2013 Archived Leyland News

Something ‘Unusual’ about the Festivities – 3rd December 2013

A new work with a children’s twist will compliment the well known Christmas fayre in the bands festive concerts

When author and band patron Tony Smith featured ‘Leyland Band’ in his collection of stories, he couldn’t have imagined how high the notes would go!

The first story, “Mr Sonneman’s Unusaul Solution”, takes us into the world of cloud machines and man made weather, a cloud machine called “Nimbus”, its owner Captain Cirrus and his faithful engineer “Puffy”.

Tony commissioned composer Lucy Pankhurst to write music for the band to bring the stories to life.

The world premiere of “Mr Sonneman’s Unusual Solution” will be a feature of the Festive Brass concert on the 8th December 2013.

It’s a quirky and fun piece, which paints the pictures in music that Tony conjures up in words.

The 2014 Matinee concert series will each feature one of the companion pieces from the other stories in the series.

Leyland say goodbye to principal cornet – 2nd December 2013

Iain Culross has accepted his ‘dream’ job, and leaves Leyland after 2 tremendous years with the band.


Iain Culross has taken up the position of principal cornet with the Grimethorpe Band after fulfilling the same role with great distinction at Leyland for the last two years.

All at Leyland are sad to see Iain leave, and thank him for his huge contribution to the band’s success over those years.

Explaining his decision, Iain said that he has long held the ambition to lead the Grimethorpe cornet section, and this opportunity allows him to fulfill that dream.

He was full of praise for Leyland and the people he leaves behind, and we wish him well in his new position.

Beatles in Brass at BIC – 20th November 2013

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of The Beatles first number 1 chart hit, Leyland go all “Scouse” at Brass In Concert

Leyland’s contribution at the 2013 Brass In Concert Championships, held at the Sage, Gateshead on 17th November was a varied tribute to the legendary Beatles, with music by Lennon & McCartney, and George Harrison. The 25 minute program began with a new arrangement by Gary Westwood of 3 Beatles hits, “Because”, “Get Back” and “Lady Madonna”.


Leyland’s own Sgt. Pepper, Richard Evans then joined the band on stage, resplendent in red tunic and trademark John Lennon round spectacles to direct the band through a fun setting of “When I’m 64” – or as compere Frank Renton remarked “in Richard’s case, When I was 64′!”. Principle Cornet Iain Culross then took to his feet in another new arrangement by Gary Westwood, ably accompanied by Chris Doran (Eb Bass) and Ben Thomas (Kit). The song “Something (in the way she moves)” proving a perfect vehicle for Iain to demonstrate his fabulous sound.


March Kings!

Richard and Leyland have an unequalled success at BIC in presenting the winning march of the day. An old recording by the Band of the Irish Guards called ‘Marching with the Beatles’ provided a great march setting of “She Loves You” to maintain the program theme, and once again deliver Leyland the best performance of a march award on the day.

After Iain featured in “Something”, another George Harrison ballad, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” allowed two more of Leyland’s young soloists, Romana Halstead (Flugel) and Yasuaki Fukuhara (Marimba). A new arrangement by Alan Fernie provided one of the highlights of the day.

Leyland ended their program with David Cole’s arrangement “Best of the Beatles”, a whistle stop tour of Eleanor Rigby, Penny Lane, Norwegian Wood and Hey Jude, brought a great ovation from the packed hall, proving once again how Leyland is able to engage with an audience in a way others can’t.

Leyland gear up for Brass in Concert… with a little experienced assistance! – 15th November 2013

Leyland Band are delighted to announce that they are, once again, to be lead by the ‘King of Brass in Concert’, Richard Evans as he goes in search of his tenth title this Sunday in Gateshead.

Having enjoyed much success in recent years the band has been working hard towards this year’s contest with Richard at the helm.

The bands performance will be aided by the assistance of trombone star, Brett Baker, and former long standing Fairey and Black Dyke player, Trevor McCormick, who will play 1st horn at the weekend.

“It is always a pleasure to team up with Mr Evans,” commented Leyland Chairman Iain McKnight, “especially for the Brass in Concert Championships, which has been the scene of many fine moments in both of our mutual histories. We’re looking forward to a day of fantastic music making. I am also delighted that Brett will be lending his assistance to us in Gateshead. We felt that playing four trombones would give us greater flexibility in our music and also supports Ross, our newly appointed principal trombonist on his contesting debut. It is also fantastic to have such an experienced player as Trevor with us for this contest.”

