facebook twitter rss vimeo shop label support us


Hammonds Band

Conductor: Morgan Griffiths
Stephen Joseph Theatre
Saturday 12th January 2019

Every January Hammonds Band gives two concerts at the Stephen Joseph Theatre. Known as ‘The Round’, the auditorium, much like the old King’s Hall at Belle Vue, is unusual as the performers are surrounded by an intimately packed audience on all four sides.

The Grand Shield champion has built up a loyal following over the past few years; one that has enjoyed their user-friendly approach to repertoire that encompasses the traditional with the contemporary without straying too far from the familiar.

Purpose and drive

The energetic ‘Short Ride in a Brass Machine’ was therefore followed by the overture ‘Light Cavalry’ - each played with purpose and drive, before principal cornet Philip Varley (the first of no less than seven soloists) stood for a touching rendition of ‘Because’.

He set a high standard which the others - Mike Walsh on baritone, Matt Brown (trombone), Zoe Wright (horn), Catherine Owen (flugel), Robert Jagger (soprano) and Ashley Higgins (euphonium) matched - each performing with distinctive style and considered technique. 

Little ensemble delights dotted the programme; from the light-hearted ‘Waltzing Cat’ complete with slide trumpets, to more feline musicality with a selection form ‘Cats’. There was Norse mythology with ‘Little Knut and Sylvelin’ and a rousing first half finish with Paul Lovatt - Cooper’s ‘Tale of the Dragon’. 

He set a high standard which the others - Mike Walsh on baritone, Matt Brown (trombone), Zoe Wright (horn), Catherine Owen (flugel), Robert Jagger (soprano) and Ashley Higgins (euphonium) matched - each performing with distinctive style and considered technique. 

Properly paced

Elsewhere, the hard-core brass band aficionados certainly enjoyed a properly paced ‘New Colonial' march and a stylish rendition of Malcolm Arnold’s ‘Cornish Dances’, whilst soft jazz enthusiasts weren’t disappointed by the treatment of ‘Birdland’.

A bit of Debussy, a rousing old Gordon Langford selection box of ‘Rhapsody on Sea Shanties’ and the Moody Blues hit ‘Nights in White Satin’ drew things to the finale of Roy Newsome’s rarely heard arrangement of ‘Neapolitan Scenes’. 

Over 400 people left well entertained, and certainly impressed by a well led band on impressive early season form. 

The box office won’t worry about them all coming back again for the next time Hammonds are in town.

Paul Short 

Support us for less than a cup of coffee...

4BR wants to ensure that the brass band movement remains vibrant and relevant. We also want to be able to question, challenge and critically examine those who run and play in it, producing high quality journalism that informs as well as entertains our readers.

So if like us you value a strong, independent perspective on the brass band world - then why not consider becoming a supporter and help make our future and that of a burgeoning brass band movement more secure.

So one less cappuccino then?

Support us    

St Pinnock Brass Band - Rock Choir Cornwall

Sunday 26 May • Sterts Theatre, . Sterts, . Liskeard, . PL14 5AZ PL14 5AZ

Contest: All England International Masters

Sunday 26 May • The Lighthouse Theatre, Kettering Conference Centre, Thurston Drive NN15 6PB

Lewes, Glynde and Beddingham Brass Band - Eastbourne Bandstand - 1812 concert

Wednesday 29 May • Bandstand, Grand Parade, Eastbourne BN21 3AD

Black Dyke Band - George Lawton Hall, Mossley

Thursday 30 May • George Lawton Hall, Stamford St, Mossley, Ashton-under-Lyne OL5 0HR

Clifton International Festival of Music - Let Trumpets Sound - Crispian Steele-Perkins

Saturday 1 June • Clifton Cathedral, Clifton Park, Bristol BS8 3BX BS8 3BX

Bollington Brass Band

May 25 • Bollington Brass Band require a Kit and a tutti cornet player to complete our line up. We will be playing at the 2nd section National Finals this September before promotion to the North West 1st section..

Dobcross Silver Band

May 25 • Dobcross Silver Band are looking for a B FLAT BASS player for Whit Friday.. Come and join a Saddleworth band, playing the Saddleworth circuit, including our very own Dobcross contest.. . A great chance to come and enjoy an unforgettable experience!

Stannington Brass Band

May 25 • A rare opportunity has arisen to join one of Sheffield's leading bands with a vacancy for an EEb TUBA PLAYER to complete our bass section. We have a good band room atmosphere and a calendar of interesting concerts and contests.

Julian Bright

Conductor, Compere/MC, Cornet Soloist