Boarshurst Silver Band’s 2017 Remembrance Sunday Concert: Review

Boarshurst Silver Band remembers 

From Friezland to Denshaw, and Glossop to Buxton, the Remembrance Sunday concert is an established fixture in the brass bander’s calendar. As well as remembering our fallen comrades, it also means Christmas is on its way. As with last year’s concert, Boarshurst Silver Band, gave us all a fantastic night. Even with concerts taking place in Delph, Dobcross, and Diggle at the same time, there was a respectable turnout.

Compared with last year’s concert, there was an evenly matched package of Remembrance Day themed tunes and regular concert standards in each half. We were treated to five superb soloists.

Of the three Boarshurst Silver Band concerts seen by yours truly in the last two months, none have been the same. Last night’s, and their previous concert at Glossop Old Band’s band room, a joy to watch for the audience. This thanks to a programme which pleases the audience whilst testing the band. James Garlick is proving to be a hard taskmaster and the band is improving with each concert.

As reflected in the programme, last night’s was no exception.

The Programme

First Half

  1. Medley: 1914 (various composers, arranged by Gordon McKenzie):
    • It’s a Long Way to Tipperary (Jack Judge);
    • Hello! Hello! Who’s Your Lady Friend? (Harry Fragson);
    • Take Me Back to Dear Old Blighty (Arthur J. Mills/Fred Godfrey/Bennett Scott).
  2. Film Music: The Dam Busters (Eric Coates);
  3. Soprano Cornet Solo (performed by William Reynolds): Let Me Try Again (Salvatore Caravelli, arr Simon Kerwin)
  4. Hymn: Lloyd (arr. Paul Lovatt-Cooper);
  5. Cornet Solo (performed by Ryan Ashley): The Lazy Trumpeter (Edrich Siebert);
  6. Light Concert Medley: Keep Smiling Through (various, arr. Darrol Barry);
    • The Army, the Navy and the Air Force (Herman Darewski/Edward Lockton);
    • Lilli Marlene (Norbert Schultze);
    • (There’ll be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover (Walter Kent/Nat Burton);
    • We’ll Meet Again (Rose Parker/Hughie Charles).
  7. Flugelhorn Solo (performed by Georgina Hulme): Under The Boardwalk (Kenny Young/Arthur Resnick);
  8. Classical Piece: Toccata and Fugue (J.S. Bach, arr. Philip Sparke).

Second Half

  1. Overture: Jubilance (Paul Lovatt-Cooper);
  2. Euphonium Solo (performed by Richard Wooding): With His First Breath (Paul Lovatt-Cooper);
  3. Film Music (from 633 Squadron): Theme Music from 633 Squadron (Ron Goodwin, arr. Darrol Barry);
  4. Film Music (from Saving Private Ryan): Hymn To The Fallen (John Williams, arr. Alan Fernie);
  5. Bass Solo (performed by Liam Welsh): Grandfather’s Clock (Henry Clay Work, arr. George Doughty);
  6. Hymn: Abide With Me (Henry Francis Lyte);
  7. Light Concert Music: Riverdance (Bill Whelan, arr. Ray Farr).

Encore

  • March: Marching Onward (Ivan Bosanko).

We will remember them

Last night’s concert opened with a recital of John McRae’s poem In Flanders Fields by yours truly. Following the playing of our National Anthem, we began with Gordon Mackenzie’s 1914. Previously played at last week’s concert by Middleton Band, this is a medley of three traditional marches. Whether on parade or in the concert hall, it is an audience pleaser with three well known pieces: It’s A Long Way from TipperaryHello! Hello! Who’s Your Lady Friend? an Take Me Back to Dear Old Blighty.

We followed this up with the theme from The Dam Busters by Eric Coates. The film from 1955 (and the 1951 book before then) is based on the 617 Squadron’s attack on the Möhne, Eder and Sorpe dams. For the film, Derbyshire and Cumbria doubled as Deutschland (the Derwent Dams and Lake Windermere were used for the film’s aerial action). The two rousing pieces got us off to a great start.

For our third piece, we moved onto our first soloist of the night. The first of five great solo performances. First up was William Reynolds on soprano cornet with Let Me Try Again, a song made popular by Frank Sinatra. Its lyrics were written by Paul Anka and, nearly 45 years ago, was a hit for the crooner. A satisfying solo performance by William.

We followed this up with our first Paul Lovatt-Cooper arrangement. This time, his arrangement of the hymn Lloyd. The popular hymn is a well bodied work with plenty for the listener to enjoy. With a bit of magic from Boarshurst Silver Band and the pen of Delph’s very own arranger extraordinaire, a stunning piece.

The magic didn’t stop with our second soloist of the night. This time with the most memorable solo debut seen at Boarshurst Band Club for some time. Enter on cornet solo with Edrich Siebert’s The Lazy Trumpeter, Ryan Ashley. The light concert piece was a joy to listen to, enhanced by Ryan’s playing abilities. It was an accomplished performance well beyond his years. At seventeen years of age, he still has a long way to go and definitely one to watch.

Returning to music of a Remembrance Day theme, our next piece of was Keep Smiling Through. This is a medley of songs made popular during the Second World War, arranged by Darrol Barry. First in was The Army, The Navy, and the Air Force, followed by Lilli Marlene, (There Will Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover, and We’ll Meet Again.