“I’m delighted to be able to take to the stage with Leyland this weekend alongside Ross,” added Brett. “Having taught him for the past three years or so I know what a fantastic prospect he is for the band.”

Patrons and supporters of the band are welcome to attend an informal open rehearsal from 2-4pm tomorrow, Saturday 16th November, at Lostock Hall Academy, where they will be able to hear and see the band’s final preparations for the presitgious contest. Anyone wishing to get tickets for the contest should do so fairly quickly! The event is usually sold out, but tickets are currently still available from the Sage Gateshead website.


  New slide rule at Leyland – 9th October 2013

Leyland Band announce the appointment of Ross Johnson as their new Principal Trombone

Leyland Band are pleased to announce the appointment of Ross Johnson to the position of Principal Trombone. Previously a member of the Porthywaen Silver Band in Shropshire, Ross is also a member of the Black Dyke Youth Trombone Quartet and the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain. At the age of seventeen he joins Leyland’s stable of youthful but talented soloists.

“It is a pleasure to welcome Ross to the team at Leyland,” commented chairman Iain McKnight. “Despite his years, he possesses a considerable talent and is a welcome addition to our band. In my experience, players with a combination of youth and aptitude such as Ross’ not only perform to a very high standard but also rapidly develop in to the banding stars of tomorrow. Given the quality of performance he is already capable of, this can only bode well for the coming months and years.”

Ross is a pupil of Brett Baker and John Proctor and has won many solo competitions including, most recently, best soloist at the 2013 Wychavon Festival of Brass. Having achieved the benchmark Grade 8 in trombone with distinction at the age of fifteen, he went on to earn his ATCL Diploma a year later, aged just sixteen. In 2013 he has travelled to Kentucky in the United States to participate in the Great American Brass Band Festival to a colossal audience of 30,000.

“To be appointed Principal Trombone of the Leyland Band is a great honour,” said Ross. “I have had a very warm welcome and the atmosphere is electric.”

Ross will officially join Leyland following this weekend’s National Brass Band Championship finals at London’s Royal Albert Hall where the band will, for the second consecutive year, represent the North West as regional champions. His first public appearance will be at Southport’s Holy Trinity Church on Sunday 20th October where the band will perform its annual Proms concert. As well as enjoying a varied concert programme, audience members will have the opportunity to take the patriotic spirit home with them by way of the band’s new CD Crown Imperial.

 Percussion virtuoso switches Stockport for Leyland! – 15th September 2013

Leyland Band are pleased to announce the appointment of renowned percussionist Yasuaki Fukuhara.

Yasuaki will feature as the band’s percussion soloist and will make his first public appearance with the North West champions at next month’s National Championships at the Royal Albert Hall, London.


“I am delighted to join Leyland after a fantastic two years with Fairey,” said Yasuaki. “I have enjoyed many great experiences with them and the band have supported me well since I came to the UK. I would like to say thank you to them all. I am really looking forward to working with the many talented players at Leyland as well as conductors Michael Bach and Richard Evans. I have known Richard for many years, through his work with my home band in Japan, and it is thanks to him that I am now performing here in the UK. I am excited to be working with him once again.”


Leyland will accompany Yasu in his debut solo CD recording, which will be undertaken in the spring with the support of the band’s partners, the University of Central Lancashire.


“I am thrilled to welcome Yasu to Leyland,” commented Leyland chairman Iain McKnight. “He is a phenomenally talented instrumentalist and a fantastic addition to our young and vibrant soloist team. It is also great to be able to support Yasu in his debut solo recording. I hope his stay with us both long and fruitful.”


Leyland’s Lunch with a “Legend” – 8th September 2013

The winner of the draw for a lunch date with Richard Evans announced.

The promotion organised by Jim Doran came to a conclusion with a the draw for the winners taking place at the British Open draw meeting on 7th September.

The competition was won by the Robert’s family from Jackfield (Elkin Reisen) band and the lucky couple will be joining Richard and Leyland Band over the weekend of 15th/16th February 2014.

