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Blackpool Brass Band
The band first formed in November 1966 when ten players got together in a public house called the Belle Vue on Whitegate Drive Blackpool. They had no instruments, music or stands, just the determination to form their new band. When it first formed it was originally known as the Blackpool Town Band and with the generous help of a well known instrument company in Manchester (who loaned them the use of instruments), they went on the streets of Blackpool over the Christmas period, and raised enough money for a deposit on a new set of instruments. Many thanks to founder members Mike Walker and Gordon McPhee who have both sadly passed away.
Having now attracted players from the Blackpool and Fylde area, the band had a full compliment and was fully established. This was to be confirmed in May 1967 with the official presentation of their new instruments and their first major concert. Under the leadership of Alex Mortimer the Blackpool Town Band played a massed bands concert with the then national champions, the famous Manchester CWS band. Not a bad achievement to be performing with the national after only 6 months of existence. Blackpool Town Band's progression was rapid, with an appearance on Thames televisions "Opportunity Knocks", concerts in the Tower ballroom, the Empress ballroom, and appearing on many holiday shows in Blackpool.
In 1973 they became the Dutton Forshaw Band and they enjoyed 12 happy years of sponsorship with the local motor company. Since then, they have become one of the North West's leading concert and contesting bands. 1985 saw the band enter the World Music Contest in Kerkrade (Holland) coming home with a gold medal, and the band has since qualified on many occasions for the national brass band championships of Great Britain, most recently in 2006 & 2007. Unfortunately, the 12 year sponsorship came to an end when the companywithdrew their financial assistance following re-organisation within the Dutton Forshaw group, resulting in the removal of their central office to Yorkshire.
The band quickly found a sponsorship deal with the Marton Mere Caravan Park, enjoying a successful 5 years with the company. The new look band took part in contests from Whitehaven through to Buxton, and played many concerts around theNorth West; including one in 1988 at the Grand theatre, Blackpool. Sadly the partnership came to an end in 1990 and since then the band has been self-supporting, renaming themselves "Blackpool Brass", and have fortunately gone from strength to strength.
November 2006 saw the bands 40th anniversary which was marked with a get together of players past and present at the Marton Institute. It was very nice to see many old friends who enjoyed a short concert by the current band. Marton Institute is now the base for Blackpool Brass with a bandroom at the rear of the club. With the kind permission of the Marton Institute committee we were able to refurbish the old tennis changing rooms into a tailor made HQ for ourselves. With the help of a lottery grant, and the players who "mucked in'' they completely overhauled the building. Richard Evans the well known charismatic, brass band conductor, cut the red ribbon at the official opening of Blackpool's new HQ in June 2007 and it was appreciated that he took time out of his busy schedule for the occasion.