Linthwaite Band: Sunday Brass at the Boarshurst Band Club

Fifteen fine pieces from Linfit

A healthy turnout at Boarshurst Band Club saw a fine concert from Linthwaite Brass Band. With a mix of Paul Kershaw’s good humoured delivery and a relaxing programme. A warm reception away from the longer nights and cooler weather. With reference to his theatrical background, pieces from stage musicals (or inspired by musicals) were well represented.

Linthwaite Brass Band were formed in 1851, two years after Boarshurst Silver Band’s formation. They are a fourth section band enjoying some stability, a contrast from seven years ago when the band were on the brink of extinction. It has seen some of today’s recent players move onto bigger bands. For example, David Pogson, who was seen in the 1993 line-up which won the Yorkshire Regional Contest, at St. George’s Hall, Bradford. As Musical Director, Duncan Beckley’s first engagement was at Linthwaite Brass Band.

Paul Kershaw has previously conducted Diggle ‘B’ Band and, prior to Max Stannard taking his place, Friezland Band. All in all, our two hour journey gave us a few old favourites and a neatly balanced programme.

The Programme

First Half

  1. Concert Opener: Prismatic Light (Alan Fernie);
  2. Overture: Music from The King and I (Rodgers and Hammerstein);
  3. Baritone Solo (performed by Daniel Sawyer): I Know Why (Harry Warren);
  4. Popular Music: A Hard Day’s Night (Lennon/McCartney, arr. Alan Fernie);
  5. Classical Piece: Second Waltz from The Jazz Suite (Dmitri Shostakovich);
  6. Light Concert: Mr Jums (Chris Hazell, arr. Alan Catherall);
  7. Film Music (from The Tribe): Cinema Paradiso (Ennio Morricone);
  8. March: Death or Glory (R.B. Hall).

Second Half

  1. March: Bedale (J.A. Greenwood);
  2. Musical Piece (from OK): Someone to Watch Over Me (George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin, arr. Alan Fernie);
  3. Euphonium Solo (performed by Matthew Pilcher): Blaydon Races (arr. Gordon Langford);
  4. Hymn: Eventide (William Henry Monk);
  5. Popular Music: Beyond The Sea (Jack Lawrence/Charles Trenet, arr. Frank Bernaerts);
  6. Classical Music: Spring (Edvard Grieg, arr. Pat Ryan);
  7. March: Royal Air Force March Past (Walford Davies/Sir George Dyson).

How prismatic light illuminated the hard day’s night

How could you resist Prismatic Light as a concert opener. As with previous concerts at the Boarshurst Band Club, Alan Fernie’s piece never fails to impress. Stalybridge Old and Elland Silver Youth bands have previously played this piece, to start the second half and the first half programmes. A good start for Linthwaite Brass Band.

The second piece was our first pointer towards Kershaw’s theatrical leanings. Our choice of overture was Rodgers and Hammerstein’s theme from The King and I. The musical is based on Anna and the King of Siam, a Margaret Landon novel from 1944. In 1951, the Broadway stage version opened, with the West End following suit in 1953. It is often associated with Yul Brynner’s starring role in the 1956 film.

This took us to our first soloist of the night. Not any old solo, but the sighting of a Lesser Spotted Baritone Solo. Assuming the role was Daniel Sawyer, who played a silky smooth solo of I Know Why. The piece, written by Harry Warren was used in 42nd Street, based on a 1932 novel by Bradford Ropes. Harry Warren’s birth name was Salvatore Antonio Guaragna, the son of Italian immigrants and one of eleven children. He was born on Christmas Eve 1894 and worked closely with Johnny Mercer. The musical made its Broadway debut in 1980.

The fourth piece was a Beatles classic arranged by Alan Fernie. This one, A Hard Day’s Night, had its own film, featuring Wilfred Brambell as well as the Fab Four. The title of their first full length film was inspired by a Ringoism. As was another Beatles song, Eight Days A Week. This was another fine production from our friends at Linfit.

Our fifth piece was a classical one: that of Dimitri Shostakovich’s Second Waltz from The Jazz Suite. At this point in the concert, Linthwaite’s most complex piece and a very good performance at that.

This was neatly complemented by a lighter piece: Chris Hazell’s Mr. Jums. Inspired by (though with nothing to do with) Old Possums Book of Practical Cats which inspired the 1981 musical, it is one of the Three Brass Cats. Mr. Hazell, who wrote the piece for Philip Jones, was taught by Herbert Howells. Another polished performance of a piece which is becoming quite a concert standard.

