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25th Anniversary of the Floral Dance...
With thanks to John Hinckley

The 25th Anniversary of the success of the Floral Dance brought celebrations to Brighouse & Rastrick Band as they had never been seen before, but the underlying "theme" was an overwhelming sense of friendship, fellowship and camaraderie...

Setting the scene:

It is important that 25 years on, the readers of 4BarsRest, especially the younger ones are aware of the style of banding that was prevalent around the period we are talking about - 1977 in particular. The National Finals had only used percussion for 3 or 4 years. The hardest test piece - Contest Music (and still is!) was rejected because the banding fraternity were judged "not ready for the challenge". The contest going public were in love with their sport, Belle Vue catered for 6 or 7 thousand in the audience, the RAH capacity always, always reached. Granada Band of the Year, the most innovative contest (and possibly enjoyable for both performer and listener) was in it's hay-day.

The "buzz" gained as a competitor and listener was something quite magical. The things we didn't have was such an inquisitive press industry. Such vulgar self-promotion through that industry. League tables turning the sport we play in, into something which is impossible to manage, placings in contests from 7 to the last adding to the ridiculous league table mentality we come to operate. Relegation and promotion like it's going out of fashion. Bands had a great opportunity to play new compositions, new arrangements, even avante garde music and sometimes outrargeous music in the long running series of Bandstand programmes on BBC Radio 3. This was the ideal place to "try out" new pieces for contests. Not like today, directly on the general public. Do we wonder why our contest halls are never full anymore? All these things and more have taken away the true meaning of the foundation of the brass band movement in the world today.

It's funny how other things don't change though. B&R (the only public subscription band with a consistent quality over many, many years) in 1977 one of our very best bands. Competition results proved that, if anyone needed the "essential" proof. The other bands of the day were of course, Black Dyke, Stanshawe, Yorkshire Imperial, Grimethorpe (although for different reasons than the others) and a re-emerging Fairey. These bands, along with others had individual character, not as obvious in the bands of 2002. They played with a freedom, which was built by their conductors. Whilst they wanted to win contests they could also offer a style on the music which was unique to them. Adjudicators were not obsessed with the small inaccuracy and appeared to concentrate more on depth and substance the bands offered. If we clip a note today we know that it costs us dearly. We also know we can play in a very ordinary way, sometimes to the extent of being so vulgar and loud as long as it's accurate it is acceptable by lots of adjudicators. (I know, I've tested the theory!) Test pieces were also good pieces of music, not terrible test pieces masquerading as "contemporary music". And variation in music, lots - today we play the most forgettable pieces at nearly every contest. Here is a memory jogger from the period we're remembering :-
1976 Epic Symphony, Sinfonietta - The Wayfairer (New), 1977 Diadem of Gold, Connotations (New), 1978 Benvenuto Cellini, Checkmate, 1979 Roman Carnival, Volcano (New), 1980 Energy, Carnival Overture, 1981 Variations on a 9th, Blitz, 1982 3 Figures, Contest Music. Along with new music for the European Championships from '78 we even played Images in 83! Don't forget too that Grimethorpe Aria, Ragtimes & Habaneras, the Bourgeios Concertos and many more appearing. Most, a pleasure to play and also to listen to and if anyone suggests they're all too easy …… I don't really have to answer, do I?

Profiles : The Band

This unique event presented a great opportunity to talk to top players of their day about a whole array of subjects, here is an abridged version. Due to a lack of time not all the players were interviewed, I have completed some of the boxes the to the best of my ability :-

Soprano Cornet: Brian Evans 1973 - 1980
Other Bands: CWS (Manchester), Fairey Aviation, Black Dyke, Wingates
Biggest Influence: "My Family"
Best Time in B&R: "The Floral Dance Year"

JH Comment:
Brian Evans is without doubt the best player I have ever heard in brass bands. (And I've heard lots of them). The spontaneous response to the hundreds of solos I have heard him play is a testament to this. His ability to go directly to the heart of the listener has never been copied. Special moments have been Victoria Hall, Bolton 1969 (I was 12 years old) with CWS Manchester (Orpheus), Granada Band of the Year 1974 with B&R (Cav. Rust), Granada Band of the Year 1975 (Summertime), 1975 RAH - Vie de Matelot with Harton & Westoe (Had to stay on stage for the sick note rule, he was brilliant with B&R, better with the next band!), 1976 - Granada Band of the Year (Solitaire)1976 Belle Vue Epic Symphony, 1976 RAH Wayfairer, 1977 Belle Vue Diadem of Gold, just amazing. And for the development of the instrument so lots could follow. For the pleasure he has given in all the concerts and the times we had in B&R small band at home and abroad. I could go on and on.

