Ian McMillan, Yorkshire poet and broadcaster, was born and brought up near Grimethorpe, home of one of the most famous brass bands in the world - Grimethorpe Colliery Brass Band. He knows and loves their music, and understands their importance to the local community. In this programme, he celebrates brass band music, revels in its power and precision and explores it's meaning in a world where coal-mining has all but disappeared.
Throughout the twentieth century, the local brass band was a badge of pride for British industry that sat at the very centre of the community. Grimethorpe Colliery Brass Band was founded in 1917 and paid for by the pit to offer miners a hobby. After the mine shut, its fight to survive inspired the 1995 film Brassed Off, starring Ewan McGregor and Tara Fitzgerald.
Through thick and thin, Grimethorpe Colliery Band have toughed it out and remained one of the world's best known brass bands. The band manager Nigel Dixon and trustees have committed to staying involved as long as they can and have turned attention to trying everything they can to save Grimethorpe.
To hear them strike up, there is no other sound like it and this programme is filled with their wonderful, rich, colourful, emotional sounds.
Ian McMillan meets members of the band, sits in on rehearsals, and finds out how they fight to survive financial catastrophe. He talks to the community as the band push on with their work of funding music education in the local school so that children can learn instruments for free and, for one or two, offer the potential to change their lives too, in the same way most of the current Grimethorpe band first started out.
Produced by Bob Dickinson
A Sparklab production for BBC Radio 4.