Middleton Band: Sunday Brass at the Boarshurst Band Club (March 2018)

Gibbs’ Boarshurst return results in another exciting concert

Newly promoted Middleton Band sprung into action with a superb concert at the Boarshurst Band Club. Last night [25 March], they also became the first senior band to feature in Boarshurst Band Club’s live concert streams.

By coincidence rather than design, Middleton Band’s visits to Boarshurst Band Club are close to the clocks going back or going forward. Whereas November’s concert was close to the former, last night’s concert was hours away from the latter.

Another thing you could always set your watch by is Middleton Band’s tight performance. Once again, Kevin Gibbs’ band gave us another great concert. A journey which included stops in Sweden, Russia, America, Blackpool, and Chadderton.

Just over a month ago, Middleton Band won the Second Section prize at the North West Regional Championships in Blackpool. In the Galleon, Theatre, and Gillow bars at Winter Gardens there were scenes of jubilation from the band. As well as going to The Centaur in Cheltenham Racecourse, they will be a First Section band next year.

With the trappings of promotion comes continued fundraising efforts. Fundraising efforts to pay for instruments, sheet music, uniforms, etc. Also the entry fees for each contest and hotel accommodation, and the coach to Cheltenham. In addition to the raffle there was a special Easter draw where you could name a teddy bear. A further donation was made by Boarshurst Silver Band, with Middleton’s rise striking a chord with Boarshurst’s members.

The Programme

First Half

  1. Concert Opener: Prismatic Light (Alan Fernie);
  2. Overture: Le Domino Noir (Daniel Auber, arr. George Hawkins);
  3. Principal Cornet Solo (performed by Stephanie Coward): How Great Thou Art (Carl Boberg, arr. Simon Wood);
  4. Popular Music: Hit The Road Jack (Percy Mayfield, arr. Sandy Smith);
  5. Folk Music: The Water of Tyne (Traditional, arr. Philip Harper);
  6. Tenor Horn Trio (performed by Jonny Earl, Emma Davies, Angela Hayes): Trio Con Brio (various, arr. Gordon Langford);
  7. Film Music: Theme from Star Wars: A New Hope (John Williams, arr. Ray Farr).

Second Half

  1. Jazz Music: Caravan (Duke Ellington, arr. Aubrey Winter);
  2. Light Concert Music: Amporito Roca (The Sheltered Cliff) (Jaime Teixidor, arr. Ray Woodfield);
  3. Flugelhorn Solo (performed by Jonny Earl): Evergreen (Barbra Streisand/Paul Williams, arr. Derek Ashmore);
  4. Film Music (from Aladdin): One Jump Ahead (Alan Menken/Tim Rice, arr. Dan Price);
  5. Film Music (from Forrest Gump): Feather Theme (Alan Silvestri, arr. Sandy Smith);
  6. Euphonium Duet (performed by Sarah Fitton and Adam O’Neill): Flying Home (Goff Richards);
  7. Medley: Breezin’ Down Broadway (Various, arr. Goff Richards):
    • (From Kiss Me, Kate) Another Op’nin’, Another Show (Cole Porter);
    • (From Annie Get Your Gun) There’s No Business Like Show Business (Irving Berlin);
    • (From My Fair Lady and High Society) Get Me To the Church on Time (Stanley Holloway);
    • (From Oklahoma!) Oklahoma! (Richard Rodgers/Oscar Hammerstein);
    • (From That’s Entertainment!) That’s Entertainment! (Howard Dietz, Arthur Schwartz);
    • (From The Music Man) Seventy-Six Trombones (Meredith Wilson).


  • March: Blaze Away (J. Ord Hume).

As Yoda would say for the first piece, “By Fernie Alan, Light Prismatic”.

The first Boarshurst concert of Spring opened with a number which screams gambolling lambs and daffodils. In many cases, a number used to open many a good brass band concert: Alan Fernie’s Prismatic Light. It was originally written for Loanhead Youth Band though embraced by the likes of Black Dyke Band. So far, Middleton Band’s rendition of this opening number has been seen by over 2,400 viewers on Facebook. A great opener to any concert, whether you saw the performance on your tablet or in person.

This was followed by a brilliant overture, Daniel Auber’s Le Domino Noir. Translating into English as the more prosaic Black Domino, its overture is the best known part of the comic opera. It is set in 1780 where Angèle de Olivarès, a trainee nun, attends a ball in the honour of the Queen of Spain. She absconds from the convent in disguise alongside her companion Brigitte.

The third piece was a marked contrast, albeit of ecclesiastical leanings. Enter on Principal Cornet Stephanie Coward, with her solo of How Great Thou Art. In a 2013 poll charting the UK’s favourite hymn, it was The Nation’s Favourite Hymn. It is based on a Swedish traditional melody and a poem by Carl Boberg. In more recent times it has been covered by Carrie Underwood and Bryn Yemm. Britain’s Number One was also Boarshurst’s Number One last night, thanks to Steph’s stunning solo.

As for the fourth piece of the night, finger licking good. A soundtrack to nutritionally incorrect food as well as the Chicago Cubs. Cue the Ray Charles number, Hit The Road Jack. This was a good workout for the basses and baritones and a joy to listen to. As for the chicken reference, it was used in a Kentucky Fried Chicken advert.

After Middleton Band gave us a performance that was more gourmet dinner than bargain bucket, we moved from Chicago to South Shields. Our fifth piece was The Water of Tyne. Based on a traditional folk song, we were treated to Philip Harper’s arrangement. Another good performance which showed off the band’s prowess in playing quieter pieces.

Had the ferry crossing premise of The Water of Tyne been set in 1987, our passenger would have headed to St. James’ Park to see an exciting young footballer.

