Sale Brass: Sunday Brass at the Boarshurst Band Club (Spring 2018)

A super springtime sojourn for Sale Brass’ April concert 

Sale Brass’ return to Boarshurst Band Club saw a spectacular springtime sojourn. The Cheshire band – runners-up in the Fourth Section North West Regional Championships – gave us a lively programme. One that included a number of forgotten pieces and a one-hit wonder from 1980.

After Alan Seymour left Sale Brass Band for BMP Europe Goodshaw Brass Band, Sale Brass found a good replacement. Cue one-time trombonist for Eccles Borough Band, John Anderson. Shortly after his arrival in December 2017, Sale Brass clinched a Second Place sectional prize at the Butlins Mineworkers’ contest in Skegness.

John’s programme was light-hearted without being too light-hearted. There was a few brass banding classics thrown in for good measure including two from Brassed Off. Interestingly, another John Anderson was the Musical Director for Mark Herman’s 1995 film.

Just to recap, Sale Brass were previously known as Stretford Borough Band. In 1971, a change of premises (across the River Mersey from Lancashire to Cheshire) signalled a name change to their present one. In addition to the senior band, they also have a training band. Overall, last night’s band gave us a good concert. One that was well received by its live audience as well as the thousands who followed it on Boarshurst Silver Band’s Facebook page.

The Programme

First Half

  1. March: Death or Glory (R.B Hall);
  2. Overture: Pavane (Charles Fauré);
  3. Cornet Solo (performed by Aiden): My Ain Folk (Wilfred Mills, arr. Peter Graham);
  4. Cornet Trio (performed by Simon, Nicolette and Phil): Trumpets Wild (Harold J. Walters);
  5. Light Concert Music: The Guardian of My Soul (Darren Shaw);
  6. Flugelhorn Solo (performed by Daisy O’Dell): Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue (Richard Leigh, arr. Darrol Barry);
  7. Light Concert Music: Captain Beaky (Jeremy Lloyd/Jim Parker, arr. Bryce);
  8. Film Music Medley: Great Western Themes (various artistes, arr. Darrol Barry):
    1. The Magnificent Seven (Elmer Bernstein);
    2. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (Ennio Morricone);
    3. The Man With the Harmonica (Ennio Morricone);
    4. Dances With Wolves (John Barry).

Second Half

  1. March: Barnard Castle (Goff Richards);
  2. Light Concert Music: The Shepherd’s Song (French Traditional/Sir Edward Elgar, arr. Goff Richards);
  3. March: Royal Air Force March Past (Hugh Walford Davies/Sir George Dyson);
  4. Popular Music: Hey Jude (Lennon/McCartney, arr. Philip Wilby);
  5. Folk Song: Pokarekare Ana (New Zealand Traditional, arr. Peter Hargreaves);
  6. Light Concert Music: African Waltz (Galt MacDermot, arr. P.H. Greenwood);
  7. Popular Music: New York, New York (Fred Ebb/John Kander, arr. Thomas Wyss).

Encore

  • Light Concert: Clog Dance (J. Marcangelo).

Trumpets go wild for Beaky

Shortly after getting on stage, Sale Brass opened with R.B. Hall’s Death or Glory. For many brass band fanatics, it is a piece that screams “Whit Friday”. Either as a deportment march or as a contest march. For many more people, it is the opening piece in both film and theatrical versions of Brassed Off (in the latter, marked with clapping in time by the audience). A good start.

Better still was their second piece of the night: Charles Fauré’s Pavane. In the late 1880s it was originally written for piano and described by the composer as being “elegant but not otherwise important”. Had he listened to a brass band performance, he might have thought otherwise. It is an all-time classic brass banding piece. Suffice to say he would have been happy with Sale Brass’ performance.

This was topped by our first solo performance of the night – and arguably the strongest one given his youth. With a nod to John Anderson’s Scottish roots, Aiden performed My Ain Folk by Wilfred Mills (the pen name of William Alfred Braund). The traditional Scottish style piece was written by a Londoner who worked in a piano manufacturers. Last night’s performer (twelve years old) gave us all a sensational performance.

In fairness, John thought the remaining three members of the cornet section shouldn’t be left out. Therefore it was down to Simon, Nicolette and Phil to give us all a trio. The piece of choice being Harold J. Walters’ Trumpets Wild. Walters’ cornet piece makes for a jolly item in any programme. With tonight’s trio, no exception thanks to their performance.

For the fifth piece we had a change of tone: this time with Darren Shaw’s The Guardian of My Soul. The Salvationist composer’s piece takes in the song I Worship You, the music from Aurelia, and O Jesus, I Have Promised. A beautiful performance of the song made famous by The Salvation Army’s International Staff Band.

For our next piece we had a bit of Country and Western music. This time with a famous song by Crystal Gayle: Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue. Born Brenda Gail Webb on the 09 January 1951 in Paintsville, Kentucky, she is the daughter of a coal miner. The most famous work by the 67-year-old singer (with blue eyes) was performed by Daisy O’Dell on flugelhorn. What was Number Five in the UK in 1977 and Number One in the US, was a chart topper at Boarshurst Band Club Band. Another good performance from Daisy.

Our penultimate piece of this half also peaked at Number Five in the UK charts. This time in 1980 with Captain Beaky. Set to music, the poem by Jeremy Lloyd (co-writer of ‘Allo ‘Allo and Are You Being Served?) was recited by Shakespearean actor Keith Michell. There was also an album with voices by Harry Secombe, Twiggy, and Peter Sellers – and follow-ups. The Captain Beaky franchise even spawned a spoken word only version read by Jeremy Lloyd (on Pickwick Records) and inspired a (Not For Kids) version by Roy Chubby Brown. An unexpected yet joyous addition to the programme. Jim Parker, who wrote the music for Captain Beaky would later pen the music for Ground Force featuring Black Dyke Band.

