Huddersfield and Ripponden Brass Band: Sunday Brass at the Boarshurst Band Club

A jolly good summer show for Huddersfield and Ripponden Brass Band 

No traditional seaside holiday is complete without two things: a good fish and chip supper, or a decent summer show. A summer show with comedians, speciality acts, magicians, and singers. With a similar amount of variety to the listener was Huddersfield and Ripponden Brass Band’s programme. There was a neat variety of brass band marches, hymns, popular music, and film music. If you counted the raffle, last night’s speciality act and comedian.

In their present form, Huddersfield and Ripponden Brass Band are one of our newest brass bands. They were formed in 2006 following the merger of Huddersfield Brass Ensemble and Ripponden Carriers brass bands. They have hovered around the Third and Fourth Section, returning to the former after winning last year’s Fourth Section prize in the Yorkshire Area Contest.

Due to one member running late, there was a ten minute delay. The flugelhorn player had difficulty finding her way to Boarshurst Band Club. She was directed to the venue by mobile phone from a fellow member. Well, as they say, “the show must go on”.

And go on it did: there was two good soloists, and last night’s Musical Director Adam Bell was informative and dry in parts. As for the programme, a sunny one featuring some well known classics.

The Programme

First Half

  1. Concert Opener: Prismatic Light (Alan Fernie);
  2. Cornet Solo (performed by Philip Hulton): Sugar Blues (Clarence Williams, arr. Alan Morrison);
  3. Hymn: Eventide (W. H. Monk, arr. Leigh Baker);
  4. March: Bandology (Eric Osterling);
  5. Film Music (from the Twilight saga): A Thousand Years (Christina Perri/David Hodges);
  6. Light Concert Music: Bandstand Boogie (Stuart Johnson);
  7. Hymn: ‘Mid All The Traffic (Colonel Leonard Ballantine);
  8. Film Music: Medley from The Pirates of the Caribbean (Klaus Badelt, arr. John Blanken/Jo Bocook):
    1. Fog Bound;
    2. The Medallion Calls;
    3. To The Pirate’s Cave;
    4. The Black Pearl;
    5. One Last Shot;
    6. He’s a Pirate;
  9. Light Concert Music: The Lord of the Dance (Martin Shaw, arr. Frank Bernaerts).

Second Half

  1. Light Concert Music: Joy, Peace, and Happiness (Richard Phillips);
  2. Horn Solo (performed by Jane Woodward): Demelza (Hugh Nash, arr. Alan Fernie);
  3. March: Pennine Way (Maurice Johnstone);
  4. Hymn: With Quiet Courage (Larry Daehn, arr. Jonathan Bates);
  5. Film Music (from The Sound of Music): Edelweiss (Rodgers/Hammerstein, arr. Alan Fernie);
  6. Film Music (from Saving Private Ryan): Hymn to the Fallen (John Williams, arr. Klaus van der Woude);
  7. Musical Piece: Slaughter on 10th Avenue (Richard Rodgers, arr. Sandy Smith).

Encore

  • Popular Music: Blame It On The Boogie (Jackson/Jackson, arr. Rob Hume).

Act 1: Prismatic Lights Amid All The Traffic

Our concert opened with a cracking concert opener. The evergreen Prismatic Light by Alan Fernie. Written in 2012, it has established itself as a popular piece among bands of various levels. From Championship to Youth section. Huddersfield and Ripponden Brass Band’s smooth performance was a signal of intent: a surefire sign that we were about to see a good concert.

This was followed by a piece which might have given Jamie Oliver nightmares. Or one that may have encouraged Her Majesty’s Government to slap a sugar tax on the manuscript. Enter Clarence Williams’ Sugar Blues, performed by Philip Hulton. Born in Louisiana, the composer’s other works include I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate and Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do. Philip’s performance of Clarence Williams’ piece was superb.

The third piece took us into traditional brass band concert territory with a hymn. That of Eventide by W.H. Monk. Alternately known as Abide With Me, we were treated to Leigh Baker’s arrangement. An arrangement which, for my money, shows the F.A. Cup Final hymn off in its Technicolor 4K Cinemascope glory. Huddersfield and Ripponden Brass Band brought the hymn to life.

As we were all in a summertime mood, our fourth piece reflected this to a tee. Equally at home with concerts as well as bandstands is Eric Osterling’s Bandology. The concert march was written in 1963 and screams ‘Light Concert Music’ writ large. A prolific composer, his other works include Neapolitan Overture, and Swedish Folk Rhapsody. A lovely contrast to the previous piece.

Our fifth piece offered another contrast: this time from Twilight, a multi-billion pound continuing drama and film series. The piece in question, made famous by Christina Perri and David Hodges, was A Thousand Years. Though peaking at 11 in the UK singles chart, Christina Perri’s song sold enough copies to reach Double Platinum. Another good performance, a new one for your reviewer (yours truly has never seen a single second of Twilight).

