Butlins Mineworkers 2017

The band have returned from a cold, yet extremely enjoyable and successful weekend on the East coast at the annual Butlins Mineworkers contest. We performed the fantastic set work by Malcolm Arnold "Fantasy for Brass Band", and earned a creditable 4th place our of 24. With such a strong field of bands from all over the country, the adjudicators found favour with our performance, but it wasn't quite good enough to retain the trophy we won 2 years ago. Congratulations also need to go to our two yorkshire neighbours Skelmanthorpe and Stannington for their 1st and 2nd place respectively. The band now look forward to next weekend where we perform the three set works at this years regional championships for a selection of conductors from across the country. Preparations then move to our own test piece Land of the long white cloud, which we will perform at Huddersfield town hall to try and retain the trophy we won back in 2015.  

Bolsover 2016 success!

Following on from the disappointing result at the Doctor Martins contest, the band finished the contesting year in excellent fashion by coming 2nd in the Championship section, and being named as the 'Most entertaining band'. Bolsover is a contest in which the band have had a fair amount of success of the previous 3 years with wins in the 1st section and a notable 2nd in the Championship section last year. So to regain that prize and to come away as the most entertaining band of the day was especially pleasing for new MD John Roberts.

John, who adjudicated the band for their 1st section victory last year, built on that successful programme and injected his own ideas as well. The programme started with 'Children of Sanchez' which was arranged by and featured our very own soprano player Mike Kilmartin. This moved straight into Jonathan Bates' Ride to conclude the opening section. The band then turned to Maria Beazer on flugel who delivered an excellent rendition of 'Magh Seola' which adjudicator Roger Webster said was delivered with 'warmth and style'. No entertainment programme would be complete without an injection of fun and this came in the form of Phillip Harper's Salsa tres prado, which features a number of the bands soloists. The programme was concluded with an excerpt from the Stephen Ponsfords Turris Fortissima. Roger clearly enjoyed the programme, and rounded off his remarks by saying 'this band has both power and class'.

The band would also like to thank Carole Crompton and her team for yet another fantastically run competition, and we look forward to competing again next year.

Winning Combination!

Unite the Union Band is pleased to announce that the highly experienced John Roberts has been appointed as the band’s new Musical Director.

A spokesperson for the band has said "The band is delighted to have secured the services of such a well-respected Musical Director. John brings with him a wealth of musicianship and experience and the band are hoping that this, coupled with the band's hard work, dedication and enthusiasm will prove to be a winning combination".

John added: "I have a long-standing connection with the band, having conducted Stocksbridge in the late 1990's. In the last year or so I have re-established this connection having worked with the band on a number of occasions. I have been impressed by the band's motivation and work rate and am very much forward to working with them. In accepting the Musical Director position at Unite, I have had to relinquish my post at Drighlington. I have had a very enjoyable time conducting Drighlington and wish them all the best in the future".

John's debut with the band will be at the Doctor Martins contest next month.

Music in the Gardens

Last week, the band was once again bathed in glorious sunshine as we took to the Music in the Gardens stage. With a whole host of entertainment already pleasing the audience on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, it was the bands job to conclude the weekend alongside the impressive Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra.

Ironically, the band chose to perform music from Europe. This had already been planned before the EU referendum and the Euro 2016 tournament. However, it didn't stop the audience enjoying pieces from Ireland, France, Armenia, Wales and Spain.

It was a perfect opportunity for the band to also showcase their exceptional standard of soloists which included Maria Beazer, Mike Kilmartin, Shelia Draycott and Daniel Jackson. The audience also witnessed something very special, as the bands tuba section also performed as a quartet in the foot-tapping 'Tyrolean Tubas'.

Following our spot, the cornet section of the band also featured alongside the Orchestra. They helped out by playing the fanfares during Fantasia on British Sea Songs!

Music in the Gardens is a real favourite of the band, and is a concert every member looks forward to each year. A big thanks go out to the organisers for all their hardwork, and for inviting us each year.

BBC Music Day

2016's BBC Music Day saw the Band taken once again to Sheffield's hearts in a performance with much-loved - and particularly unique- Sheffield band, The Everly Pregnant Brothers.

As the headliners of an imaginative and eclectic day of some 22 acts in as many different locations across the city, the performance in Sheffield’s Peace Gardens caused a social media storm as fans old and new of both groups posted the short concert online.

The Everly Pregnant Brothers, a charismatic mix of ukuleles, string bass, drummer and front man are “a bunch of disparate chaps [with] three things in common, the love of beer, ukuleles and having a laugh.” They have carved a creative niche by taking well-known classic pop songs and “tampering” with the lyrics to produce musical art that celebrates Sheffield and takes a humorous squint at life. They are cherished by locals and enjoyed far further afield. Note: Songs do come with a “parental advisory” notice – not for the faint-hearted or easily offended!

