Westhoughton Community Network

group for and run by community groups in Westhoughton

Wingates Band

About Us

Wingates Band performing at the Pretoria Remembrance in 2010 We are a nationally and internationally renowned brass band playing in the 'Championship Section' (Brass Banding's 'Premier League') of the UK Band Structure. We perform regularly on the leading concert and contest stages.

A brass band normally has 28 playing musicians covering Cornets, Baritones & Euphoniums, Basses and Percussion sections; the Principal Cornet (Andy Macdonald) is the Band Leader. We employ a professional part-time Music Director - our current MD, Andrea Price, an ex-featured percussionist of Black Dyke Band, took on the role in June 2022, replacing Paul Andrews who had been with the band since 2013 and had overseen a rise up the international and national brass band rankings. Impacted by Covid Lockdowns and the associated uncertainty and loss of momentum the band has seen a number of changes and met with many challenges, Andrea hopes to bring on new talent, continue to compete and build links with the community. As part of the band set-up we have a number of other non-playing members who help with admin and organisation. We are grateful to have a Supporters Club and dedicated Wingates and brass band fans. The local connection means a lot to us.

Wingates Band is a very famous name in banding and is respected throughout the country for its 'pedigree', consistency and high standards. The band has won 7 British Open Championships and 4 British National Championships - in 1907 the band achieved a 'Double Double' winning both 2 years running; it was a fete that would not be matched for 70years. The band marked an unrivalled 100 years of recording history in 2015 - our CDs are an important part of the bands revenue generation. As part of our 140th anniversary celebration in 2013, a definitive history of the band - 'From Bible Class To World Class', researched and written by then band President David Kaye, was published. It is one of the oldest surviving brass bands in the world. In 2023 Wingates Band celebrates its sesquicentennial anniversary (150 years) - this is to be celebrated with concerts and with a very special exhibition at Westhoughton Library put together by Westhoughton Local History Group.

Wingates Band performing at the Pretoria Remembrance in 2010 Wingates Band prides itself in being part of Westhoughton life and a contributor to community and civic events, such as The 100-year Pretoria Remembrance (2010), Luddites Bi-Centenary Celebrations (2012). We also take pride in raising the profile of Westhoughton, often performing alongside our friends The Houghton Weavers. The very popular 'Folk and Brass' concerts with the two 'Westhoughton Legends' would take place twice a year - a combination that worked very well. Our folk friends celebrated 40 years in show business in 2015 (sadly lead singer Tony Berry passed away in 2019, though the band continues to perform with brother Jim joining the band). After a hiatus these concerts resumed in 2023.

Through networking with WCN we are looking to create a heightened awareness of the 'jewel' in our midst and what Wingates Band has meant to Westhoughton's heritage and culture for 150 years.

Key Objectives

To communicate with the community - raising the band's profile to generate support at concerts; grow our supporters club membership; find, recruit and encourage talented young musicians, and strengthen the backroom team.

Resources

We have a band-room at Wingates Square (BL5 3PS). It is a venue steeped in history that has been used as for some WCN meetings, much to the delight of the network and in keeping with its sharing and learning spirit. The band rehearses here on a Tuesday and Thursday evening (8-10pm). Subject to availability Wingates Band, or smaller Brass Ensembles, are available for events and functions.

We now have a permanent display and artefacts upstairs at Westhoughton Library, allowing residents and visitors a chance to see and learn more about the brass band. Ours is a history that is both rich and traumatic with highs and lows; focused, we rise to meet challenges and look to a positive future.

Contact information & website.

Support Wingates Band
WINGATES SUPORTERS CLUB

As well as performing in concert Wingates Brass Band is a competing band with all of the costs involved - practice time, instruments, travel & accommodation. The Band Hall itself has to be maintained and funded.

Wingates Brass Band practice for Pretoria Memorial at Ditchfield Gardens 3rd Sept 2017.

Wingates Band continues to work hard both to improve, entertain and survive. The band needs to generate income and sponsorship to keep going, continue to compete, to bring through new talent and musicianship, and to maintain its status as one of the world's top brass bands. Things can be precarious, indeed after a difficult 2017 when close to folding, we steadied the ship and were grateful for local support, the bonds between band members becoming stronger than ever. We continue to look at grants and other funding sources - such as the Supporters Club - to supplement concerts and merchandise sales. A major future project will be it will be either refurbishment or rebuilding of the dilapidated Band Hall - it is hoped with community use as part of any plans.

Your contribution and support can make a big difference, helping the band to survive and grow. At just £2.50 a month, membership entitles you to: regular email updates; a quarterly newsletter; a membership card and two free 'Exclusive Supporters Club' concerts per year.

Wingates Supporters Club | 100 Club (Monthly Draw) | Make a Donation (with Gift Aid).

