Sale Brass: Sunday Brass at the Boarshurst Band Club

Award winning fourth section band’s first Boarshurst concert of 2016

Just before the run-up to Christmas, Sale Brass gave the Boarshurst faithful a most entertaining concert. Shortly before the interval, among its most memorable pieces was The Children of Sanchez by Chuck Mangione (1979). Making the night just as special was the affable Alan Seymour.

For their first Boarshurst concert of 2016, it was another good night. Mr. Seymour opted for a light-hearted second half with a traditional programme in the first half. In part, this was influenced by his North Eastern upbringing.

Also taking pride of place was the Best Fourth Section Band trophy from the Butlins Mineworkers’ Contest last month. They successfully defended their Fourth Section title at Skegness with The Seafarers as the test piece.

The Programme

First Half

  1. Contest March: The Ballerina (Erwin Bootz);
  2. Overture: Lustspiel Ouvertüre (Béla Keler);
  3. Euphonium Duo (performed by Tom Chandler and Neil Venables): Duo for Euphoniums (T.J Powell);
  4. TV Theme (from the BBC television series Who Pays the Ferryman?): Who Pays the Ferryman? (Yannis Markopoulos);
  5. Soft Rock piece: Carillon (Robert Ian Gomm/Herbie Flowers);
  6. Test Piece: The Journal of Phileas Fogg (Peter Graham).

Second Half

  1. Latin Music: El Comanchero (Rafael Hernandez);
  2. Medley: Jolson Memories (various pieces, Al Jolson);
  3. Flugelhorn Solo (performed by Daisy O’Dell): I Don’t Know How to Love Him (from Jesus Christ Superstar, Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd-Webber);
  4. Film Music (from Singin’ in the Rain): Singin’ in the Rain (Arthur Freed, arr. Alan Fernie);
  5. Song: The Lost Chord (Arthur Sullivan);
  6. Jazz Music piece: Cute (Neal Hefti);
  7. Popular Music mash-up: Rock Around the Croc (Max C. Freedman/James E. Myers, arr. Goff Richards);

Encore

  • Popular music: One Voice (Barry Manilow).

We began with a traditional street march, The Ballerina. This is Sale Brass’ street march of choice composed by Erwin Bootz. It is also a popular piece at the Durham Miners’ Gala with the colliery bands. Alan testified this citing his experience with Murton Colliery Band.

If you love your brass bands (having an interest in labour history is also a bonus), the Durham Miners’ Gala is unmissable. This year’s ‘Big Meet’ takes place on the 09 July 2016. Alan was also proud to announce Sale Brass’ participation in this year’s event.

Our second piece was the Béla Keler overture Lustspiel Ouvertüre. This was a serene piece offering some contrast to Bootz’ street march. The third item on the programme saw a euphonium solo. Billed as a real find in the band room library (with yellowing manuscripts) was T.J. Powell’s Duo for Euphoniums. Better known for the Castell Coch and Castell Caerphilly contest marches, his underrated gem was brought to life by Tom Chandler and Neil Venables.

The fourth piece took us to Greece and marked our first television theme of the night. This time, Yannis Markopoulos’ Who Pays the Ferryman? The eponymous theme tune was used in the BBC mini series starring Jack Hedley. The original theme music peaked at Number 11 in the UK singles chart and spawned an official soundtrack album. In this lively number, we saw Alan tapping his feet away!

The fifth piece was Carillon. We saw a change of mood to one of solitude. Remaining in the late 1970s, this is the second track on Sky‘s self-titled début LP from 1979. Originally co-written by Robert Ian Gomm and Herbie Flowers, its transfer from acoustic guitar to brass band was seamless and worked a treat.

We ended the first half with a test piece. In fact, a sneak preview of the Fourth Section Test Piece for the North West Championship Contest at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool. The piece being The Journal of Phileas Fogg. A world away from populist perceptions of test pieces, an 80 day voyage is condensed to less than a quarter of an hour. The piece is lively and oozes melodic variety.