Principal Cornet: Tony Whitaker
JH Version:
For around 13 years I'd guess Tony Whitaker was Principal Cornet of B&R. A relationship was forged with WBH and of course Peter Teal which made them a formidable team. The most unassuming character, one of the best people in the business. He was blessed with a range and facility on the cornet second to none. If ever soprano parts needed playing - however high, then Tony was the man to play them. He was also a great person to have on a management team, he always offered another perspective, somewhat of a lateral thinker. He played a great part in 3 National wins - '68,'69 & '73. My best memory of Tony Whitaker is at the Open in '78, not just for his mastery of the long muted cornet solo in Benvenuto Cellini, but for the way he helped me through the whole event. This was my first time at the open on Flugel Horn, and what a baptism. Tony made me stay with him until we had played. He kept me so focussed. I will be eternally grateful for this.

Cornets: Martin McHale, 1975 - 1979
Other Bands: Alva, CWS Manchester
JH Comment:
An exceedingly talented cornet player from Scotland. Went on to study and became a "real" musician. Has been a Trumpet player with the Welsh National Opera for the last 20 years. Martin also conducts the "local" orchestra in Cardiff

Stephen Corbett, 1973 - 1977
Other Bands: Mossley, CWS Manchester
JH Comment:
Another top player, joined the band on Repiano when Rod Franks moved up the road. He then became assistant principal cornet until he moved to CWS Manchester as Principal Cornet.

David Lever, 1977 - 1982
Other Bands: Wingates, Besses, Dyke
Biggest Influence: "Maurice Murphy & Geoffrey Brand"
Best Memory with B&R: Appearing on Terry Wogan's This is Your Life
JH Comment:
David is now Head of Music Service in Rotherham. He doesn't think bands have progressed enough in the last 25 years. He enjoys listening to bands in concert but not so much in competition. He thinks the best things about the bands of today are the sound they produce and the repertoire they play.

Peter Teal
JH Version:
I'm not sure of the total facts for Peter. What I do know is that he played in the band for many years. Certainly more than 25. I know he also played in Crossley's Carpets from Halifax. Essentially number 2 solo cornet, but also played Flugel over the years. I don't think I have ever met another player like him. His ability to play his very best under any pressure had to be heard to be believed. He was largely responsible for the win on Freedom in 1973. I have a copy of a recording of the live performance in the RAH, the cornet solo in the second movement is so lovely and so confident too. In the nicest way, they certainly broke the mould etc.etc I know Peter has been involved with Drighlington and Elland bands where his huge wealth of experience will have been invaluable in helping the younger players in these bands.

Steve Greenwood, 1978 - 1984
Other Bands: Denby Dale, Skelmanthorpe, Hade Edge & Woodfalls
Biggest Influence: Jim Shepherd
Best Memory with B&R: Winning the National Championships in 1980

Steve moved south with his job, he now plays for Woodfalls. He tried conducting but gave up after 30 minutes! He feels that the music on offer today has progressed tremendously but is sad that there is little support for it today. He feels too that the top 6 bands of today are of a professional standard but is concerned that there is less depth in the other sections.

David Crisp, 1974 - 1985
Other Bands: Clifton & Lightcliffe, Queensbury, Yorkshire Imperial
Biggest Influence: Jim Shepherd
Best Memory: Winning Granada Band of the Year

David has been involved teaching and conducting especially with Jayess Junior Band. He is pleased that bands have progressed over the last 25 years and enjoys the challenge of playing test pieces today with Yorkshire Co-operatives Band. He feels that the lack of characters in the movement is the worst aspect of today.

Martin Fowler
JH version:
Martin was my first partner when I joined B&R, we played 2nd cornet together for about 12 months. A totally unselfish performer and an excellent member of the band. He was a strong committee member and both Secretary and Treasurer for a while.

