Les, Stephen, and a pretty good band too
In the last five years, we have been happy to see the return of Glossop Old Band to the contesting scene. What a return they have had as well; in their short time, they have climbed up to Section Two. Last night’s [15 May] concert was proof that Glossop Old Band could be on the way up. On the way back to being one of Derbyshire’s leading brass bands.
Like Boarshurst Silver Band, they have enjoyed success in the Regional Finals of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain. Representing the East Midlands, they too will be following Boarshurst to Cheltenham in the National Finals (17 – 18 September).
Glossop Old Band are one of the oldest brass bands in the world. They merged the Glossop Original and Whitfield Rifle Volunteers Bands in 1830. Their band room, on the corner of Derby Street, dates from 1884 – 96 years before Boarshurst Band Club’s present home opened.
Providing a well-rounded programme was Musical Director, Les Webb. He was assisted by Stephen Tighe. Les Webb hails from South London, and was brought up in Sussex. He has also studied at Manchester Metropolitan University and the Royal Northern College of Music. He has also conducted Eccles Borough Band, prior to Mareika Gray’s arrival. Originally, in 2014, Les was called in at short notice to stand in for their previous conductor, who took ill on the night of a concert.
Stephen Tighe, besides being the funny man to his straight man, Les Webb, also has a good C.V. As well as being an adjudicator in many a contest, he is the conductor for Wakefield Metropolitan Borough Council band. He has also arranged pieces and, as we found on Sunday, has a liking for the trombone.
- Contest March: O.R.B. (Charles Anderson);
- Classical Medley: New World Fantasy (arr. Gordon Langford):
- Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory;
- Swing Low, Sweet Chariot;
- Liberty Bell;
- Largo from The New World Symphony;
- The Halls of Montezuma;
- Oh When the Saints Go Marching In.
- Principal Cornet Solo (performed by Dave Richards): Georgia On My Mind (Hoagy Carmichael);
- Hymn: In Perfect Peace (Kenneth Downie);
- Musical: Singin’ In The Rain (arr. Alan Fernie);
- Flugelhorn Solo (performed by Rachel Ward): Faith (George Michael);
- Musical Medley: Aspects of Andrew Lloyd-Webber (Lloyd-Webber, arr. Peter Graham):
- Love Changes Everything (from Aspects of Love);
- Theme from The Phantom of the Opera (snatch);
- Variations on Paganini’s 24th Caprice;
- Think of Me (from The Phantom of the Opera);
- Hand Me the Wine and the Dice (from Aspects of Love);
- All I Ask of You (from The Phantom of the Opera).
- March: Kinder Scout (George Hess);
- Classical Piece: Pastorale (arr. Goff Richards);
- Cornet Showcase: Cornets A Go-Go (Derek Broadbent);
- Folk Music: Blow Away the Morning Dew (Stephen Bulla);
- Euphonium Solo (performed by Matthew Hill): Meditation from Thias (Jules Massenet, arr. Alan Fernie);
- Opera: Deep Inside the Sacred Temple (Bizet, arr. Keith Wilkinson):
- Musical Medley: West Side Story (Leonard Bernstein, arr. John Glenesk Mortimer):
- I Feel Pretty;
- March: Kalinka (Ivan Larionov, arr. Jan Sedlak).
With The Greatest Free Show on Earth less than a week away, Glossop Old Band began with their contest march, O.R.B. Written by Charles Anderson as the signature march for the Oldham Rifle Brigade brass band, this gave the Boarshurst faithful a taste of their Whit Friday piece. It was note perfect; with their performance, everything augurs well for this year’s campaign.
For the second piece was a medley arranged by Gordon Langford. Entitled A New World Fantasy, there was six much loved pieces including Largo, from A New World Symphony, and Oh When the Saints Go Marching In. Gordon Langford is also famed for his work with the BBC, and besides trombones, he has also arranged music for synthesizers.
Our third piece was the first solo piece of the night. This time, on Principal Cornet, Dave Richards. He made a fantastic job of the Hoagy Carmichael piece, Georgia On My Mind. The fourth piece had a more sombre note, after announcing the death of a young bandsman. Kenneth Downie’s In Perfect Piece was played gracefully and was generally well received.
For the second Sunday Brass concert in succession was Singin’ in the Rain. The fifth piece, arranged by Alan Fernie, saw Glossop Old Band put in a performance that Austonley Brass would have been proud of.
After asking the audience if anyone remembered what happened in 1987, came the sixth piece of the night. This time, we saw Georgios Panayiotou’s biggest hit of 1987 transferred to flugelhorn. Faith, the title track of George Michael’s album that year, was performed by Rachel Ward, and included the quasi-religious introduction which leads us to George Michael’s vocals.
