Glossop Old Band (Summer 2017): Summer Brass at Boarshurst Band Club

How The Marcus and Duncan Show made for a smashing concert

As with the previous gigs at The World Famous Boarshurst Band Club, Glossop Old Band gave us another great performance. Putting it briefly, it was a tight performance, suitable for brass banding aficionados and anyone new to the joys of brass band concerts.

Once again, representing the East Midlands, they will be following Boarshurst to Cheltenham in the National Finals. Boarshurst Silver Band finished fourth in the Section Two finals in the North West championship, and took the place of Cheshire Constabulary (who finished third). Glossop Old Band won the Second Section regional final for the East Midlands.

As we have said twice before, Glossop Old Band are one of the oldest brass bands in the world. They merged the Glossop Original and Whitfield Rifle Volunteers Bands in 1830. Their band room, on the corner of Derby Street, not Barry Street as your compere erroneously said at the start of the concert. (My mistake, and I was standing in for John Whittle, guesting on flugelhorn for Glossop Old Band).

There are two bands besides the senior band. One is the Learner Band and the other is Regent Big Band, swing and big band offshoot.

Earlier this year, Glossop Old Band hired Duncan Beckley as Musical Director. Mr. Beckley is a familiar face as a contest adjudicator, where he has regularly adjudicated the Upper Mossley Whit Friday Brass Band Contest. He was born in London and gained an interest in school music lessons after being thrown out of a Maths class. In 1976, he was in the bass section of Wakefield Youth Band. He has previously played flugelhorn, and the first band he conducted was Warren Youth. Then he moved on to Newstead Band.

Doing the links for Duncan was Bass player, Marcus Jones. If you make the short trip to Glossop Old Band Club (£3.00 in a taxi from The Norfolk Arms or the railway station), you see him at all their Sunday concerts. In the John Whittle or Stuart Vallantine role (with additional support for the raffle, auction, and bucket collection). Last night, one of the pieces we heard was inspired by the club itself.

The Programme

First Half

  1. March: ORB (Charles Anderson);
  2. Overture: Light Cavalry (Von Suppé);
  3. Principal Cornet Solo (performed by David Richardson): Stars (Claude-Michel Schönberg, arr. Andi Cook);
  4. Popular Music: Bridge Over Troubled Water (Paul Simon/Art Garfunkel, arr. Sandy Smith);
  5. Popular Music: Norwegian Wood (The Bird Has Flown) (Lennon/McCartney, arr. Adrian Drover);
  6. Horn Solo (performed by Stuart Wilkinson): Rondo from Third Concerto (Ludwig van Beethoven);
  7. Hymn: Manchester (How Sweet the Name) (Richard Wainwright, arr. Andi Cook);
  8. Classical Music: Finale from Faust (Charles Gounod, arr. Thomas Wyss).

Second Half

  1. March: Valiants Arise (Paul Lovatt-Cooper);
  2. Light Concert: Alloway Tales (Robert Burns, arr. Peter Graham);
  3. Euphonium Solo (performed by Simon Bastock): With His First Breath (Paul Lovatt-Cooper);
  4. Musical Piece: Anything Goes (Cole Porter, arr. Alan Fernie);
  5. Light Concert: Lady Stewart’s Air (Dave King/Peter Graham);
  6. Light Concert: Cheek to Cheek (Irving Berlin, arr. Alan Fernie);
  7. Hymn: The Day Thou Gavest (Philip Wilby);
  8. Popular Music: An American Trilogy (arr. Goff Richards).


  • March: Mouselow Farm.

ORB’s Faust pick of the night

We began in traditional style with a rousing march. This time, Charles Anderson’s ORB. In the early 20th Century, Oldham Rifle Brigade was one of Lancashire’s leading brass bands. Their musical director, Charles Anderson (then a Chaddertonian), wrote the piece which started out as a signature march. Shortly after the band’s demise, it became a popular march for First and Second bands – and deservedly so.

After Glossop Old Band’s sublime performance, we moved onto an overture. That of Franz von Suppé’s Light Cavalry. Continuing the militaristic theme, this strident piece premiered in Vienna in 1866. It featured in the operetta with the same name. It is by far the Austrian composer’s best known piece, which went well last night.

With a fantastic reception from the Boarshurst faithful was our first solo piece of the night. That of David Richardson’s performance of Stars from Les Miserables. On principal cornet, the stability of his performance was amazing. In the musical (and the film which features Russell Crowe), Stars is sung when Javert makes a vow to the stars. This was the first piece of the night to be arranged by Andi Cook.

The fourth piece was chosen as a tribute to the families affected by the Grenfell Tower fire last month. With the choice inspired by the charity single, we had Bridge Over Troubled Water. Written by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, it is the title track of their best-selling album from January 1970. Glossop Old Band’s performance was rich in colour and brevity.

Our fifth piece started with a snatch of Edvard Grieg’s Peer Gynt. This was used to open Adrian Drover’s arrangement of Norwegian Wood (The Bird Has Flown). The Lennon and McCartney number featured on The Beatles’ 1965 album, Revolver. The addition of Peer Gynt neatly segued into the piece added more body and gravitas to the piece. Needless to say, it worked very well.

The sixth piece was another strong solo: that of the award-winning Stuart Wilkinson on horn with the Rondo from Ludwig van Beethoven’s Third Concerto. It was first performed by Beethoven on the 05 May 1803 in Vienna. Originally written for piano, Mr. Wilkinson’s playing was living proof of how well it worked for brass. One of the high points of the first half.

