Dobcross Youth Band’s video stars sparkle in a thrilling concert – with over 18,000 viewers 

I heard them on my wireless back in ’92/Roy Newsome’s programme blasting Punchinello too…*

In 1979, Buggles topped the charts with Video Killed The Radio Star. On the 01 August 1981, it was the first song to be played on the original MTV music channel. Back then, brass bands had extensive radio coverage on local and national BBC radio stations. With the loss of Listen To The Band, this is no longer the case.

Over at Boarshurst Band Club, today’s video stars – thanks to the wonders of internet streaming – may include the full XXXIII that make up a brass band. In addition to a good turnout at the venue, last night’s concert was seen by more than 18,000 viewers. Over 6,000 of which saw the concert in its entirety – more than the Latics’ average gate at Boundary Park.

Dobcross Youth Band are now in their thirtieth year of brass banding. Since then they have won numerous prizes at youth level with 2002 its record year. Dobcross Youth Band picking up eleven prizes on Whit Friday that year, including eight Best Youth prizes, a Deportment prize and two Best in Saddleworth prizes.

The Musical Director for Dobcross Youth is Matthew Hindle. His previous bands include Rochdale Borough Youth and Pennine Brass. He is also the Head of Music at Tottington High School. Outside of brass banding, he is a member of The Jager Meisters, a German style Oompah band. His link with The Jager Meisters and The Mecca of Brass Banding, is the Boarshurst Silver Band musical director, James Garlick.

Opening with a Robbie Williams favourite and finishing with a lively Alan Fernie piece, they gave us all a lively concert. Whether you braved the awful weather en route to Boarshurst Silver Band’s home or followed the live stream, you were rewarded for your persistence.

The Programme

First Half

  1. Popular Music: Let Me Entertain You (Robbie Williams/Guy Chambers, arr. Don Campbell);
  2. Principal Cornet Solo (performed by Scarlet): Rusalka’s Song to the Moon (Anton Dvorak, arr. Gordon Langford);
  3. Light Concert Music: I Got Rhythm (George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin, arr. Denzil Stephens);
  4. Euphonium Duet (performed by Eleanor and Julian): Softly As I Leave You (Giorgio Calabrease/Tony de Vita, arr. Alan Catherall);
  5. Test Piece: First and Second Movements from Windows of the World (Peter Graham);
  6. Film Music: Theme from Pirates of the Caribbean (Hans Zimmer, arr. Sandy Smith).

Second Half

  1. Hymn: Lord of the Dance (Joseph Brackett/Sydney Carter, arr. Philip Wilby);
  2. Baritone Solo (performed by Ben Hill-Wilson): He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother (Bob Russell/Bobby Scott, arr. Brian Crooks);
  3. Popular Music: Walking on Sunshine (Kimberley Rew, arr. Rob J. Hume);
  4. Euphonium Solo (performed by Julian Bailey): Rhapsody for Euphonium (James Curnow);
  5. Popular Music: Hey Jude (Lennon/McCartney, arr. Philip Wilby);
  6. Hymn: The Irish Blessing (Traditional, arr. Stephen Bradnum).


  • Light Concert Music: Friday Funk (Alan Fernie).

Let them entertain us? They really did!

It is hard to believe that Robbie Williams’ song Let Me Entertain You is twenty years old! For many singers, parties, and theatrical productions, it is a popular opening number. Inspired by this, and reflecting the band’s can-do attitude, Dobcross Youth Band chose this song to begin last night’s concert. This turned out to be a good choice getting the live audience in a good mood.

The second piece was our first soloist (and the youngest one) of the night. Playing Anton Dvorak’s Rusalka’s Song to the Moon on principal cornet was 11-year-old Scarlet. For some lower section bands, a fairly ambitious piece. Scarlet’s performance was amazing; of the live streamed clips, her performance attracted the highest viewing figures. The live audience that night? Truly awestruck.

How did we top the second piece? With a bit of George Gershwin of course (who could ask for anything more?). Our third piece was I Got Rhythm. Apart from being a popular number in variety shows, it came from the musical Girl Crazy (1930). Its chorus is set to a 34-bar AABA form (useful mnemonic: Auntie Agnetha, Benny, and Annafrid). It has been covered by Ella Fitzgerald and closes Mike Oldfield’s 1979 album, Platinum. Another fine performance.

The fourth piece of our night was a duet: a euphonium duet performed by Eleanor and Julian Bailey. Arranged by Alan Catherall with The Childs Brothers (Robert and Nicholas) in mind was Softly As I Leave You. If Robert and Nicholas caught a glimpse of the Dobcross duo’s performance, they would have been proud. It has also been covered by Elvis Presley, Michael Bublé, and Frank Sinatra.