Michael Trickett, 1974 - 1983
Other Bands: Chapeltown Silver, Cortonwood Colliery, Hoyland Town
Biggest Influence: Ernest Vickers (My first tutor)
Best Memory with B&R: Winning the Open 1978 in Belle Vue (Benvenuto Cellini)

Michael hasn't played since leaving B&R, he is very happy that bands have progressed in the interim. He enjoys both concerts and contests and thinks that the best thing about today's bands is their technical ability.

Glenn Crisp, 1977 - 1991
Other Bands: Clifton & Lightcliffe, Bradford Schools
Biggest Influence: "No one person"
Best Memory: From 1977 - 1981 (Floral Dance, British Open Champions, National Champions and European Champions)

Gerard Painten, 1966 - 1977
Other Bands: Thurlstone and Denby Dale
Biggest Influence: Ken Aiken-Jones (CMFCB), Maurice Murphy (Dyke) & Derek Garside (CWS Manchester)
Best Memory: Winning the National & World Championships in 1968

Gerard, a former Secretary hadn't played for 25 years and isn't involved in bands. He does enjoy concerts but not always the music chosen to play in competition. He thinks that the opportunity to develop a career in music, from a brass band background is one of the best things on offer today.

Stuart Swallow
JH Version:
Stuart was the flugel horn player during the late 60's and early 70's. He had left the band, but when we recorded the Floral Dance in 1976, he was asked to deputise, hence his appearance on the concert. He has always been closely associated with B&R, he had a spell as concert secretary. He has enjoyed playing so much that there is a fear he will want to continue!

Flugel Horn: John Hinckley, 1974 - 1992
Other Bands: Walkden, Radcliffe Borough as a player, Marple, Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band as conductor. Currently principal conductor of CWS (Glasgow) Band
Biggest Influence: As a player and general musician Ray Farr. As a conductor there are many; Derek Broadbent, Geoffrey Brand, Ray Farr intitally and today Howard Snell, Allan Withington and the two I always refer to Mariss Jansens and Gillian Hinckley!
Best Memory: Like it was yesterday! Winning the open in 1978 on Benvenuto Cellini, still one one the hardest flugel horn parts ever written (or arranged in this case).

Solo Horn: Stephen Howes, 1970 - 2000
Other Bands: Carlton Main Frickley Colliery, Skelmanthorpe
Biggest Influence: "My Grandfather was my teacher and would have been very proud of me playing with B&R"
Best Memory:"The early 80's were a wonderful time for success and lasting friendships"

Stephen is a former chairman, one of the longest serving members of the band, ever. His foresight and vision gave the band arguably the strongest foundation of any band in the world. An example of this is the whole reason for us being here this weekend. It was his idea to put the concert on and give so many people the most pleasurable event. He is very happy with the progress made by today's bands on a musical front, he thinks the best thing about today's bands is their standard of performance and he thinks the worst thing is the distinct absence of loyalty.

First Horn: Andrew Wagstaff
JH Version:
Chris Cragon was the first horn player and he joined the police force. Andy lived in Huddersfield and played with Faireys. He did help out regularly if we needed a horn player. The decision to ask him to join was easy. He became a very popular member of the band. An excellent player and fitted in exceedingly well in the section. I'd guess he played in the band from 1977 - 1983 or so. Don't shoot me if I've got this wrong!

Second Horn: Peter Hewitt, 1974 - 1978
Other Bands: Rochdale, Irwell Springs
Biggest Influence: Being a member of the NYBB of GB

Peter has been involved in local bands and has conducted Whitworth, Stacksteads, Goodshaw and Mossley. He is not comfortable with the thought that bannds have progressed over the last 25 years.

First Baritone: Sheridan Fryer
JH Version:
The only player to feature in both bands! Still playing today on 2nd Baritone. Of course, in the old boys band he was the first baritone player. One of the very best exponents too. I suspect that is still the case today. As a player he must have the highest tally of contest wins of any player from B&R. As a loyal member of a band they just don't come any better than Sheridan. He is also librarian of the current band and involved heavily in the management of the band.

Second Baritone: John Clough, 1971 - 1997
Other Bands: Tintwistle and Mirlees Works
Biggest Influence: Jim Belfield at Tintwistle and WBH at B&R
Best Memory: The Floral Dance time, meeting celebrities and discovering they were just normal people, like ourselves!!??

