Navigation Inn

Amongst the most popular events in the British brass band calendar are the Whit Friday Marches. On a Friday evening, usually in May or June, the country’s finest bands meet in the picturesque villages around Saddleworth Moor to compete in these hard-fought out-door march competitions. The events abound with tradition and the most famous of band marches can be heard late into the evening as bands try to visit as many villages as possible.

Ian Gibson owns the Navigation Inn, a pub which is a popular meeting place for bandsmen and which celebrates his love of brass bands with mementos and historic photographs around the walls. Every year he gets together a band of the finest brass band players in the country to form Navigation Brass, specifically to enter the Whit Friday Competitions. He commissioned this march for the purpose, expecting it to show the skills of his hand-picked players to the full.

In traditional contest march style, Navigation Inn opens with a flourish which moves chromatically away from the home key of G minor until it is suddenly jerked back when the main theme appears. All the ingredients are there - a bridge passage, a return of the main theme and a ‘bass’ strain before the trio section changes the mood to one of optimism which ends the march on a high note.