Newstead Brass unravel the Enigma as they retain North East Midlands Title

February 19, 2024
Posted in News
February 19, 2024 Mike Allcock

Newstead Brass, conducted by Martin Heartfield, retained the top prize at the end of a busy weekend of brass band music featuring 34 performances at the annual North East Midlands Brass Band Association (NEMBBA) spring contest, held at the Post Mill Centre, South Normanton, on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th February.

Adjudicator Alan Morrison wrote that there was ‘Much to commend’ in Newstead’s performance of Philip Sparke’s ‘Variations on an Enigma’ ahead of runners up the Horbury Victoria Band with the Blidworth Welfare Band taking third place. ‘Variations on an Enigma’, which has been selected for the 8 regional brass band championships taking place over the next 4 weeks, was commissioned by the Desford Colliery Band in 1986 with each variation featuring a different section of the band in turn and providing a strong test for bands of the highest calibre.

Newstead Brass also won the award for best horn player and won a trophy, cash prize and a piece of music donated by Durham Music Shop.

A band spokesperson added, “We’re super proud of our win today – the band has put in a huge amount of work so far, which definitely seems to have paid off! We’ere enjoying working with Martin Heartfield again after he led us to a win in this contest last year followed by 5th place at the Midland Championships and 4th at the Leicester Open. Well done to our competitors at Blidworth and Horbury on their performances and we look forward to the Area Contest in two weeks time.”

Earlier in the weekend bands competed in their respective divisions with wins for Unite the Union in section 1, Hatfield & Askern in Section 2, Dronfield Genquip in section 3 and Whitwell Brass in Section 4. There were also sections for training bands and Unregistered bands opening up the event to over 700 participants as well as a supportive audience.

As part of their preparations for the Midland Championships, Newstead Brass are holding an Open Rehearsal at the Summit Centre in Kirkby in Ashfield (NG17 7LL ) on Wednesday February 28th between 8 pm and 10 pm where visitors are welcome to hear the band putting the final polish to their performance. Admission is free. Advance tickets are not essential but to help us with planning, please reserve a free ticket at

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