Frickley South Elmsall Brass Band is to reform in May after a close call with potential closure of the band for good. The band has been in existence since 1969, starting in the fourth section and flitting between the 2ndand 3rdsection for most of the time the band has been contesting, lead for over 20 years by Brian Till, who has in recent years has had an association with the band as guest/intermediary conductor. The band reached the heights of its contesting profile in 2011 under the baton of David Nichols, being promoted to the first section.
Since 2011, the band struggled to hold down a steady conductor, having changed leadership at least once each year and steadily losing players. Throughout this turbulent time, the band was held together by longstanding members, one being band secretary Tracy Keith. Her dedication to the band saw her move to whatever seat needed filling, from 3rdcornet, to horn, to euphonium and even as the band’s Principal Cornet. It was dedication from stalwarts like Tracy which kept the band surviving.
Eventually in 2015, a new MD was appointed and it appeared that the band found some consistency and direction from up and coming MD Kyle Blake. Kyle managed to the lead the band on his contesting debut to its first victory on the contest stage in 15 years, in becoming the Brass at the Guild Second Section Champions 2016, walking away with 1stplace, Best MD and Best Soloist going to our Solo Euphonium at the time. Later that year, we managed to build a team around the stand and managed to avoid relegation to the 3rdsection in the regional contest. Further success was reached with the band off the contest platform, with thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining concerts which lead to numerous bookings being made as we impressed our audiences.
Unfortunately, the year-long conductor syndrome kicked back in as Kyle had to resign due to relocation with work commitments towards the end of 2016, and the brief period of consistency was out into question again. We managed to appoint another young and upcoming MD, James Hobbis but due to the decline the band had been facing and several years of poor results, relegation was inevitable. James also had to leave the band after a short period of time due to relocating to further his studies. After another conductor-less period and even more loss of players, this lead to the decision being made to withdraw from the regional contest in 2018 and rehearsals were halted in December 2017.
We knew we had a decision to make – reform or disband?
The date was set for the AGM in which this decision was to be made. The turn out from people who cared about the band was indicative that this band was not one that should be closing, that people still cared and that we could not allow it to fall victim to player crisis that seems to be happening in banding throughout the UK. The decision was made to reform but down a new track of non-contesting, in an attempt to attracts local players looking for some light-hearted, easy-going and sociable banding.
It is with great pleasure that the band Is remaining open and that Kyle Blake will be leading the band once more down this new path. We are restarting on Tuesday 1stMay, 7.30pm-9.30pm (with a tea break) and rehearsals will be once a week in our own band room in Millenium Hall, Moorthorpe, WF9 2BJ. Any players are welcome at any time to come down for a blow, beginners, ex-players, superstars, registered or non-registered, if you play and are free on a Tuesday evening, then we want to see you!