Their prize includes a weekend stay at the 4* Bestern Western Hotel, Leyland; lunch at theselect Whittle’s Farm Restaurant with Richard Evans; being guests of honour at Leyland’s annual Romance in Brass concert in the Lancastria Suite, Chorley Town Hall on the Sunday.


Leyland would like to thank all the bands that participated in the promotion, and offer warm congratulations to the winning couple.


Music for a right royal occasion! – 23rd August 2013

Leyland mark coronation anniversary with the year’s second most anticipated royal delivery!

Leyland Band are proud to announce the release of their latest CD, Crown Imperial.

Former band member Phillip Littlemore was the producer of the recording, featuring music from his own company, Timbercroft Publishing. Popular patriotic favourites such as Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 (Land of Hope and Glory), Nimrod and I Vow to Thee My Country are contrasted with less well-known but equally stirring pieces such as Sir Arthur Bliss’ Welcome the Queen, Robert Farnon’s Westminster Waltz and the Toccata from Vaughan Williams’ Symphony No. 8. The majority of the music is arranged by Phillip himself, but there are also contributions from Don Blakeson (Music for the Royal Fireworks) and Leyland’s own Iain McKnight (Blaenwern).

The band will be officially launching the CD at their next Chorley matinee concert on Sunday 22nd September, where Thomas Wyss – who directed proceedings at June’s recording session – will be leading the band in a suitably British programme. However, if you can’t wait until then to get your hands on this exciting recording, you can order it from the band by visiting our eBay sales page for a modest £11.99 (inclusive of P&P).


The CD is due for release on 3rd September and all pre-orders will be dispatched immediately following this.


‘Strangers’ has a familiar Ring (Ring Rouge) about it – 11th July 2013

Alternative/Indie band Ring Ring Rouge cut their latest track with the help of Leyland’s brass

Burnley 4 piece band, ‘Ring, Ring Rouge’ create melodic and atmospheric music.

Fronted by lead vocalist, Gary Starr, the band (Micaheal Connell, Clive Durkin and Shaun Starr) perform and records widely.


Their latest offering is called ‘Strangers’ and required an authentic brass backing track which Leyland were delighted to be asked to perform. The backing track was recorded on Thursday 11th July, and although we have yet to hear the completed mix, the arrangement was full of lush tone and harmony. Ring Ring Rouge were thrilled with Leyland’s contribution and left with manuscript signed by the Leyland players. Watch out for more information when the track is finished and released

Band on the Sands – 15th June 2013

On the 30th June, Leyland will entertain 500 people at White Creek, Morecambe Bay to help celebrate Cedric Robinson’s 50th anniversary of his royal appointment to be the Queen’s Guide to the Sands

50 years ago, Cedric Robinson was appointed as the Queen’s guide to the Sands of Morecambe Bay by a young Queen Elizabeth. Since then he has safely guided thousands of people across the treacherous bay where quick sand and rapid tides can be a devastating threat. Now in his 8th decade, he is still going strong and Sunday 30th June he will lead a group of 500 people across the bay in a special anniversary event organised by the University of Central Lancahire, of which he is respected Honorary Fellow.


Trombone and love of brass

He has been the subject of many films and documentaries, but perhaps what is less well known about him is his love of brass bands and his playing days in his youth. Cedric was a trombone player and lists in his favourite music, “The Acrobat” and the march ” Blazeaway”. He has attended Leyland Band concerts in recent years and has thoroughly enjoyed the performances. So when the University approached the band to help mark these celebrations we were delighted to offer support.

A first?

This will be first time brass music has been performed as part of the crossing, and this unique event is being filmed for wider circulation.

The band will be performing on the beach at White Creek from around 9.45am as the 500 gather for the crossing. Subject to the weather, the Leyland 10 piece will join the crossing and perform mid stream as the crowd make their way through the channel towards Kents Bank where the remainder of the band, having made the journey by coach, will be waiting to welcome everyone back.


This is such a unique event for the band that we are inviting sponsorship through our Just Giving page – justgiving.com/leylandband – for the 10 piece crossing and performance.


Made it!

