RNCM Brass Band Festival at Royal Northern College of Music

RNCM Brass Band Festival
Royal Northern College of Music
27th January 2023 – 29th January 2023

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RNCM Brass Band Festival
RNCM Brass Band Festival

Britain’s core national brass brands will be assembling for a spectacular weekend festival taking place at RNCM as part of the College’s 50th anniversary celebrations from Friday to Sunday this weekend. The RNCM Brass Band Festival encapsulates all that is thrilling about brass band performances; from a history that stretches back to the industrial revolution to a future that is lit up by young people’s pioneering work.

Brass might well light up people’s lives, almost every day with the renditions of Coronation Street’s theme tune by Eric Spear echoing poignantly throughout the decades, but a threat hangs over its own future. This is something that began in classrooms and threatens to spread to stages, film scores and more – and that’s the impact that the list of endangered instruments could have to brass music. Put simply, there wouldn’t be quite the same ride in Wagner’s The Ride of the Valkyries without the French horns, trombones and tuba and where would the strings in John Williams’ theme to Star Wars be without the dramatic contrast of the brassinstruments, including the under threat trombone? These are some of the instruments on the endangered instruments list, which is currently made up of the French Horn, Trombone, Tuba, Oboe, Double Bass, Bassoon and Viola, and dominated by brass instruments.

What lies at the heart of this problem is a bigger issue. Against the backdrop of the National Plan for Music Education, set out in 2011, there has been a continuing reduction of music education in schools, despite it being a curriculum subject. This has widespread implications and one of the knock on effects is that there are fewer places to learn endangered instruments and even finding the instruments to play can be difficult.

The RNCM Brass Band Festival audiences are going to be treated to a rich variety of brass band music including the Young Musician’s Showcase representing the next generation of musicians and Grimethorpe Colliery Band, which was formed during World War I and is now a British institution thanks largely to an appearance on the soundtrack of Brassed Off. There will be classics played and newly composed pieces in a programme that spans across the weekend.

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