"Outstanding control and beautiful soft sounds"

Jason Fox receives the 5th place award certificate

There was no Sunday morning “lie-in” for members of Unite the Union Brass Band travelling down to the 2017 National Championships of Great Britain held at Cheltenham Racecourse. The competing bands had to grapple with Eric Ball’s “Tournament for Brass” and it appeared that it was still a very good test, although it was thought that the hall acoustics may have had a major influence on the performance of all the competing bands, resulting in a plethora of clips and slips. Not a single performance escaped unscathed.
Unite the Union Brass Band played well and special mention should be given to all the soloists who “nailed it when it mattered!” The band and conductor John Roberts were happy with their performance which finished in a very creditable 5th place by adjudicators Michael Fowles and Paul Holland in a field of 17 riders and runners.  
One 4barsrest critic on the day Mr Steven Mead had the band down to finish 4th with marks of 8, 8.5 and 9 across the critic sheet and commented: 
“A very fine performance, with some outstanding control and beautiful soft sounds. It had the rhythmic vitality when necessary and soloists mostly deliver perfectly”

We extend our 'Congratulations' also to our two “Preview Night” bands Worsborough who came 6th in the 2nd section and Shirland who were placed 5th in the 3rd section, well done all.

The Unite band now turns its concentration to preparations for Bolsover Entertainment Contest on Sunday 1st October in a couple of weeks time.



Full Monty celebrate 20 years !

Members of Unite the Union Brass Band were out in force together with Hugo Spear and William Snape to celebrate the 20th anniversary at a Showroom cinema screening of the critically acclaimed film, the Full Monty. Former and current members of the band gathered at the cinema to recall their role in the story of former steelworkers who sought alternative employment.

Sheffield Live! reporter Azz Mohammed spoke to former band manager John Lee.

Must watch: http://web.sheffieldlive.org/full-monty-celebrate-twenty-years/


Lunchbox (& Nathan) has landed to unite with Unite

Nathan (William Snape) and Lunchbox (Hugo Spear) appeared together with Unite the Union Brass Band at a special viewing of ‘The Full Monty’ at a “Full House” Showroom Cinema last night in Sheffield.  The Band firstly played outside the cinema to welcome ticket holders to the cinema with music from the film sound track and received loud applause from a very enthusiastic audience. A further performance of ‘Hot Stuff’ and ‘The Stripper’ inside the cinema in front of the screen certainly got the cinema-goers in the mood before viewing the film. Band members took the opportunity to reminisce and get keepsake photos with William and Hugo before the two stars were whisked away to do a Question and Answer session at the end of the film.

No regrets” says the band “we had a fantastic time filming and it did wonders, naturally, for the group's profile.”

Read more at:

‘Monty’ mania hits Sheffield …….again !

Unite the Union Band recently performed at a special 20th anniversary screening of the film 'The Full Monty' at the Light Cinema in Sheffield. Unite, then known as British Steels Stocksbridge, was featured in a cameo role in the 1997 release, and returned to perform a number of its soundtrack hits. The film was set in the city, and told the story of a group of unemployed men who decide to form a striptease act in order to escape the drudgery of lives of workless despair. It was a huge worldwide hit grossing over $250 million and nominated for Academy Awards for 'Best Picture', 'Best Director', 'Best Original Screenplay' and 'Best Original Music Score,' winning the last category. On the night they were also joined by one of the film's stars, Paul Barber, who played 'Horse', as well as a host of celebrity guests.

Band spokesperson Kim Wear remarked "What 'Brassed Off' did for the story of the industrial decimation of coal mining, 'The Full Monty' did for steel working. It has spawned so many stage play revivals that we have lost count and there was even a version in Portuguese premiered in Brazil. We are of course very proud to have been part of the success and it is incredible that the story still has such an impact 20 years later. As a result we are delighted to announce that we will also release a special CD entitled '20 Years On' to celebrate the anniversary." Kim revealed that more celebrations are planned with a further special screening at Sheffield's Showroom Cinema on Tuesday August 29th, where the band led by MD John Roberts and more cast members will once again be on hand to perform hits from the film.

To enjoy a taster of the night go to: https://www.dropbox.com/s/86bhai5zpvvg7jc/VTS_01_1.VOB?dl=0

Area Success at Huddersfield Town Hall

Unite the Union band under the baton of their Musical Director John Roberts were awarded runners up spot at the Yorkshire Area Championships in Huddersfield in March. Beating off challenges from a strong field of 12 bands, Unite not only secured promotion back to the Championship section, but also booked their place at the National finals to be held at Cheltenham Racecourse in September. Described as a fantastic result for John’s first Area contest with the band, expectations are now really high for a good result at the Nationals. In the words of one of the adjudicators in his analytical pre-results address, .........’’the top two bands were clear winners and with their vastly experienced Musical Directors, were the only ones who managed to fully understand the score and brought the music to life."


