Tintwistle Band: Sunday Brass at the Boarshurst Band Club (October 2017)

Second visit of 2017 makes for a similarly vibrant concert

Eloquence and entertainment was in abundance at Tintwistle Band’s second visit of 2017 to the Boarshurst Band Club. Last night, Sarah Groarke-Booth opted for a mix of the old and the new in her programme. As well as including some pieces that could have been written in hieroglyphics instead of bass or treble clefs, there was some nifty new pieces. This made for an enjoyable concert on the whole.

Tintwistle Band, as we have mentioned before, have a proud history and have been based in the same Cheshire/Derbyshire (delete where appropriate) village for over 120 years. They are a Section 1 band and, last month, came third in the Entertainment Awards of the Hardraw Scar contest (and fourth overall). Not bad for their third ever visit to the Yorkshire Dales venue.

Once more, our Musical Director for the night was Sarah Groarke-Booth. Another tea connoisseur like your reviewer, she is also an actor with her alma mater being the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Coincidentally, our latest concert was a day shy of Emmerdale‘s 45th birthday (Sarah had appeared in the soap opera back in 2008). After gaining a BA Honours Degree in Band Musicianship and a Masters Degree in Performance (specialising in conducting), she has conducted many brass bands and adjudicated at some contests.

With the “Strictly… or bands” assuming today’s “Daddy or chips” dilemma in Saddleworth, today’s concert was worth giving up Strictly… for (there’s always iPlayer for that). Once more, Sarah’s self-effacing manner blended in with the concert programme.

The Programme

First Half

  1. Test Piece: River City Suite (James Curnow);
  2. Cornet Solo (performed by Michelle Barrow): I Hear You Calling Me (Charles Marshall, arr. J. Ord Hume);
  3. Cornet Trio (performed by Michelle Barrow, Christine Lloyd, and Peter Haigh): Bugler’s Holiday (Leroy Anderson, arr. Ray Woodfield);
  4. Light Concert Music: Daisy Bell (Gordon Langford);
  5. Hymn: Manchester (How Sweet The Name) (Richard Wainwright/Andi Cook);
  6. Horn Solo (performed by Kathryn Knowles): She (Charles Aznavour, arr. Alan Fernie);
  7. Horn Feature: Here, There, and Everywhere (Lennon/McCartney, arr. Tony Jagger);
  8. Popular Music: Fat Bottomed Girls (Brian May, arr. Philip Harper).

Second Half

  1. Original Piece: Blue (Thomas Gansch, arr. John Doyle);
  2. Flugelhorn Solo (performed by Stephen Barrow): Under the Boardwalk (Artie Resnick/Kenny Young, arr. Philip Harper);
  3. Popular Music: A Pencil Full of Lead (Paolo Nutini, arr. Alan Fernie);
  4. Baritone Solo (performed by Alex Henshaw): Rainy Days and Mondays (Roger Nichols/Paul Williams, arr. Alan Fernie);
  5. Film Music (from Pulp Fiction): Misirlou (also known as Pump It) (Nicholas Roubanis, arr. James Atkins).
  6. Bass Trombone Solo (performed by Peter Kite): Mah Na Mah Na (Piero Umiliani, arr. Peter Ratnik)
  7. Trombone Trio (performed by Peter Kite, Joanne Barrow, and Terry Chapell): It’s All Right With Me (Cole Porter, arr. Tom Brevik);
  8. Jazz Music: Caravan (Juan Tizol/Duke Ellington, arr. Sandy Smith).

Encore

  • Film Music (from Star Wars: A New Hope): Imperial March (John Williams, arr. Sandy Smith).

A river city suite for fat bottomed girls

In many brass band concerts, we traditionally start with a march. If you have been to several brass band concerts, you will find this maxim isn’t set in stone. As proof of this, Tintwistle Band opened with River City Suite. Inspired by the Appalachian Mountain Song, this was written by James Curnow as a test piece. It was first used as a Third Section test piece in 1993 at the KNFM Bondsconcours (Ere-afdeling) in Enschede on the 07 November. In 1999, it was the Third Section test piece at the Pontins brass band contest in Prestatyn, won by Eccles Borough band.

After this beautiful performance, our second piece of the night was equally adorable. That of I Hear You Calling Me, performed by Michelle Barrow. The song (lyrics by Harold Lake, music by Charles Marshall) was first published in 1908 by Boosey and Co. (predecessors of Boosey and Hawkes, London) and sung by John McCormack. His tenor voice made the piece a good seller in terms of sheet music sold. Michelle’s performance won us many friends and led us to our third piece.

The third piece in question may be described by some as ‘brass band cheese’, but it never fails to lift the concert. For our cornet trio, the ever unflappable Bugler’s Holiday, a pleasant piece for the balmy weekend we had. Alongside Michelle Barrow, her Jane Tucker and Freddy Marks were Christine Lloyd and Peter Haigh. A lovely rendition of Leroy Anderson’s zippy little number.

Our next piece covered a form of transport that television’s favourite yellow alien wouldn’t have been seen dead on: a bicycle. Or more precisely a tandem (even with George or Bungle). Fulfilling the Music on Stone Tablets category was the ever-so-pleasing Daisy Bell by Gordon Langford. Based on the song Daisy Bell (a Bicycle Made for Two), it is a popular piece of light concert music. This was enhanced by the use of bicycle bells, with the rendition being one that the late Gordon Langford would be proud of.

