Blackhall youngsters to join big stars in this year’s BRASS: Durham International Festival

Members of Blackhall Youth Band with members of New York Brass Band who have been working together for the Brass Durham Internatinal Festival, with Coun. Neil Foster Durham County Council, (3rd left)

Members of Blackhall Youth Band with members of New York Brass Band who have been working together for the Brass Durham Internatinal Festival, with Coun. Neil Foster Durham County Council, (3rd left)

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YOUNGSTERS will be shining as brightly as their trumpets, tubas and trombones when they join big stars in a brass extravaganza.

Members of Blackhall Youth Band have been working with the York-based New York Brass Band ahead of this year’s BRASS: Durham International Festival.

As part of the festival, the young musicians will be performing in a concert at Castle Eden Village Hall at 7pm on Sunday, July 13, and will also be playing with the York band on the streets of Durham City.

The two groups have been working together since April.

The youth band’s treasurer, Ian Lowes, said: “The children are getting a lot of enthusiasm out of playing with the New York Brass Band, a funky New Orleans-style brass band.

“I think the traditional style can sometimes get a bit stale, but the band has been learning our members a whole new dynamic. They are coming and playing acapella, without music.”

The youth band has 12 main members, as well as five younger learners.

Its secretary, Julie O’Neill, said: “They are loving performing.
“They have performed as part of BRASS before, but not as part of the Streets of Durham, so they are a bit nervous.

“But they will do great.”

James Lancaster, tuba player with New York Brass Band, said: “We do quite a lot of school and outreach work and I think the driving point is to get the kids excited about learning to play a brass instrument.

“They can be encouraged by meeting these young lads who play cool tunes.”

The full programme for BRASS has been announced.

The annual celebration of County Durham’s musical past, present and future returns to Durham next month, with innovative new commissions, a great line-up of live music and fantastic free family events running from July 11-20.

This year’s event will include three spectacular world premieres – indie rock band British Sea Power’s Sea of Brass, Steamsong, a multimedia opera from John Kefala Kerr inspired by the locomotive Mallard’s record-breaking run and Fractal Sparks, featuring stunning visual effects accompanied by music from Jo Hamilton and a brass-inspired performance from Lanterns On The Lake with the Durham County Youth Big Band.

Other highlights include performances by jazz trumpeter extraordinaire Jon Faddis, Onyx Brass, The BBC Big Band, The Brighouse and Rastrick Band and The Stars from The Commitments.

Councillor Neil Foster, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “Brass is one of the highlights of our cultural calendar here in Durham.” The full line- up is detailed in the festival brochure, which can be downloaded from www.brassfestival.co.uk

Blackhall Youth Band needs more members. Call musical director Nigel Brown on 07727 088163.

Tickets for the Castle Eden Village Hall concert are £2 and available by calling (01429) 838337.