Image copyright Boobs and Brass
Image caption Boobs and Brass playing at their annual Whit Friday procession

In 2006, two friends decided to break the male dominance of the brass ensemble nature by constituting an all-female circle – and announced it Boobs and Brass. Eleven times on, they have raised 200,000 for benevolence and have more than 600 representatives across the UK.

On Friday, Boobs and Brass was given the BBC Music Day Brass Band Award, for the band that best represents the BBC Music Day 2017 topic – “the power of music”.

The band was born when brass musicians Jane Nichols and Maggie Betts decided to call on all the girl actors they knew for a benevolence concert.

With a 25 -strong band, the friends expected to raise a few hundred pounds. In information, they took 5,000.

“We were absolutely dumbfounded, ” reads Mrs Betts, a 63 -year-old cornet player from Northamptonshire.

That first show enticed a big crowd – some of whom, Mrs Betts believes, is no more than there because they were curious about the name.

“I don’t think they were quite sure what they were going, ” she tells. “They might have been disappointed!

“All the girls answered, ‘That was brilliant, we’ve got to get it on again.’ And it’s exactly never stopped since.”

Image copyright Boobs and Brass
Image caption The strap with their BBC Music Day award

The band has since grown and split into three fields flooding the Midlands , north and south of England. More than 600 beings aged between 12 -7 3 are on the database, and the first international outgrowth will propel in New Zealand later this year.

Before that inaugural concert, Mrs Nichols and Mrs Betts decided to choose a donation each and divided the advances. Mrs Nichols established her half to a campaign for equipment at Kettering Hospital, where she worked.

At the time, a fellow member of Mrs Betts’s regular strap has only just diagnosed with breast cancer. So she espoused Breast Cancer Now.

Over the last 11 times, the Boobs and Brass band representatives – who are all unpaid – have continued to give concert does to philanthropy. The total stands at 206,000 – more than 170,000 of which has gone to Breast Cancer Now.

It is a cause that has become particularly personal to the musicians.

Mrs Betts mentions about 20 members have had management for breast cancer, and three gone through it is currently. The party has become a buoy group as well as a source of enjoyment.

“It’s a very tight-knit society when you’ve got members who are going through something so drastic, ” she remarks. “You time want to be there for them. It’s scary. It could be any one of us. You really never know whether it’s going to be you.”

Image copyright Boobs and Brass

The strives of those band representatives have done the others specially keen to keep fostering fund, Mrs Betts says.

“We’ve had a couple of designs about how long this band is going to run. Perhaps we ought to call it a day. And the girls have said, ‘No way, we’ve got to carry on.SSSS

“You verify a love next to you wearing a wig and going through chemotherapy and she’s still at Boobs and Brass playing – you think, we’ve got to make love for parties like you. It determines you more determined.”

When they started, the reputation Boobs and Brass “shook a few people” – and some people still find it obnoxious, Mrs Betts says.

She tells any critics about the run they do and persuades them they are “not just a quantity of silly girlfriends garmenting up and blinking our boobs”.

But they have added a refreshing change in the brass stripe world-wide, which has traditionally been overwhelmingly male.

Mrs Betts was the first maid to be allowed to play in her regional brass circle in 1969. “It was quite a big concept, ” she says.

And now, Boobs and Brass have unwound their women-only rule.

Image copyright Boobs and Brass
Image caption Men can affiliate the band too – if they wear a pink shell

Playing with them in the annual Whit Friday brass band contest in Saddleworth, Greater Manchester, on Friday, were two men.

“It’s difficult to get lady bass musicians – it’s a big, ponderous gauge, ” Mrs Betts says.

“But they’re likewise representing the men who get breast cancer. As long as they’re brave enough to applied the pink jacket on, they can be part of it.

“We don’t like to bring too many[ humen] in. But the curious one here and then is acceptable.”

The BBC Music Day Award was presented at the Whit Friday procession, and Mrs Betts alleges it’s a wage for all the band’s musicians and supporters.

“When you are given an award like this, that is our highway of being able to say, ‘Thank you girls, this is what people think of you. This is what you’ve done’.

“To us that is worth a million pounds. An award like this being offered to us is so very special.”

Apart from parent more fund for donation, Mrs Betts has one desire left.

“I’m hoping that somebody will make a film of it some daylight, ” she says.

It’s not beyond the realms of possible – Brassed Off encounters Calendar Girls, perhaps. A falsehood of real beings transgressing the established rules and prevailing the day with nerve, ability and generosity.

BBC Music Day makes place on Thursday 15 June 2017.


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