facebook twitter rss vimeo shop label support us


Brass in Concert Gala Concert

Foden's Band
Conductor: Michael Fowles
Featuring: Matt Ford & Mike Lovatt
Sage Gateshead
Saturday 17th November

The ongoing debate about how brass bands can successfully attract new audiences to hear them perform in a different way was amply displayed by this evening of outstanding entertainment.

Foden’s have already linked up with big-band singer Matt Ford for a series of acclaimed concert performances in the past year or so, drawing an increasingly diverse audience to medium sized venues that allow for an intimate appreciation of stylised musicality combined with high class showmanship and swagger.    

Interesting and intriguing

Around 700 people (about two-thirds capacity) were persuaded to come along here. Many were traditional brass band concert goers of course, but quite a few would surely have been the type of occasional listener to who a night like this held interesting and intriguing appeal.  

The duo was joined by the imperious Mike Lovatt - also fresh from teaming up with the Sandbach band for a brand new CD release entitled, ‘56° North’ – with the renowned lead trumpeter on searing form throughout on a programme billed as ‘Sinatra and the Swing Legends’.

What we got was pizzazz and polish by the bucketful on no less than 20 items neatly arranged with stylistic understanding by the likes of Foden’s trombonist John Barber and Colin Skinner.

What we got was pizzazz and polish by the bucketful on no less than 20 items neatly arranged with stylistic understanding by the likes of Foden’s trombonist John Barber and Colin Skinner. 

Relaxed tether

The ‘classics’ such as ‘Malequena’, ‘Caravan’, ‘Minnie the Moocher’ sounded fresh and authentic, whilst ‘Moon Dance’, ‘I’ve Gotta Be’ and ‘If I Never Sing Another Song’ never came across as stilted or inflexible - thanks to Matt Ford’s malleable phrasing and MD Mike Fowles’ ability to extend a relaxed tether on pace and dynamic.

John Barber also took the opportunity to shine as a sole performer on piano with Matt Ford on ‘My Funny Valentine’, whilst Mike Lovatt displayed the full array of his talents on great arrangements of ‘Under Mount Lee’, ‘Mame’ and ‘China Town’. His CD would have sold rather well on the night.

‘New York, New York’ and ‘My Way’, sung with suave nonchalance by Matt Ford rounded off a refreshing, invigorating evening. 

It may not have been packed to the rafters, but this was a concert that held the promise of a bright future for all concerned. 

All we can hope is that there are more like it to look forward to in the years to come.

Malcolm Wood

Support us for less than a cup of coffee...

4BR wants to ensure that the brass band movement remains vibrant and relevant. We also want to be able to question, challenge and critically examine those who run and play in it, producing high quality journalism that informs as well as entertains our readers.

So if like us you value a strong, independent perspective on the brass band world - then why not consider becoming a supporter and help make our future and that of a burgeoning brass band movement more secure.

So one less cappuccino then?

Support us    

Foden's Band - Annual Patrons Concert

Tuesday 19 February • Sandbach School, Crewe Road, Sandbach CW11 3NS

The Cobham Band - Best of Brass Concert

Saturday 23 February • The Vera Fletcher Hall. 4 Embercourt Road. Thames Ditton Surrey KT7 0LQ

Milton Keynes Brass - Charity Concert with Church Without Walls

Saturday 23 February • Broughton Fields Primary School. Milton Road. Broughton MK10 9LS

Black Dyke Band - Doncaster Minster

Saturday 23 February • 9 Church St, Doncaster DN1 1RD

Elland Silver Band -

Saturday 23 February • Brooksbank School Victoria road Elland H50QG

Frampton on Severn Silver Band

February 19 • We are a friendly non-contesting band in Gloucestershire looking for players, in particular cornets, baritone, euphonium, basses, but all welcome. We play at local events and bandstand jobs, and practice on Tuesday evenings just off Junction 13 of the M5.

The Corsham Band

February 19 • The band are currently looking for an experienced Back Row Cornet Player to join our friendly and enthusiastic team. Second or Third Cornet position available.

Thundersley Brass Band

February 19 • Thundersley Brass Band are inviting applicants for: Front Row Cornet, 2nd Horn to complete our line-up on a permanent basis with immediate effect. This represents a fantastic opportunity to join a friendly top level brass band in the L&SC area

Simon Gresswell

Conductor, adjudicator, tutor, tuba specialist