Top brass! ‘Forty feisty women’ stage one-off concert

Femmes Fortissimo are brass and percussion players from various Yorkshire brass bands. Photographs: Keith Meadley
27 Feb 2018 @ 4.51 pm
| News

**POSTPONED: Due to the bad weather the Femmes Fortissimo concert will now take place on Sat April 28**

Some traditions die hard when it comes to opening up activities to women: it wasn’t until 2010 that Grimethorpe Colliery Band (which featured in the film Brassed Off) took on their first woman player in the band’s 93 year history.

Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band, famous for the Floral Dance that was a 1977 hit for Terry Wogan, did not accept their first woman player until 2011.

Now an all-women brass band made up of players from ten Yorkshire brass bands is set to redress the historical deficit by coming together for a one-off concert.

Originally slated as part of York International Women’s Week 2018, the bad weather saw it postponed till April 28.

The 40-strong band of women and girls will be playing an entertaining concert of popular and traditional music at Southlands Methodist Church in York this Saturday (March 3).

Making women’s voices heard

Making women’s voices heard – through brass

Called Femmes Fortissimo, the band of “feisty women” comprises brass and percussion players from the Shepherd Group family of brass bands based at Portakabin in Huntington, the York RI bands based near York station and players from bands in Scarborough, Swinton, Malton and Driffield.

Femmes Fortissimo concert

Southlands Methodist Church, Bishopthorpe Road, York YO23 1NX

Sat Apr 28 @ 7.30pm

£10 / £8 conc

More details

For more info email Kate Lock here

Conducted by Sue Sykes, MD for York Concert Band, Femmes Fortissimo will be performing pieces including the famous Floral Dance (written by a woman, Katie Moss, in 1911) and Gloria’s flugelhorn solo, “Orange Juice” (Concierto de Aranjuez) from Brassed Off, as well as pop songs from Abba to Whitney Houston, a world premiere and a march written for the women’s suffrage movement.

“The theme of York International Women’s Week is ‘Making women’s voices heard’ – and that’s exactly what we are going to do – through brass,” said organiser Kate Lock, who plays euphonium with the York RI Golden Rail Band.

“It’s a family concert, everyone is welcome and it’s going to be lots of fun.

“Women are quite well represented in brass bands today as players and there are even a few other all-women bands, notably Boobs and Brass, which has disbanded now but raised lots of money for breast cancer research, and Trinity Girls, which has always been just women.”

But, Kate points out, you still don’t see many female adjudicators at contests, or come across women composers for brass. Female conductors are definitely in the minority.

“The Yorkshire Regional Brass Band Championships are taking place this weekend in Huddersfield with more than 50 brass bands competing, but only one is conducted by a woman.”

There will be a collection for the Malala Fund to help girls around the world achieve their potential and make their own voices heard.