Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Black Dyke Mills Band

The Black Dyke Band, formerly the Black Dyke Mills Band, is one of the oldest and best known brass bands in the world. It was formerly the band of the Black Dyke Mills in Queensbury, West Yorkshire, England, a company owned by John Foster. Foster, a French horn player, joined with others in a small band in Queensbury in 1816. This band faltered but finally, in 1855, Foster and other musicians established the new mill band and outfitted it with uniforms made from the mill's own cloth. The band has remained active since that time, and still rehearses in its original rooms.

The band has won many prizes and competitions over the years. In September 1968, it released a single on the The Beatles’ Apple Records label. The A-side was an instrumental composed by Lennon/McCartney called "Thingumybob" (the theme to a Yorkshire Television sitcom of the same name starring Stanley Holloway). The flip side was a brass band instrumental version of another Lennon/McCartney song, "Yellow Submarine." The single was released under the name John Foster & Sons Ltd Black Dyke Mills Band, produced by McCartney, and was one of the first four singles issued on the Apple label.

The Black Dyke Band has made many recordings including classical music. It has recorded with classical bass trombonist Douglas Yeo, and pop acts Tori Amos, Peter Gabriel and The Beautiful South. The band also worked with Gabriel on the highly acclaimed Millennium Show, featured in the Millennium Dome, as well as recording the music for the BBC programme Ground Force.

Black Dyke was the first band to achieve the "Grand Slam" in 1985 by winning the Yorkshire regional, European, British Open and National Championship contests. They were also voted BBC Band of the Year.

In 2008, the band won the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain for a record 21st time.

The "corner-men" of the band's current line up include:

* Principal Cornet: Richard Marshall
* Principal Euphonium: David Thornton
* Principal Trombone: Brett Baker
* Soprano Cornet: Paul Duffy
* Principal Horn: Sandy Smith
* Flugel Horn: Alexandra Kerwin
* Principal Tuba: Joseph Cook

The band's current Musical Director and Professional Conductor is Welsh Euphonium virtuoso, Dr Nicholas Childs. His predecessor was trumpet player James Watson.

Black Dyke Band are the brass band in residence at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, and Nick Childs conducts the RNCM Brass Band.


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