Sunday Brass Goes To The Movies: Boarshurst Silver Band’s Blockbuster

Music from Stage and Screen concert the hottest ticket in Saddleworth

Forget the dismal Grease special shown the previous night to the concert. The Boarshurst faithful spent a summer night at the most august of institutions (where else but the Boarshurst Band Club?). The cause? Boarshurst Silver Band’s trip to Cheltenham for the National Finals on the second Saturday in September. A worthy one indeed.

In a break with the traditional concert programme, Musical Director James Garlick turned to Hollywood (or Hollinwood?) for inspiration. As well as the brass banding talents, the singing talent of Flugelhorn player Georgina Hulme, and the I.T. skills of Principal Eb Bass player made Sunday’s gig a mission most possible.

Another difference to usual practice was the use of film clips, spliced together by Liam. From the 1970s onwards, it was de rigeur for popular rock groups (like Pink Floyd, Genesis, Supertramp and The Human League) to have an attendant slide shows at their concerts. The clips were carefully chosen to synchronise with the fourteen pieces (including the encore) played that night.

By 7.40 pm the “House Full” signs were in place. With the screen being placed opposite to the stage, Boarshurst Silver Band sat in front of the screen. The ‘pit’ was placed between the back door and the kitchen door. The band club was at its fullest for late July with the turnout akin to the Christmas concerts. Come 7.59 pm, Boarshurst Silver Band opened with the ident music for 20th Century Fox.

First Half

  1. Medley: 007 (John Barry/Paul McCartney/Monty Norman, arr. Ryser);
  2. Theme Music: Hymn to the Fallen (from Saving Private Ryan) (John Williams, arr. Alan Fernie);
  3. Theme Music: Jurassic Park (from the Jurassic Park series of films) (John Williams, arr. Alan Catherall);
  4. Solo (sung by Georgina Hulme): I Have Nothing (from The Bodyguard) (David Foster/Linda Thompson, arr. P. Harper);
  5. Theme Music: He’s a Pirate (from Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl) (Klaus Badelt/Hans Zimmer, arr. David E. Jones);
  6. Theme Music: Stingray (from Stingray) (Barry Gray, arr. Alfie Pugh);

Second Half

  1. Theme Music: Sparkling Diamonds (from Moulin Rouge) (Julie Styne/Leo Robin, arr. Sandy Smith);
  2. Horn Showcase: (Somewhere) Over The Rainbow (Harold Arlen, arr. Goff Richards);
  3. Theme Music: A Disney Fantasy (Arthur Freed/Nacio Herb Brown, arr. Alan Fernie);
  4. Theme Music: Schindler’s List (John Williams, arr. Sandy Smith);
  5. Solo (sung by Georgina Hulme): Happy (from Despicable Me) (Pharrell Williams, arr. Frank Bernaerts);
  6. Song: Danny Boy (Traditional, arr. Alan Fernie);
  7. Theme Music: Mission: Impossible (Lalo Schifrin, arr. Alan Fernie).

Encore

  • Theme Music: Main Theme from Star Wars: A New Hope (John Williams, arr. Goff Richards).

With barely enough time to get any popcorn (well, Tesco had been closed for four hours by then), Boarshurst Silver Band were neither shaken nor stirred for their first piece. Ryser’s 007 (no prizes for guessing which film franchise this came from), neatly sliced and diced a selection of James Bond themes. This including the familiar theme used in Dr. No, Paul McCartney’s theme for Live and Let Die, and Diamonds Are Forever.

After the only movie medley of the night, we changed the mood with the first of four pieces by John Williams. If you know your brass bands, John Williams’ work transfers beautifully to brass banding. Hymn to the Fallen is no exception. In this season’s round of Sunday Brass concerts, this was previously played by Belle Vue Band. Boarshurst Silver’s treatment was enhanced by the clips.

Our second John Williams piece came from Steven Spielberg’s successful Jurassic Park franchise. There was clips from all four films in the series based on the Michael Crichton novel. You could have been forgiven for wondering if a mosasaurus was seen in Chew Brook (we’d know otherwise, it would have swallowed the 350 bus).

