A Tale of Two Festivals

After weeks of preparation, on Saturday 18th May the band once again took to the contesting arena, this time over the Pennines in Blackpool to compete in the 99th Spring Festival held at the Winter Gardens. This year the band was taking part in the Senior Trophy division with the knowledge that a bottom six finish would mean elimination from the Spring Festival.

Our test piece for the Senior Trophy was Gilbert Vinters’ “Triumphant Rhapsody”, now over 50 years old but still acknowledged as a stern test of any bands’ abilities. We had been working hard under the baton of John Davis and were now ready to take to the stage in Blackpool. 

Friday night and Saturday mornings’ rehearsals were relaxed affairs but still with an air of seriousness and expectation. By the time we were sat on the stage to perform early Saturday afternoon, there was a calm and yet focussed energy around the band, despite the heat in the aptly named Spanish Hall.

Our performance was solid from start to finish and featured excellent playing from all corners of the band that was well received and commented on by our adjudicators:

“Good opening. Great sound! Allegro very nice – solid feel to it” 

“Gorgeous bass sound (160). Great euph before (180). Super cantabile – genuine sentiment here” 

“(230) Very solid and a great sound – good build towards end. Amazing sound from the band! Very good and well crafted performance”.

The descriptive nature and musicality of our performance secured the band a creditable 10th place out of 20, meaning we had secured our place for the 100th Spring Festival contest in 2020. The band had hoped that our highly musical performance would have merited a higher place, but we were happy with our result overall which gives us a good platform from which to develop. Our aim for next year is to win!

The band made the decision to change Musical Director shortly after the Area contest in March. Whilst we are now in the process of looking for a permanent conductor, John Davis of Foresters Brass Band (and a great friend to us), stepped into the breach to lead the band to a fine performance at this contest. We want to say a huge thank you to John for all his work, time and effort that went into delivering a great performance of Triumphant Rhapsody. As a band, we have thoroughly enjoyed John’s descriptive and fun approach to the music in rehearsals, and it is safe to say that very few players have ever sat on a contest stage thinking of psychotic clown cars, Darth Vader or wide mouthed frogs.

Whilst we were happy with our performance, the weekend was tinged with sadness too, as for two of our players it would be their last performance as members of Unite Band.

First, our lovely Freya on back row cornet has now completed her university degree and will be moving back to her home city of Nottingham to begin the next stage of her career development. Freya has been a real positive force within the band over the last 3 years whether in rehearsals, on jobs, or on socials – even joining the committee in her last year – and we will miss her energy and enthusiasm for everything in life. Whichever band you choose to play for next Freya, they will be lucky to have you!

Secondly, our solo euphonium player Lynden has decided to move on to pastures new after 3 years with the band. Lynden has been enduring an 80 mile round trip to rehearsals during his time with us as well as juggling his conducting commitments with Shirland Band, and while we are sorry to see him go, we understand why. We have been very fortunate to have a player of Lynden’s experience on a key seat within the band, and we would like to thank him for his commitment during his time with us. We wish you all the best Lynden for your future playing with Blidworth Band, and continued success with Shirland Band.

Thank you to both Freya and Lynden for being part of Team Unite – you’re welcome back anytime!

The band are now looking forward to our future starting with the appointment of a new Musical Director to further develop the band and build upon the performances and results achieved this year. We are excited for the future possibilities and are eager to start working hard to achieve our goals. The work both in the band room and behind the scenes is excellent, and the band is in a very positive place going into the summer. Our goal is to keep building on our performances, and to carry on pushing together as team Unite. Onwards and upwards!

Musical Director Vacancy

The Band are now inviting applications for the position of Musical Director. We are looking for an enthusiastic and driven MD who will work with the band to help us achieve our aim of regaining and maintaining Championship section status. 

The band rehearse on Mondays and Thursdays 8pm to 10pm.

Please send all enquiries to Clare Moore, Band Secretary, at mail@unitetheunionbrassband.org.uk The closing date for applications is Friday 17th May.

Change is in the Air

After nearly 3 years of musical direction, the band has parted company with MD John Roberts.

It is with great sadness that Unite the Union have taken the very difficult decision to part company with John Roberts as the bands Musical Director. John has been an asset to the band over the last 3 years and his dedication, commitment and passion for the band has been evident throughout his time as our MD.  We have parted ways on very good terms and he will undoubtedly be missed.’

Melissa Maddison: Chairperson

The band would like take this opportunity to thank John for all his hard work with the band and wish him the very best for the future. 

The band are now looking ahead to forthcoming challenges, including the aim of a successful campaign at the upcoming Spring Festival and our Senior Trophy challenge on ‘Triumphant Rhapsody’.

