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Knottingley Concert Brass
The band was brought into life in 1976 by Graham Dean and Dennis Wilby, and was then called Knottingley Schools Band. It was intended as a way of introducing participatory music into a musically deprived area. It quickly developed into a thriving organisation, which has evolved over the years to meet new challenges and changing needs. In 1981 it became Knottingley Youth Brass, to accommodate young people who had by then left school, but stayed with (and joined) the band. In 1994 it went on to adopt the current title: Knottingley Concert Brass, acknowledging the increasingly wide age range of its members and its commitment to "performing" for the local community.
Graham Dean, has been involved for the whole period of the band, from its inception as Musical Director right up to 2009 before handing over that role his son Ian Dean. Graham remains in the band as a bass player and often continues to lead rehearsals to this day. A significant number of players also have associations which go back over many years. Members come from widely differing backgrounds and are at very different stages of musical skill acquisition. There is a continual process of education and encouragement for all. There are currently almost 30 regular concert players, though this varies with time as members leave and others join. There are several other members in the beginners and improvers sessions, who will move up to the concert band when they feel they are ready. The band comprises men, women, boys and girls whose ages have ranged from 7 to mature. There is also a group of non-playing members, who assist with administration, production, promotion and so on.
Those who leave for college, university or careers are welcomed back to rehearsal sessions whenever they are available, and are even able to join us on stage in live concerts (subject to them being able to attend several lead-up rehearsals). Such continuity contributes to the Band's enthusiasm for, and ability to, welcome and encourage new players, whether they be beginners or established performers in need of a new playing base. Several members have migrated from other competing bands, where the stress is often too intense, over to our much more friendly and relaxed playing environment. This makes our band more of a friendly and social group, than can be said of many competition bands. This does not diminish the quality of our music and we could indeed compete at a reasonable level. It is just that we chose in the 1990's to follow the concert route rather than a competing route, as that better matched the make up of Knottingley Concert Brass as a whole, just as it still does to this day.
Since 1994, the Band has established a teaching programme: Saturday mornings see a group of volunteer, experienced band members giving up their time to give tuition to a regular contingent of beginners and improvers of all ages and abilities. Many of the Concert Band members over the years had started out in this beginners group.