Middleton Youth Band: Sunday Youth Brass at the Boarshurst Band Club

Youth band’s successful first visit to Boarshurst Band Club

Yesterday lunchtime [30 April] saw Middleton Youth Band’s first visit to Boarshurst Band Club. It was a most successful soirée for the band conducted by Louise Crane, who visited “The World Famous Boarshurst Band Club” last month.

Louise Crane, besides playing soprano cornet for the senior band, is the musical director for Middleton Youth Band. They were formed in 1996 and have performed in various concerts in their locality. They have also performed at the Menin Gates in Ypres, Belgium, and at Disneyland​ Paris. This year, they have been invited to return to Disneyland Paris in August, as part of the Disney Performing Arts Programme.

Overall, it was a lively and relaxing programme suitable for a Sunday afternoon concert. Behind the bar, there was also a roaring trade in ham and cheese salad sandwiches.

The Programme

First Half

  1. March: Colonel Bogey (Kenneth Alford, arr. Matt Kingston);
  2. Song: Swing Low, Sweet Chariot (Matt Kingston);
  3. Flugelhorn solo (performed by Travis Garner): Under the Boardwalk (Young/Resnick, arr. Philip Harper);
  4. Popular Music: Snake, Rattle, and Roll (Charles E. Calhoun, arr. Tony Rickard);
  5. Theme Music: Theme from Game of Thrones (Ramon Djawadi, arr. Louise Crane);
  6. Popular Music: Let’s Twist Again (Kal Mann/Dave Appell, arr. Alan Fernie);
  7. Light Concert: Tico Tico (Zequinha de Abreu, arr. Matt Kingston).

Second Half

  1. Film Music: Theme from Raiders of the Lost Ark (John Williams, arr. Cameron Mabon);
  2. Euphonium solo (performed by Rebekah Harrison): Annie’s Song (John Denver, arr. Derek Broadbent);
  3. Classical Piece: Swingin’ With The Mountain King (Edvard Grieg, arr. Matt Kingston);
  4. Light Concert: The Lincolnshire Poacher (arr. David White);
  5. Television Music: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! (David Mook/Ben Raleigh, arr. Cameron Mabon);
  6. Film Music: Music from Grease (We Go Together/Greased Lightning) (Jim Jacobs/Warren Casey, arr. Johnnie Vinson).

Encore

  • Original Piece: African Funk (Alan Fernie).

Twisting Time This Year…

The first half of Middleton Youth Band’s programme was a gentle introduction for the band. Throughout the programme, the pieces gradually rose in complexity till half way through the second half. We opened the concert with Colonel Bogey, the traditional Kenneth J. Alford march. Kenneth J. Alford is the nom de plume for Frederick Joe Ricketts and he wrote Colonel Bogey in 1914. The notes were whistled on a golf course, hence the piece’s name.

Sticking with a sporting theme was our second piece. Instead of the joys of a ‘long walk being spoiled’, it was rugby union which inspired this number. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot (arranged by Matt Kingston) is a spiritual piece, synonymous with the England international Rugby Union team. In 1991, this was adopted by ITV for its coverage of the Rugby World Cup. Eric Clapton also covered the tune in 1975, in a reggae style.

Our third piece was the first of our two soloists: Travis Garner on flugelhorn. This time with Under The Boardwalk. Continuing the sports theme, this tune has been adopted by F.C. United of Manchester supporters. This was a worldwide hit for The Drifters; it was also covered by Bruce Willis nearly 30 years ago in 1987. A splendid effort from Travis.

We continued the rock ‘n’ roll theme with a different take on Bill Haley and His Comets’ Shake, Rattle, and Roll. Both the original song from 1954 (which Bill Haley’s group covered) and Snake, Rattle, and Roll, are based on the 12 bar blues.

The next piece was the theme tune from Game of Thrones. Written by Ramon Djawadi, this piece was arranged by Middleton Band’s very own Louise Crane. The original theme has been used by the programme since its first season in 2011. This was billed as a favourite piece by the band and of course, we found that Louise is a fan of the series.

This was followed by our next rock ‘n’ roll piece: Chubby Checker’s Let’s Twist Again. Written by Kal Mann and Dave Appell, it was a single for Chubby Checker in 1961. This topped the singles chart in the Netherlands and Belgium. In the UK, it topped the New Musical Express chart, and peaked at Number Two in the Record Retailer chart (the latter was recognised as the UK’s official singles chart).

