Black Dyke Mills Band
Black Dyke Mills Band
It is reported that this Band reached its Zenith from 1838 to 1843, at which time it consisted of 18 musicians". However it is recorded in the Halifax Courier of the 15th September 1855 that: Queenshead Band formed early in the century by residents came into difficulties. John Foster & Son, having lately become acquainted with the depressed state of the band determined to make an effort themselves to raise it up again. Accordingly they have purchased from the eminent maker, Mr.
Joseph Higham, of Manchester a new set of instruments which have this week been delivered to the band, which in future is to be denominated Black Dyke Mills Band. A new and talented leader, as well as several performers, have been added to the band which now comprises 18 musicians. Messrs. Fosters have provided for them a comfortable room in which they will meet for practising. Thus the Black Dyke Band was formed.
Most of its musicians both lived in Queensbury and worked at the mill, so a close link between the band and the community was formed which remains to this day. The Band has always been at the forefront of Brass Band activity, making one of the earliest Brass Band recordings In 1904 and embarking on a five month tour of Canada and the United States in 1906 on which it played in over 200 concerts and travelled over 13.000 miles. Since then the band has toured many different countries, including Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Russia, Belgium, Sierra Leone, and Spain, returning to Canada in 1972. In 1988 the Band took part in the Bi-centennial Celebrations In Australia, they also had a sell-out tour in Japan.
As well as returning to Weisbaden in Germany to play at the Rheingau Music Festival the band have had successful concert and masterclass tours in Denmark, Northern Ireland, Norway. Sweden and Switzerland. The Band has made over 5O recordings, with former Prime Minister Edward Heath as guest conductor on one, whilst Paul McCartney and Wings broke new ground with the Band with another. In 1996 they won The Music Industries Association Award for the Best CD in the Orchestral category, with their recording of Sir William Walton's Music, featuring the Shakespearean actor Robert Portal.
In February 1999 the album that the Band recorded with Evlyn Glennie was nominated in the 'Crossover Classical Section' for a Grammy Award in Los Angeles, this was followed in March 1999 with an Oscar nomination for the best song in a film, ‘That’ll Do' from the film "Babe 2" the vocalist was Peter Gabriel with backing by Black Dyke. The Band have enjoyed success with other recording artists including ‘Torry Amos’ and the well known group ‘ Beautiful South’. They also provide the background music written by Jim Parker for the popular UK Television series of programmes ‘Ground Force’ featuring the music from the series. Lady Walton and Richard Baker feature in the Band’s release of ‘Façade’ Edith Sitwell’s poems set to music by Sir William Walton.
The recording also represents excellent arrangements by Edward Watson of Sir William’s much loved film music ‘Richard III’ and ‘Battle of Britain Suite’. In addition to touring and recording, the musical life of the band has included television shows, films, broadcasts, concerts at Music Festivals, Universities, The Proms, Fanfare into Europe, Songs of Praise, covering the whole musical spectrum. appearing with Lesley Garrett, Elton John, Evelyn Glennie, James Morrison, Rod Franks, Ian Bousfield, Phil Smith and many more. In October 1993 Black Dyke Band made an historic appearance as the first British Brass Band to perform at the Carnegie Hall, New York, also in October 1994 became the first Brass Band ever to perform at The Royal College of Music.
They have subsequently appeared as guests of the LSO Brass ensemble at the Barbican, performed composer masterclass sessions for The Society of Promotion of New Music and have appeared before Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh. Over the years the Black Dyke Band has produced an abundance of famous instrumentalists, in the formative years players such as Ceres Jackson, John Paley and Harold Pinches were recognised as the very best. In recent decades, Rowland Jones, the Euphonium player, who had a wonderful voice, went on to become Principal Tenor at Sadlers Wells. It has to be said that his training in the brass band, particularly sight reading, was a tremendous advantage.
Jack Pinches was Solo Trombone for Black Dyke at 16 years of age, he went on to become Principal Trombone in the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Two former Principal Cornet with Black Dyke, William Lang and Maurice Murphy achieved tbe position of Principal Trumpet at The London Symphony Orchestra, William retired in l995 and Maurice, said by many people to be the greatest cornet player ever, holds the position currently. Rod Franks a former Cornet player with Black Dyke is also Principa1 Trumpet with the London Symphony Orchestra. Equally many famous and well known names have conducted the Band, including the legendary Alexander Owen, John Gladney, Arthur 0. Pearce, Harry Mortimer, Alex Mortimer, Major George Wilcocks, Major Peter Parkes and James Watson.
In recognition of Its continued success, services to music in general and the region in particular, the Band was awarded the Honorary Freedom of the City by the City of Bradford in 1976. Black Dyke Band has always been recognized as one of the finest bands in the world and was granted charitable status in 1997. This will ensure a sound structure for years to come. They were invited to take part in the Bermuda Festival in February 2000, playing to full house audiences and receiving standing ovations, flying on from Bermuda to Canada for another Black Dyke 'Gala Concert' in Toronto and the same reception, from an audience who had amongst its numbers many people who had travelled thousands of miles to hear them.
In concluding his report on the Toronto concert, William Littler the columnist and music critic of the well respected broadsheet ‘Toronto Star’ quoted “But if the band had played no more than the fanfare from Strauss’ Festmusik det Stadt Wien, it would have slackened my jaw. Virtuosity of this order takes the breath away.” In October 2000 Lady Walton MBE very kindly accepted the invitation of the Band to become its first Honorary Patron. The band logo of the stags head and Latin quotation are taken from the armorial bearings granted in 1857 to John Foster, founder of the band. The quotation translates to: “ACT JUSTLY AND FEAR NOTHING” Read more on Last.fm.
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