Dobcross Youth Band: Sunday Afternoon Brass at the Boarshurst Band Club

Stunning performance kicks off 2017 concert season

Having the honour of opening this year’s programme of concerts at Boarshurst Band Club was a fairly well known local band. One a short bus or taxi ride from the venue, and one of the finest youth bands in the West Riding of Yorkshire.

Dobcross Youth Band have come in leaps and bounds since their formation in 1988. Its beginnings were humble with a few children parping their way in the village. Almost three decades on, they have won numerous prizes at youth level. 2002 was the band’s record year with Dobcross Youth Band picking up eleven prizes on Whit Friday. This included eight Best Youth prizes, a Deportment prize and two Best in Saddleworth prizes.

The Musical Director for Dobcross Youth is Matthew Hindle. He is a recent appointment to the band, with previous bands including Rochdale Borough Youth and Pennine Brass. He is also the Head of Music at Tottington High School. Going off the concert programme, one with a penchant for Sylvester Stallone films we presume. Outside of brass banding, he is a member of The Jager Meisters, a German style Oompah band. His link with The Jager Meisters and The Mecca of Brass Banding, is the Boarshurst Silver Band musical director, James Garlick.

If you like your pieces arranged by Alan Fernie, this was the concert for you. On the 29 January, they put on a fantastic show.

The Programme

First Half

  1. Test Piece: Prismatic Light (Alan Fernie);
  2. Original Piece: Doyen (Goff Richards);
  3. Hymn: ‘Mid All The Traffic of the Ways (Colonel Leonard Ballantine)
  4. Flugelhorn Solo (performed by Anna): Concerto de Aranjuez (Joaquin Rodrigo);
  5. Light Concert Music: Mr Jums (from Three Brass Cats) (Chris Hazell).
  6. Test Piece: St. Andrews Variations (Alan Fernie).

Second Half

  1. March: Goldcrest (James Anderson);
  2. Light Concert Music: The Golden Lady (Goff Richards);
  3. Hymn: The Irish Blessing (Traditional, arr. Stephen Bradnum);
  4. Film Music (from Rocky): Gonna Fly Now (Bill Conti, arr. Alan Fernie);
  5. Popular Music: Hey Jude (Lennon/McCartney, arr. Alan Fernie);
  6. Light Concert Music: The Water of Tyne (Philip Harper).
  7. Film Music (from Rocky III): The Eye of the Tiger (Jim Peternik/Frank Sullivan, arr. Alan Fernie).

Encore

  • Popular Music: The Final Countdown (Europe/Joey Tempest, arr. John Glenesk Mortimer).

Out of the darkness cometh a prismatic light

Our first piece was some sort of a modern classic in the youth banding fraternity. This time with Alan Fernie’s Prismatic Light. It was originally written for Loanhead Youth Band and, according to World of Brass website, “a perfect opener to any concert”. Too right it was with our friends from Dobcross who delivered a solid performance. With Elland Silver Band opening the first even Sunday Youth Brass concert with this piece, it was fitting to see Dobcross Youth Band open with this one for 2017.

Not to be content with our guests being a 350 or 354 bus ride away from Boarshurst Band Club, our second piece was written about a bus. Strictly speaking, a coach. Goff Richards’ Doyen was commissioned by British Leyland, to launch the Leyland Royal Tiger Doyen coach. The coach itself was distinctive and, like the Leyland National and Titan buses, used integral bodywork. Despite its sleek looks, the coach didn’t take off as only 160 examples were built. The piece by Goff Richards was well played by the band and had more enduring appeal than what could have been one of Leyland’s finest coaches.

Our third piece, if you took the title literally, could have been a criticism of the M55 motorway in high season. Instead of being a whinge about Blackpool-bound coaches, ‘Mid All The Traffic of the Ways is a traditional hymn written by Colonel Leonard Ballantine. The hymn should be played to the tune of Colne. Leonard is active today, still writing music and offering one-to-one tuition. Based in Toronto, his wife, Heather, deals with the management side of things.

This took us to our first and only solo of the afternoon. On euphonium was Anna, who played Concerto de Aranjuez, most famously used in Brassed Off. And “wobbly” she wasn’t: we were treated to a fine performance.

Our penultimate piece of the first half was Mr. Jums. The jovial piece is taken from the suite entitled Three Brass Cats. Written by Chris Hazell, it is inspired by T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (whence the Andrew Lloyd-Webber musical Cats came from). One thing for sure, is the piece has nothing to do with the Andrew Lloyd-Webber musical score. This took us neatly towards the final piece of the first half.