The collaboration came about as part of BBC Music Day, when Brass Bands England Liaison Officer Rachel Veitch-Straw was approached by the Sheffield Makes Music team to work on a shared performance between the Brothers and Unite the Union Brass Band. The connection was made as part of an earlier Brass Bands England project, Brass With Beethoven, in May this year, which some of the Band's members were also involved in.

The Band's Composer and Arranger in Residence, Mike Kilmartin, rose to the challenge, taking the Brothers’ versions of popular tunes and creating backing arrangements for the band which skilfully interweave the brass band sounds with the Everly Pregnant Brothers’ driving Ukelele chords.

The Band would like to extend thanks to The Everly Pregnant Brothers, Brass Bands England and liaison officer, Rachel Straw, for making the event possible.

No Oven No Pie

The band is very excited to announce that on 3 June (this Friday!) we will be performing alongside The Everly Pregnant Brothers in the Peace Gardens, Sheffield.

For those of you who are not familiar with the Everly Pregnant Brothers, they are an eight piece band complete with ukuleles, fronted by vocalist Shaun Doane. The band plays well-known songs with a "Sheffield twist". Favourite songs include "No Oven No Pie" (a cover of Bob Marley's "No Woman No Cry") and a tribute to everyone's favourite, Henderson's Relish, with a cover of Coldplay's Yellow, entitled "Hendo's".

The concert is part of BBC Music Day, which is hosting events across Sheffield, as well as across the country.

We are due to play at 8pm and will be performing some very special joint items with the Everly Pregnant Brothers. The event is completely free, so you can just turn up on the evening.

To see more information, please click here to view the running order for the day!

We hope to see as many of you as possible there!

Spring Festival 2016

The band are finally home after a fantastic weekend at the Spring Festival. Our performance of Edward Gregson's 'Of Distant Memories' found some favour with the adjudicators, awarding us a credible 13th place. This confirms our position in the Grand Shield next year.

MD David Hirst and the band would like to thank our deps for the weekend, which included a fine trio of percussionists. Saturday's contest was also the first for two of our new players, Kieren Williams and Rhianwen Head.

Rhianwen, joined the band on 2nd cornet 2 weeks ago, from Ireland Colliery Chesterfield. Rhianwen has played for a host of top quality bands including Drighlington, Hebdon Bridge and Hepworth. She also regularly performs in Youth bands such as the National youth band of Wales, and Greater Gwent Youth Brass Band, who recently performed at the Europeans in Lille.

Both are looking forward to the bands next engagements which include a concert in Sheffield on Friday 3rd June (Venue TBC), Ivanhoe Centre (Conisbrough) on Sunday 5th June and the Morley March & Hymn Tune Contest on Sunday the 19th June. 

New Recruits

The band would like to announce the arrival of several new players over the last few months. Before the area, we were joined by University of Sheffield student Gerry Simpson who has completed the solo cornet line. Gerry is also the principal cornet of the University of Sheffield band, so he is a fantastic asset for the band to have.

Sarah Bryson, who played second baritone for the band for some christmas concerts has now joined the back row, and also along with Gerry competed with the band in Bradford earlier this month. We would also like to welcome back a familiar face to the band.

Steve Machin has always been a good friend of the band, and helped the band with recent successes, including their recent nationals win a few years ago. Steve joined, just in time for the area, and is now looking forward to the Spring festival in May.

Finally the band have also signed Kieren Williams on second horn, who has moved from the Midlands band Foresters Brass 2000. Kieren enjoyed his position as solo horn there, and has also had spells with other Midlands bands such as Thoresby Colliery and Blidworth.

All four players are enjoying their playing, and certainly getting stuck in with Sparke's 'Music for Battle Creek'.

Music in the Gardens

On Sunday 3rd July, the band will be performing a the 'Music in the Gardens' event in the Botanical gardens. The band, in conjunction with the Sheffield Philharmonic orchestra round off a fantastic weekend of musical entertainment including The feeling, UB40, Steel City rythm and James.

The band are extremely excited to perform here again, after playing to over 1000 people last year. Publicity for the event is already in full flow with mentions on BBC Radio sheffield, and on the events website http://www.musicinthegardens.co.uk.

Tickets can be found at http://www.sivtickets.com

Finally, a video promo of the event can be found here. Make sure you don't miss out on such a fantastic weekend of music making in one of Sheffield's most impressive backdrop.

Sad Farewells

The band are sad to announce the departure of two of our longest standing members, Dave and Nicki Leak. Dave joined the band 7 years ago this January, to compete at Butlins, and his wife Nicki joined after the contest.

The band would like to thank them both for the commitment they have provided over the last 7 years, even more so after acknowledging the 106 mile round trip they completed to band, every rehearsal. Both players said it was an extremely difficult decision to leave the band, but they felt the time was right to go and spend some time with their growing family.

They have been part of a successful period of time for the band, with wins at Bradford and Cheltenham, and getting the chance to play at Sheffield City hall and Cathedral with the likes of Lesley Garrett and John Riley, their particular highlights. The band wish them all the best in the future.