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Band is on recruitment drive for war celebration

The East Lancashire Concert Band is in search of musicians to join in weekly rehearsals at the Civic Arts Centre in Oswaldtwistle

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An historic concert band is recruiting members as it prepares for forthcoming First World War centenary celebrations.

The East Lancashire Concert Band is in search of musicians to join in weekly rehearsals at the Civic Arts Centre in Oswaldtwistle.

Members perform at special events throughout the county including Armed Forces Day services and Christmas concerts.

Ian McGuinness has been a member of the band for three years and said musicians of any age are welcome to join.

The retired accountant said: “We have just over 30 people performing with us on a regular basis. We play a range of music including pieces from the early 20th century to music from contemporary musicals and films such as Les Miserables and James Bond.

“Many of  us started playing when we were in school and took it up again later in life but we are keen to recruit some younger musicians.”

Formed in 1842, the band was responsible for leading military parades through the town. The band led the parade featuring the Accrington Pals Battalion when it formed in September 1914.

The band is already organising a commemoration concert to be held on September 27, 2014 in honour of the event.

Among the pieces that are to be included in the concert is a song written by singer Ephrem Clarke in honour of the Pals which was written during the Observer’s appeal to raise funds for repairs to St John’s Church which is home of the Accrington Pals.

Ian said: “After I had heard this beautiful and moving work, I met with him. He has kindly agreed to perform at the September 2014 concert. He later sent a recording of ‘One Way To The Somme’. We are preparing some pieces of the period to feature during the concert. We are also hoping to have some special music written for the band by Sir Harrison Birtwistle.”

Accrington-born Sir Birtwistle is well known in the classical music world for his contemporary operas and chamber pieces.

For information about the band and what vacancies are available visit www.eastlancsconcertband.org.