Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band
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The South Elmsall Village Brass Band can be traced back to beginnings in 1884. In 1905, the band was adopted by the local Frickley Colliery, which in turn was to become owned by the Carlton Main Coal Company, and by 1923 the band became known by its present name.
By the mid 1990s times looked very bleak for the band, as it did for a great many other bands and working personnel in the mining industry, with the eventual closure of the pits in the UK and with Frickley Colliery in particular. It was at this time due to the closure and subsequent unemployment that the band was down to only six members, and close to extinction. However, due to the tenacity and the desire of those remaining members, the band was rebuilt and in a few years by 1999, became Yorkshire Champions and represented Yorkshire at the National Finals at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
During the band’s history, it has both competed and triumphed at competitions. Most notably, the band has held the titles of European Champions (in the 1960s), National Champions, British Open Champions, Granada TV Band of the Year, BBC Best of Brass Champions, Spring Festival Grand Shield Champions & Yorkshire Area Champions. In addition, the Band’s Quartet group have had the honour of being British Open Quartet Champions in 2003 and 2005. The bands most recent achievements include being awarded 6th place at the British Open Brass Band Contest where they were the second highest placed Yorkshire band on the day, beaten only by the eventual winners, the Black Dyke Band.
The band has appeared on TV and radio countless times, and many may remember their appearance on Top of the Pops in 1981 accompanying Tony Capstick, with The Sheffield Grinder; Capstick comes home; a partnership which saw them rise to number three in the hit parade.
Musical Directors include Leigh Baker and Phillip McCann.
Frickley Colliery Brass Band
It was formed in 1969 as the learner band to Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band. Under the guidance of Robert Oughton, the aim was to train and supply future players for the Championship band. Having obtained an old set of instruments through the CISWO organisation for miners, the first competition was entered in 1970 and 3rd prize obtained. Soon the band had registered in the 4th section of The National Brass Band Registry and entered competitions run under national rules.
With the involvement of parents and helpers the band became independent in 1976 and gained income by giving concerts at local venues such as Galas, Working Men’s Clubs and Parks along with fund raising raffles, coffee mornings and sponsored events.
The band gave free concerts for local charities and entertained the elderly, especially at Christmas. In 1980 it was granted a small levy paid by the NUM members of Frickley South Elmsall Colliery and this continued until the closure of the colliery in 1993.
As the standard of playing improved the success achieved also brought its problems as the better players moved to higher section bands, (including Black Dyke, Brighouse and Grimethorpe), leaving the gaps to be filled with less experienced players. This is still the trend today, hence the band has never progressed to the top of the tree in brass banding.
With the closure of the colliery in 1993 a depression set in on the village, which has never really been overcome despite the efforts made by different organisations. Community spirit was lost and people had no desire to try things other than work, thus very few took up the challenge of learning to play an instrument. A shortage of young players has built up, affecting first the lower sections but now the middle sections.
After a television programme in 1994 dealing with how mining communities were coping, and 21 appearances of the band on television in one year, including a trip to Germany, sponsorship from the local firm of Standard Fireworks was obtained, but after two years the recession in firework manufacture caused the closure of the factories and the end to the deal.
With the need to renew the now very old instruments a successful application was made to the Foundation of Sports and Arts (organised by the Pools Promoters Association) allowing five new instruments to be bought. A year later another successful grant from the Arts Council of England (Lottery) and the local EEC Re-generation Grant, enabled the rest of the instruments to be renewed.
With the release of the old instruments a new learners group has been formed and has been building steadily ever since, though interested youngsters are difficult to find.
- Grimethorpe Colliery Band - closely related to Carlton Main Colliery.