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Foden's Band

Conductor: Michael Fowles
St Andrew's Hall
Sunday 2nd June

The reigning National Champion made a welcome return visit to Norwich as the guest band for the 81st Gala Concert of the East Anglian Brass Band Association.

It also provided the centrepiece to the Association’s ‘Brass For Youth Project 2019’ - one which aims to give youngsters learning to play a brass instrument the opportunity to be able to listen to a live performance by one of the world’s best brass bands. 


It proved to be a great success, and with support from the Norwich Freemen’s Charity and the Geoffrey Whatling Charity together with donations in memory of Dianne Hastings, free tickets were given to young brass musicians from across Norfolk and Suffolk, with over 20 different schools, bands and music centres represented on the night.

Under Michael Fowles, Foden’s showcased all their talents; opening with the bold march, ‘The President’.

The trio of soloists that followed were all on top form, with Jonathan Bates flying through his own arrangement of the ‘Finale’ from the Tchaikovsky ‘Violin Concerto’.  Mark Wilkinson was the beautiful focal point of ‘Song for Eilir’, whilst Richard Poole went all 007 with a striking rendition of ‘Live and Let Die’. 

Jonathan Bates also provided another cracking arrangement for the lively ‘War Dance of the Red Cossacks’ before the half was rounded off with a wizardly performance of ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’.

A fine concert was also the right time to remember former Secretary of the Association, Dianne Hastings, who sadly passed away in November 2018.  


An immediate impact was felt to start the second half with a vibrant ‘Malaguena’ before flugel player Melanie Whyle delivered a tender rendition of ‘The Lonely Shepherd’.

John Barber’s classy homage to the ‘King of Swing’ was played in true Benny Goodman fashion, whilst his arrangement of ‘Fly Me to the Moon’ would have been savoured by all Nelson Riddle fans.

Freddie Mercury’s ‘Seaside Rendezvous’ was a saucy end-of-pier musical postcard before a touch of ‘Pure Imagination’ was as tasty as a bar of Willy Wonka chocolate - as was tuned percussionist Mark Landon on ‘Highland Fling’. 

The finale was music from the most recent ‘Stardust‘ film; a neat connection as Michael Fowles pointed out, as some of it had been recorded in Norwich, and a whizz though the poptastic ’Toccata in D Minor’.

A fine concert was also the right time to remember former Secretary of the Association, Dianne Hastings, who sadly passed away in November 2018. 

A tireless Secretary of the Association for over 40 years, the tribute paid by the band in playing ‘Amazing Grace’ was a wonderful way to honour her.  

Stephen Wade

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