First class concert with well thought out programme

In their first concert since the Regional Finals, Tintwistle Band gave its audience a most enjoyable concert at The Mecca of Brass Banding. One with an excellent, well rounded programme with nailed-on classics and a couple of surprises.

Since Andrew Mallon became Musical Director of Tintwistle Band, the band has never failed to deliver a traditional yet engaging concert programme. Whilst being traditional, each concert has offered the listener something new for their ears.

After rehearsing for the Midlands Regional Finals in Corby, Northamptonshire, it was back to doing what this band have done best for over 140 years. That of serving their community and giving its audience an enjoyable concert. On returning home from Corby, Mallon worked on a brand spanking new concert programme which the great people at Boarshurst Band Club (and its online audience) lapped up.

The fruit’s of Mallon’s endeavours was a programme that showed off the band’s prowess to the full.  There was programme items you would expect to see in a First Section band concert (Tintwistle are in the Second Section), an arrangement of a 1980s Christmas Number One single, and a classic Paul Lovatt-Cooper piece.

With each concert we have seen, Tintwistle Band has come up in leaps and bounds. There was a radiant sound and confident way about them, even with the bass player having a migraine in last night’s concert. As for its mercurial musical director, informative and humorous at the same time, with a genuine rapport for his audience.

First Half

  1. Original Piece: Adventures In Brass (Ray Farr)
  2. March: Castell Coch (T.J. Powell)
  3. Principal Cornet Solo (performed by Michelle Barrow): Stars (Michel Schonberg, arr. Andi Cook)
  4. Light Concert Music: Scarborough Fair (Traditional, arr. Eric Crees)
  5. Musical Piece (from Oh, Kay!): Someone to Watch Over Me (George Gershwin, arr. Alan Fernie)
  6. Major Work Movement (from The Cry of the Celts): Breakout (Peter Graham)
  7. Major Work Movement: March from A Moorside Suite (Gustav Holst)

Second Half

  1. Film Music: Theme from Batman the Movie (Danny Elfman, arr. Alan Catherall)
  2. Piece type: Elegy from Entertainments (Gilbert Vinter)
  3. Popular Music: Reet Petite (Berry Gordy/Tyran Carlo, arr. Sandy Smith)
  4. Light Concert Music: Li’l Darlin’ (Neal Hefti , arr. Philip Sparke)
  5. Light Concert Music: Fly Me to the Moon (Bart Howard, arr. Darrol Barry)
  6. Original Piece: Fire in the Blood (Paul Lovatt-Cooper)


  • Light Concert Music: Loch Lomond (Traditional, arr. Andy Duncan)

New adventures in brass banding

We opened the concert with Adventures In Brass by Ray Farr. Composed in 1989, it was first used as an own choice test piece in 1998 by Irrawang High School Brass in the Australian Championships Junior C Grade section. In 2010, it was the test piece for the National Youth Brass Band championships, with Elland Silver Youth Band winning both the Intermediate and Community sections. A most enjoyable piece and a confident start to proceedings.

Next, we were back on familiar territory with T.J Powell’s Castell Coch. It is a classic contest march inspired by the Welsh castle, and a popular choice among Third and Fourth Section Bands and Unregistered Bands at Whit Friday Band Contests. The former Cory Band Musical Director’s other known works include The Spaceman. With great eloquence, Tintwistle Band’s performance oozed strength in depth.

This was followed by the only soloist of the night. Enter on Principal Cornet, Michelle Barrow. Her piece was Stars from Les Miserables. In the musical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s book, it is the 19th song in Act I, sung by Javert. As for Michelle’s performance, fantastic work.

We moved from France to England, making up 50% of a Six Nations tournament. This time with the traditional folk song, Scarborough Fair, popularised by Simon and Garfunkel, and adapted (in slightly fruitier prose) by The Stone Roses as Elizabeth, My Dear. Instead of the run-of-the-mill meat and potatoes type arrangements of the song, we had a more avant-garde arrangement by Eric Crees. The arranger (71 years old) was born in London and educated at Wandsworth School. He is an internationally renowned trombone teacher and has directed London Symphony Orchestra Brass for twenty years. A most belting arrangement.

On our fictitious Avanti West Coast train to Glasgow Central (in fiction they do run to time!), we moved on to our first Alan Fernie arrangement. This time, with a change of mood, in George Gershwin’s Someone to Watch Over Me. The jazz standard was sung by Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra. It was written for the musical, Oh, Kay!, which revolves around the adventures of English bootleggers in Prohibition-era America. Lady Kay falls in love with a man who seems to be unavailable. A lovely performance.

Making for a brace of Scottish brass band composers was Peter Graham, this time with his major Irish themed work, Cry of the Celts. From the popular test piece, we were treated to Breakout, the middle movement of the five movements in his major work. It is arguably the most vibrant part, finishing with some Riverdance style music. With St. Patrick’s Day five days ahead of the concert, it was rude not to add this to the programme. An enjoyable addition with a solid performance to boot.

After getting our train to Stranraer and a taxi for the Cairnryan ferry to Northern Ireland, we were back in England. This time to Cheltenham, the birthplace of Gustav Holst, the composer of A Moorland Suite. We finished the first half with the March from A Moorside Suite, the third and final part of his test piece. It was commissioned by the BBC and the National Brass Band Festival Committee in 1927 for the 1928 National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain at Crystal Palace. A wonderful finale to the first half.

