Don't miss our concert at the beautiful St Thomas Church, Ashton-in-Makerfield on Saturday 29th June.

Tickets: adults £10/concessions £8 
Available on the door or to be reserved in advance from band members or from the Ashton-in-Makerfield Salvation Army by calling 01942 711387 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


TrevorBesses o' th' Barn Band are delighted to announce the appointment of Trevor Halliwell as their new Musical Director.

A cornettist from the age of 9, Trevor's talent was spotted as a young player by members of Wingates band. He went on to become assistant principal at Foden's, before returning to Wingates where he held the principal position for ten years, also winning the coveted title of Champion Soloist of Great Britain 1979 and playing principal trumpet with the Haffner Orchestra.

Trevor brings to the band a wealth of experience as a player, teacher, adjudicator and conductor. In his conducting career, Trevor has taken numerous bands including Stalybridge, Marple, Hoover Bolton, and more recently leading Golborne band to promotion into the 2nd section.

The band are very excited to be working with Trevor as they approach their Bicentenary year in 2018 and would like to invite any players who would like to come for a blow to join us at rehearsals every Tuesday and Thursday 8-10pm at the band room, 2 Moss Lane, Whitefield, Manchester M45 6HG.

Want to see Besses in concert?
Here are our latest bookings:

Saturday 29th June, 7pm
St Thomas Church
Warrington Road, Ashton-in-Makerfield
Tickets £10/£8 concessions available on the door or in advance direct from band members, or from the Ashton-in-Makerfield Salvation Army by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or calling 01942 711387


Sunday 30th June, 2-4pm
Brass in the Park at Padiham Memorial Park
as part of the Padiham on Parade Celebrations
Padiham, Burnley BB12 8LA
Free event


If you would like any further information or to book the band for your event please contact us.

We are looking to fill the last empty seat in the band.
All players are welcome, but we have permanent positions available for the following:

BBb Bass


Please contact Chairman John-Paul Wiseman on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further information.

Rehearsals are every Tuesday and Thursday 8-10pm.

Besses Triumphal with the RLPO

A resurgent Besses has now played to three delighted and packed houses in one week whilst supporting the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (‘RLPO’). Earlier this week, the RLPO – just back from another triumphant visit to Bucharest – swept into the Royal Albert Hall with Besses for a sold-out Classic FM concert drenched in razzamatazz, cannons and fireworks. The Royal Albert Hall concert was recorded for broadcast on the radio on Friday 25 September.

Much of the same programme was then performed in two further sell-out concerts at the RLPO’s Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool in a celebratory atmosphere as the orchestra’s opener for this season.

The RLPO party programme included the world premiere of screen composer Nigel Hess’ specially-commissioned Celebration Overture, written for the orchestra’s 175th anniversary this year. Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto was played in gorgeous style by the orchestra, and with a lovely lightness by rising star, 25-year-old, Chinese pianist Ji Liu.

The other guests at the Phil, returning after Tuesday’s performance in London, were Besses o’ th’ Barn Band, whose current musical director is RLPO principal trombone Simon Cowen.  They added a splash of red-lapelled colour to the platform, and boosted the concert’s brass complement to something like an ear-busting 34.

This was particularly effective in the closing pairing of the Triumphal March from Aida, and Tchaikovsky’s evergreen crowd-pleaser the 1812 Overture which, with the strings going hell for leather, percussion in full flight and a deafening wall of brass, might just have been heard in Moscow Drive, if not in Moscow itself.  Stirring, nay explosive stuff.

Musical director Simon Cowen commented:

“The concerts were huge fun, and absolutely loved by the audiences.  For the band, the experience of the last week has created a buzz around the bandroom which will last for quite some time.”Besses RAH RLPO photo ianwestPA 2


Classic FM recording of RLPO Concert at Albert Hall





Besses o' th' Barn Champion Brass 1975/76 

Joseph BirkettCompany Sergeant Major Joseph Birkett DCM
240883   2/5th East Lancashire Regiment
Lived at 49 Marlborough Street, Burnley

The Burnley Express of 16 August 1919 reported:

