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Sandhurst Silver and Fountain City Brass Band

Conductors: Russ Young and Joe Parisi
Wokingham
Thursday 15th November

As part of their 'Streets of Life' tour in the run up to their appearance at the Brass in Concert Championship, Fountain City came to Wokingham for this enjoyable evening of entertainment. 

Sandhurst opened with a choreographed 'Blackbird Special' and a sparkling Shostakovich 'Folk Festival', before Steven Williams presented 'Baritone Lechner' - attired in a fetching green hat to top playing that was full of energy and impressive technical showmanship.

John Williams' 'Cadillac of the Sky' opened with a mellow quartet of flugel, horn, baritone and euphonium and brought some well-controlled quiet playing, before the band closed with Simon Dobson's 'Dreaded Hook and Groove' with super solos from flugel and trombone.

Slick

The stage was then reset for Fountain City, and with the basses and percussion in place the remainder of the band entered during 'Grow till Tall', a slickly choreographed performance that was a neat taster for what was to engage the Sage Gateshead audience. 

The equally slick move into Piazzola's infectious 'Libertango' was so well done before 'Hymn of Acxiom'.

This made great use of tuned percussion and yet more changes of formation, with a spectacular ‘coup de theatre’ as the cornets and trombones, who had been sitting on the backs of their chairs, rose to their standing position – a Health & Safety nightmare but great presentation.

This made great use of tuned percussion and yet more changes of formation, with a spectacular ‘coup de theatre’ as the cornets and trombones, who had been sitting on the backs of their chairs, rose to their standing position – a Health & Safety nightmare but great presentation.

Cracking finish

John Mackey's 'Asphalt Cocktail' depicting an imaginary ride in a New York cab, complete with car horns and the chaos of the traffic all around, topped by a striking trombone solo was a stark stylistic contrast, before the band closed with 'Malaguena' arranged, as with the rest of the programme by euphonium star Lee Harrelson.

The solo cornets and soprano took up trumpets, to be joined by Joe Parisi himself. It made for a cracking finish for fans of screaming high wire showmanship. 

The evening ended with the massed items; starting with 'Hands across the Sea' followed by the elegant 'Westminster Waltz' and the thunderous 'Pines of the Appian Way''I'll Walk with God' and 'Brass Machine' brought a wonderful joint venture to a very fine close.

Peter Bale

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BSc (Hons), ARCM, PG Dip
Rath clinician, conductor, teacher, adjudicator, editor