John has been involved teaching and he regularly gets involved with Friezland Band. His wife Lana, is their conductor. He is not too happy that bands have progressed and asks the question - where do all the music students go after being at college? He is not sure about either contest or concert repertoire, and again asks what happened to melody? He thinks the best thing about todays players is their obvious technical ability but qualifies that with the notion that generally they lack the soul required. He hate "cheque book Charlies"

First Trombone: Chris Garfitt, 1967 - 1985
Other Bands: Lindley and Thornhill Colliery
Biggest Influence: "Listening to professional players like Don Lusher"
Best Memory: All Floral Dance work and foreign tours

Chris was a chairman of the band for at least 7 years he was instrumental in continuing the policies laid down by his predecessors. He was chairman at the time of the sale of Rydings Hall. He is happy with the standard of performance of our top bands today but feels that community banding appears to be declining.

Second Trombone: Graham Hutchinson, 1971 - 1985
(but he says he had a 6 yr audition which started in 1964!
Other Bands: Compstall, Marple, Hyde British Legion, Eccles Boro',Royal Corps of Signals, Mirlees Works
Biggest Influence: "Desire to play at the highest level, the chance to win contest and a little bit of ego"
Best Memory: Too many good times to say

Graham, a former secretary was also one of the great characters from this band. His obvious enjoyment was an inspiration to us all. He became a fatherly figure to the next generation of players. He passed on his experience to ensure the band had continuity. He epitomises what B&R stand for.

Bass Trombone: Brian Cherry
JH Version:
I think Brian joined B&R late in 1977, he was with Stephen Corbett, David Hirst, John Gillam, David Lever, Martin McHale and me at Huddersfield School of Music. A top class player. Borne out by how he played this weekend. I for one had forgotten how good he was. A superb sound, very versatile and not in your face all of the time. Not something that can be said of too many on this seat!

Solo Euphonium Stephen Lord, 1974 - 1983
Other bands: Whitworth Vale & Healey, Goodshaw, Besses o'th Barn, Wingates
Biggest Influence: Lyndon Baglin a great inspiration as a player and leader.
Best Memory: All of it! To contribute to this band was a great privilage
Stephen is chairman of Whitworth Veterans Band, he is course tutor with Lancashire Youth Band and has done a small amount of conducting with lower grade bands. He detests contesting.

When asked about the standard of today's bands - "they are better readers and technicians but the standard of musicianship leaves a lot to be desired. The movement seems to have made a deliberate attempt to cut it self off from the past and it's heritage. They do so at their peril. All bands and players sound the same! Players must develop their own musicality. Perhaps they only listen to current or recent brass bands or soloists. Brian Evans told me to listen to top quality soloists. What good advice!"

When asked about the enjoyment of concert programmes today - " I admit to being a bad listener, but the standard of programmes is deplorable. Too much popular crap and far too much percussion."

And contest pieces - "I missed the Paganini at the Open(91), so other than the Severn Suite it has been a diet of non stop bilge. I am glad I do not have to play any of this tripe. I hope this criticism is not regarded as negative. I have always enjoyed playing both old and new music if it is good. Why do we not have a healthy balance of old and new test pieces? Please don't say the old ones are too easy - the playing of Severn Suite was, in general pretty poor"

I asked " what's the best thing about today's bands?" - "the banding movement is a pale shadow of the movement I once knew. We may be better technically, but what has happened to the 2 big contests? Local lower section banding is virtually finished around here (Rochdale). We have to get back to basics.

And finally, I asked "what's the worst?" - "Lack of loyalty by players to their bands when times are difficult. The continual drift of players from one band to another in the quest for trophies is self defeating.

JH Comment:
Stephen Lord always has been a model bandsman. His views make him an editor's dream. Never frightened of expressing them, however controversial they are and firmly committed to them too.

However, I would like to tell you about the type of player he is. Modesty and humbleness would never allow him to. I also have the confidence that I speak for most if not all those who know him well. Simplistically he is the finest Euphonium player I have ever heard. He has the best sound, the most pure, the warmest, the most consistent through the whole register. Consistent at all volumes. He plays with a superb awareness of the music, never ever vulgar, never ever contrived. Refinement and elegance are at the forefront of his mind as a performer. His contribution to the sound of a band is second to none, his ability to sing over a band at any volume, whether loud or quiet is again very, very rarely heard. The superb technique he has is always used as a tool to enable him to play the music better, never ever as some players do to show how good their technique is - what's the point? he would say.

