The Conqueror

The Conqueror was written for the Alexander Brass Band from Stavanger, Norway, who wanted a new march to play when they took part in the famous  Whit Friday March Contest, held in Oldham and Saddleworth in the north west of England. The contest takes place annually in a series of Penine villages on the Friday evening before Whit Sunday and the event attracts thousands of visitors and the some of the best bands in the UK.

Bands travel from village to village playing first a street march, while parading to the contest venue, (usually outside the local pub!) and then play their ‘contest’ march to a hidden adjudicator. The aim is to visit as many villages as possible in the time allowed.

Philip Sparke has largely stuck to traditional contest march form with The Conqueror, which is named as a tribute to Alexander the Great (even though the Alexander Brass Band was actually named after its local pub!).

Sparke’s association with many of the players in the band goes back to 1982, when he first visited Norway, and he conducted the band to victory in the Norwegian Brass Band Championships in 2002.