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Brass keeps South Yorkshire pupils playing

Plusnet fund Grimethorpe Colliery Band and Birkwood Barss bands Education Program Pic: Paul David Drabble

Plusnet fund Grimethorpe Colliery Band and Birkwood Barss bands Education Program Pic: Paul David Drabble

A campaign to introduce South Yorkshire pupils to traditional brass band music is set to stay in tune after the renewal of a key sponsorship deal.

Members of the world famous Grimethorpe Colliery Band visited Birkwood Primary School in Barnsley to mark a second year with phone and broadband provider Plusnet.

The band’s community programme faced the axe last year due to funding cuts, until the company stepped in.

Now 15 Birkwood pupils are learning how to play brass instruments and are reaching a high enough standard to take music exams – a first in the school’s history.

The eight- to 11-year-olds are receiving regular tuition from members of the band, which achieved global fame in 1995 through the hit film Brassed Off.

Class teacher and school music co-ordinator Esther Sutton Smith said: “Children at Birkwood are now aspiring to be musicians and getting ready to take their first exams, which is incredibly exciting for us.

“Beyond the obvious musical advantages we are actually seeing an increase in children’s self -esteem, especially for those who are not as strong in other areas.

“It’s wonderful to see them take such pride in their achievements. We’re also noticing a real sense of engagement with the community as local people flock to watch the children perform, for which we are very grateful.”

One 10-year-old pupil said: “I play tenor horn, and things that I learn in my music lessons help me concentrate during lots of my other lessons.”

Band manager Nigel Dixon said: “With this further injection of funding we hope to do Grimethorpe proud as the crop of talent at Birkwood develops.”

 

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