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Wakefield Metropolitan Brass Band
The Wakefield Metropolitan Brass Band was formed in 1977 when 17 Schools Band Players, not attached to an adult Brass Band, expressed the wish to participate in the National Brass Band Championships as the 'Wakefield Metropolitan Brass Band.' A large number of the group were approaching an age prohibiting their continued participation in the National Youth Contests and wished to continue playing together.
The Schools Band, comprising young players from the then Wakefield City Schools, had existed for a number of years, but it was not until 1973 that a group of parents formed a Parent Teacher Association to support the Band. Concerts were arranged by the PTA and funds raised to provide a small library of appropriate music. Under the baton of Les Heppleston, a Peripatetic Teacher of Brass, the Band achieved considerable success in National Youth Competitions.
In 1977 an approach to the Education Committee of the Wakefield Metropolitan District Council was successful, resulting in a grant for new instruments andWMBB in 1978 annually for support. The decision also allowed for the continuance of the Schools Band with the passing down of existing instruments for those whose age fell within the National Brass Band limits, i.e. under 19 years. Both Bands were represented by a Management Committee consisting of Councillors, Parents, Teachers and Players, which in turn reported to the Education Committee.
The first registrations were effected in December 1977 (one of whom still remains with the Band, ) and others quickly followed. This resulted in a high standard of performance which has continued to this day under the baton of Les Heppleston and then, for a short while, Stephen Wood followed by Brian Dyson.
The Band quickly gained promotion from the Fourth to the higher Divisions and has achieved a number of notable competition successes over the years.
Silver Jubilee programmeThe Band's repertoire is wide ranging from swing, rock and 'modern pop' to extracts from the Musicals, Operas and Classical including items composed or arranged by members of the Band and our Musical Director'
It became necessary in 1996 to apply to the Arts Council of England for a Lottery Grant resulting in the granting of an amount sufficient to replace with additions the whole of the Metropolitan Band's instruments and again pass down to the Schools Band existing instruments together with new ones purchased by a further grant form the Sports and Arts Council in Liverpool.
The Metropolitan Band has been featured on Radio and Television, has produced two CD's and undertaken eleven Tours abroad.
It is also timely to answer what is perhaps the most prolific question we are asked and that is that no registered player is paid for his services to the Band even to the point of paying the major portion of their expenses when representing the Authority on tours abroad. Each player has to be devoted to the Band giving of their time and effort often amounting to five or six evenings a week and Sunday rehearsals. It is due to the dedicated efforts of all concerned that we are able to perform with confidence in providing a high standard of playing to our audiences.