One of Yorkshire’s many strengths is its heritage, and an important part of that heritage is the brass band.
Many of Yorkshire’s most famous brass bands trace their origins back to the 19th and early 20th centuries and were a product of mill or mining communities in the region, but the Harrogate Band is comparatively modern – it dates back to April 1970 – and was formed by some former pupils from the Harrogate Granby High School Concert Band who wanted to continue playing together after leaving school.
The Band, under its first conductor, Neil Richmond, a music teacher from Harrogate Granby High, filled the huge gap left when the Harrogate Silver Prize band ceased to be in 1956. Almost straight away it enjoyed success, successfully competing in its first competition in York in November 1970.
Since then it has gone from strength to strength under the direction of (successively) John Higginson, Peter Littlewood, Peter Wells and David Lancaster. Gradually the Harrogate Band climbed the band rankings and reaching the Championship Section of the North of England in 2003.
As well as over 30 concert engagements per year, the Harrogate Band also enters around five competitions. And the Band has travelled overseas on seven occasions, and has visited Norway, Germany, the Czech Republic and, in 2007 a tour encompassing Belgium and Holland.
The Band has a great success rate in the competitions it enters – it was a finalist in the National Brass Band Championships in 1985, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2001, and 2002. In 2001 the Band became North of England Region Champion (1st Section).
If you would like to see and hear the Harrogate Band here’s a list of their forthcoming engagements in Yorkshire for the rest of the year:
- Sunday 6 June, Golden Acre Park, Leeds, 2.30pm
- Sunday 20 June, Askham Bryan Agricultural College Open Day, Askham Bryan, 11am
- Saturday 26 June, Easingwold March Contest, evening
- Sunday 27 June, Hymns, Pimms and Picnic, Harrogate
- Sunday 4 July, Selby Park – Independence Day Concert, Selby, 2.00pm
- Saturday 31 July, Proms at Mowbray House, Kirkby Malzeard, 7.30pm
- Sunday 1 August, Temple Newsam – Yorkshire Day, Leeds, 2.30pm
- Saturday 14 August, Ripon Races, Racecourse, Ripon, 1.30pm
- Saturday 14 August, Music for Stage and Screen, RAOB Grove House, Skipton Road, Harrogate, 7pm
- Sunday 22 August, Riverside Bandstand, Wetherby, 2.30pm
- Sunday 12 September, Hardraw Scar Contest, Green Dragon Inn, Hardraw, Hawes
- Friday/Saturday/Sunday 24/25/26 September, National Brass Band Championship Finals Sections 1-4, Harrogate
International Centre (providing rehearsal services for visiting bands)
- Sunday 10 October, Kippax Band Club, Kippax, 8pm
- Saturday 16 October, Holy Trinity Church, Ripon, 7.30pm (in aid of Christian Aid)
- Saturday 6 November, Last Night of the Proms – Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, 7pm
- Sunday 7 November, Sinai Synagogue Hall, Roman Avenue, Leeds LS8 2AN, 7.30pm
- Sunday 14 November, Remembrance Service, Stonefall War Graves Cemetery, Harrogate, 12.30pm
- Sunday 28 November, LBBA Contest, Loughborough
- Saturday 4 December, Join concert with Tewit Youth Band, venue TBC
- Saturday 11th December, Meanwood Methodist Church, Monk Bridge Road, Leeds LS6 4HH, 7.30pm
- Friday 24 December, Carols – Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, 7.30pm
You get can more details about these events and lots more about the Harrogate Band at their website – www.harrogateband.org