United We Band

Sunday 3rd of March saw the band take to the stage at Huddersfield Town Hall to compete in the championship section of the Yorkshire Regional Brass Band Championships. Weeks of preparation on Ray Steadman-Allen's "Seascapes", were put to the test against some of the best brass bands in the world.
The hardwork and commitment put in by both our players and musical director, John Roberts, was on full display in a performance that garnered praise from both adjudicators;
"Really purposeful playing here - very enjoyable" (S. Sykes)
"An enjoyable performance with moments of musical character" (S. Roberts)
Despite a performance that found favour with both adjudicators, in such a tough field of quality bands, we came 11th out of 13. However, we are not downhearted, as the band's performance was one to be proud of. Everyone played at their best and couldn't have given more. Though we may be relegated for 2020, the band will return to Huddersfield with the aim of winning and reclaiming our position in the top division of banding.
We say a huge thank you to all of our players and MD, for giving it their all in delivering a great performance against some incredible competition.
To the winners Brighouse & Rastrick Band, we say congratulations. We wish you the best of luck along with Grimethorpe Colliery, Carlton Main Frickley and Black Dyke as you head to the Royal Albert Hall to fly the flag for Yorkshire at the National Finals.
Congratulations to all the Yorkshire qualifiers in the other sections too, and good luck as you represent Yorkshire at Cheltenham.
Onwards and upwards!
#TeamUnite #UnitedWeBand
Full Results for the Yorkshire Regional Championships: https://www.4barsrest.com/news/detail.asp?offset=20&id=37497 

Area Preview Night

 We are holding our annual Area Preview Night on Sunday 24th February, 7:30pm at the Burton Street Foundation, Hillsborough, S6 2HH.

Our adjudicator for the evening is Mr Alan Morrison, and the bands taking part alongside ourselves are South Yorkshire Police Band, Oughtbridge Band and Loxley Silver Band.

There is an entry fee of £4.00 for non-performers on the night, and Burton Street will be providing a bar (cash only), on the evening. Doors will be open from 6:45pm. 

Come along and support a selection of Sheffield's bands as we prepare for the Yorkshire Regionals in Huddersfield!!

A Quartet of New Arrivals

We have welcomed a quartet of new players into the ranks the past couple of weeks ahead of our regional contest at Huddersfield.

The band would like to welcome Jason Smith to the front row bench. Jason joins us from Hatfield & Askern Colliery Band, where he held the principal cornet position, and has previously played for Thoresby Colliery Band and Carlton Main Frickley Band.

Joining Jason on the front row is Becky Marsh from Rainford Band. Becky has moved to Sheffield to commence her studies at the University of Sheffield, and we are delighted she has chosen to continue her playing as well.

Not to be left out, our back row cornets would also like to extend a warm welcome to Philippa Smith. Philippa has come to Unite after playing for the Yorkshire Imperial Urquart Travel Band.

Completing the quartet is Sophie Barwick who joins us on tenor horn. Sophie was previously a member of the Roberts Bakery Band and is also studying at the University of Sheffield.

Our Chair, Melissa Maddison has said:

“The band is delighted to welcome some very talented young musicians into our ranks. There is a real sense of unity and positivity as we continue to move forwards and grow from strength to strength. We have a fantastic social scene and are really looking forward to 2019 being a very successful year both in terms of musical performance, and in seeing the band develop”.

Melissa Maddison

This latest quartet for Unite follows the addition of two more players after a reshuffle around the stands in September, and we would like to formerly welcome Rachel Onions on tuned percussion and Max Owen on Eb Bass.

The band are currently preparing to compete at the Yorkshire Regional contest in the Championship section next month at Huddersfield Town Hall before competing in the Senior Trophy held in Blackpool in May. Our Musical Director John Roberts has said;

“I’m enjoying working with the band as we prepare Seascapes, even more so as I remember it the first time round, and I’m also looking forward to the Spring Festival where we‘ll be playing Triumphant Rhapsody.”

John Roberts

The recent signings to the band have certainly had a positive impact, and all of us are looking forward to our future contest and concert performances.

Welcome to the team ladies and gentlemen!


4barsrest Feature: https://www.4barsrest.com/news/detail.asp?offset=20&id=36407

All4Brass Feature: https://www.all4brass.com/2019/02/13/new-quartet-unite-the-union/ 

Unite pays tribute to Armed Forces

Remembrance concert


On Sunday 11th November, a ten-piece ensemble from the band performed a Remembrance Concert at The Garrison in Barnsley. It was good to pay tribute to our Armed Forces, and it was especially poignant, given that it was the Centenary of the end of World War 1.

