As British Bandsman told his tale…

  • Piece: Light As Air;
  • Composer: Dvorak/Gary Brooker/Keith Reid/Matthew Fisher;
  • Arranger: Goff Richards.

Once upon a Christmastime ago, a box of cigars or a packet of cigars was seen as an acceptable Christmas present. Yes, back in the days when Coronation Street only had two weekly episodes. Back when Senior Service (well, Gallaher) was one of Tameside’s largest private sector employers. Among their brands was Hamlet (“The Mild Cigar”), whose humorous adverts had a snatch of Dvorak’s Air On A G String.

In Light As Air, Goff Richards marries the classical piece with a one-time chart-topper: Procol Harum’s A Whiter Shade of Pale. Topping the UK singles chart for six weeks, Gary Brooker’s tune opens with a bit of Dvorak’s tune.

This version is performed by Brass Band Fellows. They are based in Tokyo which, in terms of our chosen piece, is ironic as Hamlet is a brand of Japan Tobacco. At many concerts, Light As Air is a popular light concert piece with entertainment bands, and a few bands in the Third, Fourth and Youth Sections.

Tomorrow’s piece could well be a homage to Manchester’s skyscrapers. It is also our first solo performance in this year’s Brass Band Advent Calendar.

Behind the door

There’s only thing we could add to our Advent Calendar window: a feather. A packet of Hamlet was out because: (a) your blogger is a non-smoker; (b) tobacco comes in plain packaging these days; and that (c) the product placement of the said article is non-ethical. Whether it was photographed before 2001 with any of Fletcher’s cigarette papers or not is out of the question.

S.V., 05 December 2020.

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