IF A male voice choir plus a top brass band sounds just the ticket for your pre-Christmas treat then put December 12 in your diary.
Make a date with Honley Male Voice Choir whose festive offering – Christmas with Honley – sees them teaming up with Welsh wizards, the world-famous Cory Band.
Cory return for their fifth successive appearance as guests of Honley at Huddersfield Town Hall.
And this is a band with bags to celebrate. They’ve been named as No. 1 in the British Bandsman’s World of Brass rankings for the third year in a row.
They couldn’t have chosen a better time to do it. For this year they have been celebrating their 125th anniversary – and they have marked this milestone in style, winning the Welsh, British Open and European Championships, the Brass in Concert Championship and the World Music Contest in Kerkrade, Holland and with it the title of World Champions.
They were hoping to make it a clean sweep at the National Championships of Great Britain at the Royal Albert Hall in October, but had to be satisfied with finishing third.
On the concert front, the band marked their anniversary with a concert in June in which they played to a full St David’s Hall in Cardiff.
They shared the platform that night with the Morriston Orpheus Choir and with world renowned jazz trombonist Wycliffe Gordon.
All year the band has played to packed houses at home and abroad, including three sell-out concerts on consecutive nights in various locations around Holland where they also played as guest band for the Holland Brass Festival.
What all of that means is that the audience on December 12 is in for a musical treat.
The band will feature a line-up of top soloists including David Childs, son of musical director Dr Robert Childs.
David has emerged as one of the finest euphonium players in the world today and is the only euphonium soloist ever to have won the brass final of the classical BBC Young Musician of the Year contest.
He has won the European, British Open, National and All England Masters Brass Band Championships and has been named International Euphonium Player of the Year.
His wife Joanne will feature on the flugelhorn, Owen Farr (tenor horn), Chris Thomas (trombone) plus the band’s new principal cornet player, Tom Hutchison, who has joined them from Black Dyke and will be making his debut at this Town Hall concert.
The Cory band hails from the Rhondda Valley in South Wales.This year the band and Dr Childs were given the John Edwards Memorial Award by the Welsh Music Guild for outstanding contribution to Welsh music, following in the footsteps of Alun Hoddinott, Bryn Terfel, Brian Hughes, Bryan Davies, Margaret Price and Stuart Burrows.
Dr Childs, whose daughter Lisa is also in the band, was born and bred in the South Wales valley town of Tredegar.
He has conducted and performed with most of the top bands in the North of England. He conducted and played with Black Dyke for nearly 10 years and was their principal euphonium player.
The concert, of course, is also a bit special for Honley’s musical director Keith Roberts and accompanist Sue Ogden.
They were both appointed in January and so will be making their first appearance at a Christmas concert with the choir.
The concert will feature popular Christmas music but Keith has retained Nessun Dorma with band and choir featuring four of its tenors.
He’s also brought in a selection from West Side Story.
No concert is complete without humour and Honley have ensured that by giving the compere’s job to Marsden’s Peter Armitage.
Peter has more than 40 years of writing and producing plays, pantomimes and musicals to call on for a feast of funny stories.
Tickets, £7 to £13.50 are on sale at tourist information centres in Huddersfield and Holmfirth.