Thanks for the support - now give us brass

Yorkshire brass band Black Dyke Band, Queensbury.
Yorkshire brass band Black Dyke Band, Queensbury.

It is the sound that is synonymous with both the rolling hills and the industrial heritage of Yorkshire.

And the region’s brass bands may have been given a resounding boost as Culture Minister Matt Hancock pledged to “bang the drum” and “trumpet the success” of the genre as he lent his support in the House of Commons.

Following a championship win for a youth band in his West Suffolk constituency, Mr Hancock said: “Brass bands, like other music organisations, can bring people together across cultural divides, from different backgrounds, and provide a point of unity.”

But members of the brass community in Yorkshire said Mr Hancock’s remarks were off key and that the industry was still racked with financial woes.

David Hirst, the secretary of the Black Dyke Band, Queensbury, said even though brass band music had spread across the globe it was treated as second class culture.

“In many ways brass bands are the poor relation of the musical world.

“They are not always seen as being culturally important but they are. We have exported the concept and idea to America, Canada, Europe, Scandinavia, Japan and New Zealand. The bands are a part of the cultural identity of Britain.

“I think it would be a great thing for the Government to recognise the importance of brass band in Britain and all amateur music. The performers in top brass bands are the equivalent of any you would find in the top orchestras of all the capitals of the world.”

The flame keeps burning for brass, he said, through projects aimed at encouraging younger people into the tradition. Black Dyke continues to run numerous youth projects to keep the genre alive.

“The brass band sound is unique and anything that the Government can do needs to be done sooner rather later before we lose it,” he added.