Altrincham school wins national swing band award for third time

By David Prior at

Ahe swing band at Altrincham Grammar School for Boys has taken the top national award at the UK’s largest big band festival.

The only Greater Manchester school to reach the finals of the National Concert Band Festival, the 22-strong band of boys aged between 12 and 18 scooped the top Platinum award for its “outstanding” performance, beating a dozen big bands from across the UK in the final.

It’s the third time the school has won the title.

Colin Myers, head of music at the school, said: “I’m extremely proud of the boys becoming national champions and they should be delighted with their achievement: it’s hugely deserved.

Alty Grammar’s swing band with music head Colin Myers at the front

“We won the top UK band title in 2011 and 2015 but to have a hat-rick of national honours is an incredible result.”

The band’s repertoire – from Count Basie classics to Wonderwall by Oasis – was described by national adjudicators as “first class”, with tenor saxophonist James Cottrell’s vocal solo on Wonderwall receiving special praise.

Year 13 James said: “This was my final performance after five years with the band. It’s been unforgettable, a real pleasure to be with such a great group of lads and music teachers who constantly encourage and inspire. And it’s wonderful to leave on such a high note.”

Pictured top, from left: Ben Cottrell, Dylan Morris, Milo MacDonald and James Cottrell