In 1816 Peter Wharton founded a brass and reed band in the Yorkshire village of Queenshead – later to become Queensbury. John Foster, apart from being the founder of Black Dyke Mills, played French Horn in this band. It has been said on many occasions that Black Dyke was formed from it; however, this is not strictly true, as “Peter Wharton’s band went out of existence through loss of members”. In 1833 a new band was formed named ‘Queenshead Band’, which may well have contained players from the former band. It is reported that this Band reached its zenith from 1838 to 1843, at which time it consisted of 18 musicians”.
Black Dyke Band is the most recorded band in the world with over 350 recordings and growing every year. It is also the most successful contesting band in the world having won the European Championships thirteen times, most recently in 2015, the British Open no fewer than 30 times (most recently 2014) and the National Championships of Great Britain 23 times (most recently 2014). In 2009, and again in 2011, 2012 and 2013, the band became Champion Band at the English National Championships and were named English National Champions in 2014 by virtue of having won the National Brass Band Championships in October 2014. In recent years, the band secured an unprecedented hat trick of wins at the Yorkshire regional championships in 2016, 17 and 18, which they followed up with another win in 2020.
Cory Band, from the beautiful Rhondda Valley in South Wales, is the most successful contesting brass band of the 21st Century. Ranked Number One in the World for the last 13 consecutive years, in 2019 Cory won another Grand Slam, simultaneously holding all the major titles (for the second time in four years).
Formed in 1884, it originally bore the name Ton Temperance. In 1895 Sir Clifford Cory, the local colliery owner, heard the band and offered to provide financial assistance, resulting in the band's change of name to Cory.
In 1980 the band became European Champion for the first time and in 1984 it won the third in a hat-trick of UK National titles conducted by the charismatic Major Arthur Kenney. In 2000, conducted by Dr Robert Childs, the band achieved an historic double by winning both the Nationals and, for the first time in its history, the British Open.
Since 2012 the band has been conducted by Philip Harper, winning another three European titles (2013, 2016, 2019), four Nationals (2013, 2015 and 2016, 2019), three British Opens (2016, 2018, 2019) and six Brass in Concert titles (2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019).
In recent times it toured Australia in 2013 and the USA in 2016 and 2019. Cory was to become the first brass band to tour South Korea in 2020, now postponed by the pandemic.
During the Covid lockdown Cory Band has led the world of brass bands appearing on the BBC and ITV news, holding two online international brass band competitions and reaching over 5 million viewers with its distanced videos.