Latest News & Upcoming Concerts

We continue to be busy, rehearsing, performing and taking part in competitions. The band also continues to support the local community in Westhoughton and Bolton by performing at events or making the band hall available for occasional meetings. In the winter season we make a point of performing locally with some Christmas concerts. You may even see a Wingates Band Quartet out and about busking around Westhoughton bringing some traditional festive cheer!

Wingates Brass Band in Performance - 2023

  • Wingates in Concert: St Michael's Church, Cockerham, Lancaster - Sat 15 April (7pm).
  • Bolton Community Concert: Albert Halls Bolton, Victoria Square, Bolton - Wed 26 April (7pm).
  • Wingates Band In Concert: St George's Church, 45 School Street, Tyldesley - Sun 18 June (7pm).
  • 'The Wingates Band Story' - in conjunction with Westhoughton Local History Group, celebrating 150 years of the band: Westhoughton Library - Sat 9 Sept (11:30am) Programme. Exhibition runs until 31 Oct.
  • Bolsover Festival of Brass Entertainment Contest at Fraser's Group Academy, Unit A, Brooke Park East, Shirebrook, Derbyshire - Sun 1 Oct (all day).
  • Wingates 150th Celebration Concert with Peter Moore (LSO): Bolton Parish Church (St Peters Bolton-Le-Moors), Churchgate, Bolton - Sat 4 Nov (7:30pm).
  • Christmas Concert: St. John's (Wingates) Church, Chorley Road, Westhoughton - Tues 12 Dec (8pm).
  • Christmas Carol Service: St Vincent's Church, Newbrook Road, Over Hulton, Bolton - Mon 18 Dec (6pm).
  • Brass Band Contest Belle View - North West Area Brass Band Championships: Winter Gardens (Opera House Theatre), Blackpool - Sun 25 Feb (all day).

For event details, tickets and any other enquiries visit the website: wingatesbrassband.co.uk.

From the Archive

Special Events in 2019 (pre-Lockdown)

Led by Musical Director Paul Andrews, it was a busy year for Wingates Band with the band working hard with a mix of competition and concerts bringing in income to keep the band going. In addition there were some interesting projects such as the Co-op grant funded Mental Health workshops and concerts at The Bridge (Bolton) working with Rugby League charity 'State of Mind', and even a residency comprising of four themed 'Friday Night Is Music Night' concerts at Blackrod Community Centre which were well-supported and thoroughly enjoyed by the band. There was also, in association with 'Brass Toff Instrument Repairs' and 'Elliott Brass UK', a Masterclass and Concert in April at The Pyramid, Warrington featuring renowned euphonium player Lyndon Baglin as guest soloist and tutor.

The band got through to a third National Championship Final at Birmingham Symphony Hall again competing with the very best of banding elite. A creditable performance however finishing 16th out of 18 disappointingly meant Wingates Band was relegated back down to the Grand Shield competition, but aiming to regroup and work hard in order to get back into the top tier as soon as possible. New players needed to be bedded in and upcoming students were given the opportunity to play with a top band even if for a short period - possibly returning or going to greater things in the future.

'An Audience With Richard Evans' ft Wingates Brass Band - St. Bart's 27th October 2019 Late October 2019, we were back in Westhoughton for a very special event at St. Bartholomew's Church… it was the final concert of the Autumn season and one with a difference, being 'An Audience With Richard Evans', which saw the band go back to a much more traditional brass band programme content and featured stories from the world-renowned, charismatic conductor Mr. Richard Evans, famous for his flamboyant and vibrant conducting style. Chatting with Paul Andrews, Richard talked about his life in banding, including his time with Wingates Band and winning the his first National Championship with them in 1975, and recounted stories from his new book 'Still Beating', which he was promoting. The gathered audience warmly appreciating his presence and celebrating his achievements.


Newsletters: October 2019 | March 2019 | February 2018.

Other Stories

  • 'The Cost of Coal' - Fraternity
    Wingates Band Prepare For British Open with Poignant Piece. More
  • A Fond Farewell - David Kaye Retires From Band After 25 Years.
    Wingates Band President Leaves Impressive Legacy. More
  • Tony Smith's Book inspires a musical show.
    Wingates Band stalwart works with Lucy Pankhurst on Great Shindig. More
  • 90 Years On - Wingates Band Still Featuring On National Airwaves.
    BBC Radio 2 'Listen to the Band' to feature new CD tracks. More
  • Christmas Concert by Wingates Band & Houghton Weavers.
    Festive Folk & Brass from Westhoughton Legends for special year. More
  • New CD Celebrates 100 Years of Recorded Music
    Wingates Band release new 12-track 'Sounds of a Century' album. More
  • Celebrating 100 Years of Recorded Music
    Wingates Band achieve another incredible milestone; 'Sounds of a Century' project. More
  • More Contest Success and a Lightning Storm!
    Wingates Band contest in Yorkshire - brave an electrical storm. More
  • Folk & Brass - 3rd June 2015
    27th Concert together for Westhoughton Musical Legends Houghton Weavers and Wingates Band. More

2013: Wingates Band 140th Anniversary

A year of unprecedented activity saw the culmination of several projects and celebrations to mark such a unique milestone for the Westhoughton-based brass band. Wingates Band even got a mention in the House of Commons - recorded in Hansard (17 Oct 2013 : Column 905) - when then MP, Julie Hilling spoke to the House about the 140 years, the book and anniversary concert.

