Mark Jackson, son of Consett Brass founder David Jackson, reflects on the band's 50th festive season and his founding father’s legacy. Darcie Rawlings reports.

The well-loved founder of Consett Brass, David Jackson, sadly passed away April 2021, leaving his son Mark to take the lead as Musical Director and Conductor.

“It’s been emotional for people," said Mark.

"My father ran the band for 48 years and he loved Christmas and really drove the band this time of year.

“I have big shoes to fill – people used to come to hear his jokes and stories as much as they were to hear the band - this is taking forward my father’s legacy at the time of year he loved the most.”

Mark has performed in the band since he was three-years-old and is determined to continue his father's legacy.

The Northern Echo: Consett Brass Final of Rehearsal 2022, at Consett Junior School

Consett Brass was created in 1973 and has become a huge part of the towns culture and heritage.

The musicians spend most of their time performing at community events and supporting the local community - and they have been spending the end of their 50th year extremely busy.

Kicking off the festive season on the November 29, the band received 18 bookings across the area covering churches, homes, and schools.

The those celebrating their first Christmases on new estates such as Fenwick Way and Templetown, in Consett, could always count on Consett Brass Band to perform.

Looking back at colder events Mark discussed last year’s Christmas performance at Rydal Mews, Consett, when temperatures dropped so low the trombone slides froze meaning the performance could only last 30 minutes. Which is why indoor events are Consett Brass’ new focus this season.

Mark said: “Consett Brass truly serves the community, this is what my father wanted the organisation to do.

"It's about young people, it’s about teaching them skills, its about encouraging teamwork and helping them to feel part of something – and that’s what we strive to do.

“We have great links to the community. My father would have been absolutely over the moon, we have a spectacular relationship with the Salvation Army and collaborate with the band, a lot of the players are in both bands.”

The Northern Echo: David Jackson, left, was well known in Consett as a teacher and a bandmaster

David Jackson was bandmaster for Consett Salvation Army Band, the oldest in the world, when he was only 21-years-old and taught children in the Consett area for more than 50 years.

Consett Youth Brass is based at Consett Junior School, and this year it saw 50 children tutored in brass instruments.

“Brass bands nationwide are struggling, but Consett Brass is actually growing and it’s the young people that we are feeding into that,” said Mark.

Mark recalls a conversation with his father before his passing, where they estimated there will have been about 3,000 performers involved in Consett Brass in the years since it began.

He said: “People love a brass band at Christmas, there’s something about the season, the carols and the Christmas songs that lend themselves so well to brass.

“It’s about sharing the love, the fellowship and the meaning of Christmas through music.”

Mark's fondest Christmas memory from his 32 years at Consett Brass is after the millennium when the band were given a lottery grant to buy new instruments.

Bass player Mark received a new instrument himself and recalls a frosty day carolling in Delves Lane where he slipped on black ice. He chuckled recalling his father’s response showing more concern for the instrument saying: “How’s the bass?”

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There is no doubt that Consett Brass will continue to bring joy to the region and create many more celebrated memories in the new year.

If you haven’t caught them already, Consett Brass will be performing across various locations in Consett until Sunday, December 24.

To find out more information visit Consett Brass Facebook Page.