Ipswich concerts put brass in charities’ pockets

They may not be ones to blow their own trumpet, but The Ipswich Charity Concert Committee’s brass band concerts have raised more than �70,000 for good causes since 1990.

Helping swell charity coffers on March 31 are Brass in Concert Champions 2011 The Leyland Band, who beat big-name bands like Grimethorpe Colliery Band to the title; and on June 16 British Open Champions 2011 and the world’s number one ranked brass band The Cory Band.

The first was established in 1946 in the heart of industrial Lancashire as the Leyland Motors Band, taking its name from the world famous truck and bus company.

They will be conducted by the brass band world’s Mr Entertainment Richard Evans who’s won the contest nine times - more than any other conductor - with different bands.

Perhaps not as well known as bands such as the Black Dyke, the Cory Band - hailing from South Wales’ Rhondda Valley and formed in 1884 - have taken the contesting world by storm.

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The British Open is the hardest band competition to win and they’ve won it five times in the last 12 years as well as picking up a hat-trick of European wins along the way and a Brass in Concert victory.

Both bands have performed at prestigious venues here and abroad.

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Tim Mutum and Don Robinson came up with the idea of staging two or three concerts a year at Ipswich’s Corn Exchange in 1989 after driving everywhere to listen to brass bands.

“We came back one night and thought if they can do it, why can’t we? We started from nothing. We did Grimethorp Colliery in 1990 and we’ve been going ever since.”

The four-man committee - rounded out by Carl Robinson and Graham Tonks - has seen the series go from strength to strength. When Grimethorpe returned last year the performance sold out with people having to be turned away.

“Some bands will draw bigger audiences than others,” says Tim. “It’s like a football match; you go see Man Utd you get more than if you go see Fulham.”

It’s not all marching. Audiences can expect a mix of high quality pieces by top amateur musicians.

“The people who come to our concerts, they’re not particularly brass banders, they’re people who just want a nice night out. They are very versatile and can play anything. You’re not going to come and hear one type of music.

“We don’t charge an arm and a leg. You can have a nice evening out and we make some money for good causes.”

The Leyland Band concert in the grand hall of Ipswich’s Corn Exchange on March 31 is in aid of Stowmarket Salvation Army Band Instrument Scheme, helping to replace the core band’s instruments and the Digestive Disorders Foundation Suffolk.

The Cory Band concert at the same venue on June 16, supported by the East of England Co-operative Society, is in aid of the Ipswich Umbrella Trust and Headway Ipswich and East Suffolk.

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