Our fifth piece was the most ambitious item of this half. One that was a real treat for the ears in two movements. The Peter Graham piece, Windows of the World in its unabridged form, has six movements. We heard the first two movements: Amazonia and Rainforest. Both movements were a real joy and the inclusion of bird whistles (in the second movement) was a neat bonus.

To close the first half, we had a bit of film music. Enter Hans Zimmer’s theme from The Pirates of the Caribbean. The franchise featuring Jack Sparrow has enchanted cinemagoers since 2003 – helped in no small part by Zimmer’s soundtrack. Dobcross Youth Band’s performance neatly captured their derring do, taking us to the interval.

Thank Fernie it’s Friday

To begin the second half we had a hymn. Well, a livelier one in the form of Lord of the Dance. The hymn, arranged by Philip Wilby, was written by Sydney Carter in 1963 and set to the music of Elder Joseph Brackett’s Simple Gifts. This was an American Shaker song which has been covered by folk singers and adapted into several football chants. Whether you were singing “Dance dance…” or “Park, Park…” before “wherever you may be”, it was another toe-tapper.

Our next piece was a horn solo courtesy of Ben Hill-Wilson. This time, He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother, The Hollies’ most famous work. Originally a hit in 1969, it was a UK Number One hit single in 1988 (thanks to an advert for Muller Lite beer). Ben gave us a stunning solo performance: definitely one to watch for the future. A player whom Dobcross Youth would miss due to his incredible workload behind the scenes.

The third piece was a major hit for Katrina and the Waves in 1985. Walking On Sunshine, in its brass band form, is conducive to street marching as well as concert setting. Dobcross Youth Band proved just that with yours truly tempted to sing along. The song first appeared on the group’s eponymous debut album in 1983. In April 1985, an edited version reached the charts, peaking at Number Eight. The group’s organist, Nick Glennie-Smith, later worked with Hans Zimmer on a number of pieces. Including the theme from Pirates of the Caribbean.

This led us to our last soloist of the night: this time on euphonium. Giving us the smoothest solo performance of the night was Julian Bailey. This time with James Curnow’s sublime Rhapsody for Euphonium. His intonation and depth was superb and the seconds flew past. If there was one piece that was like a mug of cocoa, Curnow’s piece fitted the bill. A real winter warmer.

Last night’s live ‘televised’ concert could have claimed a cock-up to call its own. This came in the form of the raffle, which turned out to be The Raffle That Never Was due a false start (the Pink Drum of Destiny was empty). Sadly that wasn’t captured for posterity (Dobcross Youth Band could have claimed £200 off Harry Hill if seen on You’ve Been Framed).

Proving that everything was all right on the night, Matthew gave the horn section a chance to sparkle on screen. This time with Lennon and McCartney’s Hey Jude. At seven minutes and eleven seconds, it was the longest single to have topped the charts. Back in 1968, we were used to singles being shorter than four minutes. The horn section gave us a great performance.

After a more successful second attempt at doing the raffle came our penultimate piece. One that was dedicated to Janet Payne, and an appropriate choice for the Sunday after St. Patrick’s Day. That of Stephen Bradnum’s arrangement of The Irish Blessing. It is based on a traditional folk tune and proof that “less is more” works well in brass banding, as much as bombastic pieces.

Closing last night’s concert was Alan Fernie’s Friday Funk. A marked contrast to Stephen Bradnum’s piece, it is a lively number designed for training bands and youth bands. Like Walking on Sunshine, good for street marching as well as concerts.

Whether you followed their concert on screen or made your way to Boarshurst Band Club in most awful conditions, they gave us a lively programme. A well balanced one with some fantastic solo performances. Matthew Hindle and his band should be proud of their efforts.

We wish them well in their future contesting endeavours and hope they enjoy their trip to France. If you wish to see more of Dobcross Youth Band, they will be participating in this year’s Mass Brass II at Uppermill Civic Hall. They will also be sharing the bill with Greenfield, Delph, and Boarshurst Silver bands.

Tickets for Mass Brass II are priced £9.00 for adults, and £7.00 for concessions. The concert starts at 7.30pm on Saturday 24 March 2018. Buses for Uppermill Civic Hall: 184 (from Oldham and Manchester) and 350 (from Ashton-under-Lyne, Mossley, Greenfield, and Oldham).

Next week at Boarshurst Band Club…

Second Section North West Regional Champions Middleton Band will be coming to Boarshurst Band Club. Therefore as of next year they will be in the same section as Boarshurst Silver Band. Once more we shall be seeing Kevin Gibbs, Louise Crane and Co. – which all adds up to another good concert.

Our favourite brass banding Moonrakers will take to the stage at the more usual time of 8.00pm. As always, doors are open from 7.00pm.


  • 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., 19 March 2018.

* With sincere apologies to Trevor Horn.

One thought on “Dobcross Youth Band: A Special Sunday Brass Night at the Boarshurst Band Club

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