The sixth item on our programme was ‘Mid All The Traffic of the Ways, written by a Canadian living composer, Colonel Leonard Ballantine. The Salvationist composer also offers one-to-one tuition with his wife, Heather, who helps out behind the scenes. The piece is often played to the tune of Colne, and also known as Shenandoah. Huddersfield and Ripponden Brass Band’s performance was warm, smooth, and well bodied.

This was followed by our second piece of film music: a medley of tunes from The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Composed by Klaus Badolt, there was six morsels of pirate themed goodness based on the exploits of Jack Sparrow. A fairly topical addition to the programme given the recent release of Dead Men Tell No Tales, the fifth instalment. The sixth instalment should be due by the end of the decade.

After such a swashbuckling performance, our first half closed in good style. This time, a vivacious, springy rendition of The Lord of the Dance. The arrangement we were treated to was Frank Bernaerts’ which features Cry of the Celts and Victory. The Riverdance style version’s last movement made for a good way to finish the first half.

Act 2: Joy, Peace and Happiness in The Mecca of Brass Banding

What you couldn’t fault about Huddersfield and Ripponden Brass Band’s concert was its stagecraft. Both opening and closing pieces of the previous half were carefully chosen. This was proven with their choice of opening and closing pieces in the second half, and their choice of encore.

With our first piece of this half, a nice Gary Cutt style approach to Joy, Peace, and Happiness by Richard Phillips. First on the stage came the percussion section, followed by the trombones, basses, euphonium, then the horns and cornets, and the Musical Director. Oh, what about the piece? Another uplifting work.

Our second piece of this half came from last night’s second soloist – a classic piece as far as soprano cornet solos are concerned. This time, on the horn, Jane Woodward’s performance of Demelza. Written by Goff Richards under a nom de plume (Hugh Nash), it was written especially for Brian Evans. A challenging piece, written for one of the most legendary soprano cornet players. As for Jane Woodward’s performance, a good ‘un.

This was followed by one of these rarest of beasties: a march by Maurice Johnstone. Written in 1943, Pennine Way portrays the marching of a band across the Pennines. From The Dark Side (Lancashire or Yorkshire – delete as appropriate) to God’s Own County (Lancashire or Yorkshire – again delete as appropriate) as Adam Bell said. The rousing march (whether you think of heavily contested boundary issues or not) is a cracker. Our friends from The White Rose County put in another good shift.

Our fourth piece was a markedly more serene composition. Written in 1995 by Larry Daehn, With Quiet Courage is a more modern day hymn. The song was written as a tribute to his then recently deceased mother for strings. It depicts Larry’s hard childhood in Wisconsin and the lengths his mother went to run a family. Last night proved one other thing: its worth as a brass band piece. Well played from Huddersfield and Ripponden Brass Band.

After the comedic part of The Summer Show (the raffle) came a familiar piece. From The Sound of Music came H&RBB’s rendition of Edelweiss. In the musical and film versions, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s song is performed by Captain von Trapp as a statement of Austrian patriotism. In the early noughties, it was part of Lana Clough and the Frankfurters’ post-Whit Friday gigs at Uppermill Civic Hall (starring guest brass bands). Yours truly was almost minutes away from schunkeln. Both in terms of their performance and nostalgia value, another cracker.

This led to our penultimate piece which proved to be a showcase for Huddersfield and Ripponden Brass Band’s percussion session. Enter another piece of film music and a cracking John Williams score at that: Hymn To The Fallen. Taken from the film Saving Private Ryan, it echoes the gunfire and tension. Thus effectively capturing the spirit of World War II’s D-Day Invasion. With a brass band version (such as H&RBB’s rendition) all the more intense.

The final piece was another one from Richard Rodgers: and one which the band had merely glimpsed. Enter the exhilarating music from Slaughter on 10th Avenue, which appears at the end of On Your Toes (Rodgers and Hart’s 1936 Broadway musical). It has been covered by a diverse number of artistes including Mick Ronson and James Last. A fantastic performance – and only after looking at the piece for three weeks – all the better.

To close the concert properly we had a humdinger of an encore. Written by Mick Jackson, then covered by Michael Jackson, Blame It On The Boogie never fails to fill a dance floor. Soon to be remembered long after Big Fun’s 1989 cover version was Huddersfield and Ripponden Brass Band’s rendition. Among brass bands it has been a popular deportment march and our friends from West Yorkshire proved that. A lovely finish to get us all in a summery mood.

We hope to see more of Huddersfield and Ripponden Brass Band in the near future. Onwards and upwards we say. Thanks to the Musical Director’s podium breaking in the first half, we can assure you that Adam Bell will eschew B&Q for Section Two. Any day.

Next time at the Boarshurst Band Club…

Due to Boarshurst Band Club’s summer break of Sunday Brass concerts, there will be no concert till the 02 September 2018. Shortly after the Rushcart Festival, Yanks Weekend, and a myriad other holiday commitments, Delph Band will open the Autumn/Winter season. More details will be available nearer the time on East of the M60.

S.V., 23 July 2018.

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