Peter Graham’s test piece was a good workout for Sale Brass with a tight performance bringing the first half to a close. The second half saw a lighter programme and more dancing from Alan Seymour. Sale Brass kicked off the second half with Rafael Hernandez’s El Comanchero, a traditional Latin swing piece and a toe-tapper at that.

The second piece of the second half saw the first medley of the night. Jolson Memories offered an uplifting medley of Al Jolson songs. Audience participation was optional, though a few members took up Mr. Seymour’s offer to sing Mammy and the like.

Continuing the more light-hearted half was our first solo piece. This time, Daisy O’Dell’s flugelhorn solo of I Don’t Know How to Love Him. Originally sung by Yvonne Elliman, the Rice/Lloyd-Webber composition from Jesus Christ Superstar was very well received. Most notably by her mother and father who travelled up to Boarshurst from North London.

After the raffle (where Daisy’s mother and father won one of the three prizes), another chance to dance for Alan, and a piece of film music. This time, Singin’ in the Rain, arranged by Alan Fernie. As well as the dancing, there was some great work from the percussion section.

The next piece was more melancholy, and one of the best received pieces of the night. Arthur Sullivan’s The Lost Chord was played with some frailty and sensitivity. All the more apparent after Alan gave the audience some background information on the piece. On the 29 April 1912, it was sung by Enrico Caruso at a benefit concert for families of victims of the Titanic disaster.

The next two pieces would see Sale Brass letting their hair down. Firstly with the Neal Hefti jazz standard Cute. This was followed by (in modern day parlance) a ‘mash-up’. A mash-up of Bill Haley and the Comets songs arranged by Goff Richards. Entitled Rock Around The Croc, it was a portmanteau of Rock Around the Clock and See You Later, Alligator.

The latter song had had been performed at last year’s Boarshurst concert. Our musical director deemed it as worthy of inclusion for this year’s soirée dans le club Boarshurst. With the aforementioned two songs, there was also a snatch of Shake, Rattle and Roll.

After complimenting the supportive audience, Sale Brass’ encore piece took us back to 1979. This time to the works of a certain Mr. Pincus (well, Barry Manilow to you). Covered by the late William Tarmey (who also joined Coronation Street in ’79), One Voice brought the concert to a joyous close.

It was an all round good performance, neatly punctuated by Alan’s interesting prose. In his words, ‘canny’. Next on the agenda for our Cestrian fellows – as with Boarshurst Silver Band – is the North West Regional Championships on the 28 February 2016. As stated before, the excellent Peter Graham work entitled The Journal of Phileas Fogg, will be the Fourth Section piece. Sale Brass’ adjudicators will be Steve Pritchard-Jones and Kevin Wadsworth.

As a consequence, there will be no concert on the 28 February. The whole shebang at Winter Gardens, Blackpool starts at 9.30am. Day tickets are priced £10.00 (or £7.00 for concessions) and are only available on the day. Programmes are £2.00.

Next Week…

Sunday Brass at the BBC will see a change to the usual programme. With the North West Regional Championships on the horizon, next Sunday [21 February 2016] will see a showcase of five bands at Boarshurst. Adjudicated by Duncan A. Beckley, each one will be playing their NWRC test pieces for their respective sections. Instead of the usual 8pm start time, this evening will have a 7.30pm start.

The bands are as follows (sections in brackets):

  1. Blackley Band (4): The Journal of Phileas Fogg (Peter Graham);
  2. Milnrow Band (Ch): Cambridge Variations (Philip Sparke);
  3. Eccles Borough Band (1): Essay (Edward Gregson);
  4. Delph Band (2): The Mermaid of Zennor (Philip Harper);
  5. Greenfield Band (3): A Cambrian Suite (Michael Ball).

Twitter details: @boarshurstband#SundayBrass.

Website: www.boarshurstband.co.uk.

S.V., 15 February 2016.

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