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Grimethorpe Colliery

Brass in Concert Charity Concert
Conductor: Brian Grant
Durham Cathedral
Saturday April 14th

The wonderful surroundings of Durham Cathedral saw two important events take place in respect to the 2018 Brass in Concert Championship.

First, at a friendly pre-drinks reception, the draws were made for this year’s contests (the coloured bags in the colours of the local football teams to indicate no unfair bias!).

Given that it included the help of the Dean of Durham Cathedral, The Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett, no one could complain with the outcome.  

Secondly, came Grimethorpe on fine form for what was the first (and hopefully not the last) charity fund raising concert in aid of the North of England Children's Cancer Research Fund.

Rich tapestry

The band featured excellent soloists (Jamie Smith, Chris Robertson, Helen Varley and Michael Cavanagh all catching the ear) as well as a rich tapestry of sounds that emanated from the warmly toned ensemble. No wonder the packed pews hummed in appreciation. 

However, Norman architecture wasn’t exactly designed for these events, so at times you found yourself hearing a rebound of sounds – the huge last chords sometimes taking nearly 5 seconds to end.  

The march ‘Knight Templar’ was bold and purposeful and there was some delicious playing with ‘Comedy Tonight’, ‘Clog Dance’ and Sandy Smith’s transcription of the Danish folk song ‘The Topped Hen’.

However, Norman architecture wasn’t exactly designed for these events, so at times you found yourself hearing a rebound of sounds – the huge last chords sometimes taking nearly 5 seconds to end.  

Sumptious

Brian Grant was a genial and humorous host, and made the point that the programme was specially chosen to highlight Grimethorpe’s BiC heritage over the last 40 years. 

It was particularly great to hear one of the old ‘test pieces’, ‘Songs of the Quay’, as well as the Northumbrian tune ‘Water of Tyne’ which brought tonal sumptuousness to proceedings, matched in ‘Gresford’ and ‘Nimrod’.

The finale, ‘Procession to the Minster’, would have stirred the Venerable Bede from his tomb to close, and brought a deserved standing ovation, whilst the old lollipop of the finale from ‘William Tell’ left everyone with a sweet sugar taste high in their mouths.

Steve Jack 

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