The Road End Fair Concert, Boarshurst Band Club

Three Boarshurst bands and morris men kick off Easter celebrations

Saddleworth’s Easter celebrations began in style with the Road End Fair in Greenfield, West Riding of Yorkshire. The fair and the Road End market began outside the King William IV public house, having done so since 1215.

Part of the traditional Maundy Thursday celebrations include a special concert at Boarshurst Band Club, featuring the band and the Saddleworth Morris Men. All three constituents of the Boarshurst Silver Band featured: Training, Junior, and the main band conducted by James Garlick.

Boarshurst Training Band

The children’s band opened with a mini concert of four pieces. All of them were written by Jock McKenzie, a freelance trumpet player taught at the Royal Northern College of Music. The pieces were:

  1. Mini March;
  2. Chorale;
  3. Ground Bass;
  4. Pop Rock.

Boarshurst Junior Band

  1. March: The Happy Bandleader (Johny Ocean);
  2. Popular Music: Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White (Louiguy);
  3. Hymn: Gresford (Robert Saint);
  4. Cornet piece: Ground Pavan (Bruce Fraser).

Our second mini concert of the night was closer to a traditional concert programme, though in N Gauge form. We began with The Happy Bandleader, a terse yet rousing march piece by Johny Ocean.

The second piece was our first concession to popular music. This time with some excellent work on Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White. The tune was made famous by Perez Prado and Eddie Calvert. In 1982, it was covered by Modern Romance, the faux-Latin group who were previously the Leyton Buzzards.

Almost a week on from Belle Vue Brass Band’s performance, we saw the Junior Band perform the miners’ hymn, Gresford. This was their strongest performance of the four pieces. Their performance of Ground Pavan was measured, well played, and took us neatly towards the third part of our concert.

Both the Training and Junior Bands were conducted by Linda Finan, who took her position on the high bar chair.

Boarshurst Silver Band

  1. Overture: Festive Overture (Dmitri Shostakovich);
  2. Horn Solo (performed by Paula Ashworth): (Somewhere) Over The Rainbow (Harold Arlen);
  3. Film Medley: A Disney Fantasy (arranged by Goff Richards);
  4. Hymn: Eventide (Henry Francis Lyte);
  5. Hymn: Guardian of My Soul (Darren Shaw);
  6. Popular Music: MacArthur Park (Jimmy Webb).

With James Garlick as conductor, Boarshurst Silver Band have come up in leaps and bounds. During the concert, this was evident with the opening of Shostakovich’s Festive Overture. The performance of this piece, which the bigger Championship section bands would have eaten for breakfast, was on a par with Brighouse and Rastrick and Black Dyke levels of virtuosity.

Our second piece was a horn solo by Paula Ashworth. She played the popular song, (Somewhere) Over The Rainbow, with a sterling effort. So far in 2016, she is the second soloist to have played the piece made famous by Judy Garland at Boarshurst Band Club. (The other was Nicola Rathburn for Marple Band at the first Sunday Brass concert of this season).

The third piece was a nice treat for the youngsters, especially those who put on a good show for the Training and Junior Bands. This time, Goff Richards’ medley of Disney songs. Entitled A Disney Fantasy, it included The Bare Necessities, I Wanna Be Like You, and Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. The sound was which was far quite atrocious. In fact it was good enough to get three of the Training Band members up on their feet, dancing away. A superb piece.

Our fourth and fifth pieces were more quieter. The first of which was in memory of Alan Exley, who passed away on the same day as the concert. The late conductor, whose bands included Stalybridge Old, Yorkshire Imps and Ecclesfield Silver, was a profound influence on James Garlick. The fourth piece was Eventide by Henry Francis Lyte. A piece with many of us would know as Abide With Me, the English F.A. Cup Final hymn.

By the time we got to the fifth piece, there was one inalienable truth which applied to Thursday. That no concert is complete without a Goff Richards piece, or a Salvationist piece. With the latter category, Darren Shaw’s Guardian of My Soul was beautifully played. Expect to see that as a possible Boarshurst Silver Band concert piece alongside Festive Overture.

The final piece, prior to the Saddleworth Morris Men’s arrival was everyone’s favourite soggy sweet treat song – MacArthur Park. Written by Jimmy Webb, it was made famous by Richard Harris and Donna Summer. Boarshurst Silver Band’s treatment ended their part on a rousing note.

All in all, tangible signs that Boarshurst Silver Band are on the up. They are definitely the ones to watch.

Saddleworth Morris Men

The Saddleworth Morris Men began their festivities fifteen minutes after the Boarshurst Silver Band’s programme. Their traditional dancing dazzled the audience for the best part of twenty minutes. Though this closed a joyous Maundy Thursday at the Boarshurst Band Club, this was only the start of Easter’s festivities for the Morris Men. They continued on Good Friday, tramping around the Saddleworth villages and dancing at each one till midnight.

Maundy Thursday’s gig made for a good night, with good performances from all three parts of Boarshurst Silver Band, and the Saddleworth Morris Men.

But Wait… There’s More…!

Next at the Boarshurst Band Club, on Easter Sunday, is Middleton Band. As a little Brucie Bonus, we have the latest fixture list of future #SundayBrass concerts.

Boarshurst Band Club Sunday Brass concert season, April to December 2016.

S.V., 26 March 2016.

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