The Greatest Free Show on Earth – Saddleworth Marches Posted June 4, 2015 by Stagecrew Steve

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Saddleworth Band Contest

Last week, on the 31st May, Frodsham Silver Band competed in what is often described as ‘the greatest free show on Earth’; Saddleworth & District Whit Friday Brass Band Contests . Bands from across the world come to compete in the moorland villages and towns on the western edge of the Pennines, as featured in the 1996 film “Brassed Off” with Pete Poselthwaite and Ewan McGregor.

From the earliest recorded contest in 1884, the event has grown in popularity. This year the contest attracted 133 bands , most from the UK, but several from across Europe and Scandanavia.   Frodsham won second place last year, at Greenfields Village, one of the most popular venues on the contest map. Sadly the competition was intense this year and Frodsham were squeezed out of the medals.

saddleworth 2014 Delph 1

The band’s display consisted of a march through the villages to the “March of the Cobblers” and test pieces at each of the villages, where they played “Starlake”.   The band is led by its conductor Norman Denaro. Norman, now 84, has been at the helm of Frodsham Silver Band since 1993. He is a Runcorn resident and studied at the Royal College of Music playing for the Queen on several occasions. The 35 piece band contains no less than six of Norman’s relatives from Runcorn and Widnes! Norman said; “Saddleworth is a very special contest. Nowhere has quite the same jovial atmosphere, with a distinct competitive edge to it. Novices have the chance to play cheek by jowl with the great colliery bands. However, what I most enjoy about the band is seeing children I taught grow into great musicians. ”

Evidence of Norman’s commitment to nurturing young musicians is clear in the joy that 10 year old Daisy Kay, of Frodsham, has for the event. “We all go there on the bus, have a big day out, eat lots of chocolate and have loads of fun. It is a little bit serious, but everyone is together and it feels like we are all working together in a big team.   It was really scary the first time I tried to march. It’s really difficult, but everyone has been really kind and helpful.”

Daisy had never played the trombone before but within a few months was a proud member of her section. She says of Norman; “He is so cool; he is great with the junior members of the band and knows how to give us confidence. He has really helped me to become a better player. “

Frodsham Silver Band is a very friendly 4th section band with a wide range of ability, experience and age (10-90 years). Our emphasis is on enjoyment. Silver bands can be stuffy affairs. Not so at Frodsham.

 

For photos of the event take a look at the gallery.

For videos check out the Frodsham Silver Band You Tube channel.

 

 

5 Comments

  • Tony Purcell July 16, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    Hi Audrey,Norman& family,
    Your new website is great, so nice to see all going well
    Best Wishes
    Tony & Barbara Purcell.

    Reply

    • Stagecrew Steve February 15, 2016 at 10:05 pm

      Hello Tony,
      Thanks for your comment on the Frodsham silver Band website. The band is still going strong. They still practice int he band hut in Frodsham on a Tuesday at 8pm, and Norman is still at the helm, if you ever want to pop by. Keep your eyes peeled on the events page for public performances. We don’t have a fixed calendar for 2016 yet, but come the spring it will be posted to the website and updated through the year.

      Best Regards
      Steve (long suffering father and husband of band members!)

      Reply

  • Ian Maddock August 23, 2015 at 1:29 am

    Brilliant; I used to be a member in the 70’s. Great to see the bands still going strong.

    Reply

    • Stagecrew Steve February 15, 2016 at 10:04 pm

      Hello Ian,

      Thanks for your comment on the Frodsham silver Band website. The band is still going strong, and whilst I am sure we have some of the same members that you know from the 1970s, there is a bit of new blood too. They still practice int he band hut in Frodsham on a Tuesday at 8pm if you ever want to pop by. Keep your eyes peeled on the events page for public performances. We dont have a fixed calendar for 2016 yet, but come the spring it will be posted to the website and updated through the year.

      Best Regards
      Steve (long suffering father and husband of band members!)

      Reply

  • Stagecrew Steve January 16, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    Ian & Tony

    Keep an eye on the events page to see what is coming up. It would be great to see you at one of the events.

    Steve

    Reply

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