Sparkling debut as MD for Nicki in vibrant concert
The lighter nights are coming, the weather’s getting better for walking if you discount the impending chill that’s coming along shortly. Giving us the same vibrancy and colour as crocuses in flower at this time of year is one of Stockport Silver Band’s concerts.
With a dependable and likeable programme, they are the Tonka toy of community run brass bands. You can always be sure of a concert that is high in entertainment with a warm reception. One with enough items to please traditionalists and regular concertgoers in the same measure.
For years, Stockport Silver Band has been synonymous with Jim Hunter, a legendary Musical Director late of Lees and Springhead, Gorton Silver, and Denton Original bands. With his advancing years, he has, with great regret, had to take a back seat from his role as Musical Director. At one time, he was MD for a second band, Lydgate Band. Today, he focuses on the Saddleworth band instead.
Taking his place at Stockport Silver Band is Nicki Moss. She has played for Stockport Silver Band for several years. She has known her predecessor from a previous stint at Gorton Silver Band, and played at Boarshurst Band Club back then (years before she could order a pint without being asked for ID).
Ms. Moss was drafted in as a temporary MD. With her self deprecating sense of humour and a first class programme, we think she’s going to be there for the long run. The way she interacted with her audience was superb, which is where her theatrical background paid off.
- March: March Overture (Stuart Johnson);
- Overture: Lustspiele Ouverture (Kéler Béla);
- Film Music (from Mary Poppins): Mary Poppins Selection (Robert Sherman/Richard Sherman, arr. Andrew Duncan);
- Principal Solo (performed by Katie Pepper): My Love is Like a Red Red Rose (Robert Burns, arr. W. Welde);
- Light Concert Music: Amparito Roca (Jaime Texidor, arr. Ray Woodfield);
- Light Concert Music: The Earl of Salisbury’s Pavane (William Byrd);
- Hymn: Evening Song (Clement Cotterill Schofield, arr. Jan de Haan);
- Film Music: Theme from The Pirates of the Caribbean (Klaus Badolt/Hans Zimmer).
- March: Bandology (Eric Osterling);
- Light Concert Music: Light As Air (Goff Richards);
- Flugelhorn Solo (performed by Kat Tomlinson): Georgia On My Mind (Hoagy Carmichael);
- Light Concert Music: African Waltz (Galt McDermot after Cannonball Adderley, arr. Derek Broadbent);
- Light Concert Music: Morning in Cornwall (James Last);
- Popular Music: We Are The Champions (Freddie Mercury, arr. Frank Bernaerts);
- Musical Piece: There’s No Business Like Show Business (Irving Berlin, arr. Goff Richards).
- Popular Music: Bring Me Sunshine (Sylvia Dee/Arthur Kent, arr. Christopher Bond).
It’s a Jolly Holiday with Nicki…
First up was March Overture by Stuart Johnson. If you’re ever stuck for a march or an overture, you could have both with Mr. Johnson’s piece. Born in Staffordshire in 1936, he has written over eighty pieces for woodwind and brass bands. He served in the Band of the King’s Dragoon Guards. A nice jaunty start to the concert that set the trend for the best part of two hours.
Next up was an overture in Lustspiele Ouverture by Kéler Béla, one described as a comedic overture. Lustspiele, translated from German to English is Comedy. The composer was born in what is now part of Slovakia in 1820 in a German speaking household. He was active in Austria and Germany as well as his home country. Another fine performance.
For the third piece of the night was our first medley of the concert. That of Andrew Duncan’s Mary Poppins Selection. As the title suggests, it is a medley of Robert and Richard Sherman’s music from the 1964 Walt Disney film based on P.L Travers’ books. This includes the classics like Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, Chim Chim Cher-ee, Step In Time, Feed The Birds (Tuppence a Bag), and Let’s Go Fly a Kite. What a fantastic piece, and a lively performance too.
It was solo time for the fourth piece of the night. For the second year running, Katie Pepper took her position on Principal Cornet with the classic My Love is Like a Red Red Rose, which is based on a Robert Burns poem. This was a nice contrast to the livelier medley beforehand. Once more, Katie delivered the goods with a satisfying performance.
Another tasty treat was Jaime Texidor’s best known pasodoble Amparito Roca. Written in 1925, it is named after one of his piano students who was twelve years old at the time (the thought of which seems creepy to some ears). On its first performance in Spain, it was a roaring success. In later years, it is claimed that Reginald Ridewood wrote the piece, though didn’t apply for the copyright. Whoever wrote the piece… who cared in the context of this concert? There is also a link with its previous MD Jim Hunter, who finished the first half programme of his Lydgate Band concert on the 9th September 2018 (see our review). Brilliant work from Stockport Silver Band.
The next one was The Earl of Salisbury’s Pavane – also known as Pavan for the Earl of Salisbury. Written by William Byrd (1540 – 1623), it was by far the oldest piece of last night’s programme. It has previously been written for recorder and wind ensembles. In brass band form, another seamless transcription as proved last night.
