Sale Brass: Sunday Brass at the Boarshurst Band Club (Winter 2016)

A welcome return for the award winning fourth section band

Sale Brass’ return to Boarshurst Band Club this November was another welcome one. At February’s concert, we were treated to some high quality solos and a traditional yet well thought out programme.

Last Sunday’s concert was no exception. For those who missed the February concert, another chance to enjoy two pieces from that night’s programme. On great form as ever was Musical Director Alan Seymour, enjoying his third visit with Sale Brass.

Sale Brass were previously known as Stretford Borough Band. In 1971, a change of premises (across the River Mersey from Lancashire to Cheshire) signalled a name change to their present one. They also have a Training Band as well as the senior, who are in Section Four. With the way they played, you could be given for thinking they were a Section Three band (or Section Two, even).

The Programme

First Half

  1. March: On the Quarter Deck (Kenneth Alford);
  2. Overture: Le calife de Bagdad (François-Adrien Boïeldieu, arr. William Rimmer);
  3. Flugelhorn Solo (performed by Daisy O’Dell): Misty (Johnny Burke/Erroll Garner, arr. Darrol Barry);
  4. Folk Song: Kalinka (Ivan Larionov, arr. Jan Sedlak);
  5. Euphonium Duet (performed by Lauren Ash and Tom Chandler): Softly As I Leave You (Calabrease/De Vita, arr. Alan Catherall);
  6. Light Concert: The Clog Dance (J. Marcangelo);
  7. Film Music (from Aladdin): One Jump Ahead (Tim Rice/Alan Menkin, arr. Dan Price).

Second Half

  1. Radio Theme: At the Sound of the Swinging Cymbal (Brian Fahey, arr. Chris Gorman);
  2. Musical Piece: Mack and Mabel (Jerry Herman);
  3. Horn Solo (performed by Mary Duke): Laughter in the Rain (Neil Sedaka/Phil Cody, arr. Bill Charleston);
  4. Film Music (from Saturday Night Fever): Manhattan Skyline (David Shire, arr. Alan Catherall);
  5. Folk Song: All Through the Night (Traditional, arr. Gordon Langford);
  6. Popular Music: All About That Bass (Meghan Trainor, arr. Frank Bernaerts);
  7. Popular Music: Carillon (Robert Ian Gomm/Herbie Flowers);
  8. Latin Music: El Comanchero (Rafael Hernandez).

Encore

  • Popular music: Happy (Pharrell Williams, arr. Frank Bernaerts).

Softly As I Leave You on the Quarterdeck

We began yesterday’s concert with the excellent Kenneth Alford march, On The Quarter Deck. For many devotees of the Whit Friday Brass Band Contests (and countless Hymn and March Contests), it a popular deportment march. One that is often played by Championship and First Section brass band. Written by Kenneth Alford, the composer was known as The British March King.

After Mr. Alford’s march blew the cobwebs off the venue, our second piece was an overture. This time the delightful Le Calife de Bagdad. Written by François-Adrien Boïeldieu, he was known as The French Mozart and mainly wrote operas. The aforementioned opera, whence the piece came from, was premiered on the 16 September 1800 at la Opéra-Comique, Salle Feydeau.

Piece number three saw the arrival of our first soloist of the night. On flugelhorn was Daisy O’Dell. At the last concert, she played a memorable rendition of Singin’ in the Rain. This week, she excelled herself with Misty. The piece by Johnny Burke and Erroll Garner has inspired the Clint Eastwood film, Play Misty For Me. It has also been covered by countless artistes including Johnny Mathis and (in a Country and Western style) Ray Stevens – the latter of The Streak fame.

For the fourth piece of this half, we took a trip to Russia with Ivan Larionov’s Kalinka. The lively piece is a traditional Russian folk song and one of the best known around. It has been used in the computer games PayDay 2 (for the character, Vlad) and Civilisation VI for the Russian civilisation part of the game. Sale Brass’ version was fantastic.

Piece number five gave us a euphonium duo, performed by Lauren Ash and Tom Chandler. The piece, beautifully played by both of them was Softly As I Leave You. Written by Giorgio Calabrese and Tony De Vita in 1964, it was made famous by Matt Monro’s cover version, which peaked at Number 10 in the UK singles chart. It has also been covered by countless other artistes including Elvis Presley, Michael Bublé, and Frank Sinatra.

The penultimate piece of the first half was our only Brassed Off reference of the night. That of The Clog Dance. If you’ve watched Brassed Off as much as I have, you would link this with the coaches heading off to the Royal Albert Hall. Composed by John Marcangelo, the Whitehaven born musician played in the Ashley Kay Group and COW, before joining forces with Mik Kaminski. The Harrogate-born violinist (late of the Electric Light Orchestra) alongside Marcangelo and Mike D’Albuquerque (also of ELO) formed Violinski. In 1979, it peaked at 17 in the UK singles chart. A nice rousing piece.

