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Christmas Countdown—3 days to go

Just who would you want to invite to Christmas dinner? Given the choice this is who we would send invitations out to...

4BR

 

With all the cards sent and prezzies wrapped all that is left is to prepare Christmas dinner and make sure that there is plenty of nosh for your guests.

But who to invite?

Given that the countdown has been a touch surreal in places we thought 4BR had better ask 10 guests, dead or alive, from brass band history to join us for turkey and Christmas pudding.

Dress code would be informal, and the only connection had to be a link with the brass band movement—even if it is a bit tenuous in places. Given the old maxim used by George Bernard Shaw that the greatest people are usually the most boring dinner guests, these are the 10 we sent our invites to…

1. John Henry Iles

Would be fascinating listening—especially on how he through the modern movement could draw the crowds back to the major brass band contests, like he used to do. 80,000 at the Nationals once more eh?

2. Alexander Owen

His views on the modern brass band movement would be well worth a gander, as would his opinion on arrangements of classical works and the modern brass band contest format. He would certainly recognise it, as it hasn’t exactly changed much since he was in his pomp.

3. Fred Mortimer

’Old Mort’ and his ideas on how to build a truly unbeatable contesting brass band.

4. Gilbert Vinter

The man who launched modern brass band repertoire would be an ideal guest to discuss modern test pieces with the likes of Fred Mortiner and Alex Owen.

5. Richard Evans

We need a strong personality and a modern viewpoint of the 21st century movement. Tricky Dicky would hold his own in anybody’s company we are sure.

Good old Bix was a bit of a lad to say the least. If you thought soprano players were dangerous to know then Bix came with a Government Health Warning stamped to his cornet case4BR

6. Jean Baptiste Arban

Just to get him to explain how on earth he thought anyone could play his ‘Method’ over 130 years ago, and for him to show us how to play it over the port and cigars. Also to get him to offer his opinion on how good he thought modern cornet players actually were.

7. Ceres Jackson

Much the same really—the former Principal Cornet of Black Dyke was undoubtedly mad, bad and dangerous to know, but what a character, and what a dinner guest he would be. Once even told the great Thomas Beecham where to go…

8. Andre Previn

Not just there to accompany the guests on the old joanna in the post dinner entertainment, but to give his views as Patron of the National Association of Brass Band Conductors no less, on the standard of the current crop of stick waggers. Also any stories he might have about Mia Farrow…

9. Walter Hargreaves

The ‘Mighty Atom’ himself. Never short of an opinion and a man who could do it all—and knew he could too.

10. Bix Beiderbecke

Just in case we were in need of a colourful tale or two. Good old Bix was a bit of a lad to say the least. If you thought soprano players were dangerous to know then Bix came with a Government Health Warning stamped to his cornet case.


That’s our 4BR Christmas Dinner line up then. A fine mix of the great, good, odd and ever so slightly dangerous. It would be a dinner to remember…



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Christopher Houlding

MMus, GGSM, LRAM
Conductor, Performer, Educator