For the second year the increasingly burgeoning forces of the Foden’s Band organisation performed a matinee concert in the beautiful acoustic of Warrington’s Parr Hall.
An appreciative audience enjoyed the occasion, with the senior outfit mint-fresh from yet another successful Whit Friday outing the previous night under the baton of guest conductor, David Hirst.
The opened proceedings with ‘Supremacy’, a recent transcription from the repertoire of rock group ‘Muse’, before moving stylishly through numbers by Lionel Ritchie, Dmitri Shostakovich and Wilfred Heaton before finishing in sonorous fashion with Eric Ball’s magnificent, ‘The Kingdom Triumphant’.
In between came expertly delivered solos by Mark Wilkinson (‘I Dreamed a Dream’) and Mark Landon (‘Xylomania’). The encore of ‘Toccata in D Minor’ was well deserved - although you suspect that after its Whit Friday exertions the players were glad to finally get a rest!
The second half was dedicated to the talents of the Foden’s Youth and Junior Bands.
The 60-strong Foden’s Youth Band (in association with the Love Music Trust), is now in its fifth season and was conducted by co-MD Mark Bousie. They started the second half in spectacular fashion with Jonathan Bates’ arrangement of ‘Olympiada’ by Samuel Hazo.
The rest of their set was dedicated to the late Goff Richards. The energetic ‘Doyen’ was given a welcome revival and was followed by solo euphonium Gary Curtin, as he soared the heights on ‘Pilatus’, neatly accompanied by the band.
They then ended in fine style with the classic arrangement of the hymn tune ‘Crimond’, excellently led, as throughout, by principal cornet Georgina Moulsdale.
The final treat came with Foden’s Junior Band, formed in 2015, and run in association with the Warrington based Accent Music Education Hub. Its 25 members gave a wonderfully entertaining set showing just how far they have progressed in a short space of time.
In the absence of regular MD, Anna Hughes-Williams, they were ably led by Foden’s flugel player, Melanie Whyle in a programme that included ‘The Circle of Life’ from ‘The Lion King’ (complete with costume and choreography) and the Queen classic ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’.
To conclude, over 100 players from all three ensembles filled the superb acoustic with a sound that only massed brass bands can produce in Dizzy Stratford’s ‘Glasnost’.
It concluded an exhibition of how the whole Foden’s organisation continues to go from strength to strength by offering young musicians simply wonderful musical opportunities.