HUDDERSFIELD singers and musicians helped fill the Royal Albert Hall
with the sound of music at a huge fundraising event. The Festival of Brass and Voices 2006 was held at the prestigious
London venue on Saturday in aid of Cancer Research UK. Around 1,300 singers from across the country - including 900 from
the north of England - formed a huge choir to perform at the event. The choir featured Almondbury Ladies Choir, Denby Dale Ladies Choir,
Huddersfield U3A Ladies Choir, Elland Male Voice Choir, Saddleworth Male Voice Choir and male voices from Gledholt Methodist Church. The singers were joined by brass bands including Sellers
International Band, from Huddersfield and the Yorkshire Building Society Band, from Lindley. The singers and musicians had been preparing for the concert for two
years - and had their final rehearsal at Huddersfield Town Hall. The preparation paid off on Saturday as they were put through their
paces by musical director William Relton. For the first time ever, the musical programme was entirely chosen
by the performers. Each choir taking part was sent a list of all the songs which have
been performed at the event since it was founded in 1987. They were asked to choose their 10 favourites, in order of
preference. For each preference rating, points were given.
Organisers totted up the total amount of points each musical piece
scored and the favourites were included in the programme. The concert was compered by veteran TV actor Frank Thornton.
Sid Harris, promoter for the concert, said it has been a resounding
success. He said: "It went exceptionally well. Except for a few empty seats
up in the gods, we had a packed house. "It ran very, very well. The choirs sang well and the bands played
magnificently." The choirs and bands spent Sunday in London's Covent Garden, giving
more informal open air renditions of the previous night's programme to shoppers. There were also collections for Cancer Research UK.
Mr Harris said the final total from the event would not be known for
another week. Since the concerts began in 1987, they have raised well over
£200,000. The concerts were started in aid of Yorkshire Cancer Research by former Examiner journalist Ron Massey. The first concert was held at Huddersfield Town Hall. The venue
moved to London and concerts were held every four years. In 1997, Mr Harris took over and increased the frequency to every
three years. The events were always held at the Royal Albert Hall, except in 2000
when the venue was Sheffield Arena. In 2003, organisers decided to change the charity from Yorkshire
Cancer Research to Cancer Research UK, to reflect national participation.