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Black Dyke Arts Festival

Conductors: Prof Nicholas J Childs; Dr Brett Baker; Richard Marshall
Leeds Town Hall
Sunday 2nd June

The annual Black Dyke Arts Festival remains a fulcrum of the Queensbury band’s community led activities – so much so that once again well over 150 players from a wide geographical spread of bands took part in a full day of workshops and masterclasses culminating in this enjoyable afternoon concert in front of a very healthy sized audience.

The slick presentational skills of the MD allied to a cleverly targeted selection box of repertoire (right from the opening ‘Walking with Heroes’) ensured that there was something for everyone to enjoy. 


Opera buffa aficionados got a sparkling ‘Barber of Seville’, whilst those with a penchant for classic trombone virtuosity lapped up Brett Baker in Arthur Pryor’s, ‘Thoughts of Love’. 

A remake version of the popular ‘Black Dyke at the Movies’ set now includes ‘Pirates to the Caribbean’, ‘Harry Potter’ and a touch of ‘James Bond’ - with ‘For Your Eyes Only’ featuring the all female middle of the band, whilst a tub-thumping ‘Marche Slav’ rounded off the first half.

The second half saw Black Dyke joined on stage for a massed band bonanza with friends from the North West, Yorkshire, Wales and Ireland.

Also included was the Yorkshire Youth Band delivering a cracking ‘Fanfare & Flourishes’ by James Curnow, as well as Peter Graham’s engaging ‘Heroes of the North’ (which would be a terrific test for youth bands in a competitive environment) under the direction of Brett Baker and Richard Marshall. Brett was also part of a trombone nonet which showcased music from ‘Iron Man 3’.

The second half saw Black Dyke joined on stage for a massed band bonanza with friends from the North West, Yorkshire, Wales and Ireland.

Pacy intent

The fun and games of the massed band items were just that and more: ‘Bandology’ bobbling along with pacy intent, ‘Buglers Holiday’ fairly scootering and ‘Let’s Face the Music & Dance’ also getting the feet tapping. With Darius Battiwalla at his seat at the organ, the foundations of the hall just about remained intact after the stirring sounds of ‘Toccata’ from ‘Suite Gothique’.

A Sunday concert wouldn’t be the same without a hymn tune though, and the encore of ‘Crimond’ brought to an end another superbly run and delivered day of music making in the heart of Yorkshire.

Malcolm Wood 

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