An egg-citing programme makes for a joyous concert
Over in Saddleworth and Tameside, this Easter weekend was punctuated by grey skies and weather more akin to early February. The joys of spring – present in most parts of the UK south of Stoke-on-Trent – were woefully absent. In spite of this, the warmest reception was found at the Boarshurst Band Club, and Easter Sunday’s concert with BMP (Europe) Goodshaw Band raised the spirits.
In conditions better suited to an eggnog instead of chilled lager, our friends from Rossendale gave us a warm, and well received concert. It was a tasty confection with a joyous mix of the traditional, some good solos, and a bit of cheese.
Returning to Boarshurst Band Club with Goodshaw Band was Joshua Hughes. Mr. Hughes as we know is no stranger to Boarshurst Silver Band, having previously conducted them. At 24 years old, his record is enviable. As well as being the Musical Director for City of Chester Band and Coventry Festival Band, he has kept Goodshaw Band on a steady equilibrium.
After reading his previous entry from the June 2016 concert (and subsequent reports on East of the M60 featuring other bands), Joshua made sure last night’s programme was different from last year’s. There was only one piece that was heard in the previous concert.
- Test Piece: Prismatic Light (Alan Fernie);
- Overture: The Arcadians (Lionel Monckton);
- Baritone Solo (performed by David Warren): Donegal Bay (Paul Lovatt-Cooper);
- Light Concert Piece: How D’Ya Like Your Eggs in the Morning? (Nicholas Brodszky/Sammy Cahn, arr. Rieks van der Velde);
- Euphonium Duet (performed by Katherine Riding and Phil Hollows): Softly As I Leave You (Giorgio Calabrese/Hal Shaper/Antonio De Vita, arr. Alan Catherall);
- Light Concert Music: The Water of Tyne (Philip Harper);
- Contest March: Raby (George Allan).
- Classical Piece: Dies Irae (Giuseppe Verdi);
- Horn Solo (performed by Mark Robinson): Solo Secunda (Mark Robinson);
- Light Concert Music: Blue Rondo a la Turk (Dave Brubeck, arr. Kevin Edwards)
- Light Concert Music: The Shepherd Song (Goff Richards);
- Light Concert Music: Hot Toddy (Ralph Flanagan, arr. Bill Geldard);
- Musical Piece: Mack and Mabel (Jerry Herman, arr. Kevin Wilkinson).
How do you like your eggs…?
For the first of our baker’s dozen of pieces, we opened with Prismatic Light by Alan Fernie. This inspirational piece – previously played by Dobcross Youth Band and Elland Silver Band at Boarshurst – got things off to a good start.
This led us to this concert classic. One that I hadn’t had the joy of hearing in recent times (almost 20 years ago which, ironically given next week’s band at Boarshurst, was at Albion United Reformed Church in Ashton-under-Lyne). That of Lionel Monckton’s overture The Arcadians. The lively piece was the eponymous overture of an Edwardian musical comedy play written by Alexander M. Thompson in 1909.
After a rip-roaring performance of Monckton’s tune, our search for inner truth and peace (as depicted in the musical) could have been found on Donegal Bay. This was the subject of David Warren’s smooth baritone solo piece. The bay itself is in the north western part of the Republic of Ireland. Paul Lovatt-Cooper’s piece could be a companion to Stephen Bradnum’s The Irish Blessing, possibly at the opposite end of the concert programme.
The fourth piece was an appropriate one for Easter Day. A nice bit of brass banding cheese in the form of Brodszky’s and Cahn’s How D’Ya Like Your Eggs in the Morning? The piece has been covered by many artistes including Dean Martin. It was written in 1951 for the film, Rich, Young, and Pretty, starring Jane Powell as Elizabeth Rogers. The film also saw the first appearance of Vic Damone.
This enjoyable piece of brass banding cheese was followed by a euphonium duet, featuring Phil Hollows and Katherine Riding. Our fifth piece was Softly As I Leave You. It has famously been covered by Michael Bublé, Matt Monro, Frank Sinatra, and Elvis Presley. Phil and Katherine performed the duet with élan and consistency.
The penultimate piece of this half was the brooding Philip Harper piece, The Water of Tyne. This is an ancient folk song where two lovers are separated by the River Tyne which has also been covered by Sting and Jimmy Nail. Fittingly, Sale Brass musical director, Alan Seymour was present at yesterday’s concert. This pristine performance led to another piece of North East England origin. That of Goodshaw’s contest march for Whit Friday 2017.
Closing the first half was George Allan’s Raby – their contest march of choice for this year’s Whit Friday contests. The March King of the North East, born in Shildon, was inspired by the castle once held by the House of Neville. It is famous for its collection of artwork, mainly from the Vane family who owned the castle in the 1700s. Goodshaw got the first half off to a fine finish.
