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Time to come back to brass; Norman, 74, leads call to musicians.

Byline: Neil McKay

G RANDFATHER Norman Bambrough is living proof that it is never too late to learn.

For Norman only took up the brass baritone at the age of 61.

Thirteen years later and Norman is secretary of Pittington Brass Band, near Durham, who are preparing to accompany marchers from the old Vane Tempest Colliery at Seaham in the 126th Miners Gala on Saturday.

Norman, now 74, of Kirkstone Drive, Belmont, Durham, is now encouraging others to follow his example and take up a brass instrument. He is the brainchild behind a series of workshops being held in Durham to coincide with a brass festival currently being held in the city.

Norman, a retired engineer, married to Margaret, and father-of-two and grandfather-of-three, said: "I had never played any musical instrument but did want to learn.

"I took up the baritone and really enjoy it. Margaret doesn't play any instruments but she helps me in my role as secretary of the brass band.

"The idea of the workshops is to encourage people to come back to brass who may be played as a youngster and then stopped for whatever reasons, or people like me who just want to learn from the beginning."

The funding for Come Back to Brass! came from a small grant through Durham County Council.

Sally Dixon, Durham County Council's cultural development manager, said: "Events like Come Back to Brass! are really important as they enable brass music to reach out into the community and encourage people to pick up an instrument in comfortable and informal surroundings.

"It's great how the bands are taking complete ownership of the workshops and are using BRASS: Durham International Festival to improve their links with the local community."

The four bands taking up the mantle are Spennymoor Town Band, Ouston, Pelton and District Community Brass Band, Pittington Brass and Craghead Colliery Band.

Spennymoor Town Band are holding a taster session at Byers Green Community Centre on Saturday, July 17 from 11am - 3pm. This will be followed up by an extended taster course. Contact Brian Yates on (0191) 3784249 for further details.

Ouston Pelton & District Community Brass Band is holding one at Ouston Junior School on Sunday, July 18 from 2pm. Contact Norman Walker on 0191 388 5633 for further details.

Taster sessions at Craghead and Pittington were held yesterday.


TUNING UP Norman Bambrough is calling on players old and new to get back playing brass instruments as part of the Come Back to Brass! initiative
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 5, 2010
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