Douglas Town Band is heading to the UK to take part in a prestigious brass band competition with support from the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.


The players will be up against 18 bands in its section of the North West Regional Championships in Blackpool on 26th February. The Steam Packet Company is supporting the band by assisting with the costs of travel for players and instruments.


Douglas Town Band was established in 1887, making it the Island’s longest-running brass band, and today features a wide age range of players who regularly perform and compete together.


It has been busy in recent months preparing for the competition at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens.


Secretary Paul Naylor said: ‘We have been putting in a lot of practice ahead of the Regional Championships, where we’ll be led by Musical Director Ken Mitchell. This year’s test piece, Darkwood by Dan Price, is in three movements – The Boggart, House on the Hill and Blackley Village – and will be a great test for every band member, young and old.


‘There are another 18 bands in our section and the positions are decided by some of the top adjudicators from the brass band world, so it will be quite a demanding contest.’


He added: ‘On behalf of Douglas Town Band I’d like to thank the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company for its generous support, assisting us with travel to and from the UK to take part in this renowned competition.’


More than 80 brass bands compete across five sections at the North West Regional Championships. Like football leagues, bands can be promoted or relegated between sections based on their results. The top bands from each section go forward to the National Finals later in the year.


Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘We’re pleased to be helping the Island’s longest-established brass band travel to the UK to compete in such a prestigious competition. Douglas Town Band provides opportunities for players young and old to hone their skills, perform across the Island and further afield as well as participating in important contests like this.


‘I’d like to wish the band the best of luck for Blackpool and I hope everyone enjoys this great experience.’


Ahead of travelling to the UK Douglas Town Band will perform its test piece as part of an open workshop from 7.30pm on 23rd February at St Ninian’s Church, Douglas. The performance is open to all.