The penultimate piece of this half was written by Ennio Morricone. Entitled Cinema Paradiso, it was the title track of the 1988 film. It was also used in the 2014 film, The Tribe. The Ukrainian film is entirely made with sign language and set in a boarding school for hard of hearing pupils. A young man joins a gang of criminals to become a thief and a pimp. One filed under “Not For Kids” in a downmarket redtop tabloid. Also years too late for Channel Four’s Red Triangle films, seen in the small hours in the mid-1980s.

The final piece of this half was featured in a Filmfour Production. One which, for regular readers of our reviews and brass band enthusiasts, need no further introduction. Yes, R.B. Hall’s Death or Glory. A popular piece played well (and played not so well) on Whit Fridays. Oh, and in the opening scene of Brassed Off. Linthwaite Band finished the first half in good style.

Bedale beyond the sea

For the second half, we moved from a fictitious part of South Yorkshire to Wensleydale. This time to the small market town of Bedale. The piece was written by J.A. Greenwood, a Cheshire man who was taught by William Rimmer. A welcome outing for a seldom heard piece. Since 2004, the North Yorkshire market town regained its railway station, thanks to Wensleydale Railway plc’s heritage line.

The next piece came from the musical entitled Oh Kay!. That of Someone to Watch Over Me. Though the musical isn’t that well known, the song is better known several times over. Doris Day has performed the song by George and Ira Gershwin and had great success. It featured in her 1954 film, Young At Heart. It has also been covered by numerous other artistes including Rod Stewart, Dennis DeYoung (Styx’s lead singer), Sheena Easton, and Susan Boyle. Another good performance.

We stayed in the North East of England for our second and final soloist. That of Matthew Pilcher’s euphonium solo of Blaydon Races. The Geordie folk song, written by Geordie Ridley, is sung by supporters of Newcastle Falcons, Newcastle United Football Club, and supporters of countless other sports teams.

After Pilcher’s pristine playing took us to the raffle, this way followed by a hymn. That of Hymn 28. Also known as Eventide, it is performed to the music by William Henry Monk. As set to the lyrics by Henry Francis Lyte, you would also know this as Abide With Me. Which also continued the sporting theme due to its use on F.A. Cup Final day. Some good play, showing off the band’s abilities with quieter pieces.

Offering a contrast to our previous piece, we returned to the wonderful world of stage and screen. A piece which was a smash hit for Bobby Darin in 1959 (a UK Number 8 single in the hit parade). That of Beyond The Sea. Of late, the song has taken on a new lease of life thanks to Robbie Williams’ (in the film Finding Nemo). Other artistes who have covered the song, written by Jack Lawrence, include Jeff Lynne (in his solo LP, Long Wave), Django Reinhardt, and Bing Crosby. Our fellows at Linthwaite Brass Band did a pretty good job as well.

Our penultimate piece was fuelled by a yearning for shorter nights, happy sheep, and daffodils. That of Edvard Grieg’s Spring. The winsome piece, properly known as To The Spring, is among Sixty Six Lyric Pieces for Piano. In brass band form, very good at Linfit proved last night.

We ended last night’s concert with a rousing march. That of the Royal Air Force March Past by Walford Davies. The piece, originally written for military bands, is one that has a good following in the brass band world. If you are the proud owner of Hooked on Classics 2: Can’t Stop The Classics (K-Tel Records, 1982), it appears on the track If You Knew Sousa (and Friends). Our friends from a few yards uphill from the A62 gave us a sound performance. A neat final flourish.

*               *               *

Our fellows gave us a very good concert and we wish Linthwaite Brass Band the very best of luck in the future. Long may they continue to entertain countless audiences, from the Boarshurst Band Club to Harewood House.

Next at the Boarshurst Band Club

Coming to Boarshurst Band Club – the Home of the National Championship of Great Britain Second Section Champions (well done to you all on Saturday!) – are Silk Brass. They are situated in Marton, a village between Macclesfield and Congleton off the A34 to Manchester city centre. They are also a Section One band.

After playing host to one of the oldest brass bands last night [17 September], next week shall see one of the youngest brass bands (Silk Brass were formed in 1997). They rehearse at the aptly named Resurgam House and their Musical Director, Tony Wyatt, has played principal cornet for VBS Poynton and Fairey bands. If previous concerts have been anything to go by with Silk Brass, we could be in for a good night. Get there as early as possible.

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 (now sold) Greenfield Conservative Club. Both services operated by First Greater Manchester.

Twitter details: @boarshurstband#SundayBrass.

Website: www.boarshurstband.co.uk.

S.V., 18 September 2017.

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