Cumbrian brass band crowned North of England champions after playing for just two years

  • Watch as Kieran Macfadzean visits the North Lakes Brass Band

A Cumbrian brass band has been crowned regional champions for the North of England, just two years after the group started playing together.

North Lakes Brass came together to continue the Cumbrian tradition of brass music with members saying that after the pandemic, spending rehearsals with their 30 strong team has been a real lifeline.

With players from all across the county, the group also took home first place at the South Cumbria music festival.

Band manager John Miller, said: "There's always been brass bands in the Cumbrian area, but unfortunately we're very fragmented now in today's society. So the idea was we could pool our resources from as far away as Penrith, Carlisle, Whitehaven, Allonby, I think the farthest is one of our young ladies comes from Kirkby Lonsdale so we are truly truly a Cumbrian band with all Cumbrian players.

"So the idea was that we all come together, we do minimal rehearsals to get us in a position where we can go, have a good time and hopefully win a contest. And that's exactly what we did."

Mr Miller said the band not only has "excellent" players, but they also all socially get on very well together.

"There's not a person in this band I wouldn't put my arm round and take them for a pint in the pub. It's a bit like that. I class it as one massive big family and it's just great to be a part of it," he said.

"Success breeds more dedication unfortunately. We've been invited to go to the national finals in Cheltenham in September. We'll really get our head down, a bit of dedication and practise for the national finals in September in Cheltenham."

For many members of the group the support given to each other coupled with their success has made many great friendships and has been the catalyst behind their success.

Victoria Haworth who plays the Tenor horn said: “I've done it since I was five so it's what I know but there's also something about the community and the people from all walks of life that you become really good friends with that you make music with which sounds really cheesy but given covid when we couldn't rehearse, something that was so important for lots of people, we just weren't able to do.

"And with North Lakes coming together just after that covid time, the importance of community and the role that brass bands play with that as well.”

Euphonium player Andy Cannon explains the group's journey and his experiences of playing previously in other brass bands.

He said: "Our band master has been able to corral and recruit many many players from around Cumbria who a bit like me have maybe played at a high standard in the past and are coming out of retirement and having an absolutely wonderful time.

“To come first in the fourth section, that'll put us into the third section. The sections are like divisions in football so we'll go from the fourth division to the third and so on and we're expecting to keep on progressing through."

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