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Brighouse & Rastrick

Conductor: Lee Skipsey
Uppermill Civic Hall
Saturday 4th November

As the inky black skies of Saddleworth were illuminated with Guy Fawkes night celebrations, there was also a warm glow of appreciation on show inside Uppermill Civic Hall as the newly crowned National Champion, Brighouse & Rastrick provided plenty of musical fireworks.

With David Thornton adjudicating in Denmark, the conducting duties fell to Lee Skipsey - also a man with a growing reputation for lighting up a concert or contest stage or two of late with his own bands of BD1 and City of Bradford. 

Proms theme

The evening’s 'Last Night of the Proms' theme ensured that the musical fayre was entertaining and accessible - and with reasonably priced tickets and some astute local marketing, it was encouraging to see a packed hall on an evening when there were plenty of other fizz-bang attractions on offer on the doorstep.

The punters didn’t go home disappointed either - right from a bubbling ‘Knight Templar’ march to open, through well-tempered renditions of 'Capriccio Espagnol', ‘Music from the Elizabethan Court’ and excellent solo renditions from Kathleen Gaspoz on ‘Oblivion’, and Mike Eccles on ‘Children of Sanchez’.

Excerpts from ‘Windows of the World’ (featuring some sumptuous horn playing from Sheona White), ‘The Irish Blessing’ and ‘Riverdance’ ended an audience friendly first half in upbeat fashion. 

The evening’s 'Last Night of the Proms' theme ensured that the musical fayre was entertaining and accessible - and with reasonably priced tickets and some astute local marketing, it was encouraging to see a packed hall on an evening when there were plenty of other fizz-bang attractions on offer on the doorstep.

Equitable draw

It was more familiar stuff in the second too: 'Toccata in D Minor', the reflective 'Shenandoah' and 'You'll Never Walk Alone' set up the ‘Proms’ set, which opened with a touching rendition of 'Nimrod' before 'Fantasia on British Sea Songs' saw the traditional display of fun and games between the musicians and the audience. Even with a repeat or two, an equitable draw was declared.

'Jerusalem' and 'Land of Hope and Glory' gave the audience the chance to flex their vocal chords, before there was a touching remembrance of the contribution to banding of Bert Howarth, who'd died a few days earlier, aged 96. You could hear a pin drop during 'Abide with Me'.

The rousing 'Pines of Rome' left scorch marks on the ceiling, and despite some teasing from the MD the traditional horticultural Brighouse encore rounded a terrific night off, aided by the excellent compere, David Hoyle. 

Malcolm Wood



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Ian Holmes

BA (hons), PGDip (RCM), ARCM, ALCM
Conductor, piano accompanist and educator