THE great Harry Mortimer loved to tell the story of the two village bands who were rehearsing the same test piece for the same contest.
One band, he always said with a smile, sent out a “spy” to listen outside the opposing bandroom to find out how their rivals were coping with the piece and anything special about the conductor’s interpretation of the music.
According to HM, because of his rather diminutive stature, the “spy” had to stand on a beer crate in order to peep through a window.
Although we do have four Huddersfield bands competing in the 12-band Championship class in the Yorkshire Championships in Bradford’s St George’s Hall over the weekend of March 1 and 2, it’s pretty certain no spies will be dispatched to listen outside an opponent’s headquarters or to peep through an uncurtained bandroom window.
But we do have a situation down Chapel Hill, Huddersfield, where two of the contenders, Pennine Brass (Ray Farr) and YBS (Morgan Griffiths), now rehearse side by side, so to speak. Pennine is located in the engineering premises in Chapel Hill with YBS having their home on the other side of the road in the premises of the travel side of the company.
Said John Lockwood, Pennine president: “If you stand in the road it’s possible to hear both bands.”
Obviously there’s no need for a “spy” down there!
Sellers managing director David Armitage tells me four bands had been using the Chapel Hill facilities, Sellers International Youth Band, Pennine Brass, YBS and the now defunct Sellers International Band, which went out of existence just a few weeks ago. Hepworth (Cookson Homes), again conducted by Mark Bentham, who hit the headlines a year ago when they found runners-up place behind Brighouse and Rastrick (Alan Morrison) in the qualifying contest, and Marsden Silver (Ossett Brewery), directed by Glyn Williams, are the two other Huddersfield contenders.
Hepworth will obviously be keen to make it two qualifications in a row, while it is a different story for Marsden who had to contend with a disappointing result last time.
This year the band needs a little better fortune to climb to a safer place in the “league” table and avoid any possibility of relegation.
It has been necessary to make a switch affecting two of the adjudicators in the Championship class and Section 1.
Peter Bassano and Dr Robert Childs were scheduled to adjudicate Section 1, but as Childs will later be adjudicating Bassano’s band, City of Cambridge, in Section 1 of the London and Southern Countries region, Peter Bassano will now sit with David Read for the Championship class at Bradford with James Scott moving down to assess Section 1 with Childs.