Stephen hates contests, but don't let that fool you. I played with him on all those he played on since his appointment as the top man at B&R. I can only remember him making one mistake - he split a note on our winning performance of 'Caliban - Arthur Butterworth' in the 1981 European. In fact it was such a shock to the rest of the band that we nearly stopped, Jim Scott was physically shaken.

I talk in the present tense when for most of the players in the band I have spoken in the past. Stephen Lord proved to all who heard him on Saturday night that he still has all the same ability. He would be an asset to any band as their Principal Euphonium player today.

He has never seeked fame or fortune. He has never advertised his own ability, in fact the opposite and some think that is to his detriment. I don't. He's just done it his own way, he's let those who know make the decisions about him as a performer. He's let those who don't know be lead by those players who tell them they're the best.

One point I can't let go was in your 4BR review of the Top 10 euphonium players of all time - Stephen Lord never got a mention. Need I say anymore?

Again, I know I speak for many when I say it has been a great privilege to know him as a person and as a member of the same band. I am truly pleased that I have had the opportunity to be able to say this at last.

Second Euphonium: Trevor Horton
Trevor joined B&R when Stephen Lord moved on to the solo seat. He came from Rockingham Band. Trevor was with B&R from around 1974 - 82. Very sadly Trevor's wife passed away only two weeks ago after a battle against cancer. By the fact that Trevor was with us all this weekend typifies his character.

Eb Bass: Sandy Blair, 1974 - 1980
Other Bands: Carlton Main Frickley Colliery, Yorkshire Imperial & Black Dyke
Biggest Influence: Tom F. Atkinson and John Fletcher
Best Memory: On the "Floral Dance Cabaret Circuit" and winning the British Open in 1978

Sandy is involved very heavily in education, he is in charge of music in Cheshire and leads the Cheshire Youth Band. He is agrees that bands have improved over that last 25 years, he enjoys the quality of music on offer at both concerts and contests. He feels a strong reason for this is the broad repertoire but is aware that poor musicality and lack of depth in interpretation is a serious problem.

Eb Bass: Peter Badham
Was invited to play in place of his brother, the late David Badham
Bands: Currently with Hade Edge and along with David came from Melingriffith Band, later the Excelsior Ropes Works Band. Has played for 47 years.
Biggest Influence:Their Father

Peter is involved with the Junior Band at Hade Edge, he enjoys listening to bands but prefers playing he feels the best thing about band's today is the standard of performance they reach. The worst of today for him are the "Soldiers of Fortune"! (Many will agree wholeheartedly!!!)

Bb Bass: Les Beevers
JH Version
One of the greatest of all time, if not the greatest, a true giant of the instrument. I think Les joined B&R around 1955 and left the band as a player in 1980. Such was his musical ability he returned as Resident Conductor for a four-year spell from 1989 - 1993. He has been a great source of encouragement and support for me throughout my 12 years in the conducting business. I can't speak highly enough of his ability as a player, I feel too, that with John Gillam at his side B&R had the most formidable Bb Bass section there has been in my life time in bands. A truly magnificent sound was the best foundation for any band on which to build. One of the best "thinkers" in the game, constantly trying things to make them better. Never, ever satisfied with what he delivered. Always demanded the best from himself and others. Never short of a word! He was without any doubt one of the most effective Chairman B&R have had. He went on to conduct with great success at Dobcross, Wingates and finally back to his beloved B&R. He now just "helps" out and really is in semi-retirement. However, he does enjoy the odd trip abroad to Switzerland, Denmark and Norway where he is in demand as both Conductor & Adjudicator.

Bb Bass: John Gillam, 1976 -1990
Other Bands: Black Dyke, Hammonds Sauce Works, Yorkshire Schools and NYBB of GB
Biggest Influence: Freddie Mercury and a combination of Les Beevers, Peter McNab and Derek Jackson
Best Memory: Winning the British Open in 1978 on Benvenuto Cellini

John is the chairman of the National Youth Band of Great Britain and therefore holds one of the most important positions in today's world of brass bands. He has done some conducting with Rothwell Temperance; Delph and Comber Town Band. He still enjoys the modern concert and contest repertoire and thinks that the best things about the bands today is their technical ability. Lack of soul and too much money in certain hands is the other side of the coin.

