New Zealand band make appearance in Saddleworth
Friday 9th September 2016 @ 10:45 by Adam Higgins
Mossley & Saddleworth News

Dave Bremner led his band on a merry dance across the globe to make an unique guest appearance in a Saddleworth country village.

Appreciative locals turned out in force to witness proud Dave and his colleagues from New Zealand take the hallowed steps of fabled legions of Whit Friday brass band contestants.

Because the award-winning Wellington Brass made their marathon journey from New Zealand’s capital city to a mock Whit Friday performance in Dobcross village and at the legendary Band Club.

Their marathon 40-hour, 11,800 mile trek took players and their supporters by plane via Auckland to Singapore, Munich, Manchester and then coach to the village.

The band is visiting the UK to take part in the 164th British Open Brass Band Championships in Birmingham tomorrow (Saturday), which is open to British and Commonwealth bands.

But because they missed the excitement of Saddleworth’s famed Whit Friday brass band festival earlier in the year, Dobcross Silver band and supporters rolled out the red carpet for the VIPs guests.

Phil Cumberworth, from Dobcross Silver Band and Brass Monkeys, explained: “It just shows how famous Dobcross is around the world!

“They arranged a day trip to Dobcross and we put on a mock Whit Friday contest march for them.”

And the band club itself, flew the New Zealand national flag as the guests arrived and tables were decked with kiwi pennants.

John Holden, the band president, who has been stewart at the club for 32 years, led the visiting bandsmen from the club to play in Churchfields, the site traditionally used for the Whit Friday Band Contest.

He said: “We gave the visitors a real Saddleworth welcome. It was wonderful.”

Scores of well wishers thronged the route from the club and one local says sagely: “The glorious weather meant as nearly as many people turned out as a proper Whit Friday.”

The Kiwis played their contest march, “The Champions,” before returning to the club to entertain a packed audience with a sparkling 90-minute concert.

Dave Morris, world whistling champion and himself an accomplished musician, adjudicated at the mock event.

“It was an amazing evening,” he said. “The concert at the club was outstanding with fabulous soloists. The club was rocking.

“We were blessed with perfect weather and the event showed the village community as its best.”

The band’s musical director, Mr Bremner, 40,  is a world class trombone player who has been principal trombone player for the New Zealand National Band and is currently the principal trombonist for the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

He said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by everyone’s kindness. The welcome has been incredible.”

And final words from Phil Comerworth: “It was absolutely fantastic.

“Some if the Wellington Brass band came to me after the event and said the memories of the day would live with them for the rest of their lives.”