50th birthday celebrations for the oldest school brass band in country

MOSSLEY Hollins High School has the oldest school brass band in the country.

And to commemorate its landmark 50th birthday, a special celebratory concert will be held at the George Lawton Hall on Friday, October 18.

Apart from the music, it is hoped former band members will turn up for the event which will also double up as a reunion.

It was back in 1969 when metalwork teacher Brian Farrar, who was a Salvation Army band stalwart who played the euphonium, set up the band.

“By all accounts Brian was a legendary figure, a bit of a maverick who did his own thing,” explained current musical director Stephen Beardmore.

And there is one current link to the band as current Mossley Hollins teacher Martin Evans was an 11-year-old pupil, cornet player and founder member of the band.

It has been quite a journey for the brass band which has performed three times in France as well as in Germany, Switzerland and in many parts of the UK.

One of the highlights when Brian was musical director was reaching the finals of the National Festival for Youth at the Royal Albert Hall.

They were also the first school band ever to take part in the annual Whit Friday walks.

The band also takes centre stage at the annual civic service of remembrance and Christmas lights switch on as well as giving concerts.

The band had 32 members while there are also a further 17 in a year seven band of children who have just moved up from primary school. This is run by Martin Evans and acts as a feeder for the main band.

Stephen, head of performing arts at Mossley Hollins and a cornet player, took over the band in 1992.

He said: “The band changes every year and there will have been hundreds who have been in it over the last 50 years.

“We are hoping as many as possible come along and invite them to bring their instruments so they can play with the current band on the night.”

Brian, who now lives in retirement in Southport, will be returning with his son Dean, a former Mossley Hollins band member.

Vocalist Alexander Beswick, who is also a former pupil, will also be performing at the reunion concert.

Intermingled with the music there will be nostalgic reminiscences about the band.

Tickets are £5, including food, and available from the office at Mossley Hollins High School.

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