Our fifth piece of the night was Andi Cook’s and Richard Wainwright’s hymn, Manchester (How Sweet The Name). Its release via Pennine Music Publishing is helping to raise funds for those affected by the terrorist attack at Manchester Arena (22 May 2017). At Boarshurst Band Club, we were treated to a well played rendition of the piece. If you haven’t got a copy of the piece, go to the Pennine Music Publishing website.

This took us to the second solo piece. One, thanks to Kathryn Knowles’ performance on Horn, was one we couldn’t forget. That of She. Written by Charles Aznavour, it was a Number One single for four weeks from the 29 June 1974. The song was the signature tune to London Weekend Television’s Seven Faces of Woman. Another great solo performance.

Kathryn would also play an integral part in the horn feature, for the arrangement of Here, There, and Everywhere. The Lennon and McCartney piece, not overly taxing to the listener, was a very good effort. At the other end of the scale, and quirkier, was Queen’s Fat Bottomed Girls. This appeared on their 1978 LP Jazz. Philip Harper’s arrangement was well performed and got us onto a good footing for the next half. There was even a cheeky bit of musical flatulence at the end.

My blue caravan

The second half saw some of the band playing in the audience gallery. This was for Blue, written by James Gansch of Mnozil Brass fame. Near the end, the players filed towards their usual positions. A lovely start to the second half, thanks to the showbiz element as well as the piece itself.

Our next piece was a soul classic, first sung by The Drifters in 1964, and covered by Bruce Willis in 1987. On flugelhorn our third soloist of the night, Stephen Barrow, performed Under The Boardwalk. Stephen’s vibrant performance of The Drifters’ classic was atmospheric and well received by the audience.

For those missing their Strictly… fix, we continued with a piece often heard on Strictly Come Dancing. This being Paolo Nutini’s A Pencil Full of Lead, arranged by Alan Fernie. Released on the 02 November 2009, the single peaked at Number 17 in the UK singles chart and features on the album Sunny Side Up. This was the first of two Fernie arrangements of the night and a vibrant number.

Offering a real contrast was Alex Henshaw’s baritone solo of The Carpenters’ song, Rainy Days and Mondays. In spite of being a popular number on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean (thanks to The Carpenters’ compilation LPs and radio airplay), the song only peaked at 63 in the UK singles chart. In 1993 – 22 years after its original release in 1971. We at Boarshurst Band Club gave Henshaw’s performance a unanimous ‘Hit’ in the Juke Box Jury sense.

Prior to the raffle, we had a bit of film music. This time from a cult classic film filed in bold Helvetica type as “Not For Kids”. From Pulp Fiction, we were treated to Misirlou (otherwise known as Pump It). Popularised by Dick Dele and His Del-Tones in 1962, their version inspired Quentin Tarantino’s addition to the John Travolta and Uma Thurman film. To misquote a line from the film, one freaking good concert piece.

After ample time to put on make up, we came to our final soloist of the night. On bass trombone, Peter Kite. His piece was Mah Na Mah Na, written by Piero Umiliani in 1968. For some people, its use in Sesame Street (1969) and The Muppet Show (1976 – in the first ever episode) brings back childhood memories. It has also been covered in heavy metal form by Skin, with a Moog synthesizer by Hot Butter, and by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra.

After Peter Kite’s smooth performance of the classic tune, we also saw him in our last trio of the night. This time, a trombone trio of the Cole Porter number, It’s All Right With Me. The Graeme Garden and Tim Brooke-Taylor to our Bill Oddie was Joanne Barrow and Terry Chapell. A joyous trio, a calm before the storm which was…

Duke Ellington’s Caravan. Popular at the end of each concert, or prior to the interval, the brass band arrangement of Juan Tizol’s and Duke Ellington’s piece never fails to impress. Tintwistle’s performance was no exception with a superb dynamic range. The original work was first performed by Ellington in 1936. A satisfying finish, at least till our encore piece.

Thirteen pieces after we heard a piece by the man dubbed “one of the great American masters of light orchestral music,” [Bugler’s Holiday, Leroy Anderson] we closed our concert with a piece by the man who said that quote. That of John Williams, and one of his most famous works: the Imperial March from the Star Wars franchise of films by George Lucas (and Disney). Was the force with us by 10pm? Most definitely, thanks to a sparkling concert by Tintwistle Band.

Next Week…

We have two concerts at the Boarshurst Band Club. The first one, starting at 2pm features the greatest youth band in Europe, Elland Silver Youth Band. The second one, at 8pm, features a band on the last leg of their World Tour of Saddleworth.

Elland Silver Youth Band are this year’s European Youth Band championship winners. Following a local newspaper advert in 1995, their rise towards the youth brass banding super league is phenomenal. This is thanks to stability from the band’s wider community and having the same musical director since the start (Samantha Harrison). It has also benefited the senior band, now in the Championship section, and led to the creation of a training band, and a starters and beginners’ band.

The second band, on later in the day, is Dobcross Brass Monkeys (8pm). They started off as an adults’ training band and play in a non-contesting environment. Throughout the Saddleworth villages, they have been seen on the Whit Walks and in concert settings. Some players have moved onto other brass bands – ‘serious banding’ as they call it – and the vagaries of the contesting world.

Buses:

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

180 and 350 services: Alight at the former Greenfield Conservative Club. Both services are operated by First Greater Manchester.

355 service: alight at Tesco then walk along Chew Valley Road, easterly towards The Wellington pub. Greenbridge Lane should be on your right hand side. The 355 is operated during the daytime by MCT Travel (every two hours).

Twitter details: @boarshurstband; #SundayBrass.

Website: www.boarshurstband.co.uk.

 

S.V., 16 October 2017.

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