Whit Friday History Makers

Posted by Mark Wilkinson on 16 June 2014

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On Friday 13th June 2014 Foden's made history by competing in all 11 Tameside Villages, receiving 1st prize at all 11.

From the first Whit Friday Marches in 1884, the event has grown in popularity. This year over 100 brass bands participated in some twenty different contests at venues scattered around the areas of Tameside and Saddleworth. At each venue bands march to a central location where they perform a contest march which is judged by an adjudicator. Foden's played the popular march 'The President' conducted by Michael Fowles. After this the band members get back on their coach, travel to the next village where they repeat the same procedure again! The contests are open to all-comers, so the local youth bands get to match their skills against the UK's top bands. For the players, the dash from contest to contest makes for an exhilarating (though exhausting) evening. Thousands of spectators travel to Saddleworth and Tameside to watch was it commonly called 'the greatest free show in the world'.

Each contest offers prizes for the best band, best youth band, best soloists etc. with each venue attracting between 50 - 70 bands. Each contest is organised by local volunteers with the running costs and prize money being raised by local donations, sponsorship and fund-raising events.

At the end of the night (each contest has its own finish time which is usually around 11pm) the adjudicator announces the results. To qualify for the overall prize i.e. the Champion of Tameside or Saddleworth bands must compete at a minimum of 6 venues and the band that has the best results takes the overall prize.

This year Foden's competed at all 11 venues in Tameside, starting at 4pm and finishing at 10.45pm and won 1st prize at every contest as well as a number of individual solo prizes. This is the first time since 1884 that any band has won all the contests in either the Tameside or Saddleworth area.
 
Speaking about the victory Band Manager Mark Wilkinson commented 'We are extremely pleased to have been crowned Tameside Champions for the 13th time in the past 14 years. To win this title as well as making history is a fantastic achievement'.

For any conductor and every audience, Foden’s Band is a musical Magic Carpet. It continually takes the listener to places that few other ensembles rarely even approach Howard Snell