Percussion: David Hewitt, 1975 - 1979
Other Bands: Rochdale, Littleborough
Biggest Influence: Derek Broadbent for his writing of innovative percussion parts
Best Memory: "too many really, the Floral Dance cabaret, B&R small band and Top of the Pops"

Dave thinks percussion in bands has progressed at a phenomenal rate but doesn't enjoy concert repertoire too much and never contests.

Percussion: Mike Hocking, 1975 - 1981
Other Bands: Camborne Town, Cornwall Youth and Helston
Biggest Influence: The late Fred Roberts, ex Principal Cornet B&R
Best Memory: Winning the National Championships in 1980

Mike was the tuned percussionist with the band during a spell when percussion parts were in their infancy. Some composers used to the full like one E. Gregson and D. Bourgeois and others didn't really exploit what they had.

He feels that bands are better today due to the education system improving, he thinks players are getting younger and that top players are too easily bought!

The Rehearsal:

7.30 for a 7.45 start. If I say this was met with trepidation by all concerned it could be the biggest understatement of the event! Only 4 of the band of 30 actually still play regularly, 4 of the band haven't played for 25 years and the balance any amount in between. A mixture of fear and apprehension was greeted with an amazing atmosphere. The genuine happiness on old friend's faces made the prospect of a rehearsal much more pleasant. If ever you could have too many characters in one band, this was it! Messrs Lord, Lever, Hutchinson, Garfitt, Hewitt, Beevers, Whitaker, Evans etc. etc unwittingly conspired to make every one feel much easier about the concert. Julie Beaumont, the wife of the current President - Paul said to me " the atmosphere is amazing, I hope you can play as well as you all talk!" We were about to find out ……….. Number 50 is a favourite of DB's, key signature, dynamics, breath and play ……. and crucially - listen like hell. Over 12 months of waiting and this is it? When you haven't played for such a long time even the simplest of things need ridiculous amounts of thought and concentration. How was it? OK I suppose with plenty of room for improvement. Number 43 - Lloyd was next and we're improving at a fair rate of knots now! The next big step was "my Radetsky" ("my" being WBH) always a favourite of this bands. 8 bars percussion, with a bass drummer that was just testing the acoustic. That was his excuse! We tried to hold it together but only lasted a bar and then collapsed in to a heap with uncontrollable laughter. The second attempt was better!

The most daunting part of this concert would be for the soloists, how would you react performing again to a huge audience? So many questions to answer. Brian Evans was to rehearse Solitaire. Arranged for him by Stephen Corbett. Following some thought about pitch we set off. No one need have worried. It was obvious that Brian had done the homework. Those who know his playing well also knew that with the inspiration of such an audience he would be even better. It was always the case, the bigger the audience, and the better the performance. Mood Indigo was the reason the Floral Dance was arranged. Derek Broadbent was the only one of us who remembered this point. He was going to use the piece to tell the audience the story. Battle Hymn of the Republic was next up, again arranged by DB. We used this piece in programmes to good effect. The many different styles offered with a central theme of fun always helped win audiences over. I must admit to putting in a personal request to the conductor, suggesting I may not get through the introduction at the speed we once played it for I may run out of breath at anytime!

Varied Mood was a solo that Stephen Lord played to great effect 25 years ago. When he told me he wanted to play it on the concert I never thought twice about it. He is the darling of this band, a great, great player and very much loved by all his colleagues. It was absolutely brilliant. A man blessed with a unique ability right at the top of his ability and 54 years old! By now we were getting the measure of what we were about and band was sounding better. Nabucco was just the right choice to capitalise on the "old fashioned" style. The only thing I was worried about now was the pitch of the band. Something we would have to put up with as the lip muscles would quite do what we always wanted there was the "odd" chord not quite through the middle! We knew that after our 30 minutes we could rely on the present day band to help us to the end of the concert. We agreed to play the Signature Tune to announce the start of the massed band finale - most people could still play it from memory. The Faithful Hussar, Crimond and Hungarian Rhapsody No 2 would complete the concert.

