Westoe

History

Westoe Brass Band was formed in 1911, and known originally as the Harton Colliery Band. Soon after its establishment, the band enjoyed a period of great accomplishment under the baton of George Hawkins, who was appointed conductor in 1913. This early success culminated in 1919 when the band delivered a winning performance of Charles Godfrey’s selections from Benedict’s opera "The Lily of Killarney" at the British Open Championships. Throughout the 30s and 40s the band became a highly regarded touring concert attraction, with principal players such as Jack Mackintosh drawing in crowds the length and breadth of the country.

The band maintained a strong contesting presence over the following decades, under the direction of a number of conductors, during this period a number of now world renowned players such as Maurice Murphy and Norman Ashcroft featured among the bands ranks. The departure of Atherton in the 1950s led to a dip in the contesting form of the band until a revival in the 1960s, which found the band make steady progress until the miners' strike of 1984/5 which seriously depleted personnel numbers and left the chances of the ensembles  survival on a knife edge. In 1985 the band became known as the Westoe Colliery Band and the players lost during the strike were gradually recouped through recruitment from local schools. Following the closure of Westoe Colliery in 1993, the band gained the support of South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, the stability from which allowed the band to build back up to the strong outfit it is today. 

The band dropped colliery from its title in 2005, but has never forgotten its mining roots. A recent CD entitled ‘Call of the Colliery’ and artwork by Tyneside artist Bob Olley pay homage to the bands past as we look to the future remembering our heritage with pride. The band  has recently enjoyed contesting success finishing 2nd at the North of England regional championships and look forward to making a mark at the National stage as we move forward to compete in the Championship section in 2018. 

First Nationals appearances since 2015 (Section 1). Impressive total of 38 previous Nationals appearances (under Westoe, Harton & Westoe Colliery, and Harton Colliery), including 13 RAH and 18 CP (only missed one between 1920-38), but has strangely never won a Nationals title. Highest Nationals placing of 2nd (CP 1928). After qualifying for S2 1982, had to wait until 1998 before next Nationals appearance (S4).


Principal Players

Principal Cornet – Abigail Brierley

Soprano Cornet – David Petherick

Solo Euphonium – Steve Kyle

Solo Trombone – Chris Gray

Flugel Horn – Jo Wright

Solo Horn – Ann Stone

Solo Eb Bass – Lee Morris

Solo Baritone – Lynne Griffiths

Principal Percussionist – Matthew Hunt

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