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Black Dyke Band


Black Dyke Band

Picture sleeve for the Thingumybob single, Apple 4

Black Dyke Band, formerly John Foster & Son Black Dyke Mills Band, is one of the oldest and best-known brass bands in the world. The band has won many prizes and competitions over the years. In 2014, the band won the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain for a record 23rd time,[1] and the British Open Championship for another record 30th time.[2] They have also won the European Championships a record thirteen times, most recently in 2015.[3]


  • History 1
  • European Champion 2
  • Recordings 3
  • Notable members 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Black Dyke Mills

It was formerly the band of the Black Dyke Mills in Queensbury, West Yorkshire, England, a company owned by John Foster. Foster, a French horn player, joined with others in a small brass and reed band in Queensbury in 1816.[4] This band faltered, and another band formed – called the Queenshead Band – which consisted of 18 musicians around 1843. This second band also faltered, but in 1855, Foster and other musicians established the new mill band, and outfitted it with uniforms made from the mill's own cloth. Most of the musicians in the band also worked at the mill, and a close bond was fostered with the local community. The band has remained active since that time, and still rehearses in its original rooms.

Black Dyke was the first band to achieve the "Grand Slam" in 1985 by winning the Yorkshire regional, European, British Open and National Championship contests.[5] They were also voted BBC Band of the Year.[6]

European Champion

Year City Conductor
1978 London, England Major Peter Parkes
1979 London, England Major Peter Parkes
1982 London, England Major Peter Parkes
1983 Kerkrade, Netherlands Major Peter Parkes
1984 Edinburgh, Scotland Major Peter Parkes
1985 Copenhagen, Denmark Major Peter Parkes
1987 Nottingham, England Major Peter Parkes
1990 Falkirk, Scotland David King
1991 Rotterdam, Netherlands David King
1995 Luxembourg, Luxembourg James Watson
2005 Groningen, Pays-Bas Dr Nicholas Childs
2012 Rotterdam, Pays-bas Dr Nicholas Childs
2015 Freiburg, Germany Prof Nicholas Childs


Black Dyke Band has made over 350 recordings, including one of the first brass band recordings in 1904 and classical music. It has recorded with classical bass trombonist Douglas Yeo, and pop acts Tori Amos, Peter Gabriel and The Beautiful South. The band also worked with Gabriel on the highly acclaimed Millennium Show, featured in the Millennium Dome, as well as recording the music for the BBC programme Ground Force.

In September 1968, the band released a single on The BeatlesApple Records label. The A-side was an instrumental composed by Lennon–McCartney called "Thingumybob" (the theme to a Yorkshire Television sitcom of the same name starring Stanley Holloway). The flipside was a brass band instrumental version of another Lennon–McCartney song, "Yellow Submarine". The single was released under the name John Foster & Son Ltd Black Dyke Mills Band, produced by McCartney, and was one of the first four singles issued on the Apple label.[7] In 1979, the Black Dyke Mills Band worked again with McCartney on a track for the Wings album Back to the Egg.

In August 2009, the band undertook a tour of Australia with multi-instrumentalist James Morrison which culminated in a concert at the Sydney Opera House.[8]

Notable members

The principals of the band's current line up include:[9]

  • Soprano Cornet: Benjamin Richeton [10]
  • Principal Cornet: Richard Marshall [11]
  • Flugel Horn: Zoe Hancock [12]
  • Solo Horn: Jonathan Bates [13]
  • Solo Baritone: Katrina Marzella [14]
  • Solo Trombone: Chris Binns [15]
  • Bass Trombone: Adrian Hirst
  • Solo Euphonium: Gary Curtin [16]
  • Solo Eb Bass: Ben Dixon [17]
  • Solo Bb Bass: Matthew Routley

The band's current Principal Conductor and Director of Music is the Welsh euphonium virtuoso Prof. Nicholas Childs. His predecessor was trumpet player James Watson.[18]

Paul Lovatt-Cooper was the band's Composer in Association and former principal percussionist. He retired from playing in early 2011 in order to concentrate on his teaching, conducting and composition.[19]

Black Dyke Band is the brass band in residence at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, and Childs also conducts the RNCM Brass Band.[20]


  1. ^ Report & Results: 2014 National Championships of Great Britain
  2. ^ "Report & Results: 2014 British Open Championship". 7 September 2014. Retrieved 28 June 2015. 
  3. ^ "Report & Results: 2015 European Championship". 2 May 2015. Retrieved 28 June 2015. 
  4. ^ "Black Dyke Band – A Brief History". Black Dyke Band. Retrieved 28 June 2015. 
  5. ^ "Black Dyke Grand Slam – 25 years on 12 July 2010". Retrieved 28 June 2015. 
  6. ^ "Classic LPs – the 1980s". 10 April 2008. Retrieved 28 June 2015. 
  7. ^ "Thingumybob". Retrieved 28 June 2015. 
  8. ^ "Acoustic Treatment for the Black Dyke Band". Amadeus Equipment. 23 September 2010. Retrieved 28 June 2015. 
  9. ^ Black Dyke Band member page
  10. ^ Dyke add new sop and tuba to Queensbury ranks
  11. ^ Marshall takes over at Dyke
  12. ^ Major changes at Black Dyke
  13. ^ Bates takes solo horn spot at Dyke
  14. ^ Marzella heads to Black Dyke
  15. ^ Dyke announce Binns appointment
  16. ^ More changes announced at Black Dyke
  17. ^ Dixon decides on Dyke tuba lead
  18. ^ A Black Day At Black Dyke As Bandmaster Quits 3 July 2000
  19. ^ PLC Takes Early Retirement 18 February 2011
  20. ^ Dr Nicholas Childs

External links

  • Black Dyke Band
  • GNER train named after band in December 2005
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