Knottingley Concert Brass
exists to enable brass players of all ages and abilities, to develop as musicians and to perform for the benefit of the community, both near and far afield.
The band was brought into life in 1976 by Graham Dean and Dennis Wilby, and was then called Knottingley Schools Band. It was intended as a way of introducing participatory music into a musically deprived area. It quickly developed into a thriving organisation, which has evolved over the years to meet new challenges and changing needs.
In 1981 it became Knottingley Youth Brass, to accommodate young people who had by then left school, but stayed with (and joined) the band.
In 1994 it went on to adopt the current title: Knottingley Concert Brass, acknowledging the increasingly wide age range of its members and its commitment to "performing" for the local community.
Graham Dean, has been involved for the whole period of the band, from its inception as Musical Director right up to 2009 before handing over that role his son Ian Dean. Graham remains in the band as a bass player and often continues to lead rehearsals to this day. A significant number of players also have associations which go back over many years. Members come from widely differing backgrounds and are at very different stages of musical skill acquisition. There is a continual process of education and encouragement for all. There are currently almost 30 regular concert players, though this varies with time as members leave and others join. There are several other members in the beginners and improvers sessions, who will move up to the concert band when they feel they are ready. The band comprises men, women, boys and girls whose ages have ranged from 7 to mature. There is also a group of non-playing members, who assist with administration, production, promotion and so on.
Those who leave for college, university or careers are welcomed back to rehearsal sessions whenever they are available, and are even able to join us on stage in live concerts (subject to them being able to attend several lead-up rehearsals). Such continuity contributes to the Band's enthusiasm for, and ability to, welcome and encourage new players, whether they be beginners or established performers in need of a new playing base. Several members have migrated from other competing bands, where the stress is often too intense, over to our much more friendly and relaxed playing environment. This makes our band more of a friendly and social group, than can be said of many competition bands. This does not diminish the quality of our music and we could indeed compete at a reasonable level. It is just that we chose in the 1990's to follow the concert route rather than a competing route, as that better matched the make up of Knottingley Concert Brass as a whole, just as it still does to this day.
Since 1994, the Band has established a teaching programme: Saturday mornings see a group of volunteer, experienced band members giving up their time to give tuition to a regular contingent of beginners and improvers of all ages and abilities. Many of the Concert Band members over the years had started out in this beginners group.
KCB is a Concert Band
, not a competition band. This was a deliberate choice made by the group as a whole, several years back. Its memberships is not, therefore, limited to a certain number of players and a restricted format; and improving musicians can be incorporated at a relatively early stage of their musical development, thus gaining the enormous benefit of group practice and concert experience.
Similarly, musical repertoire
is not dictated by the demands of competition entries. The aim of the Band is to produce high standard performances of a wide variety of music, by both classical and contemporary composers - to be able to create a programme to suit every kind of audience requirement - from Bach and Handel to David Bowie
and Abba, via the more "traditional" styles of brass band repertoire.
KC Bratwursts Oompah Band
Towards the end of 1998, several members of the main band formed themselves into a hilarious new Bavarian Oompah band, called The KC Bratwursts
. They wear over-the-top traditional costumes and play a range of German-style drinking songs. Steve Brewis (percussionist) leads the band and introduces each new piece in a very humorous style. They always manage to get the audience swaying from side to side and even jumping up and down in their seats with the various pieces. As well as performing their own shows, the KC Bratwursts have also played alongside the main Band at some of our concerts.
Noteability Jazz Quintet
In October 2003, three members of the band, Kathryn Lee, Martin and Simon Coates, joined with Kathryn's brother Paul Dean, to form a Jazz Quartet. Their first performace was at one of our 40's night concerts in Outwood, and at that time, the band was so new they hadn't even given themselves a name. However, they rapidly got a following of their own and were performing several concerts in their own right. Simon and Martin's grandfather, Geoff Brodie, joined the group in 2004 on Saxaphone which expanded the group's sound, and they continue to provide excellent music both as an individual group and also at several KCB's concerts and 40's Nights, where we are delighted to show off their talents. Being well established, in October 2004 the Jazz Quintet gave themselves the name "Noteability".
That extremely popular and professional group continued to go from strength to strength and these five players now form the core membership of a professional Jazz group operating outside of KCB called The Mighty Allsorts. Noteability no longer performs in its original format and no longer have any dedicated ties back to the band. However, many KCB members often support The Mighty Allsorts at some of their events, and we wish them every succsess for the future.
It is also central to the KCB philosophy that no-one should be prevented from playing to the best of their ability for the lack of a suitable instrument. Every year the Band consistently works to raise funds, in part to purchase instruments. But supply has never been able to keep pace with demand and some players have had to purchase their own instruments, whilst others have had to cope with instruments that are old and inadequate. A bid was made for funds from the National Lottery
to partially re-instrument the Band. Match funding of £5,000 had to be found, and the Band achieved this through several years of special fund-raising and hard work. The process eventually paid off in 2001, when with lottery funds and our own match-funding, we were able to purchase eight cornets, two horns and two basses. But it doesn't stop there, as we have also purchased other instruments from our own funds again, including a new bass trombone in 2002 and a new set of timpany drums in 2007.
KCB is firmly established within the local Knottingley community and performs in many different environments for diverse groups of people. In the recent past, KCB have been seen at traditional stage-based concerts, leading the Knottingley Carnival precession, weddings, private parties, village fairs, open days for local organisations, Remembrance Day parades, sporting events, shopping centres and charity functions. The list continues to grow.
Performances for charities are often free or for a small donation. Information about recent performances
and up and coming events
can be found through these links.
Please click here if you would be interested in hiring KCB to perform at any such function for you!
KCB has a policy of encouraging other local artists
by providing concert opportunities, and groups such as Ackworth Youth Choir, Carlton Silver Cross Brass Band
and musicians from Castleford High School
amongst others, have worked and performed with the band in the past.
Band members pay an annual subscription that goes towards anual insurance, and there is an annual income from the Patrons
group, following excellent work by the Patrons Team of Roy and Gill Simpson. Other financial commitments have to be met from Band earnings, fund-raising, donations and sponsorship
. All musicians, committee members and helpers are unpaid volunteers
, who share a commitment to maintaining Knottingley Concert Brass
as a community-based organisation, providing musical education and enjoyment for as many performers and as large an audience as possible.
So I hope this has given you a little insight into our friendly group. Please wonder around our this site for further information. If you would like to become involved as a beginner, player or non-playing member, please get in contact
through this link (or any you find in these pages). And get your family and friends on board to!
Everyone is welcome at Knottingley Concert Brass!