By Karan Garbett

The hard work and dedication of Huddersfield Wind Band certainly came to fruition when they gained a Platinum award at the National Concert Band Festival in November 2023.

This was an overwhelming experience and an amazing result as it was the first time the band had attended this regional festival. The band played in the Community Wind Band section and the event took place in Oldham.

Huddersfield Wind Band was established by the late Adrian Baxter in 1986. The band has gone from strength to strength and developed into a fine concert band with approximately 52 musicians. They are based in Salendine Nook and currently under the musical direction of John Turnbull.

The band’s programme opened with the terrific fanfare, Concert Prelude by Phillip Sparke. This piece had both rhythmical energy and attention to detail exhibiting the ensemble’s excellent tone quality.

The ensemble was well balanced throughout the piece with ‘a well-rounded sound’ with sharp attention given to the dynamics.

Trumpet soloist Andy Lumb performed confidently and was fabulously accompanied by the band in Mr Trumpet by Rob Baloort. The music was executed in true big band style. Andy showed himself to be a strong jazz player improvising the melodic line when necessary.

In contrast to such a powerful opening, Huddersfield Wind Band performed Frank Ticheli’s arrangement of Amazing Grace. This gave notice to the different tones and textures within the different sections of the band including the dulcet tone of the solo saxophonist Sarah Baines.

The finale was the Toccata in D minor by Bach which was executed with vigour and commitment.

The opening was confident, well projected, and immediately had the attention of the audience. The virtuosic scalic passages in the upper winds were delivered with confidence and clarity. The adjudication described this performance of Toccata as ‘magnificent.’

The adjudicators, Simon Hogg and Gerard Booth, congratulated Huddersfield Wind Band on their choice of repertoire and for performing “a most enjoyable concert” with “virtuosic playing.” Simon Hogg said he looked forward to hearing the band again.

Subsequently, the band will now go on to perform at Warwick University in March as part of the National Festival for Concert Bands.

Anyone wishing to learn more about Huddersfield Wind Band can visit the band website HERE or search ‘Huddersfield Wind Band’ on Facebook.