Steel Bands

The earliest steel band established in Huddersfield, known as Sunrise Melody, was made up of twelve young men originally from Grenada, who brought the tropical calypso melodies of the Caribbean Islands to the town in the mid 1950s. Many of the men worked at ICI (Imperial Chemical Industries) on Leeds Road where they obtained oil drums, which they adapted into finely tuned steel drums.

Location:

North Stars Steel Orchestra at Deighton High School

Huddersfield HD2 1JP, UK

Steel Bands

Sunrise Melody Steel Band at ICI on Leeds Road

Leeds Road, Huddersfield HD2 1YZ, UK

Steel Bands

Description:

The ensemble would regularly rehearse in the church hall at St. Thomas’s Church on Manchester Road before making their debut performance at the ICI club social evening followed by a public event at Huddersfield Town Hall in July 1957.

In 1975, North Stars Steel Orchestra formed and initially operated from Venn Street in the town centre and then located to Birkby Junior School before finally moving to the Deighton Centre.

‘We started off with six or seven players but the band grew and at one time we had over sixty players at big events,’ says Thomas Benjamin – North Stars Steel Orchestra.

North Stars Steel Orchestra took the country by storm and performed in front of thousands of people in the UK. The band was invited to play at Buckingham Palace for the Queen’s Jubilee Festival, the London Old Vic for the 100th birthday celebrations of the Labour Party, the Royal Festival Hall and Shakespeare’s Globe and appeared on BBC’s Blue Peter. They also performed overseas in France, Germany and Trinidad. It is without a doubt that North Stars has positively contributed to Huddersfield’s musical heritage.

‘If anybody new came to the town from a different land they found that if they talked about music, local Huddersfield people would be interested in them – they got a sympathetic reception – you can’t say that about everywhere,’ says Phil Wood – North Stars Steel Orchestra.

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