Bochumer Musiksommer


Band ‘Unite the union’ between Sheffield & Twin City

A tired but happy Unite the Union Band returned home exhilarated by the fantastic ‘thumbs up’ given to them by the people of Bochum after their two performances at Bochumer Musiksommer 2018. This massive spectacle now in its 12th year, is held in Sheffield’s twin town, Bochum, North Rhine Westfalia in Germany. Playing host to over 160,000 visitors to the city and with over 1000 artists appearing on several stages over the three days makes this one of the biggest Music Festivals in Germany.

The band received a special invitation to perform from Bochum Lord Mayor Oberbürgermeister Eiskirch and Bochum Council and given two prime time slots for performances on Saturday at 6pm and Sunday at 12 noon to open the show. This year around 1,000 artists were engaged over three days, 127 concerts from classical to jazz to electronic music being presented on seven stages and other venues around the city. 
A video message of ‘Good Luck’, specially recorded by Mr Len McClusky, General Secretary of Unite the Union and sent to the band, acknowledged the fantastic opportunity for the band to represent the city of Sheffield and fly the Unite flag in front of tens of thousands of visitors to Bochumer Musiksommer.


Len McCluskey@LenMcCluskey

I've recorded a special message for the Unite brass band, off to Germany to fly the flag for Unite and the city of Sheffield.

Click link to play: https://www.dropbox.com/s/83ilhqp5iquylol/lmluck.mp4?dl=0 

“For the first time, after a long time, the twin cities have returned, Nordhausen with a concert choir and Lord Mayor Kai Buchmann, Sheffield with the Unite the Union Brass band. We want to revive the town twinning," said Oberbürgermeister Thomas Eiskirch at the opening in the evening.
Unite the Union Band’s performance on the main Moritz Fiege stage was very well received and soon the near capacity audience were swaying, clapping and dancing to the sounds of Sheffield’s own famous film and music artists and writers including Human League and Tony Christie, who himself lived for a time in the outskirts of Bochum. Pre-recorded narration spoken in German cleverly done by the band linked their whole set together and finishing their performance with an arrangement of Oktoberfest and festival standard ‘Rock Mi,’ chart hit for German/Austrian group Voxxclub, was a real winner, now the party really was in full swing!  
A chorus of “Zugabe,” “Zugabe” (more, more) from the thrilled audience echoed around the square as the band left the stage swamped by enthusiastic and animated congratulations from a waiting Oberbürgermeister Eiskirch himself, town councillors, marketing organisers and members of the public, many of whom returned to see the band perform again on Sunday.

It is hoped that the band will return to perform again at Bochumer Musiksommer next year.

See photo album on our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/unitebrassband

Photo DVD Link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/v12gjgzlgnip43o/musiksommer.mp4?dl=0

 4br.jpg - Unite feature:  https://www.4barsrest.com/news/detail.asp?id=33824

Message from Len

bochumbus.jpgA view of the rear of the coach and some the band on their way to Bochum, Germany.

Unite the union Band excitedly loaded their coach and set off bound for Bochum, Germany late on Thursday evening.  A ten hour, 540 mile journey including travel through the tunnel was in front of them but that didn’t  dampen their spirits knowing that they had been given a great opportunity to perform on the spectacular  ‘Bochumer Musiksommer ‘main stage on Saturday evening by special invitation of Bochum Lord Mayor, Oberbürgermeister Eiskirch.
The band had received many, many messages from well – wishers during the week prior to departure but the most special one came from Mr Len McClusky, general secretary of Unite the Union. On the way to Germany the band had a stop and took a moment to see and hear the message of good luck from the man himself.

The band were delighted and felt honoured to receive this fantastic message of support from so high up, it really spurred them on to do a good job in representing Unite over the next days. They were also representing the City of Sheffield and the snack they passed around the coach obviously reflected their hopes that the invitation would be a ‘matchmaker’ and help cement the relationship between Unite the Union Brass Band and the people of Bochum.

Full report on their success coming soon.

Spectacular German Music Festival Invite

bochumstage.jpgStage venue - Dr Ruer Platz       

Unite the Union Band have been handed a special invitation to perform at the prestigious 'Bochumer MusikSommer' on the weekend of
Friday 7th September to Sunday 9th September 2018. This massive spectacle, now in its 12th year, is held in Sheffield’s twin town, Bochum, North Rhine Westfalia in Germany. 
Playing host to over 160,000 visitors to the city and with over 1000 artists appearing on several stages over the three days makes this one of the biggest Music Festivals in Germany.
The band have been given two prime time slots with performances scheduled for Saturday at 6pm  and Sunday at 12 noon to open the Sunday show.



There will be beer and drinks stands and street food stalls offering typical German and also representative food from several countries available.
The  "currywurst mit pommes" is a must try!  

The invitation is very significant to some members of the band who have made many previous visits to Bochum, representing the City of Sheffield on many occasions at the Maiabendfest celebrations. This is an exciting opportunity to re-kindle the friendships made several years ago and make some new ones too.