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Brighouse and Rastrick looking for Whit Friday Contest success

By Richard Jones 

Brighouse and Rastrick Band.

The top brass band in the country is looking for more success at the Saddleworth Whit Friday contests.

Current national champions Brighouse and Rastrick will once again be touring the villages of our area during this Friday’s event.

Last year they won the contests at Delph, Denshaw, Dobcross, Greenfield and Grotton to take the overall Saddleworth prize, and the band’s president has told Saddleworth News they’re hoping for another strong performance.

Paul Beaumont said: “We’re looking forward to it this year as much as ever. It’s tradition, it’s a great night out, and dare I say it, it’s normally very successful for Brighouse and Rastrick.”

He added: “We enjoy all the villages, they’ve all got their own character. It’ll be the usual thing, we’ll try to get around as many as we can do. We don’t leave with a plan to go from here to here to here, we basically will scout somewhere and check how busy the other places are, and decide the route as we go along.”

Brighouse and Rastrick has long been one of the best known bands in the country, and it’s currently going through a golden period having won the national title in both 2010 and 2011. Paul explained: “The last couple of years have been absolutely amazing for the band. This year we’re completing 33 concerts of which a handful are outside the UK, we’re very shortly going to Belgium, Italy and we’re also going to Switzerland before the end of the year. And then of course there’s all the contests.”

But with local musicians such as Delph cornet player Laura Hirst in the band’s ranks, Whit Friday remains a big day in their busy calendar. Paul said: “It’s very different to a regional contest or the British Open or performing at the Albert Hall. But it’s no less important and no less an event. We’re all very aware of the tradition that goes with Whit Friday. It’s a really exciting time for us, we all really enjoy it.”

The band’s recent success has come under the leadership of Professor David King. But having been in the recording studio with the band making a forthcoming album last weekend, he’s made a brief return to his native Australia. Ian Porthouse will be taking charge of the band this Friday, although it’s still not been decided whether they will be performing Ravenswood or repeating last year’s choice of Knight Templar.

Brighouse and Rastrick also won friends in Saddleworth last year by performing a tribute to spectator Alan Chamberlain, who was sadly knocked over and killed on Chew Valley Road in Greenfield on Whit Friday 2010. The band played the hymn tune There Is A Green Hill Far Away at the spot where the tragedy happened, and Paul commented: “Whit Friday and Saddleworth’s a special place for all the band. We were more than pleased to be able to help last year, and as a band, we found it really poignant playing the piece there.”

Once again, there will be 23 contests across Saddleworth, Oldham and Tameside this Friday afternoon and evening, with an estimated £60,000 in total prize money on offer. Most begin at 4pm or 4:30pm, and Denshaw has the latest official closing time of 10:45pm.

If you miss Brighouse and Rastrick on Friday, they will be returning to this part of the world later in the summer. They’re playing a concert at St Bartholomew’s in Marsden on Saturday 30 June at 7:30pm. Tickets are available by calling 01484 845622.


4 comments to Brighouse and Rastrick looking for Whit Friday Contest success

  • […] my piece for the Northerner section of The Guardian, and I also put together a different version for Saddleworth News. Share this:TwitterFacebook This entry was posted in Articles and tagged Brighouse and Rastrick […]

  • Michael Wood

    Where is the Pariah Council when every one bar them are hearing that Whit Friday is in danger, do they no about the petition, the last one at Scouthead and not one of the have come out and said why. Oldham are doing just what they want to saddleworth and these sleepy eyed councillors are doing nothing, no comment in the Oldham Chronicle which I saw, no comment in the Saddleworth News. When it was first mentioned they should have been asking questions, they are asking questions in Holland who no Whit Friday but not 1 Parish Councillor but you can bet your life they will have their fancy suite on tomorrow walking at the front. I cannot believe that one of them has not spoke up for the villages its behond belief. Saddleworth Parish Council get your act together and start doing something against the Police and Oldham MBC get them to answer some questions and very quick. This is a very big tradition and you are doing nothing about it.

  • Saddbarsteward

    You would think that our Parish Councillors would get themselves organised over this – after all it is a vote winner.

  • Michael Wood

    I do not think they read the Saddleworth News because they are frightened of comments. I have been reading the News paper for a long time and I think I can count on 1 hand a comment made by a Parish Councillor other than the late Ken Hulme, who is very badly missed. You do not read in the Oldham Chronicle from any of them, they must just go to meetings say yeas and that is it until the next one. I agree with you Saddbarsteward and one with brains would have jumped on this when they saw it happening. I think they are in sleep mode thinking it is winter.

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