Sounding Brass!

Today’s pro­gramme focus­es on brass instru­ments, with gen­res that range from Roman times to con­tem­po­rary pieces, and fea­tures music by the Grimethor­pe Col­liery Band.

The Grimethor­pe Col­liery Band is based in Grimethor­pe, South York­shire. It was formed in 1917, as a leisure activ­i­ty for the work­ers at the col­liery. The year after the 28-mem­ber band’s for­ma­tion saw it enter its first com­pe­ti­tion at Belle Vue in Man­ches­ter. Its first radio broad­cast was in 1932 and from 1941 to 1951 was on UK nation­al radio every month.

George Thomp­son was musi­cal direc­tor from the ear­ly 1950s until 1972 dur­ing which time the band won the British Open Con­test for the first time. Thomp­son was fol­lowed by Elgar Howarth as Pro­fes­sion­al Con­duc­tor and Musi­cal Direc­tor. 1974 saw the band, along with Black Dyke Mills Band, become the first to per­form at The Proms.

The band con­tin­ued through the indus­tri­al trou­bles of the 1980s and the clo­sure of Grimethor­pe Col­liery on 13 Octo­ber 1992. How­ev­er the Band gained first place with 99 out of 100 on 17 Octo­ber 1992 in the Nation­al Brass Band Cham­pi­onship at the Roy­al Albert Hall.

Inter­na­tion­al fame came with the film Brassed Off, the plot of which was based on Grimethor­pe’s strug­gles against pit clo­sures, and whose sound­track was record­ed by the band.

The rest of the music today ranges from ancient and ear­ly music, through Baroque and clas­si­cal, to Vic­to­ri­an and mil­i­tary brass bands, to rag­time, trad jazz, a touch of big band, right up to mod­ern works includ­ing a mar­vel­lous suite of pieces for wind band inspired by the works of Shake­speare.

Today’s pro­gramme is pre­sent­ed by Elrik Mer­lin. If you are tun­ing in from Cana­da or the Unit­ed States, please click here. Oth­er­wise, click here to start your play­er, if your brows­er is con­fig­ured to do so. 

You may also like to tune in to our High Qual­i­ty HE-AAC stream at

Image: Pho­tographed by and copy­right of © David Cor­by (User:Miskatonic, uploader) 2006, via Wiki­me­dia Com­mons

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