BRIGHOUSE and Rastrick Band, current Yorkshire and National Champions, pulled out all the stops to finish as overall winners of the Saddleworth Whit March Contest.
Continuing a rich run of form, B & R competed against 100 other bands in eight contests around the pretty villages on the western edge of the Pennines and came away with five prizes, making them the most successful band on the evening and securing them the accolade of overall winners. B & R’s musicians also won individual prizes for best cornet, best soprano and best brass section.
Professional conductor Prof David King led B & R to victory and, in a break with tradition, the band played the contest march ‘Knight Templar’ rather than their more familiar march ‘Royal Trophy’.
President Paul Beaumont and his wife Julie marched in front of the band carrying the huge National Trophy, won at the Royal Albert Hall last October. He said: “You can’t believe how heavy that trophy felt after we had hauled it round eight villages but we felt very proud of the band and the crowd were thrilled that we had given the trophy pride of place at the front of the band.”
Before they took to the contest stage B & R contributed to the most moving moment of the evening when they played the hymn tune ‘There is a Green Hill Far Away’ in tribute to Alan Chamberlain who lost his life in an accident at last year’s contest at Greenfield.
Greenfield contest secretary Joe Buckley said: “I cannot put into words how much it meant when B & R played the hymn tune.”