ConsTest Success as Newstead prepare for Spring Concerts

April 7, 2024
Posted in News
April 7, 2024 Mike Allcock

After fearing for the future at the end of 2023, Newstead Brass are preparing for their first public concerts of 2024 after a period of sustained contest success.  Having won the North-East Midlands Brass Band Association contest  in February and taken 5th Place at the Midlands Brass Band Championship in March the band are celebrating further success as runners-up in the ‘ConsTest’ Birmingham Open Championships  as they prepare for concerts in Kirkby in Ashfield on Saturday April 13th and Sunday May 19th. 

The Birmingham Open ‘ConsTest’ (so named because it takes place at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire) held on Saturday April 6th attracted 13 bands from across England and Wales each playing an ‘own choice’ test piece. Newstead, conducted by Martin Heartfield, took runners up place with ‘Of Distant Memories’  just behind defending champions Sovereign Brass (who also finished one place ahead of  Newstead in the Midland Championships in March).  Newstead were also awarded the ‘Best instrumentalist’ prize for our guest principal cornet Claire, covering for our regular principal Sarah who was unavailable due to family commitments. 

Newstead Brass now turn to focus on their concert performances with the same prizewinning mentality they apply to the contest stage.  The first two public concerts of the year are both in Kirkby in Ashfield at the Hill Methodist church on Saturday April 13th and St Wilfrid’s Parish Church on Sunday May 19th.  Both concerts start at 7 pm and tickets cost £10 from or by calling the band secretary on 07914 529936.  Please see for more details.

The concerts give a great opportunity for those who supported us at the end of last year to come along and see how the band is progressing.  During 2023 the economic crisis really started to hit brass bands. as fewer organisations and individuals had the funds to book bands for concerts, and potential audiences had to cut back on leisure time spending. This depleted the band’s reserves as they continued to pay for rehearsal space, insurance and the professional leadership to direct the band. A ‘Brassed up for 24’ campaign was launched at the end of November which gained media coverage on local radio and regional television. Thankfully this led to a flood of donations both large and small, which, together with the band’s Christmas concerts and Christmas carols, raised a five figure total to stabilise the band’s financial position. A band representative said, “We’re so grateful to everyone who gave money or offered use of venues to support the band.  There’s still a huge fondness for the sound of brass and the mining heritage of the area that many bands, including Newstead, represent.  We’re so glad we’re now in a position to continue and hopefully extend that.”



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