Where, may you ask, does John Paul Gascoigne fit into this concert? The opening part of Gordon Langford’s medley of The Three Tenors’ works, Trio Con Brio. For football fans of a certain age, its opening part Nessun Dorma (from Puccini’s opera Turandot) is associated with World Cup Italia ’90. And a crying Gazza. This was followed by O Sole Mio – adapted to sell premium priced ice creams – and the melody of Elvis Presley’s It’s Now Or Never. Middleton’s very own three tenors (Jonny Earl, Emma Davies, Angela Hayes), gave us a smashing performance.

We closed our first half with a sneak preview of Middleton Band’s future concert, An Evening At The Movies. This time with John Williams’ theme from Star Wars. Or Star Wars: A New Hope, if you cannot bring yourself to disowning Jar Jar Binks. With this one, the force really was with Middleton Band. A brilliant first half.

“…as Spanish as a stick of liquorice.”

If you thought Prismatic Light was a good opening piece, a more daring piece was chosen to mark the second half. That of Duke Ellington’s Caravan, which never ceases to be a crowd pleaser. Aubrey Winter’s arrangement, as performed by Middleton Band had the same effect.

This was followed by Amparito Roca, a piece written by Jaime Teixidor in 1925. It is a Spanish pasodoble which was named after one of his piano students. As to whether Teixidor composed the piece is open to debate. One source suggests that Reginald Ridewood (now, there’s a name that’s as Spanish as a stick of liquorice) was the real composer and that he failed to apply for the copyright.

Whoever wrote it, it was a jolly piece that was well performed. Unless we know otherwise, it wasn’t penned by Cuddles (that was the winning name in the teddy bear draw which followed this piece).

You could say that our third piece of this half is an evergreen favourite. That of Barbra Streisland’s best known work from A Star Is Born. Our second soloist, Jonny Earl, treated us to a splendid rendition of Evergreen. Also known in full as Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star Is Born) it was a huge hit on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean (top of the US Billboard Charts, and a UK Number Three single). In September 1998 it was also the first song to have been played on Century 105 FM (which is now Heart North West). A smashing performance from Jonny Earl, whether you were sat down in Boarshurst Band Club or on your tablet in your easy chair.

Continuing the movie theme, this was followed by One Jump Ahead, Dan Price’s arrangement of the piece used in Walt Disney’s Aladdin. The piece performed by the lead character was remembered fondly by Kevin Gibbs (who enjoyed the film in his early to mid teens). Thanks to Middleton Band, the Menken and Rice/Price Alliance was a vote winner among the live audience.

Our next piece came from another 1990s classic film. It is a film which features running, the child-like charm of its main character (played by Tom Hanks), and chocolates. If you answered Forrest Gump, well done. The piece we heard was Feather Theme, a joyous number from the 1994 film (which was its main theme music). Different? Yes. Well played? Most certainly so.

Following the raffle came our penultimate piece: something completely different by the late great Goff Richards. This time a euphonium duet with Sarah Fitton and Adam O’Neill playing Goff Richards’ Flying Home. If ever there was a good penultimate piece for any brass band concert, this fitted the bill. With the euphonium excellence of Sarah and Adam, time well spent.

Before the encore, our closing piece was another medley – and another piece arranged by Goff Richards. Taking us to Broadway (be it New York or New Moston) was Breezin’ Over Broadway. This features six well known songs from the shows, opening with Another Op’nin’ Another Show, and finishing with Seventy-Six Trombones. It was a good climax to a superb concert. Unusual to some ears was the lack of a march.

A march? No march in March? This was rectified in the encore with a piece by J. Ord Hume. As used in The Two Ronnies’ Brass Band sketch, we were treated to Blaze Away. Which in all seriousness is a good street march due to its bumptiousness. A good piece for the bandstand on a scorching July in Eastbourne.

By 10.10 pm, “it was goodnight from him [Kevin], and goodnight from them [the band]”. To quote one of the viewers who saw the live stream, “beats Sunday night TV anytime”. Well said! If you liked what you saw, here are details of their next concert:

An Evening At The Movies

  • UK Release: 08 April 2018.
  • Studio: Friends of Middleton Band Productions.
  • Starring: Middleton Band, Middleton Youth Band, Middleton Training Band.
  • Directors: Kevin Gibbs and Louise Crane.
  • Duration: 90 minutes.
  • Rating: U (Suitable For All).

Next on Middleton Band’s calendar is their An Evening At The Movies concert. This shall take place on the 08 April 2018 at St. Stephen’s Church, High Street, Middleton. If you enjoyed the movie themed pieces at the Boarshurst concert, you might like this concert.

Tickets are priced £5.00 for adults, £4.00 for senior citizens, and £3.00 for children. There will also be afternoon tea style refreshments and free admission for members of the Friends of Middleton Band. Tickets may be purchased on the door, online via the Middleton Band website, or by telephone on 0161 375 1876.

  • Buses: 17 (from Manchester and Rochdale), 59 (from Manchester and Oldham), 415 (from Alkrington Garden Village, Chadderton, and Oldham).

Next Week…

There are two concerts coming up this week. First off on Maundy Thursday is the traditional Road End Fair concert. As Boarshurst Silver Band are otherwise occupied this week, Greenfield Brass Band will be providing the entertainment. This alongside the Saddleworth Morris Men, who appear after the interval. This will start at 7.30pm.

On Easter Sunday, Max Stannard returns to Boarshurst Band Club with Friezland Band. Boarshurst’s nearest neighbours who rehearse at Uppermill Conservative Club – away from their village – aim to offer an egg-citing concert. Doors will open at 7pm for the usual 8pm start.


  • 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.

Website: www.boarshurstband.co.uk.

S.V., 26 March 2018.

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