For the last piece of the first half, a bit of film music. This time, the most uplifting One Jump Ahead. From the Walt Disney film Aladdin, it was composed by Tim Rice and Alan Menkin. In the 1992 film, it was sung by the titular character in both the animated film and the musical. A lively piece which sent us one step ahead to the bar queue.

Greetings, Brass Band Lovers…

Straight in at Number Eight (or rather, our first piece of the second half) was At the Sound of the Swinging Cymbal. Arranged by Chris Gorman and written by Brian Fahey, it is better known to many music lovers as the signature to Pick of the Pops. Originally presented by Alan Freeman on The Light Programme and BBC Radio One, it has also been used by the retrospective editions hosted by Fluff himself (on Radio One and Radio Two). Then on subsequent editions hosted by Dale Winton, Tony Blackburn, Mark Goodier and Paul Gambacchini (Radio Two).

No change at Number Two (well, our second piece for this half the second time around) was a joyous concert standard. That of the theme from Mack and Mabel. Written by Jerry Herman, the musical opened on Broadway in 1974 and focuses on the romance with Hollywood director Mack Sennett and Mabel Normand. The musical gained greater success in the West End, commencing its first run in 1995. It was revived in 2006. Over at Boarshurst Band Club, Sale Brass’ rendition came with some dancing from Alan Seymour (who needs Ed Balls?).

For the third piece we came to our final soloist of the night, Bb Horn soloist Mary Duke. Some eighteen hours before today’s floods (with Stalybridge, Mossley and the Saddleworth villages the worst affected at this time of writing), she played Laughter in the Rain. The song by Neil Sedaka is one of his most celebrated numbers of the 1970s which saw him successfully relaunch his career. Co-written by Phil Cody, it was written five minutes after he smoked some cannabis. In the original song, the appropriately named Jim Horn performed the 20 second saxophone solo.

After the raffle, our trip to the 1970s continued with some more film music. This time, an instrumental number from Saturday Night Fever: David Shire’s Manhattan Skyline. I have always thought that some of the instrumental pieces from the John Travolta film would transfer well to brass band music. Thanks to the arrangement skills of Alan Catherall, a resounding ‘yes’. As for Sale Brass’ playing of the piece, brilliant.

For the fifth piece of this second half, we were back to more traditional brass band territory with a Gordon Langford arrangement of All Through the Night, a traditional folk song. As always, you cannot go wrong with a one of Gordon’s arrangements, and Sale Brass did a fantastic job.

Our highest climber at Number Six in this half was Frank Bernaerts’ arrangement of All About That Bass. The debut single for Meghan Trainor was a UK Number One hit in 2014. Sale Brass’ rendition was a hit with the Boarshurst faithful. On Ms. Trainor’s YouTube channel, the promotional video has (at this time of writing) been seen by 1,611,494,403 viewers. That is 1.61 billion viewers (including this fellow for the purpose of this posting).

The penultimate piece was the first of two played at the previous concert. Firstly with Carillon, a quieter piece to the previous one. 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 works well. Another good performance.

The final piece prior to the encore was Rafael Hernandez’s El Comanchero, a traditional Latin swing piece and a toe-tapper at that. Comanchero refers to Mexican traders who made their living by trading with the Great Plains Indian tribes. The name of the traders is derived from the Comanches territories.

 

With Alan Seymour’s command and a well rounded programme, Sale Brass gave us another great concert. Did we leave happy? Of course. Appropriately their encore piece was the Pharrell Williams tune, Happy. A great night all round.

Next on the calendar for Sale Brass Band is their Christmas schedule. A small ensemble will be doing Sale Moor Primary School on the 02 December (5.30pm – 7.30pm), with a small band doing carols at Brooklands Tennis Club the following day (6.00pm – 8.00pm). As a full band, they will be doing a Christmas concert on the 10 December at St. John’s Church in Altrincham (times to be confirmed – check www.salebrass.co.uk/engagement.html for details).

Next Week…

Next up at Boarshurst Band Club is Skelmanthorpe Band (27 November 2016), who will be shoehorning their visit alongside Christmas engagements. There are three bands: the senior band, ranked 55th in the world; Skelmanthorpe Prospect Band (their intermediate band); and the Skelmanthorpe Training Band (no prizes for guessing which band this is; the beginners’ one). Skelmanthorpe is just off the Kirklees Light Railway (the Clayton West Branch till January 1983). It is close to the tallest manmade structure in Europe – the Emley Moor television tower.

Their musical director, Jim Davies, is a virtuoso cornet player and a popular adjudicator. He began playing the cornet at the age of nine and went on to win the Champion Soloist of Wales at the age of fifteen. He has previously been the conductor of Point of Ayr Colliery band, and Musical Director for Carlton Main Frickley Colliery and Wingates bands. He has also judged the National Youth Championships at Blackpool, and the Brass in Concert Entertainment Contest.

Twitter details: @boarshurstband#SundayBrass.

Website: www.boarshurstband.co.uk.

S.V., 21 November 2016.

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