After this medley came our third soloist of the night. With a bit of help on bass from Nathan Edge and Keith Hope was Georgina Hulme’s flugelhorn solo of Under The Boardwalk. A solid performance among the many performances we have had of this piece at Boarshurst Band Club. A neat treat.

To finish off the first half we were treated to the J.S. Bach classic Toccata and Fugue. Whether played by Boarshurst Silver Band, or the orchestra arrangement, it is one piece that never fails to impress me. If you know your 1980s music, it is the last piece on Sky’s excellent Sky 2 album from 1980. Also the supergroup’s one and only chart single, peaking at Number Five that year. An impressive first half from Boarshurst Silver Band which left us wanting more.

Leading us all to a merry Riverdance

We opened the second half with our second Paul Lovatt-Cooper piece of the night, the uplifting Jubilance. The piece was commissioned by Fred Longworth High School, to commemorate its fiftieth anniversary. The Tyldesley school, with Academy Status since 2011, opened as a girls’ school in March 1964. A good concert opener which deserves a wide audience.

Continuing the Paul Lovatt-Cooper theme was our first soloist of the second half. Giving us a belting euphonium solo was Richard Wooding with his rendition of With His First Breath. This is a slow, haunting piece taken from Lovatt-Cooper’s larger work, Breath of Souls.

This was followed by one of Ron Goodwin’s most famous war themes, the theme music to 633 Squadron. As we have mentioned before, his other celebrated works include the theme music to BBC’s London Marathon coverage (The Trap), and the theme from The Battle of Britain. If you listened to Piccadilly Radio in the late 1980s, a snatch of the theme music was used for Eye In The Sky. Before we turned to Google for traffic information, this part of the station’s breakfast show gave you ‘the news of the queues’. From a light aircraft with presenter Jo Blakeway in tow, from Barton Aerodrome.

The fourth piece of this half came from another film. A modern-day classic in the form of Saving Private Ryan. One of the best known pieces in John Williams’ soundtrack is Hymn To The Fallen. Beyond its use in the 1998 film, it has taken on a second life as a piece for Remembrance Day concerts. Rightly so given Williams’ impeccable knack of creating an atmosphere in his works. With the addition of Boarshurst Silver Band, say no more: a stunning performance with excellent clarity between loud and soft notes.

Oh, I am not just saying that because Boarshurst Silver Band have an album to shift (yours for a tenner from the band club). Speaking of which, you might be having this next piece on repeat play. That of Grandfather’s Clock, performed on bass by Liam Welsh. Liam overcame his nerves with an accomplished performance of Henry Clay Work’s best known piece. Which, if you are the proud owner of Half Man Half Biscuit’s Joy Division Oven Gloves, is cross-referenced towards the end of the song.

Our penultimate piece of the second half was Abide With Me. To millions, it is known as the hymn of the F.A. Cup Final tie (usually sung by a choral singer in the middle of Wembley Stadium). The hymn was set to music whilst the composer was dying from tuberculosis. He died three weeks after its completion. It was also a favourite hymn of Mahatma Gandhi and has been used in many settings.

The last piece of the night – well, before the encore – was Riverdance. If you went to their previous concerts at St. Anne’s Church in Royton and Glossop Old Band Room, this was Boarshurst Silver Band’s final (pre-encore) piece. Bill Whelan’s tune was the high point of 1994’s Eurovision Song Contest, heard in the interval prior to judging. A stern test for the band but a satisfying piece to listen to. An excellent climax which left the audience asking for more, and gasping for air at the same time.

We closed last night’s concert with Marching Onward, written by Ivan Bosanko. The march is inspired by, and includes a snatch of Onward Christian Soldiers. Also a poignant piece with Onward Christian Soldiers being a favourite hymn of the late great Janet Payne. All in all, another great night’s brass banding within a tight two hour long programme.

Last year, I said that Boarshurst Silver Band were “a brass band at least half a decade away from reaching the Championship Section.” Since then, they have become Britain’s Greatest Second Section Band and, from 2018, a First Section band. What I thought was hyperbole last year could well be reality in 2021.

Next at the Boarshurst Band Club

It’s a Sunday double header on the 19 November. Or more specifically, a Saddleworth Sunday Double Bill. Starting at 12.30pm is the first of our Sunday Lunchtime Youth Brass concerts. Taking up their positions in the afternoon gig is Delph Youth Band.

At 8pm, Diggle Band will be doing the evening concert. The Championship section band have among their personnel Andrew Stott (a founder member of the Phoenix Brass ensemble) and flugelhorn legend David Pogson.

Both concerts due to their local interest, may be well attended. Please arrive as soon as possible to be sure of a seat. Doors are open from 12 midday for the Delph Youth Band concert. Crisps, nut, sandwiches, and soft drinks are available at both concerts subject to availability.

Buses:

  • 180: Greenfield [Clarence Hotel] – Lees – Oldham – Hollinwood – Manchester [Oldham Street] (First Greater Manchester);
  • 350: Ashton-under-Lyne – Mossley – Greenfield – Uppermill – Dobcross – Delph – Waterhead – Oldham (First Greater Manchester).
  • 355: Ashton-under-Lyne – Stalybridge – Mossley – Friezland – Greenfield – Uppermill – Delph – Denshaw (MCT Travel: every two hours, daytimes only).

180 and 350 services: Alight at the former Greenfield Conservative Club.

355 (daytime only): alight at Tesco supermarket.

Twitter details: @boarshurstband#SundayBrass.

Website: www.boarshurstband.co.uk.

S.V., 13 November 2017.

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