Our final piece of the first half was a real workout for Dobcross Youth, and their first public performance, too. This time with Alan Fernie’s St. Andrews Variations. As the Youth Band is in Section Four, this is their test piece for the North West Regional Championship at the Winter Gardens. In what was a sneak preview, they made a good job of it. We hope they make a great success of it in Blackpool on the 26 February.

“Rising up to the challenge of our rival…”

The second half’s selection was a bit more light hearted. After a testing first half, Dobcross Youth were more relaxed.

We started the half in traditional form with a march. This time, James Anderson’s Goldcrest. For the Scottish composer, this is his most famous piece. It was also our second Salvationist piece of the afternoon (the other being Colonel Leonard Ballantine’s hymn).

From Scotland, we moved to Luxembourg for the inspiration of our next piece. Goff Richards’ The Golden Lady was a joyous number. It is inspired by The Monument of Remembrance in the Grand Duchy’s capital city, also known as Gëlle Fra.

Slowing down the pace was our third piece of the second half. A dependable number for any band wishing to add a contemplative piece into the programme. Fitting the bill as always is Stephen Bradnum’s arrangement of The Irish Blessing. This is based on a traditional folk tune and proof that “less is more” works well in brass banding, as much as bombastic pieces.

This was followed by our first piece of film music in this half. One of the most famous pieces of music in modern cinema. That of Bill Conti’s Gonna Fly Now, arranged by Alan Fernie. Everybody else would recognise this as the theme music to Rocky. Besides its use in the first film documenting Robert Balboa’s life, it’s also synonymous with the 118 118 advertisements.

The fifth piece was the longest and toughest one of this half. That of Hey Jude, The Beatles classic tune. This piece gave the band – over seven minutes – another workout. One that was well received. Needless to say, they were grateful for the rest during the raffle.

Five or so minutes later, normal service resumed with the penultimate non-encore piece of the afternoon. This time with Philip Harper’s The Water of Tyne. This was an easy going pastoral piece in a North Eastern style. Once again, a confident performance.

For the last piece (pre-encore), Sylvester Stallone was (once again) our source of inspiration. This time with Survivor’s The Eye of the Tiger, handsomely arranged by Alan Fernie, and beautifully played by Dobcross Youth. A UK Number One chart single, it knocked Come On Eileen off the top spot in the late August of 1982. Besides being used in Rocky III, this is also the run out tune for Hyde United Football Club (whose nickname is The Tigers).

With Blackpool only weeks away, the choice of encore piece was appropriate. This time, another UK Number One single (in 1986) in the form of The Final Countdown. Once again, a solid performance and a great concert closer. It did the original version proud. Though Europe did have a follow-up single to their most famous piece (Rock The Night, a UK #12) , they are regarded as a one hit wonder.

We think Dobcross Youth could give a few rival Fourth Section bands a fright. Their performance is one that older Section Four bands would have been proud of. We wish them well at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.

Dedication: Janet Payne

It gives me great sadness to hear about the death of Janet Payne, who passed away on the night of the 04 February. Janet Payne was the life and soul of Boarshurst Silver Band, not only to its members but to everyone who has had the joy of knowing her. Not only fellow brass banding types, but also regular attendees at Boarshurst Band Club’s Sunday Brass concerts. Also to everyone within the wider brass banding community.

Janet wasn’t known as Mrs Boarshurst for nothing. Her role has helped to put Boarshurst Silver Band and the band club on the map. One where success has been helped with a supportive atmosphere for brass band players of all ages and sizes. She was also instrumental in nurturing young players, some of which had gone on to esteemed seats of learning, or Championship bands. We also have Janet to thank for the Youth Band Concerts and everything connected with the band at all levels.

There will only be one Janet Payne. Mrs Boarshurst without a doubt. A second or surrogate mother or grandma to anyone who has had the good fortune of rehearsing with her. Or even in her presence at any Boarshurst Band Club concert. This review is dedicated to the memory of Janet Payne with deepest condolences for her family.

S.V., 06 February 2016.

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3 thoughts on “Dobcross Youth Band: Sunday Afternoon Brass at the Boarshurst Band Club

Add yours

  1. Took my 9 year old granddaughter to this concert, as she has just started learning to play a #### horn (sorry can’t think of its name ). She thoroughly enjoyed it, as I did, and made her more determined to get into a band.

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    1. Hi Barbara,

      I am glad to see you and your daughter enjoyed the concert. They performed very well and the balance between technical pieces and light hearted pieces was spot-on. Could the instrument (she is learning) be a flugelhorn or a tenor horn?

      I have been following and reviewing the evening and afternoon concerts on my blog since the start of last year. At the one you went to, I was the Master of Ceremonies.

      Warmly,

      Stuart.

      Like

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