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Wantage Band

The Snowman
MD Paul Holland
The Beacon
Sunday 12th December




Raymond Briggs’ bittersweet wordless tale of a little boy’s love, loss and walking in the air with a snowman that comes to life on Christmas Eve has become a television family favourite ever since it was first aired almost 40 years ago.

It is 26 minutes of festive magic; underpinned by Howard Blake’s wonderful score and remembered most of all for the iconic song, which was originally sung by 13 year old chorister Peter Auty and only later ‘covered’ by Aled Jones.

It’s also become something of a community treat with many bands and ensembles gaining permission to play the soundtrack to the film – packing church halls and venues with paying punters in the process.

Centrepiece

Wantage has undertaken four performances this year (to over 900 people), making the film a centrepiece of a concert that also featured carols and festive music – from ‘Jingle Bells’, ‘Away in a Manger’  and ‘Silent Night’ to highlights from the Disney blockbuster ‘Frozen’, ‘The Polar Express’  and ‘Somewhere in my Memory’  from ‘Home Alone’ – all complete with audience ‘sing-a-long’ participation.

The centrepiece was the neatly synchronised production of ‘The Snowman’ – greatly helped by Philip Littlemore’s sympathetic treatment of the Howard Blake score which gave a glow of nostalgia to the adults and an even warm warmer glow of excitement to the youngsters as the tale unfolded before their eyes. 

The centrepiece was the neatly synchronised production of ‘The Snowman’ – greatly helped by Philip Littlemore’s sympathetic treatment of the Howard Blake score which gave a glow of nostalgia to the adults and an even warm warmer glow of excitement to the youngsters as the tale unfolded before their eyes. 

It worked so well - Paul Holland keeping a careful grip on the dynamics and the band playing with balanced tonality.

Flew by

The hour or so flew by - all rounded off with a splendidly joyful rendition of ‘Jingle Bells’  which sent everyone home ‘walking in the air’ with a smile on their faces. 

A huge well done to the Wantage Band organisation for putting on such a great weekend of performances that introduced youngsters to the joys of a musical Christmas and the welcoming sounds of a brass band.

Rob Tompkins

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