The Distinguished Conduct Medal was presented on Saturday last, at Fulwood Barracks, Preston, to ex- Company Sergeant-Major J. Birkett, 1/5th East Lancashire Regiment (Burnley Territorials). Ex-C.S.M., Birkett, who is now demobilized, and resides at 49, Marlborough Street, Burnley, enlisted on October 9th, 1914, in the 2/5th East Lancs. He first got the information of his honour through the columns of the "Burnley Express," on June 4th, 1919, when we published the honours and awards list from the London Gazette, dated June 3rd, 1919. The Depot Colonel at Preston presented him with the medal as stated, the following regiments being represented on the parade, about one company in strength; East Lancashire Regiment, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, one battery R.F.A., and a small detachment of A.S.C.

Read more: Besses Band’s own WW1 Hero

Besses may have been a string Band in the late 1700’s

Besses are recorded as Cleggs Reed Band in 1818 during reign of George 3rd

First recorded Contest wins

1821 – George 4th Coronation playing God Save the King

1837 – Queen Victoria Coronation playing Hail Smiling Morn

1853 – Became a Brass band

  • 1892 – Holders of all three British Open Cups
  • 1892 – British Open 1
  • 1894 – British Open 2
  • 1903 – British National Champions
  • 1920 – British Open 3
  • 1931 – British Open 4
  • 1937 – British Open 5
  • 1959 – British Open 6
  • 1982 – British Open 7
  • 1906 – First World Tour
  • 1909 – 2nd World Tour
  • 1912 – Canadian Tour
  • 1943 – Formed Besses Boys

The band has a rich and illustrious history, having been the British Open Champions on seven different occasions.

The band also completed two World Tours in the early 20th Century, incredible by today’s standards, extraordinary at the time!

In 2018 Besses will celebrate 200 years of existence, with many events and concerts planned in the years leading up to this historic milestone

The band rehearses on Tues & Thurs nights in our historic bandroom in Whitefield, near Manchester, from 8-10pm.

Please visit our website, <> , for further information on the band, current vacancies, or to read our wonderful history section.

Besses Recordings

  1. 1.LP’s
    1. Variety In Brass
    2. Your Favourite Hymns
    3. Alex Owen 60th Anniversary
    4. Music from Vale Royal
    5. Well done Lads
    6. Pride of the North
    7. Besses in Australia
    8. Viva Vivaldi
    9. Showcase for Brass
    10. Heritage of the March - Volume LLL
    11. Heritage of the March – Volume IIII
    12. 20th Century Soloists
    13. Hymns and Things


2. 78’s

    1. Nearer My God to Thee / Fierce Raged The Tempest
    2. Jerusalem the Golden / Jesus Christ Has Risen Today
    3. Rock of Ages / Sovereignty
    4. The Church’s One Foundation / Lead Kindly Light
    5. Deep Harmony / Lascelles
    6. Bradford / Rimmington
    7. I passed By Your Window / Besses o’ the Barn Duet
    8. The Victors Return / Land of the Kangaroo
    9. Barcarolle from Tales of Hoffmann / Pilgrims Chorus from Tanhouser
    10. Distant Greeting / After Sunset (Intermezzo)
    11. Dot and Carrie Polka / Hailstorm
    12. Edwinstone / Harvey House
    13. With Sword and lance
    14. The Conqueror
    15. Solferino3.Digital

  1. Digital
    1. Capriccio Brilliant                             Frank Bryce           1973
    2. b.         Hymns and Things                           Roy Newsome        1982

      c.         Concertos for Brass                       Roy Newsome         1982

      d.         Heritage of the March V3                       Roy Newsome 1983

      e.         Showcase for Brass                       Roy Newsome        1983

      f.          British Bandsman                           Roy Newsome        1987       (Brilliante and Moto Perpetuo with Robert and Nicholas Childs on Euphoniums)

  2. 4.Brass Band
  3. 5.Other  
    1. There are many tapes of Besses radio and TV performances from the 1960’s/70’s
    2. There is a DVD somewhere of the BBC Listen to the Band performance that includes the Horra Stacatto rendition by Brian Mather
    3. Edward Gregson has a VHS recording of the BBC Andre Previn Documentary featuring Besses back in the 1970’s





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