For our last piece of the first half, we moved from George to Andrew. Not his shadow in Wham! (Andrew Ridgeley), but Andrew Lloyd-Webber (okay, it is Lord Lloyd-Webber these days – we must remember the appropriate titles). Aspects of Andrew Lloyd-Webber (arranged by Peter Graham) included three pieces from The Phantom of the Opera, two from Aspects of Love (hence the clever title), and a TV theme within the six-part medley.
The TV theme was that of London Weekend Television’s arts programme, The South Bank Show. One couldn’t help visualising either Martin Lambie-Nairn’s or Pat Gavin’s title animations when listening to the piece officially known as Variations on Paganini’s 24th Caprice. The programme hosted by Melvyn Bragg from 1978 to 2007 was a staple of many a Sunday night. Typically, it went out at the same time, when the last glasses were collected from another concert at the Boarshurst Band Club.
Sticking with television, the interval was punctuated with cheers from members of Boarshurst Silver Band. That of a brief TV appearance of the band on Coronation Street for the Queen’s 90th Birthday Special programme (hosted by Ant and Dec). In the clip, they were also joined by singer, Katherine Jenkins.
The second half began with an history lesson. This time, with the second march to have been specially written for a brass band. Entitled Kinder Scout, the rousing piece was written by George Hess for the Ferodo Motor Works Band in Chapel-en-le-Frith. Throughout the 1950s, money was lavished on the band, which saw them join the top section. By the end of the 1950s, the band had spent well beyond their means and folded.
After an early raffle draw, we continued with Pastorale, arranged by Goff Richards. This offered a beautiful contrast to the march, and would have felt just at home in Chapel-en-le-Frith. Especially on the train to Buxton, or via Chinley to Sheffield on the Hope Valley Line.
The third piece of the second half was Cornet a Go-Go which, as you expect, is a cornet feature piece. One written by the brass banding legend, Derek Broadbent. It was a lively piece which offered an enjoyable contrast from the previous piece, and the next one that would follow.
For the fourth piece of this half, came the folk piece, Blow Away the Morning Dew. It is also known as The Baffling Knight, with one recorded piece dating back from 1609. It is also Child Ballad 112 in The English and Scottish Popular Ballads book (published 1882) out of 305 ballads in the text.
The fifth piece was the operatic piece, Meditation from Thias, which also gave us the third and final soloist of the night. On the euphonium was Matthew Hill, who played the piece with great sensitivity.
Prior to the sixth piece was an appeal on behalf of Christie’s Hospital, whom Glossop Old Band have done some fundraising work. With three of the band members affected by cancer through the loss of their relatives, the audience were encouraged to help the world famous hospital. The collection box was placed by the exit door.
The penultimate piece of their programme was the classical number, Deep Inside the Sacred Temple. Composed by Bizet and arranged by Keith Wilkinson, it was a joyous number. This took us neatly to the second instance of Leonard Bernstein’s music in the last month. For our final piece (well, final piece before the encore), was a medley of songs from West Side Story.
The previous band to have done a West Side Story medley was Eccles Borough Band, just over a fortnight ago. Glossop Old Band’s arrangement was the one arranged by John Glenesk Mortimer, which opened with I Feel Pretty. (Eccles’ arrangement opened with Cha-Cha).
Come 10.20 pm, our fellows from Derbyshire finished with the excellent Kalinka, arranged by John Sedlak. By 10.25 came the end of a fantastic concert. As to whether they’ll be back at Boarshurst Band Club this year, their return visit will be on the 16 October, starting at 8pm as usual.
Next on the agenda for Glossop Old Band – along with the other 150 or so bands milling Saddleworth and Tameside – is Whit Friday. Which, in other words is described as The Greatest Free Show on Earth (as my recollection of that year’s contest at the Stalybridge Labour Club (which, in the years I have followed the Whit Friday contests, is a regular haunt for Glossop Old Band).
Brass banding of a Cestrian nature awaits the Boarshurst faithful on Trinity Sunday [22 May]. This time, in the form of City of Chester Brass Band. Like Glossop, another long-established brass band. Whereas Glossop Old Band was the product of a merger, City of Chester band benefited from a cash injection from The Ladies of Chester over 160 years ago.
As part of the Blue Coat School Foundation, the Blue Coat Band was formed in 1853. In recent times, they dropped The Blue Coat Band name in favour of their present one. At present, they have two bands with the main one placed in the Second section. The training band was formed in 2000, after the award of a National Lottery grant.
- 180: Greenfield [Clarence Hotel] – Lees – Oldham – Hollinwood – Manchester [Oldham Street];
- 350: Ashton-under-Lyne – Mossley – Greenfield – Uppermill – Dobcross – Delph – Waterhead – Oldham.
Alight at Greenfield Conservative Club. Both services operated by First Greater Manchester.
Twitter details: @boarshurstband; #SundayBrass.
Addendum: The Christie Charitable Fund
To find out more about the Christie Charitable Fund, why not visit their website? Donations can be made in the form of single or monthly gifts, payroll giving, or by playing The Christie Lottery. It is a cause well worth helping.
S.V., 16 May 2016.