Elland Silver Band: Sunday Brass at the Boarshurst Band Club (May 2018)

Whit Week rounded off in style by a superb concert

In Saddleworth, Whit Friday was marred by awful weather. Though Whit Week was blessed by warm weather, its most important day bucked the trend of sunny weather. The sunniest of receptions that week were marked by the arrival of Elland Silver Band to the Boarshurst Band Club.

After a superb run on Whit Friday and their success in the British Open Championship Senior Trophy, they gave the audience a flavour of what they may have missed. Or seen before, and previously enjoyed this month in Blackpool or Dukinfield.

Elland Silver Band’s rise to the Championship Section isn’t only due to its award-winning youth band (Elland Silver Youth Band). Its Training, Starter, Beginners’, and Adult Brass bands also play a part. There is also the Red Admiral Music Academy, based on the other side of the Pennines in Mawdesley. Situated near Ormskirk it picked up the British Junior Brass Band Entertainment Championship prize. Elland Silver’s euphonium player Marija Anna Novicane ran a composition workshop for the band.

Key to its cooperation between the white and red rose counties is Musical Director Daniel Brooks. Based in Lancashire he started playing trombone at the age of 10 for his local brass band. After gaining BMus (Hons) and MMus in Performance with Distinction, he became a well respected trombonist. On Solo Trombone his bands have included Leyland Band, YBS Band (today’s Hammonds Band), and the Brighouse and Rastrick Band.

If Daniel Brooks can make an entertaining programme of music based on the demise of the Yellow Pages, he could! As with the previous two concerts, thoroughly entertaining. Elland Silver Band’s 2018 visit to Boarshurst Band Club was a very special one. A surefire candidate for one of our favourite Sunday Brass Nights of 2018.

The Programme

First Half

  1. Contest March: Knight Templar (George Allan);
  2. Test Piece: A Kensington Concerto (Eric Ball);
  3. Cornet Solo (performed by Lewis Barton): Tico Tico (Zequinha de Abreu, arr. Matt Kingston);
  4. Film Music Medley: James Bond Collection (various, arr. Goff Richards):
    1. James Bond Theme (John Barry/Monty Norman);
    2. Goldfinger (John Barry);
    3. (From The Spy Who Loved Me) Nobody Does It Better (Carole Bayer-Sager/Marvin Hamlisch);
    4. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (John Barry);
    5. From Russia With Love (John Barry);
    6. James Bond Theme (reprise) (John Barry/Monty Norman).
  5. Principal Cornet solo (performed by Ben Jarvis): Before The Cross (Edward Gregson);
  6. Hymn: The Mansions of the Lord (Randall Wallace/Nick Glennie-Smith, arr. Leigh Baker).

Second Half

  1. Original Music: Gøta (Peder Karlsson, arr. Tina Kvamme);
  2. Light Concert Music: Nordic Polska (A. Edenroth/M. Kallio, arr. Philip Harper);
  3. Baritone Duo (performed by Ann Squires and Thomas Cobham): Deep Inside the Sacred Temple (Georges Bizet, arr. Keith Wilkinson);
  4. Film Music: Theme from Jurassic Park (John Williams, arr. Frank Bernaerts);
  5. Euphonium Solo (performed by Marija Anna Novicane): Aizver Actina un Smaidi (Emīls Dārziņš);
  6. Quintet (featuring Ben Jarvis, Samantha Harrison, David Armitage, Emma Barton, and Tim Mosedale): A Time for Us (Nino Rota, arr. Alan Fernie);
  7. Popular Music: Paint It, Black (Mick Jagger/Keith Richards, arr. Leigh Baker).

Encore

  • March: Finale from William Tell Overture (Gioacchino Rossini, arr. Thomas Wyss).

A licence to thrill

The first two pieces of the night brought Elland Silver Band a podium finish at the Hurst Cross Whit Friday Contest, and a place in next year’s British Open Senior Cup. To begin with we opened the concert with Knight Templar. The march by George Allan is the one-time Shildon wagon painter’s best known piece. For several years it has been associated with Black Dyke Band’s performance of the march. As at The Albion Hotel contest on Whit Friday, they gave us a performance that the Mortimers would have been proud of. What an amazing start.

The second piece of the night came from Eric Ball – the excellent A Kensington Concerto. The test piece – played in full by Elland Silver Band – was first used in the 1972 National Championship of Great Britain Championship Section Final. The winners that year were Black Dyke Mills Band. For Elland Silver Band, their performance in The Spanish Room (at Blackpool Winter Gardens) clinched them a Third Place finish in the British Open Senior Trophy. Last night they gave us a performance worthy of a band that could make waves in 2019’s Senior Cup. Breathtaking.

If you thought their performance of Eric Ball’s piece was exhilarating, the first soloist of the night pushed the envelope even further. Enter Lewis Barton, stage left on cornet. He is a protege of the Red Admiral Music Academy. The results of which were all to see in his performance of Tico Ticoand what a performance it was. Zequinha de Abreu’s piece is a popular concert standard, either as a soloist spot or as a whole band performance. In the 1990s it was used to sell cat food (Pedigree Petfoods’ Whiskas® brand). As for Lewis’ performance, one that was way beyond his years. Back when he was born, Elland Silver Band were only a Section Three band.

