The Oldham Band (Lees) was formed in 2004 when the remaining eight members of Oldham Brass ’97 were joined by several young players from Bare Trees Community Band and their musical director John Collins. The band achieved a lot of success in the lower sections and after seven attempts finally became national champions in 2018 when the band won the first section final at Cheltenham. This year the band achieved its best ever result in the Saddleworth District Whit Friday Contest coming second to Brighouse and Rastrick.
As well as contesting, the members of the band enjoy undertaking different projects with local community groups. Last Christmas, the band provided the music for BBC 1’s Christmas Day service from Oldham Parish Church and a small ensemble appeared on Coronation Street. This year, the band recorded a single with members of Oldham’s Grange Arts Centre to publicise the work of the charity ‘Stop the Traffik’.
The musical director, John Collins, is a euphonium player and played with a number of bands in the local area. When he qualified as a primary school teacher, he encouraged a small group of children to have brass lessons at the school where he worked. This quickly developed into Bare Trees Community Band. Playing in the band provided many wonderful opportunities for the children including four performances in the Music for Youth Proms held in the Royal Albert Hall.
Two of tonight’s soloists, Toni Heywood and Harrison Heeley, are former members of Bare Trees and have been part of The Oldham Band (Lees) since the beginning. Harrison took a short break whilst he studied for a degree in music and Toni is training to be an occupational therapist. Alan Hobbins, the band’s principal cornet, has a wealth of experience and appeared in the film ‘Brassed Off’ whilst a member of The Grimethorpe Colliery Band. Matt Corrigan is a graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music. Not only is he a talented brass player but can sing too! The members of the band enjoy accompanying Matt and tonight’s concert will feature some of his favourite songs.
The Quartet has been providing telling performances of unusual as well as standard repertory quartets for more than ten years.