Boarshurst Band Club’s role in boosting Anglo-Norwegian relations
Our fellows in Westminster could have learned a thing or three about Anglo-Norwegian relations from Boarshurst Band Club. Instead of trying to engineer a post-Brexit trade deal with another non-EU country, our fellows invited one of Norway’s finest youth bands to the Greenbridge Lane venue.
Thanks to the law of unintended consequences, the second of Boarshurst Band Club’s Sunday Lunchtime Brass concerts featured Føerre Musikkorps. Situated in a coastal village on the south western part of Norway, they were originally going to support the Stockport Schools band. As their concert fell through, they were at a loose end. Within a week, they traded in a setting dominated by a redbrick viaduct, in favour framed by the Pennine foothills.
The village has a population of 5,362, which is roughly the same population as Greenfield. It is also known as Førresfjorden and is situated at the northern end of its eponymous fjord. Like Saddleworth, it has its own museum, the Arquebus War Museum.
Having travelled over to Stockport as a supporting band, and Saddleworth, the concert programme reflected this, due to the short length. For those in attendance, it was a most enjoyable concert.
The band’s Musical Director is Svein Roger Koppang. He has also conducted Fitjar school band. Outside of brass banding, he likes jogging and he counts Miles Davis as one of his musical influences. Taking on the role of Master of Ceremonies – for the first of Sunday’s double header – was the writer of this piece.
- Original Piece: African Marketplace (Abdullah Ibrahim);
- Horn Solo: An Untold Story (Paul Lovatt-Cooper);
- Cornet Solo: Ved Nesland Kyrkje (At the Nesland Church) (Henrik Lyssand);
- Hymn: In Perfect Peace (Kenneth Downie).
- Original Piece: Round the Streets (Paul Lovatt-Cooper);
- Flugel Solo: Eyes of a Child (Margareta Jalkeus, arr. Espen Westby);
- Cornet Solo: Apex (Peter Meechan);
- Concert Piece: Showstopper (Simon Dobson).
An African marketplace in perfect peace
Our first piece was an atmospheric one. Abdullah Ibrahim’s African Marketplace, a jazz piece, converted well to brass band. Recorded in 1979 by Mr. Ibrahim (under the pseudonym of Dollar Brand), it features on his 1988 soundtrack album, Mindif. It was also used in the film version of Juliette Binoche’s Chocolat. The traffic noises made from the brass instruments were sensational. If any other brass banding people read this piece, I would heartily recommend this as a good opening piece, or the second piece after an opening march.
The first soloist, on horn, played our first of two pieces by Paul Lovatt-Cooper. This time, with a change of pace thanks to An Untold Story. It was written by Mr. Lovatt-Cooper in response to a request by Owen Farr. It is a popular piece with tenor horn soloists as well as whole bands.
Our second soloist, on cornet solo, played a traditional Norwegian piece. Entitled Ved Nesland Kyrkje (which translates into English as At The Nesland Church). This was another satisfying piece. A vibrant one. Its composer, Henrik Lyssand, has a fascinating biography. Before being a composer, he was a painter by trade (music was a spare time hobby of his). Whilst being involved in his home church, music became a professional interest.
The final piece of the first half was Kenneth Downie’s In Perfect Peace. The serene piece was beautifully played and took us to the interval.
Round the streets with a show stopper
The opening piece of the second half was as vibrant as the first half’s opener. This time, we returned to our friend, Paul Lovatt-Cooper. This time with Round The Streets. A fantastic bedfellow to African Marketplace.
Our second solo piece (flugelhorn) was Eyes of a Child. The haunting piece was beautifully played. Its composer, Margareta Jalkeus (now Bengtson) is a well known Swedish artiste, formerly in jazz a cappella group, The Real Group. They were formed in 1984 with Margareta one of its founder members. She left the group after divorcing Anders Jalkeus.
The penultimate piece was another cracker, and a piece that deserves a greater audience. Peter Meechan’s Apex was a fantastic and fully-rounded piece performed by the principal cornet player. It was commissioned by Mark Bousie and David Armitage in 2007 for Sellars International Youth Band for the Action Research Entertainment Contest in Blackpool.
Closing the concert was Simon Dobson’s piece, Showstopper. As pieces go, this one certainly did live up to its name. Along with Paul Lovatt-Cooper, Simon Dobson is another youthful, exciting face of the brass band scene. Only a few years younger than your reviewer, he has been Composer in Residence for Brighouse and Rastrick, Leyland, and Fairey bands. In 2012 and 2014, he was awarded the British Composer of the Year Award, and he can also write any kind of music other than for brass and wind bands.
The amount of talent within Føerre Musikkorps was apparent, given the brevity of their playing abilities. With its members being aged 10 to 18 years old, there’s every chance some of them could be playing for principal Championship section bands. They were welcomed by the Boarshurst faithful and enjoyed their soirée that Sunday.
We wish everyone at Føerre Musikkorps every success in their future. Many thanks to all involved in the band. To all the soloists, to Musical Director, Svein Roger Koppang, and a special mention to Roar Sorenson.
Littleborough Training Band will be next up on the 30 October, again with a 12.30pm start. They are an offshoot of the senior band which compete in the Third Section. For the lunchtime concerts, light refreshments will be available at agreeable prices.
Alight at the stop outside the Greenfield Conservative Club.
- 180: hourly service from Greenfield [The Clarence] to Oldham, Hollinwood and Manchester [Oldham Street] (First Greater Manchester).
- 350: hourly service from Ashton-under-Lyne, Mossley, Uppermill, Dobcross, Delph, Waterhead and Oldham for Greenfield (First Greater Manchester).
- 354: buses every two hours departing Ashton-under-Lyne bus station at odd hours (0930, 1130, 1330, 1530, and 1730). Journeys from Greenfield at even hours (1011, 1211, 1411, 1611, and 1811). (MCT Travel).
Sunday service from Manchester Victoria and all stations including Ashton-under-Lyne, Stalybridge and Mossley to Huddersfield for Greenfield. Please note that rail replacement buses may substitute trains for part of, or the whole of the day (check publicity at local stations or via the Northern Rail website for further details).
Twitter details and suggested hashtags: @boarshurstband; #SundayYouthBrass; #SundayBrassYouth; #SundayLunchtimeYouthBrass.
S.V., 12 October 2016.