The Fairey Band
Founded in 1937 by a group of employees at the Fairey Aviation Works in Stockport, the Band achieved many musical successes under the brilliant direction of Harry Mortimer, their Musical Director for over thirty years. Since those early days, the Band has been 16 times British Open Champions and National Champions of Great Britain on 9 occasions. Winners of the BBC ‘Best of Brass’ and Granada ‘Band of the Year’ titles add further touches of distinction to this famous Band.
The early to mid 1990’s saw probably the most successful period in the Band’s history, winning both the British Open and National titles in 1993, before going on to complete a unique ‘treble’ when they were crowned European Champions in 1994. The Band is also extremely proud of its successes at the annual Whit Friday marches – most notably in 1997 when they achieved 10 first prizes, 2 second prizes and a third prize of the 13 contests that they attended! All this and more makes up the pedigree of what is, undoubtedly, one of the Worlds leading brass bands.
Since its formation the band has seen an illustrious line-up of conductors including Harry Mortimer, Leonard Lamb, Kenneth Dennison, Richard Evans, Walter Hargreaves, Geoffrey Brand, Major Peter Parkes, Roy Newsome, James Gourlay, Howard Snell, Bryan Hurdley and Allan Withington. The Band is in constant demand for concerts, both at home and abroad. Overseas tours have included performances in Canada, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg. In recent years, the Band has enjoyed further recognition outside the confines of the Brass Band movement, with its involvement in the ‘Acid Brass’ project. Under this banner, the Band has been able to display its flexibility in adapting to a totally different musical concept and consequently, has performed in rock/pop festivals in the UK and overseas.
The Band has always maintained its association with the Fairey Company, which provided sponsorship until 2002, and still rehearses at the factory in Heaton Chapel. Having survived various name changes, as the company changed hands over the years – Williams Fairey and Williams Holdings among others – and is commonly known in banding circles, as simply ‘Faireys’!
After several lean contesting years 2010 saw a remarkable resurgence in the bands fortunes, with overall victory in the Tameside Whit Friday March competitions and an invitation to the 2011 European Brass Band Championship in Montreux courtesy of their victory at the English National Championships. Further success followed with runner up spots at the ‘British Open’ and ‘Brass in Concert’ Championships and a 3rd placing at the National Championships of Great Britain.
National Champions of Great Britain: 1945, 1952, 1954, 1956, 1965, 1986, 1993, 2002, 2003
British Open Champions: 1941, 1942, 1945, 1947, 1949, 1950, 1956, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1965, 1979, 1987, 1993, 1998
English National Champions: 2010
All England Masters Champions: 1996, 1997
European Champions: 1994
Brass in Concert Champions: 1996
BBC Television Champion Brass: 1976, 1977, 1979
BBC Best of Brass: 1978
Granada Television Band of the Year: 1979, 1980
BBC Radio Band of the Year: 1987, 1988