A Notts brass band is hoping for chart success with the release of a new album on a major label.
Island Records, home to Mariah Carey, Lionel Richie and Bon Jovi, will next week release The Music Lives On Now The Mines Have Gone. The 15-track CD is compilation of songs from the UK’s best brass bands, including two from Thoresby Colliery Band.
“We’re really pleased to be part of something quite so big,” said euphonium player Simon Willis.
“It means a lot more exposure than we’re used to.”
The CD marks the 25th anniversary of the end of the miners’ strike, which Simon, 39, can recall.
“I grew up in Ollerton and I used to have to walk past the pit lane to get to school. I remember there being massive crowds of people. A lot of picketing went off at Ollerton and there was a fatality there during some of the striking.”
He added: “There was conflict at the school. Some of my friends’ dad’s were working, others were striking.”
His own father had left the mines before the strike and worked as a taxi driver.
Only one of the 30 members of the band, which started in 1948, is a miner.
“He still doesn’t like to talk about it,” said Simon, a music teacher.
“It still rankles with people to this day. One of the guys I knew from school still gets grief because his dad was a working miner.”
Other band members are teachers, students, military musicians, small businessmen, civil servants, IT professionals and a police officer.
Ages range from 15 to early fifities.
“I joined the Thoresby Colliery Junior Band when I was nine and I’ve played in many colliery bands since then,” said Simon.
He was a member of the Grimethorpe Colliery Band for four years and appeared in the award-winning movie Brassed Off.
“I was one of the band playing extras. I get a bit of screen exposure. Maybe half-a-dozen times.”
Are Grimethorpe the Manchester United of colliery bands?
“Not because of Brassed Off but because they are one of the finest brass bands in the world.”
The CD features classical and popular pieces, from Largo from the New World Symphony and Concerto de Aranjuez to McArthur Park and He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.
Thoresby’s contributions are Songs of the Quay, based on folk tune The Keel Row and You Needed Me, a hit for Anne Murray in the 70s.
Grimethorpe have four tracks on the CD but Thoresby are the only other band with more than one track.
“That makes us Liverpool,” he laughed.
“The film brought brass bands in to the mainstream. I’d like to think the CD will have a similar effect. That people start going to brass band concerts again and realise it’s not the rumpty tumpty stuff that you might hear in the park on a Sunday afternoon. There’s more to it than that.”
The Music Lives On Now the Mines Have Gone CD is released on Monday. (MAR 1). For information visit www.themusicliveson.co.uk or www.thoresbyband.co.uk