The sound of brass music will reverberate around Laxey on Sunday for the Great Laxey Brass Band Festival.
Five bands - Douglas Town Band, Manx Concert Brass, Ramsey Town Band, Rushen Silver Band, and Onchan Silver Band - are all taking part.
They will play in rotation around three outdoor locations, The Mines Tavern, the Glen Gardens pavilion and the village square from 1pm, before all joining together in the square for a group performance at 4pm.
Commissioner Marinda Fargher said: ‘This is the sixth edition of the event and it has become a very popular musical and visual spectacle with the wonderful sounds of the bands reverberating around the village.’
She described the event as an ‘excellent day out’ and encouraged visitors to visit local businesses while they were there. As well as the live music, there will be lots of children’s entertainment too.
Performing as one, the bands will play the Scottish favourite Highland Cathedral, Electric Light Orchestra’s Mr Blue Skies and Ellan Vannin.
Douglas Town Band musical director Rob Mitchell told Island Life: ‘It is one of the only events that affords all of the local bands the opportunity to perform as a massed band which is an exciting prospect for all as the local bands all have close ties, however are usually too busy with their own events to perform together as a single ensemble.’
He said Douglas Town Band’s programme features a rousing march, Barnard Castle, fun cornet trio Bugler’s Holiday and a fantastic arrangement of the Rolling Stones hit Ruby Tuesday.
Rushen Silver Band chairman Chris Weldon said their programme features their version of the Queen hit Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Newcastle United anthem Going Home and a new brass band march in memory of the late Richard Evans, international brass band conductor and former musical adviser to the band.
The march was written by renowned brass band composer and arranger Alan Fernie last summer and was jointly premiered by Rushen Silver Band and the National Youth Brass Band of Scotland (NYBBS).
Bands can now buy a pdf of the piece for £15 from Rushen Silver Band’s with all profits from its sale donated to NYBBS. Visit https://rushensilverband.sumupstore.com
Rushen musical director John Kinley said: ‘The music is very much in the style Mr Evans would have revelled in and is a fantastic tribute by Alan to a real musical legend in the brass band world.’
Ramsey Town Band musical director Robert Quane said they would be performing ‘a light and sunny selection to show off what we do best’.
He described the festival as a ‘watershed moment’ as their focus will then shift to beginning a fundraising campaign and music preparations to get to the Brass Band National Championship finals in Cheltenham in September.
They qualified after being placed third in the fourth section of the North West Regional Brass Band Championships held at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens in February.
Onchan Silver Band assistant musical director Mark Halliday said they always look to create a programme with challenging pieces for the band that will also provide colour and contrast for the audience.
‘We will be including a couple of absolute classics along with some more contemporary items - hopefully something for everyone to enjoy.’
He described the massed performance as a ‘very special experience’ for the band as well as the audience.
Manx Concert Brass musical director Ian Clague MBE said: ‘The atmosphere really is something that players and members of the public seem to enjoy, both at various locations throughout the village and then when we all join forces at the conclusion when Laxey truly reverberates to the sounds of all things brass.
‘We hope to see as many people as possible and once again are looking forward to the event which shows the future of brass banding in the Isle of Man is in safe hands!’