On Sunday 12th September, Fulham Brass Band took part in a concert along with Friary Guildford and LGB bands at Connaught Leisure in Aldershot. The concert was a bit of an experiment for the bands as they each performed a short programme, featuring the test pieces that they will be shortly be performing at the National finals. The special guest for the day was Frank Renton, presenter of BBC Radio 2’s Listen to the Band. Mr. Renton gave some well-received guidance for each band, which will hopefully help them to rectify any issues as they hone their performances in the remaining few weeks.
The day was a great success, starting off with the programme from LGB brass, which included Army of the Nile, Breezin’ down Broadway, Song of the seashore, A Royal Mile Suite (their test piece) and Pirates of the Caribbean (a great crowd pleaser judging by the reactions of many of the audience). Fulham Brass were next to the stage, starting their performance with a Selection from Harry Potter, followed by Share my Yoke, featuring a solo from principal cornet, Victoria Curran. Next came the third section test piece, Willow Pattern, by Philip Harper and then the evocative Danish hymn, Eternal Struggle, by Simon Kjærgaard. The short set was concluded with a rendition of Misty, with a solo from one of Fulham’s youngest players, Hannah Rose Cooper.
At the interval, the audience was entertained by a group of youngsters (and a few not-so-youngsters) from Fulham Brass and Richmond Music Trust, featuring solos from Thomas Pey and Bethan Carney, playing a selection of tunes, such as Tonight from West Side Story and an interesting arrangement of When the Saints Come Marching in and the theme from the Muppets. Congratulations to all for a great performance that was enjoyed greatly by one and all.
The concert was concluded by a performance from Friary Guildford Band that featured Malagueña, The Lord Bless You and Keep You. The next part of the programme, Shout!, featured a virtuoso trombone solo from Ian Stewart, who coincidentally is the Musical Director of the first band, LGB brass. Following a lengthy raffle break, Friary Guildford concluded their programme with a Salvationist piece, Glorifico Æternum, by Dean Jones.
The experimental concert, intended to provide bands with constructive critical comments, under more pressure than would be encountered during rehearsals seemed to be a great success. Our thanks go out to the organising team from Friary Guildford, headed by Lauren Cave, on sorting out such a well-run event. Hopefully all of the bands will be in a similar position next year, so that we might repeat the event. Good luck from Fulham to Friary Guildford Band and LGB Brass in their sections in the National Finals. Maybe we can bring back 3 National titles to the region!