After the rehearsal we retired to the pub to exchange stories and catch up. This part of the weekend needs to be kept private. Some of the stories are unprintable!

Gala Dinner:

We all arrived at the Auctioneer Restaurant in Brighouse. This restaurant is in the car auction complex, some of wondered where we were going? Stephen Lord told every one to make sure they had locked their cars otherwise they would have been sold by the time we finished the meal! Again we needn't have worried. The evening was a tremendous success. This was really for the wives to come together for the first time, old friendships were renewed and once again the spirit of the whole event was incredible. Paul Beaumont addresses the bands after dinner as did Derek Broadbent in his usual professional manner. He reminded us of when the band were asked to give a signed record to a home for mentally disabled, it had become their favourite. Instead we decided to go and play live and ended up serving their Christmas dinner! Derek Rawlinson and Ron Massey presented certificates commemorating the event to the 1977 Band.

Cornish Pasty:

The rehearsal in the Town Hall, Huddersfield was really just to get used to the acoustic and "top and tail" a few things. It went off without incident. We had our tea together - the ladies of B&R had prepared, what else …. Cornish Pasties!! Group and individual photographs were taken at 18.30 and then we relaxed before the concert.

The 25th Anniversary of the Floral Dance Concert
Huddersfield Town Hall, 26th October 2002.

Brighouse & Rastrick Bands of 1977 and 2002
Conductors Derek Broadbent & David Hirst

2002 Band:

Introduction to Act lll of Lohengrin, Wagner
A Festive Overture , Shostakovitch
Nessun Dorma from Turandot, Puccini
Soloist ………… Nick Payne
Tea for Toobas, Youmens
Soloists ………. Martin Gill and David Hebb
Elegy, Baker
Dedicated to the memory of Eddie Noble MBE
Gaelforce, Graham
Riverdance, Whelan

1977 Band:

Radetsky March, Strauss
Solitaire, Sedaka
Soloist ………. Brian Evans
Battle Hymn of the Republic, DB
Mood Indigo, Ellington
Varied Mood, Woodfield
Soloist ……… Stephen Lord
Nabucco, Verdi
The Floral Dance, Moss

Massed Bands:

The West Riding, Wood
The Gay Hussar, Heath
Trombone Feature
Crimond, Graham
Hungarian Rhapsody No 2, Liszt
The Floral Dance, Moss

The atmosphere in the Town Hall was superb. The house was full, sold out for weeks and to quote Paul Beaumont "the sell out to end all sell outs!". 2002 B&R set the concert off in great fashion, Intro to Act III is what this audience is renowned for - their love of popular classics. Many conductors have failed miserably here in trying to educate this audience. David Hirst had it just right, fully understanding their role in proceedings. He tried always to link the past to the present. B&R were on top form and obviously enjoyed the evening.

"Never before have two bands with the same name and same stature played together on the same concert in this hall" - Derek Broadbent

This was what the audience had come to hear. The reception as the individual members of the 1977 band were introduced was marvellous. The warmth and genuine affection was just magnificent. The programme was chosen, primarily with this specific audience in mind and the other criteria was that we had to have had it in our repertoire very close to the event. All points were fulfilled. Walter's (as only David Lever was allowed to call him -whilst he was buying his whisky!) Radetsky brought the house down, Brian Evans had lost non of his presence and as always, the audience went crazy. Battle Hymn captured all the comedy of yesteryear, if a little rusty in the dixieland trio! Mood Indigo, where we played and DB explained to the audience the conception of the Floral Dance. We couldn't hear him so we still don't know!! Then the best of the night, Stephen Lord's performance of Varied Mood. I can't begin to tell you how good it was, you needed to be there. Finally, Nabuco. The audience was waiting for the Floral Dance, we played it as an encore. The pride in the band was evident throughout, but nevermore when the audience gave us a standing ovation. It made the night and the whole event worthwhile.

The current band steered us to the end of the concert, as we were just exhausted, physically and emotionally. Another reception after the concert and then the anticlimax of having to go home. Wouldn't have missed it for the world!

With thanks to John Hinckley

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John Hinckley

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Butterworth CD - available with 4BR shopping