The Artwork

Wingates Brass Band watercolour by Tom Newton celebrating 140 years Local artist, Tom Newton MBE, produced a water-colour collage - 140 Glorious Years - featuring various aspects of the band's long and colourful history and association with Westhoughton. The artwork featured on posters and postcards used to raise funds.

The Book

Wingates Brass Band definitive anthology 'From Bible Class to World Class' October saw the publication of the first-ever book telling the full and fascinating story of Wingates, from its establishment in the middle of Queen Victoria's reign, through until the present day. A labour of love, compiled and written by the band's president, David Kaye, the book entitled 'From Bible Class to World Class' chronicles the modest beginnings from a most humble drum and fife ensemble playing chapels and local fêtes to a band which achieved widespread acclaim for its astonishing 'double-double' in 1906 and 1907, when Wingates were crowned as both British Open and British National champions. A story of dedication, enthusiasm and the aspirations of the bandsmen, most of whom worked the local mills and mines - at the time led by William Rimmer, one of the all-time legends of the banding movement (1891 to 1909).

With a total of 7 British Open and 4 British National Championships to their credit - along with numerous other accolades and achievements - the Wingates Band story is indeed one of triumph - but of trauma too. In 1910, at the height of the band's fame, its very future was seriously threatened in the wake of the horrific Pretoria Pit Disaster (Britain's third worst coal mining disaster with 344 fatalities) as a result of the loss of many players, including the driving forces of chairman and secretary.

However, Wingates Band is a true survivor, and despite the trauma of Pretoria, and the horrors of two world wars - not to mention quite a few financial crises! - many glorious chapters have been written in the band's story throughout the century and more since the desperately dark days of 1910. 'From Bible Class to World Class' include chapters chronicling the life of the band on the concert and contest platforms, its national and international tours, its long broadcasting and recording pedigrees, appearances before royalty etc. - and more than a sprinkling of Wingates trivia!

The book is available locally at Westhoughton Library or can be ordered via Amazon or by contacting the band.

The Exhibition / Display

Wingates Band working in conjunction with Bolton's Libraries and Museums Service on the 'Band History' project, a 4-tier glass display of Wingates Band artefacts and items of memorabilia has been set up in Westhoughton library on permanent, designed to highlight key aspects of the band's wonderful story.

From its formation in 1873, the display a microcosm of the wonderful Wingates story from mid-Victorian times until the present day, featuring sections showing highlights of the band's story, including a profile of Wingates successes on the contest platform, an outline of the band's concert and touring history. There is a feature commemorating the most traumatic event in the band's 14 decades - namely the Pretoria Pit Disaster in late 1910.

The exhibits will be expanded and updated to reflect the Wingates Band ongoing history and importance and significance to Westhoughton. A renown that stretches across the region, country and world.

The display was augmented by the publication of an informative brochure, available to visitors of the library.

The CD

Musical director Andrew Berryman worked on a project to produce a commemorative CD album, to feature music from all 14 decades of the band's wonderful history, whilst a second album (although not directly linked to the 140th anniversary), featuring music composed entirely by the band's renowned Composer-in-Residence, Lucy Pankhurst, was being produced.

The Concert

In October a high-profile Celebration concert, at which the Anniversary CD album and history book were officially launched, took place. Special guest players at the Victoria Hall concert included euphonium stars David Thornton, Gary Curtin and Lewis Musson - all former Wingates principals - for whom the band's composer-in-residence, Lucy Pankhurst, was commissioned to write a new euphonium trio composition, premièred at the concert.

Other celebratory events also included a nostalgic reunion dinner, to which all former Wingates players were invited.


Contact Information

Band Manager - Sue MacDonald: 07966 364530 | Email

Musical Director - Andrea Price: 07401 549449 | Email

Treasurer and Administrator - Joy Mooney: 07720 441592 | Email

Visit Wingates Band website for latest news and concert information.

Wingates Brass Band
The Band Hall
Wingates Square
Westhoughton
Bolton
BL5 3P

Registered Charity No. 1097122

Page last updated: 1/9/23.

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