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Issue 6082

COVID ROADMAP - Optimism at route out of restrictions

COMPOSER CAST - Christopher Bond meets Naomi Styles

Gracing the banding world

Thursday 11 February, 2021

Grace Barnett’s banding career is a fascinating tale. From being lined up against a wall and handed an instrument based on her size to letting her musical talent do the talking, Grace has displayed a steely determination which has endured across the decades.

Now aged 90 and still a proud member of Failsworth Town Band, Oldham, Grace spoke to Chris Helme about her life in banding.


The presence of female players in brass bands is considered everyday practice – but there was a time when it did not matter how good a female player was, she would not have been accepted in the top bands. Thankfully, times have changed.

That said, there were a few notable exceptions, such as Mary Simm (cornet) at Ferodo Works Band, Grace Cole (cornet and trumpet), Firbeck Colliery Band and the Ivy Benson Band, Maisie Ringham (trombone), Salvation Army bands and the Hallé, Betty Anderson (tenor horn) Leicester Imperial Band, Thelma Holland (tenor horn) Ollerton Colliery Band, Cicely Trappini (cornet) and Joy Carter (cornet) Odhams Press Band, Betty Woodcock (cornet) and Joan Hinde (cornet and trumpet).

Grace Barnett (nee Lingard) was born in 1930 and by the time she was nine years old, she was playing the euphonium and is still doing so today. Sadly, she experienced first-hand the discrimination against female players in the post-war era and 1950s.


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