Conductor: Morgan Griffiths
Tonight saw our series of concerts continue with British Open Band, and Grand Shield Champions, the Hammonds Band.
Despite being St. Patrick's Day, there was a very varied program showing little Irish influence.
The band started with "A Short Ride in a Brass Machine" by andrew baker. This was written in 2006 to mark the 140th anniversary of the Brighouse and Rastrick Band and first performed in the Central Methodist Church in Brighouse by Brighouse and Rastrick conducted by James Gourlay. The title refers to the orchestral composition A Short Ride in A Fast Machine by the American composer John Adams which provided some of the inspiration for the work. The music is a simple celebratory prelude consisting of two main ideas, an expansive melody full of open fifths (giving the music a slightly “American” feel) and a short fanfare figure. After these are both heard for the first time a brief development of the fanfare material leads to a broader, warm harmonisation of the opening melody and the pulse relaxes a little before tension builds to a reiteration of the fanfare and a final triumphant version of the opening theme.
Following this, we were treated with some sublime classical music with Frank Wright's famous transcription of Giuseppe Verdi's "La Forza del Destino (the Force of Destiny) Overture". This was a very popular choice with fine solo playing from flugel, and principal cornet players.
It wasn't the last we heard of their principal cornet, Philip Varley as he was first up to play a solo. He played Adagio from Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2 arranged by Ray Farr. This was fantastic playing of a solo you don't hear very often. Bravo!
To continue the varied program, we were treated with some light film music. This was "Mary Poppins Symphonic Suite" arranged by Andrew Duncan for brass band, featuring memorable songs from the musical including supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, lets go fly a kite, and feed the birds.
Next we heard Sand Smith arrangement of Leroy Anderson's comical "The Waltzering Cat" featuring three angry trombone players and a few cornet playing trying their hand at the alto trombone which got a few laughs from the audience.
Matthew Brown showed up these cornet players with the next item playing Gordon Langford's "Fantasy for Trombone". This was over 10 minutes of stunning playing by one of the countries finest Trombone players that was a real treat for our audience. A real fine performance showing off his apparent lips of steel from start to finish of the concert. Wel played Matthew!
To finish the first half, the band played Little Knut & Sylvelin by Frode Ryland, and some more classical music, in the form of the Finale from Tchaikovsky's "The Little Russian".
After a well eared break for the band, we resumed with the traditional march, "The Waltonian" by J. J. Richards.
This was followed by their third soloist of the evening with "Michael Walsh". In contrast to the old school solos of the first half, he played Paul Lovatt-Cooper's stunning "Donegal Bay".
We were then treated to more film music, this time it was John Williams' score of the 1993 blockbuster "Jurassic Park" arranged by Alan Catherall.
Our next and final soloist was star Euphonium player, Ashley Higgins. He played Hartmans' La Belle Americaine.
This followed on with more old school, with the band playing the 2nd movement from George Lloyd's Royal Parks, In Memoriam. This was beautifully by the band and was followed by more music of Gordon Langford, "Sarie Marais".
The band concluded the concert with Tale of the Dragon by Paul Lovatt-Cooper, taken from their fantastic set from their recent Brass in Concert performance.
We were lucky enough to be treated to an encore by the Grand Shield Champions, in which the band played the popular march, Quality Plus.
Thank you Hammonds Band and Morgan Griffiths for a fantastic concert, and we hope to see you back playing here again very soon.
Last weekend saw the North West Regional Championships take place in which both our ‘A’ and ‘B’ bands take part.
The Championships take place annually at the Blackpool Winter Gardens on the last Sunday in February, in which bands compete to cement their place in the National Championships later in the year.
The day started with the ‘B’ band competing in the second section. Every band in this section were required to play Darrol Barry’s test piece, Rise of the Phoenix.
Rise of the Phoenix was commissioned by The Clifton and Lightcliffe Band with funds from The National Lottery Commission. Darrol Barry had earlier written another piece in 1991 for the band following their four year sponsorship with Yorkshire Water, titled Yorkshire Water Music. Darrol’s remit this time was to compose a test piece standard piece of music which would depict the highs and lows of the band throughout its history since its formation in 1838. The music is dedicated to all the former players and conductors of Clifton and Lightcliffe Band.
At 8.30am, the draw commenced. Unfortunately for the band, they were dealt with the supposed “draw of death” meaning they were to play 2nd out of the competing 17 bands. Despite this, the band played brilliantly and weren’t forgotten by the judges, earning themselves their first “top 6” finish since 2015.
This is a great result for the ‘B’ band and a great start for the return of Michael Golding as conductor.
After the results, the ‘A’ band’s draw was taking place. There were 12 bands in the Championship section in which they were competing, placing 7th in the draw.
The test piece for the championship section was “Seascapes” by Ray Steadman-Allen. First used at the 1988 National Championships, this work was inspired by the poem "CARGOES" by John Mansfield, with each verse having its own dedicated movement.