Our fourth piece was similarly light-hearted, and a neat concession to The Nation’s Favourite Secret Agent. Cue a quick blast of the James Bond Collection. Arranged by Goff Richards (whose other movie-themed medley credits include Breezin’ Down Broadway), it opened and closed with the John Barry/Monty Norman James Bond theme. As you would expect, with the sandwich filling comprising of themes from Goldfinger, The Spy Who Loved Me, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and From Russia With Love.

After this enjoyable romp came our second soloist of the night, and another protege from the Red Admiral Music Academy. This time, on Principal Cornet, Ben Jarvis’ rendition of Before The Cross. Composed by Edward Gregson it was commissioned by David Daws for his solo album The Sound of David Daws. Like Lewis, Ben is another player with potential to reach the heady heights of brass banding. Last night’s performance proved just that.

For our final piece of the first half was The Mansions of the Lord. The hymn co-written by Randall Wallace and Nick Glennie-Smith (arranged by Leigh Baker) saw Elland Silver Band indulge in a bit of Garry Cutt style stagecraft. Some of the players moved to other parts of the band club to create a surround sound effect before returning to their usual positions. The piece was originally written for the 2002 film We Were Soldiers. In 2004 it was the recessional hymn for Ronald Reagan’s funeral. At the end of this half, we were truly bowled over. Could the second half top this half?

Close your eyes and smile

The second half opened with some more Garry Cutt style stagecraft. For the first few bars, Daniel was off stage. This time we returned with a song about three Norwegian villages, Gøta. Written by Peder Karlsson it refers to three villages in the island of Eysturoy on the Faroe Islands. It is also the abbreviated form of Norðragøta. In 2005 it was sung by The Real Group, a Swedish a cappella group. A lovely piece which set the trend for this half’s slightly European air.

This was followed by A. Edenroth’s and M. Kallio’s breezy Nordic Polska. Our arrangement by Philip Harper has been played by The Cory Band, and Elland Silver Band’s rendition was equally refreshing. Nordic Polska is a compilation of Swedish and Finnish folk songs which have also been performed in a cappella form by The Real Group. The term Polska is Swedish for song and dance of a Scandinavian origin.

For the third piece of this half came a baritone duet. A baritone duet of a piece designed for euphonium – Georges Bizet’s Deep Inside the Sacred Temple. The euphonium duet was arranged by Keith Wilkinson. On baritones, Ann Squires and Thomas Cobham put in a good shift.

The fourth piece of this half took us back to the big screen. This time with an evergreen number by John Williams from 1993. No prizes for guessing which film theme we are talking about here: the main theme to Jurassic Park. Based on the original novel by Michael Crichton the Jurassic Park series of films became a multi-billion dollar franchise. Anything by John Williams never disappoints in brass band form; and Elland Silver Band proved this point before you could say ‘Stegosaurus’.

After the raffle came the final soloist of the night. Was it worth waiting for? Of course! We could only close our eyes and smile at Marija Anna Novicane’s euphonium solo. This being of a traditional Latvian song entitled Aizver Actina un Smaidi. Or Close Your Eyes and Smile in English. Composed by Emīls Dārziņš, it has been set to lyrics by Egils Silins and Māris Skuja. The composer, due to his alcohol addiction only lived till the age of 34. Marija’s performance was smooth and a real joy to listen to.

This was followed by our penultimate piece of this half: Nino Rota’s A Time For Us. As heard in the Franco Zeffirelli 1968 film Romeo and Juliet, it was criticised by some US radio stations as being “too soft”. There was nothing soft about Elland Silver Band’s performance. This time as a quintet featuring Ben Jarvis (Principal Cornet), Samantha Harrison (Flugelhorn), David Armitage (Horn), Tim Mosedale (Eb Bass), and Emma Barton (Trombone). A fantastic performance to boot.

As for the finale, what a finale we had as well. Another fine Leigh Baker arrangement in the form of The Rolling Stones’ Paint It, Black. Besides being a Number One Hit Single around the world it was, for a while the all-time biggest selling single in the Netherlands. In some sources, it is claimed to have been inspired by a quote from James Joyce’s Ulysses. The real cherry on the top of Leigh Baker’s arrangement was the choral section. Their performance well and truly left the audience gasping for more.

With the encore, we finished with a nailed-on classic. A piece known to many for the closing scenes in Brassed Off. This time, the finale from the William Tell Overture by Rossini. Last night’s very own Danny (Brooks instead of Ormondroyd that is) and Elland Silver Band gave us all a concert to remember. Not only in its diversity of pieces but – most importantly – its entertainment value.

Next on the agenda for Elland Silver Band is the Hebden Bridge Hymn and March Contest. This will take place on the 17 June 2018 in the village centre. The whole thing starts at 1pm.

Next Week…

Another regular visitor to the Hebden Bridge Hymn and March Contest will be visiting Boarshurst Band Club. This time, Marsden Silver Prize Band, whose previous Musical Director was Glyn Williams. Like Elland Silver Band they did pretty well on Whit Friday, picking up a few Best Local prizes in Saddleworth.

With the band being fairly local, expect a good turnout. In other words, arrive as early as possible to be sure of a good seat. As always, doors open at 7pm for an 8pm start.

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., 28 May 2018.

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