Although unique, Leyland are no strangers to unusual venues and performances – see the 5 selected from the band’s last 30 years below:-

Saddleworth Success – 24th May 2013

Whit Friday Contests – Leyland compete in 6 and gain 2 wins, 2 seconds, a third and a fourth, and rank third overall

On a cold and blustery night in Saddleworth, Leyland produced six quality performances of The Wizard under the direction for the first time of Andrew Warriner. This year the Saddleworth circuit was loaded with bands, whilst reports were that the Tameside circuit was relatively sparse, meaning that queuing was a feature at all the villages. Despite that, Leyland managed to get six contests in, and so qualifying for the rankings in the overall Saddleworth standings.

See Leyland’s winning performances at Lees & Springhead and Diggle:-


The Wizard

George Allan (1864 – 1930) is responsible for some of the best competition marches around, with over seventy to his name including “Knight Templar” and “The Senator”. His march “The Wizard” was adopted by Leyland over twenty years ago as its entry for the Whit Friday Festivals. It was unique then, but more bands have seen the potential of this great march, and it now features widely on the festival evenings.


Andrew Warriner conducted the band for the first time, having been part of the Leyland bass section in the late 1980’s. A welcome return proved to be very fruitful.

Andrew will also be conducting the band in concerts this coming weekend at the Swaledale Festival and Chorley Town Hall

Oslo – Pride and Emotion – 6th May 2013

Leyland give it their all in the 2013 European Brass Band Championships


The magnificent efforts of the band and supporters to be able to fund Leyland’s appearance at the 2013 European Brass Band Championships was rewarded with a performance of true quality in the set work, and a sensational audience reception to the band’s offering in the own choice work. Ultimately though, in what was a very high calibre two days of music making by all the competing bands, Leyland were awarded 7th place overall by the adjudicators and our congratulations go the bands featuring in the prizes.


The crowds in Oslo Concert Hall witnessed two days of exceptoinal brass music making by top bands brought together from across Europe.

Leyland’s journey to Norway had begun with the intense fundraising needed by non-sponsored bands.


Months of dedicated activity raised almost £20K to enable the band to once again experience the thrill of representing England and competing in the European Championships. The festival atmosphere which is generated at the “European’s” is unique, players and people from across the continent coming together to celebrate brilliant brass music, and we thank our Norwegian hosts for making this such a wonderful experience.


The band arrived in Oslo on Thursday 2nd May and after settling into the hotel, we made our way to ‘Ridehuset’ (The home of the Staff Band of the Norwegian Armed Forces) for final rehearsal preparations.


Friday came around very quickly and drawn to play 6th, so did the time for Leyland to take to the stage. Leyland’s young players could have been overwhelmed by the reception the band received simply walking out for that first performance, such was the atmosphere in the hall. This was not contesting as we know it here in the UK. It was warm hearted and encouraging regardless of nationality or reputation. A high quality performance ensued in which the whole band made a full contribution, none more so than Principal Cornet Iain Culross, who was to be one of the stars of the weekend. Sixteen year old Romana Halstead enhanced her growing reputation as a flugel prodigy with a nerveless rendition of the middle section of the set work and throughout, the 4 strong percussion section lead by Ben Thomas provided colour and drive to the performance of ‘Myth Forest’:-


Myth Forest

Norwegian composer Stig Nordhagen was commissioned to compose the set test piece for the 2013 EBBC. The work depicts the scene of a pond – Myth Forest –  in the composers own neighbourhood, from first light to sunset. A dark, broody work in the main with a ‘bacchanale-sque’ finale section when the forest creatures come out to dance in the night. The work proved demanding and rewarding, and Leyland’s conductor Michael Bach painted very muscial glimpses of the moods and sounds that the piece depicted.


Day 2 – Saturday 4th May 2013. Drawn to play 9th on day 2, Leyland’s performance on the first day seemed to have given the packed hall impetus for an even more rousing reception as the band took to the Oslo Concert Hall stage to perform the own choice work.


In common with the set work, Peter Meechan’s piece opened quietly and mysteriously, but immediately with a brighter intent than Myth Forest. John Doyle’s (Soprano Cornet) sang out the opening solo of the piece with a glorious tone and style and you could feel the audience being drawn in to the performance already. Iain Culross then demonstrated his true virtuosity in a quasi cadenza, followed by James McLeod (Principal Euphonium) before the desert musical storm invaded the tranquility and optimism of the opening passages. Fanfares heralded the passing of the storm and transition into the beautifully reflective middle section where the emotion the band was feeling was transmitted seemelessly to the audience who were wrapt. Making another telling solo contribution, Iain Culross produced another stunning cadenza before the finale developed. The audience began applauding three bars before the end of the piece, and as the final chord was delivered by an ecstatic band, they took to their feet for an incredible and spontaneous standing ovation which no one at Leyland will ever forget.


