SHIRLEY Band, Solihull’s very own brass band, has taken part in an international music competition featuring brass bands from across the UK, Canada, USA, Switzerland, Japan, France and Germany.
The 30-strong brass band, which last year celebrated its centenary year, was one of 90 brass bands who submitted entries into the inaugural international ‘Online Whit Friday March Contest’ hosted by the world-famous Foden’s Band.
With funding from the Arts Council England the event was live streamed globally on YouTube Live, to viewers from all over the world and ran from 4.30pm to 11pm, with each competing band’s performance played as a live concert.
The Shirley Band performed the famous brass band march ‘The President’ by William German, a popular choice with bands usually competing at the whit marches as a show of musical prowess, with Tamzin Haines- the band’s Flugelhorn player, editing the submission from individual films recorded by band members at home.
Brian Johnson, the band’s secretary, said: “The band was delighted to take part in the competition, which saw brass bands from across the globe participate. We’ve not played together since March of this year, with all our concerts and competitions cancelled until the pandemic is over, so for the band to play together again, albeit virtually, was just amazing.”
Usually, the Whit Friday March Contest tests the bands’ musicality, discipline, stamina and organisational skills to the limit, and cash prizes are awarded to winning bands.
The event was in lieu this year’s Whit Friday marching contest, traditionally held on the first Friday after Pentecost. Annual Whit Walks are traditionally held by church and community groups in the morning, and in 1870 began the tradition of an evening procession of contesting brass bands, which still draws thousands of spectators from across the world every year. Held in Saddleworth, Oldham, Tameside and other outlying areas of Greater Manchester and made particularly famous to wider audiences due to the 1996 hit film, ‘Brassed Off’, this year’s 2020 Whit Friday event was cancelled due to Covid-19.
To view the band’s submission, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28QZJUXqCMs or seek out Shirley Band on Facebook.