Tony Christie sings with Grimethorpe Colliery Band

Tony Christie
Tony Christie
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South Yorkshire music icons Tony Christie and Grimethorpe Colliery Band are to perform a special concert together to remember the closure of the pit 20-years ago, writes Graham Walker.

But the Brassed Off Special - named after the band’s work with the 1996 film - will also give hope for the future.

The World famous Grimethorpe Colliery Band

The World famous Grimethorpe Colliery Band

Also on the bill at Sheffield City Hall on Friday night - December 6, 2013 - are the New Grimethorpe Youth Band, which was formed in 2011 and now has 100 members.

This is part of an on-going initiative aimed at helping children play Brass instruments.

Grimethorpe Brass Band’s work with young children in Grimethorpe and surrounding Barnsley villages is growing weekly and the concert will support that work.

World famous award winning Grimethorpe Colliery Band became even more famous after starring alongside Pete Postlethwaite and Stephen Tompkinson in the 1996 film Brassed Off.

The film, shot in Grimethorpe, was based on the strife of the band and the local community.

Ever since their main benefactor pulled out of helping the band, Grimethorpe have struggled to survive for two decades without the pit, but with hard work and recent sponsorship they continue as one of the country’s most famous and finest brass bands.

They have won an unprecedented 37 championship trophies and the band also played at the opening ceremony at the 2012 London Olympics.

“It’s a sign of the times that school children have to pay for the privilege of learning to play a brass instrument,” said band spokesman Nigel Dixon..

“Unfortunately many of the young people and their families simply can’t afford to fund these lessons, so Grimethorpe, with support from Besson musical instruments are providing the funding for lessons to take place.

“It’s not just about learning to play a brass instrument, but the benefits working in a group with other children and the social skills they are learning stand them in good stead for the future whatever path they choose to follow.

“The bands strap line is “To bring about social change through music”, however without the support of the public and charitable trusts this work cannot be sustained, so please come along and support us on December 6.”.

Esther Sutton Smith, a teacher at Birkwood Primary School in Cudworth, Barnsley, said: “Our brass playing pupils have been sponsored by GCB and learning their instruments for just over a year and in July 12 of them passed their very first Associated Board of the Royal School of Music music medal exams. One of our Year 6 girls passed with excellence!

“Cornet player Professor Roger Webster joined us to present the children with their medals and certificates .He is an ideal role model for our pupils; he invests his time and skills in our children and their families- this inspires them academically, socially and musically.”

* Tickets for the Grimethorpe Brass Band: Brassed Off Special at Sheffield City Hall, Friday, December 6, 7.45pm, are £20, booking fees may apply. Buy in person - tickets will be available on the door - call 0114 2 789 789 or visit

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