An Oscar-winning performance with an excellent mix of visuals, sumptuous whole band performances and great singing
The first Sunday in July has established itself in the brass banding calendar for two important dates. One of them is the Brighouse Hymn and March Contest won by Milnrow Band this year. Elland Silver Youth Band made a clean sweep in the youth prizes, and Wardle Academy Band picked up this year’s deportment prize.
Lately, some fifteen miles away from Brighouse, another permanent fixture has established itself in the calendar. That of Boarshurst Silver Band’s thematic summertime concerts. For this year’s concert we returned to our old faithful genre of film music. With accompanying visuals from popular films, Boarshurst Silver Band played all but four pieces. The remaining four pieces were sung by flugelhorn player Georgina Hulme.
It was also a very special concert for Boarshurst Silver Band President Neil Jackson. Not only for his 40th anniversary as the President; also with next week being his 80th Birthday. There was also a guest appearance on cornet from John Whittle.
- TV Theme: Theme from Hawaii 5-0 (Morton Stevens, arr. Philip Harper);
- Disney Theme: Theme from Beauty and the Beast (Howard Ashman/Alan Menken, arr. Alan Fernie);
- Solo (sung by Georgina Hulme): Theme from Skyfall (Adele Adkins/Paul Epworth);
- Rock Musical Theme (from Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds): The Eve of the War (Jeff Wayne, arr. Sandy Smith);
- Movie Signature Theme (from Forrest Gump): Feather Theme (Alan Silvestri, arr. Sandy Smith)
- Solo (sung by Georgina Hulme): This Is Me (from The Greatest Showman) (Benj Pasek/Justin Paul);
- TV Theme Music (from Thunderbirds): The Thunderbirds March (Barry Gray, arr. Alfie Pugh);
- Theme Music: Jurassic Park (from the Jurassic Park series of films) (John Williams, arr. Alan Catherall);
- Docudrama Film Theme: Main Title Theme from Apollo 13 (James Horner, arr. Darrol Barry);
- Solo (sung by Georgina Hulme): Happy (from Despicable Me 2) (Pharrell Williams);
- Action Film Theme: Theme from Backdraft (Hans Zimmer, arr. Darrol Barry);
- Family Film Theme: Casper’s Lullaby (James Horner, arr. Sandy Smith);
- Solo (sung by Georgina Hulme): (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life (from Dirty Dancing) (John DeNicola/Donald Markowitz/Franke Previte);
- Movie Medley: Grease (Warren Casey/Jim Jacobs, arr. Frank Bernaerts);
- Animated Film Theme: Main Theme from Chicken Run (John Powell/Harry Gregson-Williams, arr. Sandy Smith).
Music from the Big Screen: Episode I, The Greatest Bandsperson
The first piece of the night was the theme tune from Hawaii Five-O, composed by Morton Stevens and arranged by Philip Harper. The television programme was first shown in the US 50 years ago starring Jack Lord as Steve McGarrett back in 1968. Two years on from 1970 to 1982, episodes were shown on ITV on Saturday nights. As for the 5-0, it was added in honour of Hawaii being made the fiftieth US state. It also inspired Go North East to brand one of its County Durham bus routes as the Whey-Aye Five-0. Which is the half-hourly 50 bus from South Shields to Durham via Chester-le-Street.
For our next piece, we had a real contrast to our first one. This time, the title song from Beauty and the Beast, a 1991 Walt Disney film based on the popular fairy tale. Composed by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, this was first recorded by Angela Lansbury. Later that year it was released as a single with Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson performing a duet. There has also been another two versions of Beauty and the Beast: a live action version was released in 1946. Walt Disney released another version in 2017 – a live action one featuring Ewan McGregor and Kevin Kline.
So far, Boarshurst Silver Band had been going great guns on the first two pieces. As is often the case in a traditional brass band concert, the third piece is usually the first soloist. In what would otherwise be the soloist’s spots, Georgina Hulme sung the first of her four songs last night. She began with the theme from Skyfall, sung in the 2012 James Bond film by Adele. As well as the Bond theme in each film, there is at least one song by the popular artistes of that year. For example, in 1987 we had A-ha singing The Living Daylights. In 2018, Georgina gave us a wonderful performance.