Like the ‘B’ Band, our ‘A’ band put in a fantastic perforce of their set piece, and we are very proud for them to achieve a podium finish in coming 3rd. Not only is this a fantastic result, thanks to Fodens band coming in the top 2, we have also received an invitation to the National Championships at the Albert hall in London later in the year!
On the 10th anniversary of when the band first qualified for the Albert Hall, Ben Dixon led the band to the National Championships, for the 3rd time in our history.
The organisation as a whole have had a fantastic day and would like to thank the hard work of both bands and their conductors Mike Golding, and Ben Dixon.
Tonight saw our series of concerts continue with our very own Pemberton Old Wigan DW 'B' Band.
With the concert adopting a film theme, the band opened with Kenneth Alford's, "Colonel Bogey". Made famous in the 1957 film "The Bridge on the River Kwai", this was a great start to our second concert of the year.
The band then continued with the James Bond Collection, featuring the music from the classic 007 films such as Goldfinger, the Spy Who Loved Me, and Casino Royale.
No brass band in the country can do a film themed concert without referencing the 1996 film, Brassed Off, and this was no exception. A trio of pieces followed this theme starting with the beautiful Londonderry Air featuring the bands principal cornet, Emma Barkley. This was followed by more solo contributions with the principal cornets sister, Lauren, who played Joaquín Rodrigo's "Concerto de Aranjuez" on the iconic Flugel Horn. Our trio of "Brassed Off" classics finished with "Clog Dance", featured in the film as Grimley Colliery travel from their small town to compete at the national championships at the Albert Hall in London. Lets hope its not too long before this band visit the championships themselves!
After the arousing trio of brass band classics, rising tenor horn star, Daniel Marsh took the the stage to play Goff Richards' stunning arrangement of "Over the Rainbow" made famous in the 1939 musical, the Wizard of Oz
To end the first half, the band had a small break from the film music theme, in which they played the test piece "Rise of the Phoenix" by the late Darrol Barry. The band gained a respectable 5th place at the recent Preston Brass at the Guild contest playing this piece and will be performing it again at the North West Championships in Blackpool in 2 weeks time.
After the interval, the band resumed playing with music from the 2018 musical "The Greatest Showman".
The second half also saw the first music from a Disney film to be played. The 1995 animation of Pocahontas features the beautiful song "Colours of Wind", the band played Philips Sparke's fantastic arrangement of this.
The Austin Powers films were released between 1997 and 2002 in which the groovy "Soul Bossa Nova" is featured as all 3 of the films', main theme. Featuring our percussion section of Vicky Hough and Adam Roby, Andrew Duncans arrangement was an enjoyable addition to the programme.
The Armed Man is a Mass by Welsh composer Karl Jenkins, subtitled "A Mass for Peace". The piece was commissioned by the Royal Armouries Museum for the Millennium celebrations, to mark the museum's move from London to Leeds, and it was dedicated to victims of the Kosovo crisis. The Armed Man Film was created by film maker and director Hefin Owen, and was premiered in its current form in Johannesburg, South Africa in September 2007 with Karl Jenkins conducting. "The film echoes and traces the story as told in the text of the work; the build up to conflict, conflict itself and the aftermath, finally looking forward to a better future," says Karl Jenkins. The 12th movement of The Armed Man is entitled, "Benedictus". Tony Small arranged this movement as a Euphonium solo for David Childs to perform at brass in concert many years ago. Now published, Pemberton Old Wigan 'B' Band's Euphonium player, Steve Gordon, played with brilliant contrasting accompaniment by the band.
The recent blockbuster film "Bohemian Rhapsody" is a biographical film about the British rock band Queen. This was the perfect excuse to play some classic pop music from the rock band. The B Band continued with the duo of "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Fat Bottom Girls" featuring fine solo efforts from across the band.
After this duo of rock classics, the band played some emotional music from Tom Hanks' 1998 film, Saving Private Ryan. John Williams' Hymn to the Fallen was played beautifully by the band featuring the eerie marching drums throughout.
To lighten the mood and finish the concert, the band finished with "I Will Follow Him" from the 1992 film "Sister Act". Featuring, Harry Quirk, Lesley Quirk, and Dominic Francis as a trombone trio.
This was a fantastic concert with fantastic film music the audience wanted more and the band did not disappoint. From the 1954 film "The Student Prince", the band played another Goff Richards arrangement playing "I'll Walk With God".
We want to thank the band for playing at our venue and we cannot wait for our next concert here in March.
The Pemberton Old Wigan B band are pleased to announce that the following players have joined their ranks.
Steve Gordon and Simon Topp fill the Euphonium seats. Taking over from siblings, and long serving members of the band, Robert Don-Duncan and Helen Smart, as they both have a short break from full-time banding.
Cornet player of St. Helens Youth Band, Adam Wilson joins the back row team on second cornet.
Daniel Marsh and Victoria Kentworthy-Nash also join on Solo and 1st Horn. Along with new cornet player Adam, Daniel also plays for St. Helens Youth Band. Victoria joins us from the Bolton based band, Horwich RMI.
Dominic Francis completes the trio of players joining from St. Helens Youth, taking the Bass Trombone seat.