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WHEN it comes to Holmfirth where there's music there's brass.

For the young man behind a competition to massively promote brass music in our area and far beyond has received several nominations for the Arts Award.

Brass band contest the Brass Factor was originally started by Alex Bray back in 2010 when he was studying journalism at Huddersfield University and it was his final year project. The idea was to give a brass band contest a talent show twist to change people's perceptions of brass music - and it earned him the highest mark ever awarded by the university for this part of the course.

Since then Brass Factor has just grown so much it has expanded from Holmfirth - where it has been a continual sell-out and huge boost to the local economy - into other venues in Harrogate and Wetherby and now attracts 42 brass bands with an age range from six to 85. Last year the contest featured 450 musicians aged from six to 21.

But more than just a contest, it has led to brass band music being taken out into the community with a junior band playing on board a Grand Central train and at Kings Cross station to spread the Brass Factor message down south.

Brass Factor is now working with sponsor railway company Grand Central to develop a Brass Factor schools programme to keep the bands alive in the future.

On top of all this the Brass Factor has raised more than PS15,000 for local charities including the Forget Me Not Children's Hospice, the Huddersfield Town Foundation and the Yorkshire Regiment Benevolent Trust in memory of Meltham soldier Tom Wroe who was killed in Afghanistan in 2012. Alex has raised more than PS70,000 for different charities since he started fundraising at the age of just 10.

Kay Crewdson from Holmfirth said: "Brass Factor is about a lasting legacy, making an impact on people's lives. Alex is an inspiration."

Yorkshire Society chairman Keith Madeley said: "His work supporting young musicians to display their talents and raise an awareness of such a great heritage to the younger generation is truly remarkable."

And Chris Phillips from Holmfirth added: "Alex's passion for developing a platform for grassroots musicians is a cut above the rest, ensuring that brass will live on for the next generation and win new audiences as it goes."

Cornet player Alex, 25, of Holm-firth, is a corporate fundraiser for the Forget Me Not Children's Hospice.

He said: "I wanted to reignite people's passion for brass bands - I saw it as in danger of becoming a dying art. It needed refreshing and I wanted to create that buzz about brass bands again and make it appeal to a younger audience."


Serial fundraiser Alex Bray's Brass Factor competition is reviving brass music and |giving it a new twist 1 JULIAN HUGHES


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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:May 29, 2015
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