The fourth piece was a showcase for Boarshurst Silver Band’s resident chanteuse Georgina Hulme. Ms. Hulme is an accomplished singer as well as Boarshurst Silver Band’s Flugelhorn player. From the highly successful 1992 film, The Bodyguard, was the Whitney Houston song I Have Nothing. Often overshadowed by the late singer’s cover of Dolly Parton’s I Will Always Love You, it peaked at Number Three in the UK singles chart. Georgina’s voice was at her most powerful and did Ms. Houston’s version very proud.

For our fifth piece we moved from one of the 1990s’ most successful films to a successful noughties franchise. This time with the strident theme music to Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Peril. Its most famous signature tune was Klaus Badelt’s He’s A Pirate. One could have almost felt the waves blowing into one’s face.

For the end of the first half came the realisation that “anything could happen in the next half hour”. Which in Boarshurst’s case was the last piece, and an early raffle draw (plus interval drinkies of course). To close the first half was Barry Gray’s Stingray, the stirring opening theme music to the Sylvia and Gerry Anderson series which predated Thunderbirds.

After a fireball of a first half came Sparkling Diamonds, from the Baz Luhrmann version of Moulin Rouge (starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor). In the 2001 film (best known for its cover version of Lady Marmalade) it is performed by Satine and the Moulin Rouge Dancers. It was well received, but the horn showcase of (Somewhere) Over The Rainbow may have appeased the older audience members better.

Harold Arlen’s song, possibly The Wizard of Oz’s most famous number, was beautifully performed. Furthermore, it had previously been performed by Boarshurst Silver at the Road End Fair concert on Maundy Thursday, and by Nicola Rathburn for Marple Band in January this year.

With another air of familiarity was Alan Fernie’s arrangement of Singin’ In The Rain. During the concert, the only rain seen within a 500 yard radius of Boarshurst Band Club was on the big screen. Coupled with the band’s performance, brilliant.

The fourth piece of the second half was our third John Williams piece. This time with the most sombre piece of night, the theme from Schindler’s List. Tonight’s third link with Steven Spielberg was played with clarity and sensitivity. The 1993 film saw Steven Spielberg in an emotional state, with his rabbi and teacher describing as “Steven’s gift to his mother, to his people, and in a sense to himself.”

Offering a real contrast to the previous piece was the return of Georgina Hulme to the microphone. This time with Pharrell Williams’ Happy. Till yesterday, your reviewer didn’t know it was used in Despicable Me, Walt Disney’s smash featuring the Minions. Ms. Hulme performance was another cracker. Not only well performed by the band, but also a good encore piece. (Yours truly has seen Eccles Borough band close with Happy at Eccles Town Hall last November).

For our sixth piece in the second half came the second Ewan McGregor connection of the night. No prizes for guessing which one this time (it is not his version of Pride (In the Name of Love)): Danny Boy from Brassed Off. The dimly lit setting of the band club was also good for emulating the scene where Grimley Colliery Band play outside the hospital. Another treat for the eyes and the ears.

With the band firmly in cruise control, our penultimate piece summed up how Sunday’s concert would have been without the support of its members: Mission: Impossible. Another successful franchise, the Mission: Impossible series of films were based on the original TV series starring Peter Graves. With Tom Cruise assuming the main role as Ethan Hunt, there has been five films in the series.

The original theme was written by Lalo Schifrin, whose other credits include the theme from Jaws. Boarshurst Silver Band, without a doubt, played Alan Fernie’s arrangement with great vigour and volume, leading to rapturous applause.

Where did Boarshurst Silver Band go from there? For the encore piece, our fourth and final number by John Williams. The piece was Goff Richards’ arrangement of the Main Theme from Star Wars: A New Hope. Complete with the cantina. The force was well and truly with us by 9.44 pm.

We hope the force is with them on the 10 September when they go to Cheltenham for the National Finals. From what we heard, a resounding “yes”. It was an enjoyable romp from start to finish with the experimental nature of the concert winning many friends. There is scope for similar concerts, albeit in an occasional fundraising sense with different themes (or a different set of film music) for subsequent concerts.

Next up…

A well deserved summer break looms for Boarshurst Silver Band, but it will be a short one as rehearsals for the National Finals loom large. Therefore, the next concert at Boarshurst Band Club will be on the 04 September where Besses O’Th’Barn Band are the visitors. In the words of the last piece of the first half, “stand by for action”, as September will be pretty exciting.

The very best of luck to James Garlick and everyone connected with Boarshurst Silver Band for the National Finals in Cheltenham.

S.V., 25 July 2016.

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