Leeds brass band marks hitting the high notes for 200 years

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One of the oldest brass bands in the country is to celebrate a fantastic 200 years at the heart of the community.

This year marks the bicentenary of the 28-strong Kippax Brass Band and its social calendar is packed full of events to commemorate the special anniversary, including a reunion event where past conductors will be invited to celebrate the memorable occasion.

The band has a proud history of banding, dating back to the early 1800s.

Secretary of the band, Keith Fairburn, 68, said: “The band was established in 1814, the history is quite sketchy, but band records show that a tea was held to commemorate the band as the oldest brass band in England on January 13 1934.

“The records show that 1934 marked 120 years as a band and 100 years as a brass band.

“We also discovered a lovely piece of history buried in the minutes of a document from the 1900s. It’s thought that a Mrs Medhurst, the wife of an officer in the Hussars, donated a set of uniforms to the band.”

Closely linked to the mining industry, the band had connections with collieries until the closure of the Selby Coalfield in the early 2000s and is today still classed as a mineworkers band.

Despite its 200 years, the band has wholeheartedly thrown itself into the 21st Century and to secure the future of the band for years to come, a Youth Training Initiative was introduced in 2008 to ensure a ‘production line’ of future players.

Run by members of the senior band, the Youth Training Initiative aims to keep the spirit of banding alive and provide Kippax with locally-produced players.

David Carpenter, conductor of the band, said: “We are a very progressive band and play to all kinds of different tastes.

“Our range goes from classical music to modern-day and at the Durham Miners’ Gala we even played Lady Gaga.”

“We are always looking for new people to come through, but I think the band has a lot of health.

“The players not only enjoy playing together, but also enjoy being together and there is no reason why the future of the band shouldn’t be bright.”

Over the course of the year, the band will play a number of concerts, including a special bicentenary concert on September 13. An original piece of music is also being composed for the band in collaboration with Garforth Arts Festival and will be debuted on July 5 at St Mary’s Church, Garforth, as part of the 10th annual festival.

For more information visit www.kippaxband.co.uk or contact Keith Fairburn on 07914607889.

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