Following last years successful collaboration between the East Yorkshire Motor Services Brass Band and the Northern Friends Schools, at Wakefield Cathedral, when the Band joined the choirs in a performance of Vivaldi's 'Gloria', the Band was again invited by the Ackworth School Director of Music, Rhiannon Davies, to take part in this year's Choral Festival. Last year's concert featured the three Northern Friends of Ackworth, Bootham and The Mount. This year was the National Friends Festival, so as well as students from the three Northern Schools, students from Saffron Walden, Sidcot, Sibford, and Leighton Park Schools, all came together at Ackworth to prepare for a perfromance of Karl Jenkins Mass for Peace, 'The Armed Man'. The concert was held in the 250 year-old Meeting House at Ackworth, with the Choir and Band taking up the majority of the ground floor, leaving the upper tier for the audience. Whilst this wasn't the first performance of this work using a brass band instead of an orchestra, it was one of the first, and Andrew Wainwright's arrangement showed off the Band to its full effect. Unusually though, the Flugel Horn and Euphonium solos in the Benedictus, returned to the original instrumentation, with the Cello solo played by Beth Walters, and the Violin Solo (Stephen Flatman) sensitively accompanied by the Band. Rhiannon Davies once again took up the baton to direct the performance, whilst husband Jim (EYMS Musical Director) again dusted off his cornet, to play the Last Post at the end of The Charge. Completing the Davies family contribution to the performance was young Jack, singing the Boy Soprano part for The Kyrie. The whole performance featured a visual display of scenes to match the mood of the music, from World War 1 battle scenes, to a young ballet dancer, to the funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. Soloists featured from the Band, included a duet between Kirsty Fox (Repiano Cornet) and Steve Rudhall (Principal Cornet) in The Angry Flames, whilst guest Soprano Player for the day Claire Taylor (YBS) had the unenviable task of starting The Mass off with an unaccompained solo. The Band's percussion team of Shaun Davey, James Hendry, and Jonathon Chapman all featured heavily during the performance, with Jonathon also taking the Bass vocal solos throughout The Mass. In her programme notes Rhiannon wrote "...to present a work that not only had musical merit, but also conveyed values that carried contemporary relevance. Issues surrounding war and peace, though seemingly perpetual in nature, have been prominent in the thoughts and concerns for many of us lately. Rare is the day that our conscience is not tugged by news of turmoil, whether in our cities or elsewhere around the globe..." Certainly at the end of the performance, there was a noticeably emotional atmosphere, created in part by the music, but also by the multimedia display running throughout, and as Rhiannon had mentioned in her notes, by current world events. Jim Davies - apart from his own short playing contribution- had that rare opportunity to sit and listen to his own Band perform, and he was swift to pass on both his congratulations, and those received from members of the audience. From the Band's point of view, this was an exciting project to be involved in, as it gave the Band chance to perform a different style of music to normal, as well as reaching a different audience. One member of the audience, David King (A Viola player) contacted the Band to say, "I travelled from Oxfordshire to watch my daughter singing on Sunday and would like to congratulate you for the quality of performance from the Band. Having only heard this work played by an orchestra, I was expecting you to be too powerful for a school choir, but this was not the case. You might have easily drowned the choir, but instead the playing was sympathetic, with a lovely tone and depth. Many thanks." Whilst the Band now moves on to its next challenge of a very busy year, it hopes that this won't be the last link up with the choirs of The Friends Schools, and Ackworth School in particular.