Our final piece of the first half was a bit of film music. Or rather Darrol Barry’s Great Western Themes. Instead of celebrating God’s Wonderful Railway, it is a quartet of pieces by Ennio Morricone (The Man With the Harmonica, theme from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly), Elmer Bernstein (theme from The Magnificent Seven), and John Barry (theme from Dances With Wolves). Sadly for the train buffs, The Magnificent Seven isn’t a tribute to Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s broad gauge. Still, a good piece to finish off this half and at this point an enjoyable concert.

“If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere…”

As with the first half we opened our second half with a march. This time with Barnard Castle by Goff Richards. Alongside the castle themed marches by T.J. Powell and George Allen, Goff Richards’ work is a popular contest march for lower section bands. Another fine performance which also reminded us that Whit Friday is six weeks away.

Sticking to the works of Goff Richards, our next piece was his arrangement of The Shepherd’s Song. This is a traditional French song that had been set to music by Sir Edward Elgar (as Bailero). Its roots being Auvergne instead of Elgar’s beloved Malvern Hills. A nice relaxing piece which offered a real contrast to Barnard Castle and the raffle (with eleven life-changing prizes to help Sale’s trip to Cheltenham in September).

After the raffle came another classic piece: Hugh Walford Davies’ and Sir George Dyson’s Royal Air Force March Past. Originally written for military bands it also stands up well in brass band form. If you was a Child Of The 1980s, there’s a good chance you would have had a Hooked on Classics LP next to your Captain Beaky tape. On its second instalment – Can’t Stop The Classics – Walford Davies’ piece forms part of the track entitled If You Knew Sousa (and Friends). More good work from our friends in Sale Brass.

Next up was another popular concert standard: Philip Wilby’s arrangement of Hey Jude. Back in 1968, we were used to singles being shorter than four minutes. The Beatles’ Hey Jude broke that mould and topped the charts. For Sale Brass, another ‘Hit’.

This was followed by a unique piece, arranged by Glossop Old Band’s Peter Hargreaves. This being the traditional New Zealand folk song Pokarekare Ana. It is a traditional love song that has been written in Maori and English languages. For the musical geeks it was originally written in triple metre with the verse set to duple metre. Contemporary arrangements have the song set in duple metre. A rare treat, well played.

Our musical journey (along the Great Western?) has seen Sale Brass moving from Scotland to France and New Zealand (via Glossop Old Band Room). It would have been amiss to omit Africa. Our ‘next stop’ was African Waltz by Galt MacDermot, arranged by P.H. Greenwood. MacDermot’s song, written in 1960, was a Grammy Award winner following Cannonball Adderley’s recording. Arthur Terrance Galt MacDermot’s better known work was for the musical Hair, with songs including Aquarius. Lovely stuff.

Our final piece, before the encore, already added to Sale Brass’ unsustainable carbon footprint through their musical journey. This time with the theme from New York, New York entitled (quite imaginatively) New York, New York. Sung at many a wedding venue and karaoke bar from Wadebridge to Wetherby, it has been made popular by Liza Minelli and Frank Sinatra. The latter singer’s version was quite a slow burner in the UK singles chart, peaking at Number Four in March 1986. Sale Brass’ rendition got us all on a high.

As for the encore, our second Brassed Off related piece of the night. That of The Clog Dance. Composed by John Marcangelo, the writer joined forces with Mik Kaminski and the late Mike D’Albuquerque to form Violinski. In 1979, it peaked at 17 in the UK singles chart. It has been used as the starting music for Ministox (Mini Stock Car) races at some oval racing venues. A belting finish to get us all leaving with a smile on our faces.

Somehow, the sub-theme of last night’s concert was coal. Sandwiched between two Brassed Off pieces was Daisy O’Dell’s solo of Crystal Gayle’s 1977 chart hit. Once again, Sale Brass gave us a good concert. A little unchallenging for some ears though fulfilling John Anderson’s remit of an easy going concert. Any band who adds Pavane to their programme well and truly deserves two hours of your time.

We wish them well in the run-up to their Cheltenham trip in September. On the day at The Centaur room in Cheltenham Racecourse, we wish them the very best of luck. If you enjoyed your Darrol Barry arrangements last night, the Fourth Section test piece at the National Championships of Great Britain is Divertimento For Brass. It has three movements entitled Festival, Romance, and March, and was first used in 1990 as a Third Section regional test piece.

Next Week…

The 21st and 22nd April will see two concerts at the Mecca of Brass Banding. First up is Boarshurst Band Club’s occasional series of Saturday night concerts with the cream of brass banding. Coming to Boarshurst on the 21st April is Hammonds Saltaire Band. Conducted by Morgan Griffiths, their programme will include Le Roi d’ Ys, Die Fledermaus Overture, Shine As The Light, and Spitfire Prelude. On the strength of their concert last year, an unmissable night of brass band music awaits us.

Then on Sunday, 22nd April, Alan Seymour’s BMP Europe Goodshaw Brass Band will be making their way to Boarshurst Band Club. Previous concerts featuring the East Lancashire band have been very good; with the added dimension of Alan Seymour’s presentation, another night to remember.

Admission:

  • 21 April 2018: Hammonds Saltaire Band: £10.00 (no members’ discount);
  • 22 April 2018: BMP Europe Goodshaw Brass Band: £4.00 (£3.00 with members’ discount).

Both concerts start at 8pm. Doors open from 7pm. As seats are unreserved, please arrive in good time to be sure of a good seat.

Buses:

  • 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., 16 April 2018.

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