The spectacle that is Brass in Concert

By Stephen Tighe from the Sage in Gateshead, featuring the fabulous Eikanger Bjiorsvik Band.

Every third weekend in November, Sage Gateshead hosts the spectacle that is Brass in Concert (BiC). At this time of year the venue comes alive with the sound of brass. Some of the finest bands in the world compete in this brass entertainment contest.

Allegro Optical Opticians at Brass in Concert in Gateshead

The line-up for the 41st Brass in Concert included some very familiar bands such as Flowers who started the proceedings. Cory, our local Brighouse and Rastrick, Tredegar and our old friends from Leyland all took part. The contest also saw performances from Eikanger-Bjørsvik Musikklag fifteen times winner of the Norwegian National brass band championships. Fountain City from the United States, winner of the 2015 North American Brass Band Championships and 2015 US Open Brass Band Champions. Also playing was Paris Brass band the 2015 French national brass band champions.

Well, what a weekend it was. The triumphant Norwegians won yet another major prize. Eikanger Bjiorsvik Band is now Brass in Concert champions for 2017. I confess that they have been my favourite brass band for many years. Innovative, experimental and just fantastic musicians. They stormed the event, made history and created many happy memories for themselves and their supporters. This makes them Norwegian National Champions, Siddis Champions, European Champions and BiC Champions in 2017.

Allegro Optical Opticians at the Sage in Gateshead Brass in Concert

Allegro Optical goes on tour

Allegro Optical took the opportunity of introducing our products and services in person for the first time in the form of a trade stand to the hundreds of bandsmen and women attending. It was a first for us, having invested in displays and printed material to help tell our story.

We met lots of really interesting people, caught up with old friends, and made new ones. It also confirmed that our unique service is in demand and needed desperately by older presbyopic musicians who are juggling 2 or 3 pairs of glasses unnecessarily to help them operate effectively when playing and performing at all different levels.

Music for all ages

We witnessed an excellent performance by Wardle Youth Band on the concourse on Saturday.

Many musicians, irrespective of discipline are quietly aware of the problems caused by presbyopia, a condition which affects a performer’s ability to focus at different working distances. Symptoms are problems with focusing caused by a reduction in the flexibility of the eye’s crystalline lens and ciliary muscle.

Often musicians experiencing these problems go to their opticians, looking for a solution. Many opticians have the solution to non-specialist problems but are unaware of how to use their knowledge to fix the problem for musicians and simply do not fully understand the problem. At Allegro Optical we are opticians who are also music performers, we play many different instruments in different ensembles, so we understand the many optical challenges musicians face and we specialise in solving those problems.

Allegro Optical at the Brass in Concert workshop at the Sage in Gateshead

We have developed a range of unique lenses and an algorithmic formula to solve these optical problems. We have the Product, knowledge, skill and ability to improve the mature musician’s lot.

We’ve had a great weekend enjoying some fabulous music, catching up with old friends, meeting new ones and witnessing history in the making as Eikanger-Bjørsvik scooped the first prize, becoming the first International band to win the contest.

Adrian Bird Trombone Leyland band

We are looking forward to attending the area contests in Huddersfield and Blackpool next year. We continue to help musicians throughout the year, so if you need help, don’t worry, just ring 01484 90 70 90 and speak to one of our professional team. 


Looking back at Allegro’s Armed Forces Family

Our forces family by Abigayle Doe

At Allegro Optical opticians in Meltham, we always offer a 25% discount to all armed forces and blue light personnel. However, during the month of November, we are also donating £5.00 from every spectacle sale to the Royal British Legion. Allegro Optical Opticians is a family run business based in Meltham, near Huddersfield and Holmfirth. Our family has a strong military and blue light tradition with at least four generations serving in the forces.

This strong connection allows us to acknowledge and understand the sacrifices made by past and present serving personnel. We feel that those who give so much to protect so many deserve recognition.

Allegro Optical Opticians Meltham 25% off military and blue light personnel

Not just November

While November is a traditional time to remember them and honour those who have fallen. We feel that their sacrifices and service deserves recognition throughout the year. For this reason, we always offer this discount to all armed forces and blue light personnel.

Stephen Tighe Managing Director Allegro Optical Opticians Meltham

Our Managing Director Stephen Tighe served in the 5th Royal Inniskillen Dragoon Guards as a military bandsman and medic. One of the youngest members of our family, my little brother is currently serving in the armed forces as a Royal Engineer, my brother Zac, who is our Lab Manager served in Iraq and my Uncle is a Police Officer. The dedication and commitment of service families are always very much in our minds.

A very military family

While writing this article I looked back at the previous generations of our family and found myself reflecting on my Grandparents and Great-Grandparents service. Both my Grandpa and my Grandfather served in the Army, with my Grandfather serving all over the world as a Warrant Officer in the REME.

The Allegro Family and their military history

My Great-Grandfather and Grandmother served in the Royal Navy and had many a tale to tell. Stephen’s father served in the Gordon Highlanders and his Grandfather was an Irish Guardsman.


My uncle Leonard Pearn is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial Roll of Honour for World War One. Uncle Leonard joined the Royal Navy and served aboard H.M.S. Monmouth. He died on 1st November 1914, one of 738 known casualties from the Battle of Coronel. His age at his death was recorded as just 19, although he lied about his date of birth and was actually only 17 years of age when he passed.

Abigayle Seacadets parade Allegro Optical Opticians Meltham

Having grown up surrounded by all that is military, I did consider at one time joining the Royal Navy myself and have many happy memories of my time spent in my youth as a Sea-Cadet. The remembrance day celebrations have always been important to us all, with Stephen, Sheryl and I all taking part in the parades. However, I chose a career in Optics, but that doesn’t mean I turned my back on the forces.  That would be impossible when I am surrounded by friends and family who serve or have served nearly every day.

Stephen Tighe Managing Director Allegro Optical Opticians Meltham

Military bands

Stephen still has lots of old army friends who are musicians, many of them have vision-related issues and have struggled to find spectacle lenses to fit their needs. At Allegro Optical opticians we also specialise in helping musicians, be they professional, amateur or military musicians, who face challenges seeing their music. Due to our specialism, we are ideally placed to assist, musicians and bandsman, but we also help non-musical clients. We have an understanding of the physical aspects of the roles performed by all armed forces and blue light personnel, so are able to correct their vision issues with ease.

Allegro Optical helps service families old and new

So if you are having problems with your vision, or if you are a member of the armed forces and blue light personnel and you are looking for an optician who understands your needs give us a call in Greenfield on 01457 353100 or in Meltham on 01484 907090. Your purchase not only saves you money it will help a very good cause and add to the hopefully sizable donation we will make to The Royal British Legion.

Allegro optical, 1-3 Station street, Meltham, Holmfirth, HD9 5NX

Allegro Optical, Unit 1 The Greenfield Centre, Wellington Road, Greenfield, OL3 7AJ