If you know your Sci-Fi, you would have come across the works of H.G Wells. Dwarfing his other famous works (The Time Machine, The Invisible Man and The Island of Doctor Moreau) in stature and popularity is 1898’s The War of the Worlds. In 1938 it inspired Orson Welles’ radio broadcast which scared the bejeezus out of American listeners. By 2005, it was revived by Steven Spielberg – set in New York and New Jersey – starring Tom Cruise.
For many people, Jeff Wayne’s musical version of The War of the Worlds is the benchmark. Not only for Richard Burton’s narration but a cast including David Essex, Phil Lynott, and Julie Covington. Opening this spectacular album was The Eve of the War. It has also been remixed as a disco version (1980) and by Ben Liebrand in 1989 for ravers. The chances of any dismissing Boarshurst’s performance? Far greater than a million to one: a superb work.
The next piece was a quieter, more gentle number from Forrest Gump. The 1994 film was a box office smash starring Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump himself. The child-like character is noted for his running ability with the film based on Winston Groom’s original novel. At the start and finish of the film is Alan Silvestri’s The Feather Theme, intermingled with clips featuring Forrest Gump at various stages of his life. Another good piece, which brought the clips to life.
Next up, another song from Georgina. This time from The Greatest Showman. Alongside last year’s smash (La La Land) cinemagoers on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean have rediscovered their taste for escapist musical films. Written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, This Is Me was originally performed by Keala Settle and The Greatest Showman Ensemble. It peaked at Number 3 in the Official Chart Company’s UK singles chart. Once more, Georgina gave us another super performance.
The last piece of the first half celebrated the work of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson. Or more precisely, Barry Gray, who penned the signature tunes for most of Gerry Anderson’s programmes. Besides the theme music for Joe 90, Fireball XL5, and Stingray, his most famous work was The Thunderbirds March from Thunderbirds. Before recording music for Sylvia and Gerry Anderson’s productions, the Blackburn-born composer wrote advertising jingles. Some of which are detailed on Johnny Trunk’s Trunk Records CD Stand By For Adverts. (The playlist is also available on YouTube).
The first half was superb with a good choice of lively piece to take us to the interval. A longer than usual interval to accommodate the raffle draw, and the presentation of three items. One being a cheque to the band towards their 170th anniversary CD for next year. Another was the presentation of two items for Neil Jackson. The first being a silver salver for his fortieth year as Boarshurst Silver Band President. The other, a present for his 80th birthday.
The second half was marked by the main signature tune for Jurassic Park by John Williams. In the last year, this has been a popular piece at the Sunday Brass concerts. Based on the Michael Crichton novel, Jurassic Park spawned a number of successful sequels and spin-off merchandise. Not least a plethora of unofficial items and cash-ins – even partworks telling you how to build a model dinosaur for the total price of a Jim Henson Creature Workshop model. Boarshurst Silver Band’s performance was another cracker.
Instead of a series of films on a Dinosaur Themed Amusement Park we turned to real life events for our next piece. This time, Apollo 13, based on Jim Lovell’s memoirs. Released in 1995, Apollo 13 captured all the tension of Jim Lovell’s, Jeffrey Kluger’s, Jack Swigert’s and Fred Halse’s aborted lunar mission in 1970. The engrossing film showed us how the foursome managed to land the spacecraft in the most challenging of circumstances. If you thought triple-tonguing your way through a test piece was difficult, think again. Its soundtrack was composed and conducted by James Horner, whose other credits include the music for 1997’s Titanic. Gripping stuff, both from the big screen and the band.
Even watching a few clips of Apollo 13, let alone performing the piece, was enough to get Boarshurst Silver Band in a sweat. Our next piece covered a considerably happier subject matter having appeared on the soundtrack to Despicable Me 2. The second film was released in 2013 with a third following in 2017. Its success was so great that a spin-off prequel was released, based on its main characters Stuart, Kevin and Bob (a.k.a the Minions).
The first song you would associate with Despicable Me 2 is Pharrell Williams’ Happy. Sung by Georgina Hulme, it was the UK’s eighth most downloaded song. A two minute version of the song was adapted by The Singing Dentist to promote oral hygiene. As with her 2016 performance, Georgina Hulme’s 2018 performance was just as good.
