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Brass band mucking in for show

PUBLISHED: 11:39 02 February 2006 | UPDATED: 20:19 03 May 2010

The Uk's premier brass band, the Grimethorpe Colliery Band, are at the Arena Sunday week

The Uk's premier brass band, the Grimethorpe Colliery Band, are at the Arena Sunday week

THE Grimethorpe Colliery Band will be far from Brassed Off when they play at the Alban Arena. The band, who catapulted to worldwide recognition as a result of the 1996 hit movie, are appearing at 3pm on Sunday week, February 12. Still regarded as the UK's

THE Grimethorpe Colliery Band will be far from Brassed Off when they play at the Alban Arena. The band, who catapulted to worldwide recognition as a result of the 1996 hit movie, are appearing at 3pm on Sunday week, February 12. Still regarded as the UK's premier brass band, the story of Grimethorpe has become one of legend since the band's original formation by members of the disbanded Cudworth Colliery Band in 1917. Since then there has evolved a story full of drama and success in the face of adversity unmatched by any other brass band in the world. In 1992 when the Government announced there were to be nationwide pit closures, the band continued to play and were determined to progress to the final of the National Brass Band Championships despite the hardships every member faced in their personal life. The final details of the pit closures were announced just five days before the band was due to take part in the competition at the Royal Albert Hall. Despite the immense pressure, Grimethorpe triumphed and became the Champion Brass Band of Great Britain. Although the pit closures went ahead, the band continued because of sponsorship and found huge fame when they were featured on the soundtrack of the film Brassed Off starring Tara Fitzgerald, Ewan McGregor and Pete Postlethwaite. In 2004 the band topped the classical music charts with a CD featuring a selection of their most popular numbers. Tickets are £16 and £14 with concessions £1 off, available from the box office on 01727 844488. ää Jazz and blues replaces brass when The Big Chris Barber Band comes to the Arena on Thursday, February 16. Chris will be playing a wide selection of favourites, from Bourbon Street Parade, his signature tune, to When the Saints... The 11-piece band which blends brass, reeds and electric guitar, have influenced many of today's leading jazz and blues musicians including Mark Knopfler, John Mayall, Eric Clapton and Van Morrison. Joining Chris and the band is special guest Andy Fairweather-Low, who first established himself as the front man for the mod band Amen Corner who had a series of successful singles in the UK before disbanding in 1970. The evening gets underway at 8pm and tickets are £16.50 and £15 with concessions £1 off, available from the box office on the number above. ää Fairport Convention call in at the Arena on the following night, Friday, February 17, as part of their 30-date Off The Desk tour. The two-hour concert will open with a 20-minute guest appearance by singer-songwriter P.J. Wright. Fairport Convention's own 90-minute set will feature well-known classics from the band's back catalogue as well as compositions from their recent album. Said lead vocalist and guitarist Simon Nicol: "It will be great to get on the road again - in fact we are raring to go. We will particularly enjoy playing in St Albans again." Tickets are £17.50 and £16, available from the box office. ää Animated duo Wallace and Gromit will be appearing in their latest film The Curse of the Were-Rabbit at the Arena during half-term week. Three screenings are being held on Wednesday, February 15, - the first at 11am followed by a second matinee at 1.30pm and an evening showing at 7.30pm. Our heroes have started up a humane pest control outfit called Anti-pesto and all is going well until a veg-ravaging rabbit monster begins attacking the town's vegetable plots just days before the annual Giant Vegetable Competition. The cheese-loving inventor and his faithful hound are called upon by Lady Tottingham to save the town from the giant floppy-eared menace. Tickets are £5.50 with concessions £2 off for the evening performance and £3 for the two matinees which includes a drink and biscuits before the screening.

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