“Let me play among the stars…”

In just under three hours on a train and a bus, you could get from Cheltenham to Gotham. Well, Gotham in Nottinghamshire which is not the city that Gotham City is based on in Batman (we think it’s New York City). One of the best loved versions of the theme from Batman the Movie is Alan Catherall’s arrangement. It is an atmospheric transcription of Danny Elfman’s theme that was used in the 1989 film starring Michael Keaton which works so well as a brass band piece. Tintwistle Band gave us all an Oscar-winning performance.

This was followed by with Gilbert Vinter’s Elegy from Entertainments from 1968. Set in three movements, the full work covers its Caprice, Elegy and March. Last night we heard the middle part of what was one of the composer’s last test pieces before his death the following year. In 2006, it was the Third Section test piece in that year’s Regional Championships. If there was a God Tier of Test Piece composers, you could be sure Vinter would be sat up there with Eric Ball and Peter Graham. Good stuff.

Next up was one of the slowest Number One singles in the UK Official Charts singles chart. Jackie Wilson’s Reet Petite took 29 years to reach the top spot from its initial release. In December 1986, it knocked off The Housemartins’ Caravan of Love to become that year’s Christmas Number One. Last year, that record was beaten by Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill, taking 37 years to become a UK Number One single. This song saw Tintwistle Band switch over from their usual positions with Andrew Mallon standing away from the band. This was by far last night’s surprise package, and a cracker at that. Definitely one for the entertainment contests.

From Jackie Wilson, we moved on to Neal Hefti with the evergreen Li’l Darlin’. The piece was written by Hefti in 1957 for the Count Basie Orchestra. With the addition of lyrics, it was performed live on The Judy Garland Show in 1959. A smooth piece, seen in Tintwistle Band’s mastery in the slow melody department. Even so, a lull before the second half finale song which follows the next piece.

Our penultimate piece was another easy listening classic. That of Bart Howard’s Fly Me to the Moon. It was originally known as In Other Words with Kaye Ballard being the first artiste to record the song in 1954. For many people, it is either Frank Sinatra’s or Peggy Lee’s version that strikes a chord. More recently in 2021, it was covered by Joo Won during the Red Light, Green Light game sequence in an episode of Squid Game. If we really want to be tenuous about the Six Nations and complete the set, Frank Sinatra’s version got a Gold Disc in Italy. Another great performance.

Then came our finale. Long time concertgoers would understand no concert worth its salt should be without a Paul Lovatt-Cooper piece of some description. We had a real modern classic in Fire In The Blood. It was commissioned by Dr. Stephen Cobb for the 120th anniversary of the International Staff Band of The Salvation Army. The title is a play on The Salvation Army motto “blood and fire”. In just over 10 minutes, it is exactly that; a whirlwind of emotions with an unforgettable crescendo. Tintwistle Band well and truly captured the spirit of PLC’s work, leaving us wanting more.

How do you follow that? How about a traditional Scottish tune in Loch Lomond? The song is often played at Scottish weddings. Its meaning has been open to more visceral interpretation with reference to Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobite Rebellion for example. Andrew allowed for some audience participation with the live audience singing along when directed by the MD. Another glorious ending to a superb concert.

* * *

Next week…

We have two exciting concerts with seven bands in total! 

at Uppermill Civic Hall

First up is Mass Brass VI. That’s on Saturday at Uppermill Civic Hall, starting at 7.00 pm.  Our six bands will be Milnrow Band, Dobcross Youth and Delph Youth bands, Uppermill and Delph bands, and your very own Boarshurst Silver Band. Tickets are £8.00 (or £6.00 for concessions), and are available from the concert secretaries of participating bands.

Public Transport

  • 84: Manchester – Newton Heath – Failsworth – Hollinwood – Hollins – Oldham – Lees – Grotton – Lydgate – Grasscroft – Greenfield – Uppermill (First Greater Manchester);
  • 184: Oldham – Greenacres – Springhead – Lees – Lydgate – Grasscroft – Greenfield – Uppermill – Diggle – Marsden – Slaithwaite – Huddersfield (First Greater Manchester/Nexus Move);
  • 350: Ashton-under-Lyne – Mossley – Greenfield – Uppermill – Delph – Waterhead – Oldham (First Greater Manchester/Stagecoach Manchester);
  • 356: Oldham – Greenacres – Watersheddings – Pennine Meadows – Moorside – Grains Bar – Denshaw – Delph – Dobcross – Diggle – Dobcross – Uppermill – Greenfield – Friezland – Roughtown – Mossley – Heyrod – Stalybridge – Ashton-under-Lyne (Nexus Move).

Please alight outside The Hare and Hounds public house and walk up Court Street to Uppermill Civic Hall. Evening journeys of the 184 route are operated by Nexus Move, terminating at Marsden. The 350 is operated by Stagecoach Manchester after 6pm.

at Boarshurst Band Club

On Sunday we’ll be welcoming Hazel Grove Band. They are a Second Section Band that won the Third Section prize in the 2020 North West Regional Championships. That’s at 7.30 pm; as always, doors open from 6.30 pm. Please arrive early to be sure of a good seat.

Public Transport

  • 350: Ashton-under-Lyne – Mossley – Greenfield – Uppermill – Delph – Waterhead – Oldham (First Greater Manchester/Stagecoach Manchester).

Please alight outside the former Greenfield Conservative Club which is just before (to Oldham) or after (to Ashton) the zebra crossing. All post-7pm journeys of the 350 route are operated by Stagecoach Manchester.

S.V., 13 March 2023.

One thought on “Tintwistle Band: Sunday Brass at the Boarshurst Band Club (12 March 2023)

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