Littleborough Training Band’s succinct and entertaining programme at Boarshurst Band Club
On the 11 February, Littleborough Training Band gave us all a succinct and entertaining concert at the Boarshurst Band Club. It also kicked off this year’s programme of afternoon concerts featuring the finest youth bands.
Littleborough Training Band caters for musicians who wish to a learn a brass band instrument. For anyone aged eight to eighty-four, you can learn to play anything from cornet to euphonium. The training band’s practice night is Wednesday, taking place at Littleborough Brass Band’s band room on Hartley Street. It is well connected with local bus routes (454, 456, 457, 589, 590, X58) stopping nearby. The railway station is about 10 – 15 minutes walk.
At a previous concert with Littleborough Training Band, our Musical Director was Laura Whittaker. For this year’s engagement, Victoria Seymour took charge. Alan Seymour (BMP Europe Ltd Goodshaw Band’s M.D.) was also in attendance.
Littleborough Training Band gave an enjoyable concert with entertainment and brevity in abundance.
- March: True and Trusty (J.A. Greenwood);
- Film Music: Theme from Jurassic Park (John Williams, arr. Frank Bernaerts);
- Euphonium Solo (performed by Louise Benton): Foolin’ About (Traditional, arr. Gary Young);
- Popular Music: Counting Stars (Ryan Tedder, arr. Matt Conaway/Jack Holt);
- Popular Music: I Will Follow Him (Stole/Roma/Plant, arr. Goff Richards).
- March: Strength and Shield (Andy Norman);
- Cornet Duo (performed by Sadie Gee and Annabel Greenhalgh): Rolling in the Deep (Adele Adkins/Paul Epworth, arr. Rob Hume);
- Film Music (from Rocky III (1982)): The Eye of the Tiger (Jim Peternik/Frank Sullivan, arr. Peter King);
- Hymn: Myfanwy (Humber Parry, arr. Denzil Stephens);
- Popular Music: Mambo No. 5 (arr. Stefan Rabe);
- Popular Music: Happy (Pharrell Williams, arr. Frank Bernaerts).
Why is True And Trusty foolin’ about?
For our first piece of the afternoon we opened with J.A. Greenwood’s True and Trusty. If you have been on many a Whit Walk from Denton to Denshaw, it is a favourite march among brass bands on Whit Sunday or Whit Friday morning. It is also a popular piece at the Durham Miners’ Gala – also known as The Big Meet. Reminding us of the fact that The Big Meet is six months away (14 July 2018), Littleborough Training Band got off to a good start.
Before you could lie down and think of the myriad brass bands (or any labour movement icons on the platform), our second piece was a film theme. This time with John Williams’ theme from Jurassic Park. Based on the Michael Crichton novel, Steven Spielberg’s 1993 film was a global box office smash. Reminding us of that summer hit, was another good performance.
This took us to our one and only soloist of the afternoon. Enter Louise Benton on euphonium with her performance of Foolin’ About. Written by Gary Young, this lively piece was an audience pleaser. Popular among youth bands and training bands, this piece can also be performed as a trombone solo. Another good show, in her second performance of the piece at Boarshurst Band Club.
Up four places on last year’s programme at Number Four was our first chart topper of the afternoon. Once again, OneRepublic’s Counting Stars, a UK Number One hit single from June 2013. The song was covered by the late Christina Grimmie a year later. Some more good work from our fellows just off the M62.
Up five places on last year’s programme was our fifth and final piece of the first half. Once again, I Will Follow Him. First released in 1961 it was written by Franck Pourcel under the nom de plume of J.W. Stole. Petula Clark and Little Peggy March have also covered the song. To more modern ears, it is associated with the Whoopi Goldberg comedy film Sister Act. Their rendition ended a neat half hour’s worth of music.
“Rising up to the challenge of our rivals…”
Our second half opened with a march based hymn. That of Andy Norman’s Strength and Shield. The march also includes a bit of the hymn Cym Rhondda, which would resonate amongst Welsh miners. Recently, a simplified arrangement of the piece has been made available free of charge for training bands. A good start to the second half.
This was followed up by a cornet duo. Cue Sadie Gee and Annabel Greenhalgh with their rendition of Rolling in the Deep. It has been used by many broadcasters as incidental music. The “dark bluesy gospel disco tune” – in Adele’s words – is the second track on her 2011 album 21. Peaking at Number Two in the UK singles chart, our twosome did themselves proud.
Our third piece of this half (no change at Number Nine on last year’s programme) is a nailed on classic. That of The Eye of the Tiger, a Number One hit single for Survivor in the summer of 1982. For many people, it means Rocky III. For the 300 or so who watch Hyde United, a run-out theme for The Tigers. Our friends from Littleborough didn’t half put a tiger in their tank with this purr-fect performance.
Sticking to the Welsh theme set by our opening piece in this half was another hymn. That of Humber Parry’s Myfanwy. The song, which translates from Welsh to English as Beloved, was set to lyrics written by Richard Davies. It is a favourite among Welsh choirs. Though a testing piece for the band, it was well received by the audience.
The penultimate piece of the afternoon was a UK Number One single for Lou Bega in 1999. Not long after, it was used in a memorable episode of The Royle Family in a decorating scene. Our second summer smash of this half was Mambo No.5. In brass band form, as irresistible as the original. Littleborough Training Band proved just that.
Closing the concert was another uplifting song. Used in the film Despicable Me, this song more than anything does what it says on the tin. Yes, Pharrell Williams’ Happy. Which, if released 40 years earlier than its original year, would have been a Wigan Casino classic. One couldn’t resist the temptation of singing along. At this time of writing, it has only been covered by one artist: The Singing Dentist (as Gappy in relation to missing teeth). Littleborough Training Band’s finale got us leaving Boarshurst Band Club on a high.
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Once more, Littleborough Training Band gave us a succinct and accessible concert. Nothing too taxing for a Sunday afternoon. With its eleven pieces, a good afternoon’s music for introducing youngsters to brass band concerts.
Next at Boarshurst Band Club…
Due to Storm Emma and The Beast of the East giving Saddleworth a bit of battering, this Sunday’s concerts have been postponed. Once we have revised dates for Middleton Youth Band’s and Whitworth Vale and Healey Band’s concerts, you will be the first to know.
On the other hand, you might be thinking of Mother’s Day which falls on the 11 March this year. Why not treat your mother to a nice meal in the Saddleworth area, then follow that up with a Sunday Brass concert?
Weather permitting, the 11 March’s Sunday Brass concert will be Uppermill Band. As the Third Section band will have plenty of local support, please arrive early to be sure of a good seat.
- 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., 02 March 2018.