Greenfield Band: Sunday Night at the Boarshurst Band Club

Neighbours’ friendly way throughout sixteen lively pieces

With indecent ease, the run-up to Christmas has finally come upon us. For many, it is a chance to call on old friends and wish peace and goodwill to all. At Boarshurst Band Club’s first concert in Advent, our neighbours from Greenfield Band came last night. They gave us all a very good concert with an entertaining programme.

Some of the programme came from their Remembrance Day concerts, hence the inclusion of Darrol Barry’s medley Keep Smiling Through. With audience participation. If you like anything arranged by Goff Richards, Darrol Barry or some film music, this was a concert for you.

With the juggernaut of this year’s World Cup Finals stymieing Greenfield Band’s previous date, their concert was worth waiting for. There was nothing too heavy; their lighter pieces were, thankfully, not cringeworthy to either the band or the audience.

There was two good solo performances and a very good euphonium duo. By 10.25pm, Boarshurst Silver Band’s immediate neighbours gave us all a satisfying concert.

Programme

First Half

  1. Circus March: Entry of the Gladiators (Julius Fucik);
  2. Original Piece: Doyen (Goff Richards);
  3. Cornet Solo (performed by Andy Ellis): I Saw the Light (Alan Menken, arr. Adrian Horn);
  4. March: The Senator (George Allan);
  5. Musical Piece (from Matilda): When I Grow Up (Tim Minchin, arr. David Edmonds);
  6. Euphonium Duo (performed by Shona Jackson and Sam Gane): Perhaps Love (John Denver, arr. Bruce Fraser);
  7. Film Music (from Local Hero): Going Home (Mark Knopfler, arr. Alan Fernie);
  8. Light Concert Music: Hinky Dinky (Traditional, arr. John Lee).

Second Half

  1. Film Music: Theme from Where Eagles Dare (Ron Goodwin, arr. Darrol Barry);
  2. Original Piece: Country Scene (Goff Richards);
  3. Wartime Music Medley: Keep Smiling Through (various, arr. Darrol Barry);
  4. Remembrance Piece: In Flanders Field (Gavin Somerset);
  5. Wartime Music Medley: Sing For Victory (various, arr. Alan Beaumont);
  6. Bass Solo (performed by Andrew Hudson): The Bare Necessities (Terry Gilkyson, arr. Leigh Baker);
  7. Film Music: Theme from Chicken Run (John Powell/Harry Gregson-Williams, arr. Sandy Smith).

Encore:

  • Christmas Music: Jingle Bells (arr. Derek Ashmore).

Clowning around

From the first piece onwards, it was clear that Greenfield Band were on a mission. A mission to entertain the live audience at Boarshurst Band Club, and followers of The Stream Team’s activities. Enter Entry of the Gladiators, everyone’s favourite circus themed march. Written by Julius Fucik, this was one of over 400 pieces written by The Bohemian Sousa. If you’re familiar with Brassed Off, you may have heard La Florentiner several times. A good start.

Our second piece was written to commemorate the launch of the Leyland Royal Tiger Doyen coach. Penned by Goff Richards, Doyen outlived the coach and British Leyland. Its melody reflects a coach taking to the M6 with great ease. Though exquisite, Leyland’s attempt at taking on overseas coach builders wasn’t a success. Only 170 Doyens were built between 1982 and 1988. A handful exist in preservation circles. Like the coach itself, a sleek performance. (No, this had nothing to do with your reviewer’s trip to the Greater Manchester Museum of Transport).

Our third piece of the night was last night’s first soloist. This time with a piece from Walt Disney’s Tangled. Inspired by Rapunzel, the animated film’s most famous work is I Saw The Light. Enter on cornet Andy Ellis, who played Adrian Horn’s arrangement of Alan Menken’s tune. Menken’s other works include the soundtrack to Walt Disney’s Aladdin. Andy’s performance was just as dazzling as the heroine’s long red hair.

The fourth piece was different again, a familiar march by George Allan. Instead of Knight Templar, we heard another most famous one: The Senator. For the average brass band (or regular followers of brass bands), George Allan’s works and Whit Friday Band Contests are inseparable. Greenfield’s performance hit that home (and there’s only 192 days till Whit Friday 2019).

Our fifth piece was written by Tim Minchin. Entitled When I Grow Up, it forms part of a musical based on Roald Dahl’s Matilda book. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Matilda was a must-read book among children aged 11 – 14 years old. As for Greenfield Band’s rendition, wholesome and tight. A decent whole band effort which opened with the band’s youngest member, Charlotte (10).

The sixth piece, ever since it was arranged for the Childs Brothers, has become a familiar concert item. You could be right for saying Perhaps Love, a chart hit single for John Denver and Placido Domingo. As neither John and Placido were present, Shona Jackson and Sam Gane took their place on euphonium. They were more than a match for the duo, and the Childs Brothers would have been proud of their performance.

Our penultimate piece of this half was written for a film starring Burt Lancaster. It is set in a sleepy village in Scotland which, against the odds, fights against an oil company’s decision to spoil its landscape. The film in question, Local Hero. As for its most famous tune, Going Home. Penned by Mark Knopfler, Greenfield Band’s rendition (arranged by Alan Fernie) was faithful to the original. Another good performance.

