Pit brass band sounds the call for new members

Miners strike memorial and parade at the site of the  Markham Main colliery.  Markham Main Band play at the site of pit shaft number 2.  Picture: Malcolm Billingham
Miners strike memorial and parade at the site of the Markham Main colliery. Markham Main Band play at the site of pit shaft number 2. Picture: Malcolm Billingham
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A brass band which has been calling the tune for 90 years is blowing the trumpet for new members.

Markham Main Colliery Band, which was formed in 1925, is on the lookout for musical maestros to join its ranks after a dip in numbers.

The band is the last vestige of Armthorpe’s Markham Main pit which closed in 1996 and despite the demise of Doncaster’s mining industry the band has continued into the new millennium.

However, in recent years, the number of band members has dropped - and now a call has gone out for retired musicians to dust off their instruments and take to the stage once more.

Spokesman Rob Swailes said: “The band has been very successful over the years but at the moment they are a bit short on numbers.

“There’s a regular bunch of 10 or 11 players who go along to the rehearsals but when it comes to concerts, they are having to bring in stand-ins so its not ideal.

“We hope there are people out there who maybe haven’t played for a long time or who play at home who would maybe like to join a band.”

The Markham Main Colliery St Johns Ambulance Brigade decided to form the band in 1924, and purchased a set of second hand instruments on which the band carried on until a new set of instruments was acquired in 1929.

The heyday of the band was in 1947 when it won 16 trophies in one year.

Rehearsals are held every Tuesday and Thursday at Armthorpe Community Centre from 7.30pm to 9.30pm.

A training band for younger members and people who haven’t been involved in music for a while is also held on Saturdays between 9am and 11am at the same venue.

Mr Swailes added: “The youngest members are about seven or eight so people can start at any age. We would love to see people come along and enjoy playing music with the band.”

For more details visit www.mmcbb.co.uk