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Saturday, 22 February 2014

Milestone for Wingates

Throughout 2014,  Wingates Band celebrated the remarkable milestone of 140 years of totally-unbroken music-making of a very high order, which, amongst many other honours and accolades, has seen the Westhoughton-based ensemble win no less than seven British Open Brass Band Championships, and four British National Championship titles.

 Whilst inheriting a truly marvellous 'institution' from its mid-Victorian founding fathers, the current band has left its own major legacies of a successful and memorable milestone year, in the form of the first-ever comprehensive history of the band, entitled  From Bible Class to World Class, and a double-disc CD album, From Fifes to Fanfares and Fame, both of which have met with considerable success amongst the band's supporters far and wide, and throughout the brass band and local communities.

 One of many major highlights of 2013 was the transmission, on August 28th, of an edition of the long-running BBC Radio 2 programme, Listen  to the Band,  which was devoted entirely to the band's history and its music.  Now, with the subsequent publication of the book chronicling the definitive history of one of the most famous names in banding, Wingates has again attracted the attention of our National broadcaster, and the edition of Listen to the Band to be transmitted on Thursday 13th March will feature music from the 140th Anniversary commemorative album, with the programme's presenter, Frank Renton, talking to the book's author – Wingates's president, David Kaye – following an interview recorded at Broadcasting House in London in January.

 By a happy coincidence, this programme will be heard nationwide very close to the 90th anniversary of the first-ever Wingates Band radio broadcast, as it was in early 1924 – when the BBC was still very much in its infancy  – that the then Wingates Temperance Band made regional broadcasts from BBC studios in both Manchester and Glasgow, with nearly 300 subsequent Wingates broadcasts coming over the subsequent nine decades, many of which have been to a nationwide audience.

 Since its launch four months ago, From Bible Class to World Class has sold in excess of 500 copies, with the book having been mailed to many destinations throughout the UK, as well as to the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and several European countries.  It has received many favourable reviews in the local, regional and banding press, and the January issue of the county magazine Lancashire Life nominated the book in its 'Best Read' category. Details of how to purchase the book and CD album are available on the band's website, or by phoning 01204 696984.

 (The Listen to the Band programme featuring the Wingates story will be broadcast on BBC Radio 2 on Thursday 13th March, from 11:30pm to midnight, and the programme is available all week via the Radio 2 website at <> . Click on the playback section to hear the show, on demand, for a week following transmission. It is also available on the BBC iPlayer, by selecting Radio 2.)

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