Fragile Oasis

For their own choice work, Leyland Band commissioned Peter Meechan to compose a brand new piece. Designed to contrast and complement the set work, Fragile Oasis offered hope in the face of despair, and ultimately reaffirmed the joys of life no less in a fabulously uplifting finale. The piece and Leyland’s performance of it brought the packed hall to its feet in a 5 minute standing ovation.



Ultimate disappointment in the result does not overshadow the warmth and sincerity of an audience totally engaged by a Leyland Band, whose pleasure at being able to perform on the grandest stage was visible to all.

On behalf of all in Leyland Band, and particularly our young players, a sincere thanks to all our supporters for helping us achieve our goal of competitng in Oslo.

Many new friends have been made. Leyland players can be proud of the achievement of getting to Oslo and performing in such an impressive manner. We couldn’t have given more, performed better or connected with the audience more strongly. From that we take great pride and incentive.

The final countdown! – 27th April 2013

EBBC 2013: One week to go…

With only one week left until Leyland take to the stage at the Oslo Concert Hall, Lancashire’s most renowned temporary Swiss resident has arrived to put the band through its paces. Michael Bach arrived on Thursday, and has already set the bar high for next weekend with his unique brand of high-octane rehearsals.

There will be lots of updates on the contest via the band’s twitter account and Facebook page, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled!


Banding brains tested to the max! – 21st April 2013

Prizes galore and lots of money raised at first band quiz night

Yesterday evening over 100 quiz enthusiasts, both banders and non-banders, travelled to Buckshaw Village Community Centre for the very first Leyland Band Quiz Night. Quizmaster and BBb Tuba player, Colin Doran, ably assisted by the extended Doran family, ran a fantastic evening which raised nearly £1000 towards the band’s trip to the European Championships in Oslo.

Various local bands were represented, but it was Janice’s Giants who proved what many of us knew already – that most banders’ knowledge is limited to finals testpieces and brands of valve oil – and took away the £50 top prize with a massive score of 107. Some 23 points behind them, a tiebreak situation emerged with Banned – comprised of some of Leyland’s finest minds (and John Doyle) along with their considerably better halves – eventually snatching the second prize of £25 ahead of Middleton Band’s Oh Lord!

A random spot prize of six miniature bottles of wine went, appropriately enough, to fifth placed Think While You Drink while 5 Of Us picked up the consolation prize; a selection of miniature chocolates.

A raffle also took place, which included an extensive variety of prizes, including a voucher for an hour’s free music tuition from the band’s chairman – rather unfairly dubbed the booby prize by some of the runners-up – which, Iain is pleased to note, wasn’t the last item left on the table! It is rumoured that “officially more popular than soap” will appear on his CV in due course…

First and second prizes were kindly donated by Diamond Financial Solutions, while donations towards the bar were kindly provided by The Railway at Leyland and The Swan, Ulverston.

Thank you to all who came and took part to support the band!

Full results

1 Janice’s Giants 107
2* Banned – Leyland 84
3 Oh Lord! – Middleton 84
4 Woodall 82
5 Think While You Drink – Eccleston Brass 81
6 Hands Up for Beef – Eccleston Brass 80
7= Bishopston Brainboxes 79
7= Sixpack R Us 79
9= Jonny T’s Re-enforcement of Morals – Leyland 77
9= We Don’t Suck We Blow! – Hoover Bolton 77
11 Tarleton Tribe – Tarleton and District 76.5
12 Blackcorn 72.5
13 Chorley Cheaters 67.5
14 Pilling Posse – Pilling Jubilee 64.5
15 Golden Girls 62.5
16 Allsworth One 62
17 The Duffers 58
18 5 Of Us 57

* = Tiebreak question

EBBC 2013: 2 weeks to go! – 18th April 2013

Not coming to Oslo? Not a problem! Watch the band compete for European glory live online…

We’re jetting off to Norway in just two weeks now, but if you can’t make it to Oslo to hear us, don’t worry! TV 2 Sumo, Norway’s leading online TV service, will be streaming all the playing from the competition live, with videos also being available for two weeks following the competition. To watch the band’s efforts, you will need to subscribe* to the service by visiting www.tv2sumo.no/ebbc, which costs approximately £5 (or, in Norwegian, ‘half a lager’).