An extract of live commentary from the acclaimed 4 bars rest website stated.......... ‘Unite the Union gave the judges and audience a colourful and musically invigorating rendition. Full of flair, clarity and detail, there was no shortage of belief on show here. The New Zealand vistas were alive with energy and colour. John Roberts gave his players the freedom to bring the music to life and they certainly did that. The clarity was obvious and the tempos, whilst pushed at times, were not beyond their capabilities’

Butlins Mineworkers 2017

The band have returned from a cold, yet extremely enjoyable and successful weekend on the East coast at the annual Butlins Mineworkers contest. We performed the fantastic set work by Malcolm Arnold "Fantasy for Brass Band", and earned a creditable 4th place our of 24. With such a strong field of bands from all over the country, the adjudicators found favour with our performance, but it wasn't quite good enough to retain the trophy we won 2 years ago. Congratulations also need to go to our two yorkshire neighbours Skelmanthorpe and Stannington for their 1st and 2nd place respectively. The band now look forward to next weekend where we perform the three set works at this years regional championships for a selection of conductors from across the country. Preparations then move to our own test piece Land of the long white cloud, which we will perform at Huddersfield town hall to try and retain the trophy we won back in 2015.  

Bolsover 2016 success!

Following on from the disappointing result at the Doctor Martins contest, the band finished the contesting year in excellent fashion by coming 2nd in the Championship section, and being named as the 'Most entertaining band'. Bolsover is a contest in which the band have had a fair amount of success of the previous 3 years with wins in the 1st section and a notable 2nd in the Championship section last year. So to regain that prize and to come away as the most entertaining band of the day was especially pleasing for new MD John Roberts.

John, who adjudicated the band for their 1st section victory last year, built on that successful programme and injected his own ideas as well. The programme started with 'Children of Sanchez' which was arranged by and featured our very own soprano player Mike Kilmartin. This moved straight into Jonathan Bates' Ride to conclude the opening section. The band then turned to Maria Beazer on flugel who delivered an excellent rendition of 'Magh Seola' which adjudicator Roger Webster said was delivered with 'warmth and style'. No entertainment programme would be complete without an injection of fun and this came in the form of Phillip Harper's Salsa tres prado, which features a number of the bands soloists. The programme was concluded with an excerpt from the Stephen Ponsfords Turris Fortissima. Roger clearly enjoyed the programme, and rounded off his remarks by saying 'this band has both power and class'.

The band would also like to thank Carole Crompton and her team for yet another fantastically run competition, and we look forward to competing again next year.

Winning Combination!

Unite the Union Band is pleased to announce that the highly experienced John Roberts has been appointed as the band’s new Musical Director.

A spokesperson for the band has said "The band is delighted to have secured the services of such a well-respected Musical Director. John brings with him a wealth of musicianship and experience and the band are hoping that this, coupled with the band's hard work, dedication and enthusiasm will prove to be a winning combination".

John added: "I have a long-standing connection with the band, having conducted Stocksbridge in the late 1990's. In the last year or so I have re-established this connection having worked with the band on a number of occasions. I have been impressed by the band's motivation and work rate and am very much forward to working with them. In accepting the Musical Director position at Unite, I have had to relinquish my post at Drighlington. I have had a very enjoyable time conducting Drighlington and wish them all the best in the future".

John's debut with the band will be at the Doctor Martins contest next month.

Music in the Gardens

Last week, the band was once again bathed in glorious sunshine as we took to the Music in the Gardens stage. With a whole host of entertainment already pleasing the audience on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, it was the bands job to conclude the weekend alongside the impressive Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra.

Ironically, the band chose to perform music from Europe. This had already been planned before the EU referendum and the Euro 2016 tournament. However, it didn't stop the audience enjoying pieces from Ireland, France, Armenia, Wales and Spain.

It was a perfect opportunity for the band to also showcase their exceptional standard of soloists which included Maria Beazer, Mike Kilmartin, Shelia Draycott and Daniel Jackson. The audience also witnessed something very special, as the bands tuba section also performed as a quartet in the foot-tapping 'Tyrolean Tubas'.

Following our spot, the cornet section of the band also featured alongside the Orchestra. They helped out by playing the fanfares during Fantasia on British Sea Songs!

Music in the Gardens is a real favourite of the band, and is a concert every member looks forward to each year. A big thanks go out to the organisers for all their hardwork, and for inviting us each year.

BBC Music Day

2016's BBC Music Day saw the Band taken once again to Sheffield's hearts in a performance with much-loved - and particularly unique- Sheffield band, The Everly Pregnant Brothers.

As the headliners of an imaginative and eclectic day of some 22 acts in as many different locations across the city, the performance in Sheffield’s Peace Gardens caused a social media storm as fans old and new of both groups posted the short concert online.

The Everly Pregnant Brothers, a charismatic mix of ukuleles, string bass, drummer and front man are “a bunch of disparate chaps [with] three things in common, the love of beer, ukuleles and having a laugh.” They have carved a creative niche by taking well-known classic pop songs and “tampering” with the lyrics to produce musical art that celebrates Sheffield and takes a humorous squint at life. They are cherished by locals and enjoyed far further afield. Note: Songs do come with a “parental advisory” notice – not for the faint-hearted or easily offended!

The collaboration came about as part of BBC Music Day, when Brass Bands England Liaison Officer Rachel Veitch-Straw was approached by the Sheffield Makes Music team to work on a shared performance between the Brothers and Unite the Union Brass Band. The connection was made as part of an earlier Brass Bands England project, Brass With Beethoven, in May this year, which some of the Band's members were also involved in.

The Band's Composer and Arranger in Residence, Mike Kilmartin, rose to the challenge, taking the Brothers’ versions of popular tunes and creating backing arrangements for the band which skilfully interweave the brass band sounds with the Everly Pregnant Brothers’ driving Ukelele chords.

The Band would like to extend thanks to The Everly Pregnant Brothers, Brass Bands England and liaison officer, Rachel Straw, for making the event possible.