This was followed by the Andi Cook arrangement of Richard Wainwright’s Manchester (How Sweet The Name). The original hymn dates from 1774, but the present day arrangement was written this year for charitable endeavour. That as a benefit to the people who were affected by terrorist activity after Ariana Grande’s concert. Through Pennine Music Publishing’s website, both the manuscript and downloaded piece have raised quite a lot of money.

After a well played rendition of Andi Cook’s arranged hymn, we closed the first half with a bombastic number. That of Charles Gounod’s finale from Faust. In the fifth and final act, Faust and Mephistopheles are surrounded by witches. Mephistopheles promises to send the most attractive women towards Faust’s way. This well played piece took us into the interval in good style.

Valiants Arise from Mouselow Farm

Our first piece of the second half was a neat bit of music by Paul Lovatt-Cooper. This time, the strident and cobweb-blasting Valiants Arise. This was commissioned for Junction Arts’ 2016 film, JA40: The Junction Arts Story. Directed by Christopher Bevan, it was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The participatory arts charity are based in Chesterfield, “using creativity to inspire people and communities.” Glossop Old Band fulfilled their mission statement in front of last night’s audience.

From Chesterfield, we moved along to Alloway, the birthplace of Robert Burns. The rather famous Scottish poet inspired another Scot: Peter Graham, courtesy of Alloway Tales. In three portraits, we have for the first song, a portrait of Duncan Gray. He rides into the village on a horse to woo Maggie. Then a portrait of Mary Campbell, asleep beside the Afton Water. This is end with The De’ils Awa wi the Exciseman. This with a good finish, was well received.

Applauded in great measure was our third and final soloist of the night. This time, on euphonium, Simon Bastock with the Paul Lovatt-Cooper composition, With His First Breath. The slow melody was taken from the middle of PLC’s more expansive piece, Breath of Souls. A most joyous piece and beautifully played.

The fourth piece was Cole Porter’s Anything Goes. This was written in 1934 for his musical which shares the same name. The piece has reference to the scandals of depression-era America and the figures of that period. It has been covered by Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and Lady Gaga. Glossop Old Band at the Boarshurst Band Club? Another fine performance.

After the raffle, we were treated to another piece by Peter Graham. That of Lady Stewart’s Air. This was commissioned by the Federation of Australasian Brass Bands as a tribute to Adrienne Stewart. She did a lot for the brass banding communities in Australia and New Zealand. This increasingly popular piece is a most likeable one; Glossop Old Band proved just that.

We moved onto what is a fairly popular concert piece: that of Irving Berlin’s Cheek to Cheek. Short and sweet, it was written in 1935 for the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers film, Top Hat. It has also been covered by numerous artistes including Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, and The Sensational Alex Harvey Band.

The next piece was a tribute to Mark Singleton. Almost a week ago, he was taken away too soon. The impact he had on brass banding in North East Cheshire and the High Peak was tremendous. Firstly with the Sunday concerts at the Navigation Hotel in Marple, later at the Ring O’ Bells. Not least the personal influence he had – and his role in getting the Sunday concerts back to Glossop Old Band Club.

As a dedication to Mark Singleton, late of The Marple Band on trombone, we had a hymn. That of The Day Thou Gavest arranged by Philip Wilby. A powerful, impassioned performance he would have been proud of. Last week, this was also the hymn of choice for Elland Silver Band at the Brighouse Hymn and March Contest. Last night’s performance was at least the equal of the West Yorkshire Championship section band.

For the last piece, we closed with An American Trilogy. Made famous by Elvis Presley (and arranged for brass bands by Goff Richards), it never fails to lift the audience in good time. Two week’s after Diggle’s rendition, Glossop Old Band gave us another cracking performance.

After this ratbag said his bit, we finished with a piece which could be Glossop Old Band’s de facto signature march. A specially written piece for the band entitled Mouselow Farm. The name of the march refers to the Mouselow Farm Brewery on the outskirts of Glossop. The real ale brewery, owned by Frank Wood, supplies cask conditioned ales to the Glossop Old Band club. A great march worthy of playing outside of Glossop.

So, at 2207, we had another fine concert. The combination of Duncan Beckley’s tight conducting and running order, and the warm delivery of Marcus Jones, also made the night. If you missed last night’s concert, Glossop Old Band will be back on the 26 November 2017. Next on their list is a coffee morning at Bradbury House (22 July 2017, 10am to 12 noon), and the National Finals on the 16 September 2017.

Next Week…

Next up will be Slaithwaite Band. They were formed as the Slaithwaite Brass and Reed Band at Shred School in 1892. In 1905, they won the Grand Challenge Shield at Crystal Palace. They repeated that feat in 1933. In 1937, they picked up the First Prize at the Belle Vue July contest, and finished second in the September one that year. The following year saw great success, with them picking up the £2,000 Challenge Trophy in the September contest, again at Kings Hall.

In the 1960s, they were fortunate enough to have had two up and coming conductors. Well, only the legendary Derek Broadbent and Roy Newsome. In recent years, musical directors have included Tabby Clegg (a previous editor of British Bandsman magazine) and Rob Westacott.

After this concert, there will be a break throughout most of August due to the Yanks Weekend and the Rushcart Festival. For the Slaithwaite concert, doors from 7pm and an 8pm start as per usual.


  • 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.


S.V., 10 July 2017.


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