A Greatest Hits compilation of the best performances

In times of tragedy, it is music that matters. It can soothe the savage beast and make us happy for the best part of two minutes or two hours. With the Coronavirus situation, it has meant the cancellation of various concerts and music festivals. Even Whit Friday, The Greatest Free Show on Earth – has been postponed till next year.

With Britain closer to lockdown now that bars, pubs and restaurants are closing, many of us can console ourselves with online pursuits. Like watching cat videos and posting daft stuff on Facebook. For some, it is a chance to dust down the PS5 or the Snakes and Ladders board.

Providing a service for concertgoers unable to get to Boarshurst Band Club has been The Stream Team’s efforts. Via Facebook, the club’s concerts have been streamed with a dedicated on-screen audience. It is thanks to this development that our latest brass band orientated post is possible.

The Programme

First Half

  1. March: The President (William German), Eagley Band;
  2. Overture: Nabucodonosor (Giuseppe Verdi), St. John’s Band (Mossley);
  3. Principal Cornet Solo (performed by Kirsty Abbotts): Song From Milestone (Meechan), Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band;
  4. Light Concert Music: The Water of Tyne (Traditional), Westoe Colliery Band;
  5. Flugelhorn Solo (performed by Samantha Harrison, with Sarah Brooks on Xylophone): All Love Can Be (James Horner), Elland Silver Band;
  6. Light Concert Music: Crown Imperial (William Walton, arr. Frank Wright), The Diggle Band;
  7. Test Piece: Resurgam (Eric Ball), The Fairey Band.

Second Half

  1. Light Concert Music: Starburst (Dan Price), Mossley Band;
  2. Novelty Piece: Waltzing Cat (Leroy Anderson), The Hammonds Band;
  3. Baritone Solo (performed by Natsumi McDonald): Donegal Bay (Paul Lovatt-Cooper), Vernon Building Society Poynton Brass Band;
  4. Film Music (from Battle of Britain): Aces High (Ron Goodwin), Marsden Silver Prize Band;
  5. Euphonium Solo (performed by Steve Walsh): Allegro from Bassoon Concerto (Mozart, arr. Norman Henstridge), Leyland Band;
  6. Euphonium Duet (performed by Sarah Fitton and Adam O’Neil): Another Fine Mess (Carroll/Hatley/Shield/Hill, arr. Sandy Smith), Middleton Band;
  7. Classical Piece: Polovtsian Dances (Alexander Borodin, arr. Howard Snell), Milnrow Band.


  • Popular Music: YMCA (Jacques Morali/Victor Willis/Henri Belolo, arr. Frank Bernaerts), Pride Brass.

First Half

The President (William German)

We open our virtual concert programme with a well-known contest march performed by Eagley Band.

Nabucodonosor (Giuseppe Verdi)

A classic overture by Giuseppe Verdi, lovingly performed by St. John’s Band (Mossley).

Cornet Solo: Song From Milestone (Meechan)

Played by Kirsty Abbots (Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band), this was arguably one of the finest solo cornet performances we heard.

The Water of Tyne (Traditional)

The Water of Tyne is a piece about longing for someone. In the piece, our loved one is separated by the River Tyne. Our favourite performance of this work came from Westoe Colliery Band’s concert in January 2019.

Flugelhorn Solo: All Love Can Be (James Horner)

All Love Can Be was used in the Russell Crowe film A Beautiful Mind. In this performance, we see Samantha’s stunning flugelhorn work complemented by subtle notes on the xylophone, courtesy of Sarah Brooks.

Crown Imperial (William Walton, arr. Frank Wright)

A piece written by one of Oldham’s finest musical exports, performed by one of Saddleworth’s best loved brass bands. A nice, stirring piece to lift the spirits.

Resurgam (Eric Ball)

One of the greatest ever test pieces. With the impressive Fairey Band in this performance, this has been seen by more than 12,000 viewers on the Boarshurst Silver Band Facebook page.

Second Half

Starburst (Dan Price)

From our second composer of Lancastrian origin, this is a fantastic piece which depicts a starburst. Beautifully performed by Mossley Band in this clip.

Waltzing Cat (Leroy Anderson)

During The Hammonds Band’s concert, this novelty item really tickled us. Who needs Prozac when you’ve got happy music like this number?

Baritone Solo: Donegal Bay (Paul Lovatt-Cooper)

How smooth is that solo performance on the baritone horn? Each time she has performed with Vernon Building Society Poynton Brass Band, her solo performance have never failed to dazzle. Still not sure? Watch this clip.

Aces High (Ron Goodwin)

A classic piece of Ron Goodwin music, courtesy of Marsden Silver Prize Band in last February’s movie themed concert.

Euphonium Solo: Allegro from Bassoon Concerto (Mozart, arr. Norman Henstridge)

What Steve Walsh from Leyland Band could do on his euphonium is remarkable. A unmissable performance.

Euphonium Duo: Another Fine Mess (Carroll/Hatley/Shield/Hill, arr. Sandy Smith)

With one of Middleton’s favourite sons starring in Stan and Ollie, it was somewhat fitting to find that Adam O’Neil and Sarah Fitton from Middleton Band gave us this stunning performance. How could you not love this number?

Polovtsian Dances (Alexander Borodin, arr. Howard Snell)

Milnrow Band chose a cracking piece to end their most recent concert. Howard Snell’s arrangement of Polovtsian Dances is a genuine classic.


YMCA (Jacques Morali/Victor Willis/Henri Belolo, arr. Frank Bernaerts)

One of the most memorable concerts of 2019 was Pride Brass’ concert at the beginning of September. Conducted by Matt Ryan, with a bit of help from James Garlick and James Holt, this fantastic night gave us a lively programme. As for our choice of encore, it goes without saying.

And finally…

With Coronavirus-related issues eating into revenue streams as well as the contesting season, brass bands have had to find creative ways of fundraising. They have also had to find novel ways of letting players sharpen up their skills. Some Musical Directors and players have chosen to offer Skype-based lessons.

One band, Kearsley Youth Brass Band, has taken to live streaming their rehearsals. Via Facebook, like Boarshurst Silver Band has done with its concerts.

With the lack of concerts till the second half of this year at best, how does one make up the shortfall? Should brass bands push online Skype/Facetime lessons like Kearsley Youth Brass Band, with online subs paid by electronic means?

To make up the shortfall in non-league football, Hyde United and Stalybridge Celtic have offered “virtual items” for sale. You could raise money for the club by buying an invisible Oxo or other virtual edibles. In the brass band world, the ‘invisible Oxo’ could be an invisible IPA. A Virtual Bucket Collection could be a good idea, as could an auction of promises with real items.

If you have any useful fundraising ideas for your local brass band, you could do no worse than contacting them by email or their social media pages.

Whatever happens, we hope it isn’t too long till normal service resumes. In the meantime, we hope you have enjoyed our ‘Virtual Concert’, featuring our pick of the performances at Boarshurst Band Club. If you have any opinions on the programme, or wish to add a few more suggestions for a potential follow-up, feel free to comment.

S.V., 20 March 2020.

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