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Brighouse & Rastrick and Virtuosi GUS Bands

Conductor: Dr David Thornton
Huddersfield Town Hall
Saturday 27th October

Brighouse’s twice yearly massed band concerts traditionally bookend British Summer Time in the UK – the perfect opportunity to set the adjustments to your brass band clock.

Looking back on a season that added further evidence of the current West Riding’s band’s stature as a major contesting force, supporters will have been well satisfied with progress, even if it did come with a pinch of disappointment that luck wasn’t the friendliest of allies at either Symphony Hall or the Albert Hall.

Their guests were Virtuosi GUS, a band obviously in the process of setting their clocks forward in rebuilding for the future, as they took to the stage packed with exciting young talent.  

Nostalgic themes

Nostalgia and remembrance were the unofficial themes – fitting in ethos and execution from the opening strains of ‘Death of Glory’ and the sprightly ‘Arcadians’ overture, to the excellent playing of Virtuosi GUS principal cornet Thomas Fountain in Ben Hollings reflective ‘First Light’.

Eric Ball’s iconic 'Resurgam’ provided the centrepiece of the first half - receiving a committed performance drawn from a cultured reading of the score by MD, David Thornton.

Elsewhere it was lightweight, enjoyable fayre; an effective new take on ‘Danny Boy’, showcasing, euphoniums, baritones and flugels segueing into a medley of old wartime tunes (complete with audience vocal accompaniment), before the rousing sounds of ‘Crown Imperial’ gave a touch of nobility to proceedings.

Eric Ball’s iconic 'Resurgam’ provided the centrepiece of the first half - receiving a committed performance drawn from a cultured reading of the score by MD, David Thornton.

Splendidly delivered

‘Old Comrades’ (honouring the sacrifice on both sides of the war-time divide), ‘South Pacific’, ‘Over the Rainbow’, which showcasing a suave Mike Eccles as soloist, were all splendidly delivered, before ‘Folk Songs from Somerset’ from Vaughan Williams’s ‘English Folk Song Suite’ gained a vibrant reading.

Trom star Chris Jeans enjoyed himself on and off stage in the familiar ‘A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square’, before the formalities were wrapped up with a Glenn Miller tribute set, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ and a rousing old ‘Colonel Bogey’ march sending people home proud to be British. 

Malcolm Wood

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Conductor, Teacher