The final piece of the first half gave us a pointer to the bulk of our second half’s programme. Enter John Lee’s arrangement of Hinky Pinky. If you went to any of the Remembrance Sunday concerts, you might have heard Mademoiselle from Armentieres. Which is exactly the same song as Hinky Pinky. Whether you refer to it as Hinky Pinky or its longer alternate title, it was an enjoyable little romp that got us in a good mood for the interval.

Keep smiling through? We did.

For our first piece after the interval, we turned to the world of film. This time with Ron Goodwin’s theme from Where Eagles Dare. Based on the novel by Alistair MacLean, it has been considered as one of the best war films of all time. Ron Goodwin‘s other musical credits include The Trap – better known for its use during BBC’s coverage of The London Marathon – and the musical score for 633 Squadron. A nice rousing start to proceedings.

The second piece of this half offered a real contrast. For some listeners, another side of Goff Richards seldom explored. A quieter side, expressed in Country Scene. The light concert item offers a neat pastoral backdrop, taking the listener towards the joys of spring instead of the chill of a Saddleworth winter. For some members of the audience, a firm favourite which gave the band a workout with playing softer notes. Very good work.

Our third piece was the first of three patriotic pieces in this half, each of them previously played at Remembrance Sunday/Armistice Day concerts. First on the list was Darrol Barry’s Keep Smiling Through, a medley of songs popular during the Second World War. These were sandwiched between the intro and outro of We’ll Meet Again. Making up the ‘filling’ was three songs: The Army, The Navy, and the Air Force, Lilli Marlene, and White Cliffs of Dover. A truly immersive performance with a healthy dose of audience participation.

Following the raffle was Gavin Somerset’s piece In Flanders Fields. The original piece is inspired by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae’s poem which shares the same name. A sensitive piece worthy of any Remembrance Sunday concert.

If you thought you had your fill of audience participation friendly pieces, Greenfield Band thought otherwise. Next in line was Sing For Victory. Which, as you may as well guess, is another medley of wartime songs. This time a selection of First World War favourites. Namely It’s A Long Way to Tipperary, Pack Up Your Troubles, and Over There (also sung by Wynne Evans as Go Compare adverts as Go Compare). Another good piece which (thanks to the wonders of Donkeystone Brewing Company’s ale) got us all in song.

For the penultimate piece we moved on to our final soloist of the night. This time on tuba/bass (delete where appropriate), Andrew Hudson. His assigned piece, The Bare Necessities from The Jungle Book. John Gilkyson’s song from the Walt Disney film always works well on euphonium and bass instruments. Andrew’s performance proved this point.

The final piece of the night was arranged by Sandy Smith, and another film related piece. Enter John Powell and Harry Gregson-Williams’ theme from Chicken Run. Complete with kazoos, as with the original score – and a Grimethorpe Colliery Band performance of the said tune. Released in 2000, it was Aardman Animations’ first feature length production. A child-friendly version of The Great Escape with chickens. A lovely finish.

With only four weeks to go, there is no great escape from Christmas (nor the Steve McQueen film which may be shown on at least one of the UK’s 340+ TV channels). For Greenfield Band, it was rude not to leave the audience without a Christmas tune.

As part of their participation in Boarshurst Silver Band’s Jingle Bells Challenge, there was only one candidate. Jingle Bells. Derek Ashmore’s arrangement of the said Christmas song. A fantastic blast which saw Greenfield Band donate £25 to the cause.

You could safely say we all had a whale of a time. The band, the audience, and the outgoing Musical Director Tom Haslam. We wish him well at Meltham and Meltham Mills Brass Band and hope to see him back at Boarshurst with his new band. We hope Greenfield Band find their new Musical Director in time for New Year’s Day 2019 or thereabouts.

Jingle Bells Challenge

If you fancy participating in Boarshurst Silver Band’s Jingle Bells Challenge, all you need to do is visit the Jingle Bells Challenge Facebook page. Then, if you have been inspired by previous efforts, you can donate any amount. If you wish to play along, find a musical instrument of some description (brass band instruments are desirable though not essential) and Jingle Bells. Whether you wish to play a trombone, twelve empty beer bottles, kazoo, or a Polymoog synthesizer, that doesn’t matter. It adds to the fun.

The aim of the Jingle Bells Challenge is to raise money for youth-orientated musical projects. With our present government displaying (at best) disinterest for anything creative, being able to learn a musical instrument is out of reach for many low-paid families. Without a stream of young people learning a musical instrument or two, this not only affects the state of our popular music charts. It affects the stability of brass bands, various other musical groups and, to extent, public houses and village halls. Without brass bands or similar groups, communities suffer.

Next time at Boarshurst…

With Stockport Silver Band unable to fulfil next week’s concert date, the next band at Boarshurst Band Club will be Hepworth Silver Prize Band. The Championship Section band has held its own in what is probably the most competitive brass banding region in Europe.

Admission will be £6.00 or £5.00 for members of Boarshurst Band Club. As usual, doors open from 7pm with the band on stage for 8pm. For a Championship Section band, demand should be high, so please arrive early to be sure of a 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., 03 December 2018.

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