessy as Series Producer and Neil Edwards as Series Director.
The Fairey Band took part in the inaugural Brass Pass Band of the Year Contest on Saturday 22nd of June at Stoller Hall, Manchester.
The band played a diverse programme full of great music from the likes of Berlioz, Peter Graham, Howard Snell, and one of the most iconic works ever written for the brass band movement, Eric Ball’s masterpiece, Resurgam. The Fairey Band were placed 4th on the day, against the very best bands in the UK. You can see our performance, and all the other bands here ……. https://brasspass.tv/
The Fairey Band are pleased to announce the appointment of Jonathan Beatty as their new Musical Director.
The experienced musician has been a professional musician for over 25 years, playing with some of the country’s leading ensembles, including the Orchestra of Opera North, the Royal Ballet and the Royal Northern Sinfonia. He also enjoyed a 15 year period with Grimethorpe as principal trombone.
Jonathan is a lecturer in performance at the University of Huddersfield and directs both its brass band and Symphonic Wind Ensemble, playing a key role in the continued development of brass musicianship at the university.
More recently he enjoyed considerable conducting success with the likes of Dinnington Colliery, Hade Edge and the University of Huddersfield Band, with the appointment reigniting a long-standing musical relationship with Fairey professional conductor Garry Cutt, which started when they worked together at Grimethorpe in the 1990s.
Jonathan said: “It’s a fantastic opportunity to work with one of the country’s most successful bands and especially with Garry Cutt.
To be able to have an input into their future musical development is a huge privilege. They have a fantastic work ethic and a team of excellent players.”
In response Garry added: “This is a great appointment for the band. I have the highest regard for Jonathan as a musician and he has so much to offer Fairey.”
The band are pleased to announce that Soprano Cornet star Martin Irwin has joined the band from Black Dyke.
Martin is one of the most highly regarded cornet players in the business and brings with him a wealth of experience, having had significant success with the Brighouse and Rastrick band and more recently Black Dyke.
Speaking of the appointment, professional conductor Garry Cutt said: “We’ve been looking for some time for a top class player who could offer us the musical experience and quality required at the very highest level and it’s been well worth the wait. Martin is a bandsman who has always given 100% with whichever band he has played for — and his CV is testament to his class.”
The majority of Martin’s banding experience has been in Yorkshire, so signing for Stockport-based Fairey’s is the start of a new musical chapter.