Concert to celebrate tenth anniversary of Hucknall and Linby Brass Band

Four lady members of the band, from left, Abi Whyley, Emma Plant, Lauren Whyley and Fern Todhunter.
Four lady members of the band, from left, Abi Whyley, Emma Plant, Lauren Whyley and Fern Todhunter.

It’s time to strike up the band at a free concert to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Hucknall and Linby Mining Community Brass.

Fresh from their successful appearance at the National Brass Band Championships, the outfit are hosting the anniversary concert at the Holgate Academy on Hillcrest Drive in Hucknall on Saturday, October 19.

Members of the band line up for the camera before their appearance at the National Brass Band Championships in Cheltenham.

Members of the band line up for the camera before their appearance at the National Brass Band Championships in Cheltenham.

The fun-filled celebration, which will start at 6.30 pm, will include refreshments and cakes for all as part of the entertainment.

A spokesperson for the band said: “We will be showcasing a full concert programme to entertain the audience, and there will be special appearances from former players and our training band.

“The programme will include some traditional pieces that will be played alongside some more contemporary and entertaining music.

“Please make sure you don’t miss this celebration event for a band that are at the heart of the local community.”

Rehearsals before the finals of the National Brass Band Championships at Cheltenham

Rehearsals before the finals of the National Brass Band Championships at Cheltenham

Hucknall and Linby Mining Community Brass were established in 2008, since when they have gone from strength to strength, attracting members from across Derbyshire and Leicestershire, as well as Nottinghamshire.

The band have enjoyed a rich vein of success under the stewardship of the current musical director, Paul Whyley.

At competition level, they have risen through the ranks and, for the first time in their history, from January next year, they will be tackling what is known as the Championship Section.

This is the equivalent of the Premier League in football and contains the very best bands in the UK, such as the well-known Yorkshire trio, Black Dyke, Brighouse and Rastrick and Grimethorpe Colliery. Some even have professional or semi-professional players.

Two of the youngest players, Margarita Loizias and 11-year-old Ella Whyley.

Two of the youngest players, Margarita Loizias and 11-year-old Ella Whyley.

Hucknall and Linby Brass’s elevation to the Championship Section is the culmination of a remarkable feat of three promotions in ten years.

The band have just enjoyed an amazing year after finishing runners-up on their debut in the First Section by playing what was described by the judges as “a well-balanced and technically sound” rendition of Gilbert Vinter’s ‘Symphony of Marches’.

This triumph surpassed all expectations and, astonishingly, it resulted in a second promotion on the bounce. This followed on from their success in 2018 when the band won the Second Section’s regional championships with an “excellent and outstanding” performance of Jonathan Bates’s ‘Ex Terra Lucern’.

The band’s initial promotion had come in 2012 when they were placed first in the Third Section after playing a test piece called ‘Hollywood’ that had been composed by Geoff Richards.

Two years after this, Hucknall and Linby Brass released their first CD, entitled ‘Torkard’, which featured a varied selection of tracks. These included ‘Pirates Of The Caribbean’, Rusalka’s ‘Song In The Moon’, ‘Be My Love’ and ‘Feather Theme’ from the film, ‘Forrest Gump’.

The title track, ‘Torkard’, was specially written for the band by their chairman, Chris Knapp, and took its name from the historical moniker for Hucknall.

Much of the band’s the success is attributed to the highly respected Whyley, who has enjoyed a musical career spanning 40 years after first acquiring an interest at the age of eight.

Working through the whole range of brass band instruments, Whyley finally settled as principal E flat bass player with former Championship Section band, Newstead Brass.

He started his conducting career with the Newstead Youth Band (later Newstead Abbey Brass) when it was formed in 2001, and his commitment to teaching the youngsters the basics of good playing were rewarded with two appearances in three years at the National Brass Band Championship finals.

There is also a youthful feel to the current Hucknall and Linby Brass set-up, complete with a friendly and welcoming atmosphere at their rehearsal sessions, which take place every week at St Peter’s and St Paul’s Church Hall on Ruffs Drive in Hucknall.

The band constantly have an eye on the future, and have developed their own training band, which is open to all ages and anyone interested in learning how to play a brass instrument. Sessions are held at St Peter’s and St Paul’s every Thursday evening.

It’s not all about the music either. The band pride themselves on the active work they do within the community. They are available to play at any number of events in the area, ranging from weddings and garden parties to village fetes and indoor events.

Earlier this year, they delighted the crowds on Hucknall Market Place when staging a concert as part of the International Byron Festival.

The following month, they provided the musical backdrop for the unveiling of a mining memorial at Nabb Park in the town.

And then came an appearance in Nuthall as part of the entertainment for a community fun day at the Basil Russell Playing Fields.

It’s fair to say that Hucknall Linby Mining Community Brass Band have come a long, long way since those early days more than a decade ago.

Next year, they reach the pinnacle of brass band competition, so why not catch them at their peak by popping along to their anniversary concert in two weeks’ time?