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The first “away weekend” of 2014 saw BCB visiting two towns in Greater Manchester.  On the Saturday evening the band was delighted to be back in the beautiful hall at Sale and then on the Sunday the band made the short trip to Stockport.


On the Saturday evening in Sale it was a delight to see the hall full to capacity despite the band band visiting so recently (Saturday 20th April 2013).  BCB was delighted to have the Central North Youth Chorus join them under the leadership of Lucy Lamplough.  Lucy moved from Birmingham to study at Manchester University 7 years ago and so it was great to see her in her “new” surroundings!  The Youth Chorus delighted the audience with a selection of songs.


BCB, playing a new programme for the first time, started with Stephen Bulla’s “Praise Him!” before Neil Blessett filled the warm acoustic of the large hall with a new solo for Neil and the Band “You Love Me” (Paul Sharman).  His sonorous sounds soared over the band and this beautiful melody was certainly appreciated by the audience.  Next, the band changed the mood with Martin Cordner’s lively “He is Exalted”.  Following a couple of songs from the Youth Chorus the band concluded the first half with the Trombone Solo “Song of Exuberance” (Leslie Condon) which was played by Deputy Bandmaster Mark Sharman before the band finished with the epic work “Laudate Dominum (Revised)” by Edward Gregson.  The Bandmaster suggested in his introductions to the former work that it was a tribute to the composer Leslie Condon as he passed away 30 years ago.  To think that the Brass Band lost such a wonderfully creative Christian gentlemen so young and yet he left such a legacy.  Mark Sharman certainly delivered this revered solo with aplomb.  The final work of the half has undergone something of a “makeover” in recent years.  Many bands had featured the original “Laudate Dominum” and it has become a revered work for many.  But the composer has, in recent years, adapted the work in order to place greater challenges on the player and extend the piece in to a more substantial work to listen to.  The addition of the extra movement reveal more contemporary and sophisticated writing and this was well received by the audience as the prolonged applause suggested!


The second half included lighter works such as Alan Fernie’s “I wish I knew how it felt to be free” when he blends the contemporary tune associated with “Film Night” with the much loved hymn “Amazing Grace”.  The band also included a latin arrangement entitled “Praising”.  The second half soloist was Principal Euphonium David Taylor who demonstrated his virtuosity in a new solo for both soloist and band by Stephen Bulla: “Air n’ Variations” .  The extended applause and several bows taken by the soloist certainly confirmed the appreciation of the audience!  The final item from the band were taken from the recent 120 year celebrations.  Paul Sharman’s beautiful “Everlasting Hope” which weaves  the music associated with the line “Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow” from the hymn “Great is Thy faithfulness” led to a time of reflection (David Richardson) before the band concluded with Peter Graham’s “Renaissance” and the now customary “Liberator” march by George Marshall.




Sunday saw the band leading the services at Stockport Citadel.  The Sunday morning service was led by Band Sergeants Ian Kershaw and Rob O’Connor and Matthew Mynott challenged the congregation through his word.  The band, led by Deputy Bandmaster Mark Sharman, played William Himes’ “Nicaea” and “Make me a channel of your piece”.


The afternoon concert was very well attended and BCB was delighted to see such a full hall.  The band started with Steven Ponsford’s “High and Lifted Up” before BCB went on to introduce three soloists.  Firstly, David Taylor delighted the audience with Robert Redhead’s Euphonium Solo “Euphony” before Andrew Dickinson impressed with a Rhapsody originally written for Soprano Cornet and Band but here performed on the Tenor Horn.  After the reference to “strictly come dancing” with Kevin Larsson’s Tango “Where I Love to Be”our third soloist, Edward Dixon, brought a sense of fun to the afternoon with another comical rendition (and expertly played!) “Bare Necessities”.


The weekend ended with two classics of the Brass Band repertoire from the pen of Dean Goffin.  Firstly the hugely influential “Light of the World” which was inspired by the Holman Hunt painting.  Over the course of the weekend we were, once again, reminded of the impact that this music has had on so many lives as countless people expressed the special place that this music has in their hearts.  The band finished with more “new” music for BCB in Goffin’s cleverly written set of variations “Lift Up Your Heart”.  The music demonstrates Goffin’s artistry and ability to write wonderful melodic lines.


It was a fantastic weekend that, judging by the warm applause and the thanks of BM Nigel Turner (Stockport) was enjoyed by band and audience members alike.




Saturday 1st March 2014

Praise Him! (Stephen Bulla)

Horn Solo: You Love Me (Paul Sharman) – Soloist: Neil Blessett

He is Exalted! (Martin Cordner)

Central North Divisional Youth Chorus

Trombone Solo: Song of Exuberance (Leslie Condon) Soloist: Mark Sharman   

Central North Divisional Youth Chorus

Variations on Laudate Dominum (Edward Gregson)


I Wish I Knew How it felt to be Free (Alan Fernie)

Congregational Song – Crown Him with Many Crowns

Praising (Erik Silfverberg)

Central North Divisional Youth Chorus

Euphonium Solo: Air n Variations (Stephen Bulla) Soloist: David Taylor

Central North Divisional Youth Chorus

Everlasting Hope (Paul Sharman)

Renaissance (Peter Graham)


The Liberator (George Marshall) 


Sunday 2nd March 2014

High and Lifted Up (Stephen Ponsford)

Euphonium Solo: Euphony (Robert Redhead) 

Soloist: David Taylor

Horn Solo: Rhapsody  (Robert Eaves)

Soloist: Andrew Dickinson

Tango: Where I Love to Be (Kevin Larsson)

Tuba Solo: The Bare Necessities (Leigh Baker) 

Soloist: Edward Dixon

Light of the World (Dean Goffin)

Lift Up Your Heart (Dean Goffin)


March: Beaumont (Dickens)

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