Brass Band Gala 2019

Cory and Black Dyke Bands
Conductors: Philip Harper, Prof Nicholas Childs
Soloist: Siobhan Bates
Symphony Hall
Sunday 8th September

With Cory and Black Dyke taking the top two spots at the British Open less than 24 hours before they returned to the Symphony Hall stage, there was little surprise that this concert found them both in uplifted spirits.


Black Dyke took to the stage fielding five tubas, and with the cornets and trombones ranged around the ensemble for 'Walking with Heroes'.

Fine solo playing from Brett Baker and Richard Marshall stood out in a high octane opener as the Queensbury band showed further proof of their recent rejuvenation under the baton of their MD.

The undoubted star however was solo horn Siobhan Bates, appearing as the inaugural winner of the BrassPass Young Musician Award. Hers was a demonstration of abundant confidence, lyricism and a beautiful tone in John Golland's 'Peace', and later appearing with Cory to play Philip Harper's ‘Celtic Promise'.

'Black Dyke at the Movies' opened with music from 'Harry Potter' before the all-female 'For Your Eyes Only' and the fun packed antics of Jack Sparrow and 'Pirates of the Caribbean'.

Dyke closed with Peter Graham's 'To Boldly Go', written for the Melbourne Staff Band. Dan Thomas and Richard Marshall featured, and there was some ethereal tutti playing before Connor Lennon's soprano rang out at the top of the final chord.

After the brief break, the new (or should that be renewed) British Open champion Cory got off to a sparkling start with 'A Short Ride in a Brass Machine',


After the brief break, the new (or should that be renewed) British Open champion Cory got off to a sparkling start with 'A Short Ride in a Brass Machine', before turning to Latin America with 'Caribe', arranged by MD Philip Harper and featuring several of his soloists, including British Open Stanley Wainwright Award winner Tom Hutchinson, Ailsa Russell and Chris Thomas.

Composer Liz Land wrote 'Grand Union Waltz' for the wedding of two friends, and she and the happily married couple were present to hear the touchingly quirky work incorporating notes chosen by them in a melody that moved around the ensemble like the best wishes from relatives and friends.

Helen Williams shone in 'Share my Yoke' before the band rounded off with the Iberian brilliance of 'Capriccio Espagnol'.

After the interval, Nicholas Childs led the combined bands in the rousing march 'Blaze Away!' and Peter Graham's 'Crimond', with its references to 'Resurgam'.

Philip Harper took over the baton for the final items, a fine interpretation of 'Light Cavalry' and the encore 'Enter the Galaxies'.

Peter Bale

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