Brass band hoping to hit the high notes at national finals

Doncaster Coalfield Communities commemoration of the 30th Anniversay of the coal stike in Dunscroft...Hatfield Colliery Brass Band
Doncaster Coalfield Communities commemoration of the 30th Anniversay of the coal stike in Dunscroft...Hatfield Colliery Brass Band
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A Doncaster brass band is hoping to be perfectly in tune this weekend to polish off the opposition and go for glory in a national competition.

Hatfield Brass Band is bidding to put the town on the map by scooping victory at this Sunday’s National Brass Band Championships - a feat the band last achieved more than a decade ago.

"Brassed Off"

"Brassed Off"

More than 25 musicians will make the long journey south to Cheltenham to take part in the contest, regarded as the creme de la creme of the brass banding world.

And band manager Margaret Curran says the band is ready to do battle after weeks of gruelling rehearsals.

She said: “We are looking forward to it. The band will go out there and pull out all the stops to bring the trophy back home and that’s what we are hoping to do.

“We have been rehearsing hard for more than a month so by the time of the contest on Sunday we’ll be ready to go.”

The band secured their place in the finals in March at Bradford’s St George’s Hall – just a few months after the death of their beloved conductor Graham O’Connor.

Flugel horn player Stan Lippeatt took up the baton following Mr O’Connor’s death and he will be hoping to lead the band to its first success in the contest since 2003.

The band will battle it out with other brass bands from across Britain in the First Section of the contest - the second highest level in the country.

Success could earn Hatfield promotion to the Championship section, which features some of the country’s best known bands.

Margaret, who has been with Hatfield for 52 years, added: “This is the first time we have reached the nationals since winning at Dundee in 2003. Since Stan came in, the band have pulled together behind him.”

The Hatfield Town Council sponsored band will perform a test piece entitled The King’s Lie. Every band taking part in the competition has to perform the same piece of music, with judges marking each before announcing a winner.

Following the contest, the band will be performing at Hatfields pub on Thursday, September 25, before and after a screening of Brassed Off as part of the Right Up Our Street arts project. The free event will start at 7pm.

A box office hit with music and a vital message

Hatfield’s success has shades of hit mining movie Brassed Off which told the tale of a Yorkshire colliery band achieving victory at the national finals against the backdrop of pit closures.

The ’90s flick, starring Pete Postlethwaite, Ewan McGregor and Tara Fitzgerald, told the tale of the fictious Grimley Colliery being shut down - with band members battling their own personal troubles to achieve glory in a rousing finale at the Royal Albert Hall.

The film, which was shot on location in Grimethorpe as well as Doncaster - the former art college in Church View was used as a hospital when Pete Postlethwaite’s conductor character Danny had been hospitalised - was also a thinly veiled attack on Margaret Thatcher’s pit closure programmes of the 1980s and is seen by many as a social commentary on South Yorkshire during that period.