The next piece could have come at a better/worse time (delete as appropriate) given recent events a few miles from The Mecca of Brass Banding. This time we switched our focus to the Chicago Fire Department, the subject of a Ron Howard film entitled Backdraft. Starring Kurt Russell as Stephen McCaffrey, Backdraft features two Chicago firefighters who are searching the city for a serial arsonist. As for the music, that was composed by Hans Zimmer. His other credits include music for Pirates of the Caribbean, Inception, and (as we have had said several times before on this blog) the theme tune for Going For Gold.
Away from the bombast of Zimmer’s work we turned to the world of American comics with a peaceful tune. Not Eddie Murphy or Marvel, but the Casper comic strip which inspired a 1995 film starring Malachi Pearson and Christina Ricci. Back in the late 1930s, Seymour Reit and Joe Oriolo created a comic strip about a friendly ghost known in full as Casper McFadden. His accomplices include Wendy the Good Luck Witch, Hot Stuff the Red Devil, and Spooky the Tuff Little Ghost. By the 1960s, Casper spawned his own cartoon series. Boarshurst Silver Band’s performance of Casper’s Lullaby was our second James Horner piece of the night. Once more, well played.
Whereas the Casper strip was devised when Neil was a baby, our next piece was made famous when yours truly went to school. Thanks to the surprise success of Dirty Dancing in 1987, there was one song that stood head and shoulders above the rest in its excellent soundtrack album. Sung by Georgina, (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life was a Number Six hit single for Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes in November 1987. It re-entered the charts in 1991, thanks to the film’s showing on ITV.
Georgina Hulme’s rendition didn’t have us fast-forwarding past the adverts or the pre-movie trailers on our Ferguson Videostar. We watched avidly with our minds being taken temporarily to 1987. A fantastic performance.
Back when Neil Jackson took up his position as Boarshurst Silver Band’s President, there was a rather obscure film starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. Featuring the Pink Ladies and the T-Birds it gave John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John worldwide fame. It spawned a popular stage musical and in 1982, an inferior sequel featuring a Derbyshire-born actor who has recently appeared in Emmerdale (Maxwell Caulfield).
The original film’s high point was its soundtrack – You’re The One I Want, Greased Lightning and Summer Nights. With so many cracking songs, it would have been amiss to eschew a medley. Hence Boarshurst Silver Band’s eloquent performance of Frank Bernaerts’ Grease Medley.
The final piece was the main theme of Nick Park’s and Peter Lord’s first feature length animated film Chicken Run. In our chicken form of The Great Escape, we see Rocky teaching chickens to fly from an encampment. To avoid being put into pies, Ginger takes the lead by outwitting farmers Melisha and Willard Tweedy, with her friends following them to a quiet island. Kazoos form the mainstay of Sandy Smith’s arrangement which makes for a good closing piece.
Another Oscar winning performance? Of course. In audio and visual departments, almost a victory of The English Patient type proportions. Also proof of how Boarshurst Silver Band have come up in leaps and bounds in the last 40 months.
We also wish Neil Jackson a Happy 80th Birthday for next week and congratulate him on his 40 years as Boarshurst Silver Band President.
All music performed by Boarshurst Silver Band except for Skyfall, This Is Me, Happy, and (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life, which were sung by Georgina Hulme.
- Special Guest: John Whittle (cornet);
- Musical Director: James Garlick;
- Narration: Stuart Vallantine;
- Film editing and graphics: Nathan Edge and Liam Welsh;
- Security: Vernon Timmins;
- Catering: Linda Finan, Donkeystone Brewing Company;
- Transport: First Greater Manchester, First Choice County Cars.
A Boarshurst Silver Band Production, 2018.
Next week at the Boarshurst Band Club…
Our next concert could be a return to traditional fare. Could our next band surprise us all on the 08 July? Making a modest trip to the Boarshurst Silver Band next week will be Pemberton Old ‘B’ Band. A Section Two band, they are only a few miles away from Wigan.
Pemberton Old Band can trace its history back to 1877 whereas the ‘B’ band have been in existence since 1998. Both bands have benefited from the sponsorship of Dave Whelan via his DW Sports chain and JJB Sports before then. Admission on the day is £5.00 or £4.00 for concessions and members.
- 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 July 2018.