The set work section begins at 4pm BST on Friday 3rd May, with the own choice leg commencing at 11am BST the following day.

* Please be aware that the service features an automatically renewing subscription, which can be cancelled when no longer required.

Oslo countdown… 3 weeks to go! – 12th April 2013

Band in full flight as Europeans beckons!

It’s now only three weeks until we take to the stage at the Oslo Concert Hall and fly the flag for Leyland, Lancashire and England at the European Championships, and the band is working hard to make sure it is ready for the challenge!


There are a few more opportunities to hear and support the band before we jet off to Norway though…

Tomorrow (Saturday 13th) the band presents ‘A European Journey‘ at UCLan’s Harrington Theatre (tickets £10, available on the door) and on Sunday we will be performing for the annual RNLI fundraising concert at St. Mary’s Church, Leyland.

Next weekend, we are holding our very first quiz night at Buckshaw Village Community Centre, which promises to be an excellent evening. If you haven’t reserved your ticket yet (£6), please contact Colin Doran on 07803 610650 so he can make sure there’s enough traditional Lancashire hot pot to go round on the night!


The band is currently working hard on the set work, Myth Forest by Stig Nordhagen as well as its top secret own choice work under the meticulous baton of Thomas Wyss, who is assisting professional conductor Michael Bach with the musical preparation for the contest.

Look out for further Oslo updates here!

Troms get their running shoes on! – 9th April 2013

Trombonists tackle the Blackpool Half Marathon to raise Oslo funds.

On Sunday 7th April, principal trombonist Danny Brooks and his section counterpart, bass trombonist Steve Lomas, took part in the Blackpool Half Marathon to raise funds for the band’s trip to the European Championships.

Following in the footsteps (if you’ll pardon the pun!) of fellow band runner, John Doyle, the pair pulled on their trainers and high-viz vests and took to the course. Steve finished the race in 2 hours and 4 minutes with Danny, in his own words, “a little bit further behind”.

It’s not too late to support their efforts though. To donate, please visit http://www.justgiving.com/Stephen-Lomas


2013 Champions! – 10th March 2013

Leyland and Musical Director Michael Bach in perfect ‘Harmony’ in retaining North West Area Champions title.


A quite magnificent performance of Philip Sparke’s Harmony Music was rewarded with first prize at the North West Regional Championships. Leyland retained the champions title in some style, winning great favour from adjudicators Derek Broadbent and David Horsfield. Their adjudicators’ remarks contained not a single criticism, and reveled in the world-class level of music making on display.


Playing with power and panache in equal measure, the band left no doubt in the minds of many in the Blackpool Winter Gardens about the destination of the winners’ trophy. Performing last, Leyland gave no other band the opportunity to eclipse a magical show, and pushed current National and British Open Champions, Foden’s, in to second place.

Joining both bands at London in October will be third placed Milnrow, led at Blackpool by former Leyland MD and principal cornetist, Russell Gray. Together they edged his previous band, Fairey, out of the qualification spots and in to fourth place.


Leyland’s Musical Director Michael Bach followed up his debut win with the band in 2012 with another brilliant reading of the set work; particular mention goes to Iain Culross (principal cornet), Rebecca Landon (principal horn) and new principal euphonium James McLeod who all excelled in a terrfic band performance.

Leyland go live on air to promote fundraising concert – 23rd February 2013

Representatives of the band were in conversation with BBC Radio Lancashire’s Brett Davison yesterday afternoon

Marketing Manager Arthur Whitlock, Development Officer Andrew Blackledge and Chairman Iain McKnight joined Brett at the BBC studios in Blackburn yesterday (22nd February) to chat about the band, as well as the forthcoming trip to the European Championships in Oslo. Also on the agenda was our fundraising concert at UCLan in April, A European Journey.


If you missed the broadcast, or you’re out of the Lancashire area, you can catch-up via the BBC iPlayer for the next six days. The band’s feature can be heard from approx. 22 minutes onwards.