In the official UK singles charts, it formed part of Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers’ Baby, That’s What I Like. This topped the singles chart. Moving away from rabbits, our final piece of this half was used in an advert for Whiskas. Again, another band favourite: Tico Tico. Written in 1917 by Zequinha de Abreu, it has been recorded by Carmen Miranda and Ray Conniff. A good finish to the first half.

Raiders of the Lost Greased Lightning

We opened the second half with John Williams’ march from Raiders of the Lost Ark. Always a driving piece, Middleton Youth Band got off to a good start in this half.

From Harrison Ford, we moved on to another Harrison: Rebakah Harrison. On euphonium solo, she played a superb rendition of Annie’s Song. Her first appearance at Boarshurst Band Club was one of her last appearances with the youth band. This was prior to going to university, and joining the senior band. Being her eighteenth birthday, this was one to remember.

Our third piece of the second half was another take on a great classical piece. This time, it was the turn of In The Hall of the Mountain King. The piece, written by Edvard Grieg, was given the swing treatment by Matt Kingston. Under the alias of Swingin’ With The Mountain King, this brought a fresh approach to Grieg’s piece.

After the raffle, our second half of the second half was dominated by pieces of a 1970s origin. Firstly, before the encore, our fourth piece of this half was famously arranged by Derek Broadbent. Instead, we had a different arrangement of The Lincolnshire Poacher: David White’s more concise version. Though a traditional folk song, it had been performed by many brass bands. Derek’s arrangement – the most famous one – was on the ‘B’ side of The Floral Dance.

For the penultimate piece of the afternoon, we turned to a fictitious dog: Hanna Barbera’s fictitious Great Dane, Scooby Doo. The result was a rousing version of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, the signature tune by David Mook and Ben Raleigh. Parpy power indeed! The series began in 1969 and has had goodness knows how many reruns over the last fifty years.

Springing to life in the same decade was the phenomenal success of Grease. It started out as a musical before its film adaptation took the world by storm. Not least some chart success for Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta. Closing the concert, prior to its encore, was Johnnie Vinson’s arrangements of We Go Together and Greased Lightning – collectively known as Music from Grease.

Closing the concert properly was the earworm-tastic African Funk by Alan Fernie. Over a month ago, this was played by the senior band. Both youth and senior sections of Middleton Band have rehearsed this piece together. It was released in 2007 as a special commission for Make Poverty History. Fernie’s bouncy piece brought the show to a epic climax.

Middleton Youth Band gave us a joyous concert, though a slightly bigger audience would have been nicer. Of those present, myself included, it turned out to be a better option than seeing the football (Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with Swansea City clashed with Middleton Youth’s gig). We hope to see them back in “The World Famous Boarshurst Band Club” again pretty soon (many thanks go to Louise for adding the ‘World Famous’).

Next Week…

Next week (07 May 2017) at the Boarshurst Band Club sees the arrival of Marsden Silver Prize Band. The Championship Section band, from the northern side of Standedge Tunnel, have returned to brass banding’s top flight, after a successful First Section title win. The band was formed in 1889, when they decided to change the name from Holme Mills to Marsden. The band had a successful spell in the 1930s, including a few British Open appearances.

By the 1960s they were in the lower sections, but a revival of fortunes in the nineties saw them in the Championship Section. Firstly with Alan Widdop, then with Glyn Williams (2004) as their musical directors. The band has previously been sponsored by the Riverhead Brewery on High Street, Marsden, and Taylor’s of Harrogate. The latter best known for Yorkshire Tea (how could we forget the orange mug shaped hats?).

As the concert is likely to be popular, please arrive in good time to be sure of a seat. Doors open at 7pm for an 8pm start.

Buses:

  • 180: Greenfield [Clarence Hotel] – Lees – Oldham – Hollinwood – Manchester [Oldham Street];
  • 350: Ashton-under-Lyne – Mossley – Greenfield – Uppermill – Dobcross – Delph – Waterhead – Oldham.

Alight at the former Greenfield Conservative Club. Both services operated by First Greater Manchester.

Twitter details: @boarshurstband#SundayBrass.

Website: www.boarshurstband.co.uk.

S.V., 01 May 2017.

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