With a generous serving of hot toddy
For the second half piece, we began exactly the same way as we did in June 2016 with Verdi’s Requiem, Dies Irae. The name translates into English as Day of Wrath. Besides brass banding, the piece has been covered by Sky (Herbie Flowers, Francis Monkman, John Williams, Tristan Fry in other words), and has inspired the name of a Polish death metal band. Since the previous concert with Goodshaw, they have been the only band to play Dies Irae at Boarshurst Band Club.
The second piece of the second half saw our second soloist. This time with the Cinderella of the brass banding world in terms of solo performance: a Second Horn Soloist. After some banter with the band, and permission from the audience, they gave way to Mark Robinson’s demands and played his self-composed solo piece, Solo Secunda. This turned out to be a deft move and a nice surprise for the audience.
The third piece of this half was something more danceable and populist. That of Blue Rondo a la Turk. Written by Dave Brubeck, the piece was quite a technical workout for BMP (Europe) Goodshaw Band. It is written in 9/8 time with a side melody in the 4/4 time signature, and inspired by the Turkish aksak time signatures. It was also the second piece of the night to inspire a band name. That of Mark Reilly’s first band (one hit wonders with Me and Mister Sanchez), prior to forming Matt Bianco. A very good performance.
For the fourth piece of this half was another brass banding classic. That of Goff Richards’ arrangement of The Shepherd’s Song. Based on a popular French folk song, from the Auvergne region, it paid dividends for the brass banding legend in 1978. His arrangement of the piece brought him to worldwide attention. The expressive play from Goodshaw went down well with the Boarshurst audience.
The penultimate piece was brass band cheese of the highest order. Seriously Strong Cheddar – maybe Dairylea should we succumb to product placement. That of Ralph Flanagan’s Hot Toddy, arranged by Bill Geldard. Written in 1953, it was also covered by Ted Heath and his Orchestra in 1960. Not to be confused with the Conservative Prime Minister from 1970 to 1974, Ted started out at Wandsworth Town Band at the age of six. His dad encouraged him, starting on tenor horn before progressing to trombone. Hot Toddy was also recorded by Rosemary Clooney and Chet Atkins; throughout the 1980s and 1990s, this was a popular concert piece.
After yesterday’s brief trip to a 1980s or 1990s concert, we finished with another concert standard of that era. This being the evergreen theme from Mack and Mabel. Based on a book by Michael Stewart, its music was composed by Jerry Herman and opened on Broadway in June 1974. Its overture – the subject of last night’s concert – was used by Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean in 1982, and won them the World Figure Skating Championships. Two years later in Sarajevo, the rest they say…
Once again, another good night with Josh Hughes and Company. The programme offered something for everyone and a touch of nostalgia with some pieces that were ‘never heard in years’. With Joshua as musical director, they are still a brass band to watch out for.
If you enjoyed last night’s concert, BMP (Europe) Goodshaw Band will be doing the Whit Friday Brass Band Contests in the Tameside area, appearing at any of the borough’s twelve venues. This may include a new addition to the circuit: a contest at The Albion Hotel in Dukinfield.
Next at the Boarshurst Band Club
Almost a month on from the arrival of Hammonds Saltaire Band, we invite another Championship Section band to the Boarshurst Band Club. This time, making a short journey from Lancashire (well, short enough for a bus journey), will be Ashton-under-Lyne Brass Band. The band was formed in 1996 and gradually rose from the lower sections to the Championship Section.
Their musical director is Philip Chalk, who started out at Fairey Band at the age of nine. He later took on an engineering apprenticeship then became a Sales Director for a nuclear doors company. Bored, he set up his own business, a nuclear components company. Since 2001, his non-brass banding position has been in the creative industries. Firstly with an offshoot of Cosgrove Hall Productions, before forming Factory Transmedia. His Head of Music? Paul Lovatt-Cooper.
Ashton-under-Lyne Brass Band’s concert at the Boarshurst Band Club will take place on the 23 April 2017, at 8pm. Admission is £6.00.
Sunday Youth Brass:
After Ashton-under-Lyne’s concert on St. George’s Day, is our second youth brass concert of 2017. This time, weeks after their adult band performed at Boarshurst Band Club, we shall see Middleton Youth Band on the 30 April 2017. This will start at 1pm; sandwiches and soft drinks will be available for sale.
The youth band is a community band which has rehearsals on Monday nights (Bank Holidays excepted) and the first Saturday morning in the month. It attracts players aged seven years old and upwards. Talented players can progress to the senior band.
Middleton Youth Band’s musical director is Louise Crane. She plays Soprano Cornet for the senior band.
Middleton Youth Band’s concert at the Boarshurst Band Club will take place on the 30 April 2017, at 1pm.
- 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.
S.V., 17 April 2017.