This was by a hymn: Clement Cotterill Scholefield’s Evening Song, which was a tribute to one of the band’s stalwart members who passed away recently. It also forms the basis of the hymn The Day Thou Lord Gavest. A wonderful tribute and a solid performance.
We finished the first half with a bit of piracy on the high seas, courtesy of Klaus Badolt and Hans Zimmer. No prizes for guessing it was the Theme from The Pirates of the Caribbean. Starring Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow, the first film was released in 2003 (20 years ago!) and became part of a profitable franchise. Perhaps the music played a part in its success as well as its swashbuckling storylines. Digressing a little, this reminded us there was plenty of booty at stake for the interval raffle with 23 prizes. So far so good with more delights to follow.
Cornwall and Georgia on our mind
After the epic raffle, we opened our second half with Eric Osterling’s Bandology. Written in 1963, the 60-year-old march works well as a street march as well as a concert march. ‘Light Concert Music’ writ large. Osterling’s other works include Neapolitan Overture, and Swedish Folk Rhapsody. A delightful start to Stockport Silver Band’s second half.
For the bulk of this half’s programme, we churned out the classics. Goff Richards’ Light As Air is no exception. In modern terms, it is a mash-up of two pieces: Procol Harum’s A Whiter Shade of Pale and J.S Bach’s Air on a G String. This works in alternate fashion, opening with part of Gary Brooker’s band’s 1967 UK Number One, then Bach’s piece (see also Club House’s 1983 chart single Do It Again/Billie Jean for similar arrangement techniques). Brilliant stuff, once again with a nod to Jim’s usual programme order.
Next up was our second and final soloist of the night. Once again with Kat Tomlinson on flugelhorn, playing Hoagy Carmichael’s Georgia On My Mind. This piece is often a principal cornet solo. On rare occasions in the brass band world, a trumpet solo. As well as being a concert favourite, Hoagy Carmichael’s song has been covered by the likes of Annie Lennox. Once more, Kat gave us all a superb performance.
This was followed by Galt MacDermot’s African Waltz. Written in 1960, African Waltz was a Grammy Award winner after the recording of Cannonball Adderley’s version. Arthur Terrance Galt MacDermot’s better known work was for the musical Hair, with songs including Aquarius. Another piece we loved.
Next was a Cornish style piece written by a 20th century German composer. As yesterday was St. Piran’s Day (the patron saint of Cornwall), Morning in Cornwall was a fitting choice. The German composer in question was James Last, the multi-million selling artiste whose Greatest Hits and Party albums were heavily promoted on TV and radio near Christmas (with examples including Make The Party Last). A neat, jolly little piece well played.
Our penultimate piece was another modern classic: Queen’s We Are The Champions. The song featured in the group’s 1977 LP News of the World, and has established itself as a Must Use anthem for victorious sports teams. It has a great singalong chorus, which tempted many people to sing at Boarshurst Band Club. In 2006, it was covered (or ruined) by mobile phone jingle irritant, Crazy Frog. Though Queen’s tune just about missed the top spot of the UK singles chart, it was a surefire Number One to its live audience at The Mecca of Brass Banding.
The final piece was one that Nicki was most passionate about due to her love of live theatre. She opened the piece by saying how each production she featured in finished with this song for the grand finale.
The song in question is There’s No Business Like Show Business, an Irving Berlin standard from the musical Annie Get Your Gun. The 1946 Broadway musical and subsequent 1950 film is based on the story of Annie Oakley (1860 – 1926), an American sharpshooter at Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. It is famously associated with Ethel Mermen, whom in her later years song a disco version of the said song. A great way to finish the concert.
The true finale was left for Sylvia Dee and Arthur Kent’s Bring Me Sunshine. Sounds familiar? The song is indelibly associated with Morecambe and Wise, where the song was used as its theme tune. Its reception was so great that Stockport Silver Band played the song twice!
Over the years we’ve seen Stockport Silver Band, they have never failed to deliver a captivating concert. Each programme, well rounded and enjoyable. This year’s concert put a spring in our step, with Nicki’s humorous delivery adding to its appeal. If any brass band deserves greater recognition beyond its Metropolitan Borough or City Region, it is Stockport Silver Band. Not only for their community work, but also for their brilliant concerts.
Unless Jack Frost has his way, next week’s band at The Mecca of Brass Banding is Tintwistle Band. If you enjoyed Stockport Silver’s concert and their programme choice, Tintwistle Band’s programme would be to your liking. Their MD Andrew Mallon is also humorous and informative at the same time.
The concert begins at 7.30pm and doors are open from 6.30pm onwards. Please arrive early to be sure of a good seat. Better still, introduce a friend to the world of brass bands and an affordable way to spend your Sunday night in a comfortable, air conditioned brass banding venue.
Getting to Boarshurst Band Club:
- 350: Ashton-under-Lyne – Mossley – Greenfield – Uppermill – Dobcross – Delph – Waterhead – Oldham.
Alight at the former Greenfield Conservative Club. The 350 bus route is operated by First Greater Manchester and (after 7pm) Stagecoach Greater Manchester.
Twitter details: @boarshurstband; #SundayBrass.
S.V., 06 March 2023.
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