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Black Dyke

Conductor: Prof Nicholas Childs
Stoller Hall
Manchester
Sunday 19th May

Soon to return as a contender at the inaugural BrassPasstv Band of the Year contest, Black Dyke flexed their musical muscles for their debut Stoller Hall appearance - the first on what will become a familiar stage over the coming months.

A relaxed Prof Nicholas Childs, who 24 hours earlier had led NASUWT Riverside to victory in the Grand Shield in Blackpool, ensured the Queensbury band made an immediate impression with the audience (the hall appeared to be over half full) with a swaggering ‘Blaze Away’ march.

Robust energy

A Sunday afternoon concert favourite of Verdi’s overture ‘Nabucodonosor’ led to the first of the six featured soloists. 

Richard Marshall’s touching rendition of Terry Camsay’s ‘Melody of the Heart’ was a nice pathway to Sir Karl Jenkins’ ‘The Armed Man’ which included the emotive ‘Benedictus’ duet of Zoe Hancock (flugel) and Dan Thomas (euphonium), before Katrina Marzella gave a delightful rendition of ‘Alone with my Thoughts’. Peter Graham’s ‘To Boldly Go’ rounded off the first half with a touch of robust energy.

Paul Lovatt-Cooper’s vibrant ‘Walking with Heroes’ opened the second in upbeat mood, followed by the sinuous drama of Keith Wilkinson’s excerpt arrangement of Saint-Saens ‘Dance Bacchanale’ from Samson & Delilah.

Gavin Saynor will have had more taxing solo outings than Roy Newsome’s ‘Bass in the Ballroom’ over the years, but he didn’t half enjoy himself, whilst Siobhan Bates reminded everyone why she was recently crowned the 2019 Young Brass Award winner courtesy of the delightful ‘A Celtic Promise’. Daniel Thomas was not to be outdone however with a remarkable display of virtuosity on Peter Graham’s ‘Bravura’. 

Paul Lovatt-Cooper’s vibrant ‘Walking with Heroes’ opened the second in upbeat mood, followed by the sinuous drama of Keith Wilkinson’s excerpt arrangement of Saint-Saens ‘Dance Bacchanale’ from Samson & Delilah.

Rousing sounds

The popular big band trio of ‘Song of the Volga Boatmen’, ‘Wonderful World’ and ‘Sing, Sing, Sing’ were polished off with efficiency, before the rousing sounds of the ‘March of the Appian Way’ brought the formal proceedings to a close.

It had been excellent Sunday afternoon fayre - with the encore of ‘Highland Cathedral’ a rousing way to entice Pondasher fans back again.

David Hughes 

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