Foden's Band

Conductor: Russell Gray
Regent Hall
Friday 11th October

Over the years the traditional pre-National Championships Brass Arts Festival at Regent Hall has been inspired, organised and promoted by the late Philip Biggs. 

As defending National champion, Foden’s had been invited to perform, but following his untimely death the band in agreement with his family (who were present on the night) went ahead with the event. This concert was therefore a fine tribute.

Relaxed mood

There was naturally a sombre feeling to the opening proceedings, but it soon gave way to light-heartedness too. MD, Russell Gray (celebrating his birthday) was in a relaxed mood and so were his band as they burst into full swagger mode with Safroni’s ‘Imperial Echoes’.

The lyrical beauty of Mark Wilkinson’s rendition in ‘Song for Elir’ was noted for the memories it brought of others lost too soon, before an upbeat turn of emotion with Jonny Bates’ ‘War Dance of the Red Cossacks’ and flugel player Melanie Whyle’s engaging rendition of ‘The Lonely Shepherd’.

The opportunity to hear ‘Titan’s Progress’ was a compelling one - and had ensured a healthy turn-out of Foden’s supporters and brass band fans in the hall.  

Russell Gray didn’t hold anything back in the run-out; leading a sumptuous account full of subtle detail, warm textures and structured poise. It certainly got the tongues wagging.  

The hymn tune ‘St Clement’, played at every concert of the National Youth Band of Great Britain (where he was the respected administrator) was a tender show of respect. No applause, just dignified silence.


The second half opened with ‘The Crowning’ by Jonny Bates, before Mark Wilkinson paid a touching tribute to Philip Biggs.

The hymn tune ‘St Clement’, played at every concert of the National Youth Band of Great Britain (where he was the respected administrator) was a tender show of respect. No applause, just dignified silence.

The last quarter was showcase time. Gary Curtin was all impish fun with ‘Valfikans Dans’, before a touch of classily played Benny Goodman ‘King of Swing’ tribute and the fun of ‘Seaside Rendezvous’ . Australian composer Barrie Gott, making the trip over for the contest, was delighted by a rendition of his take on ‘Danny Boy’.

Mark Landon flew through ‘Highland Fling’ on the xylophone before a fine night of music and memories was wrapped up with a splendidly ornate ‘Nightingale Dances' and the lollipop encore of ‘Toccata in D Minor’. 

Malcolm Wood

Support us for less than a cup of coffee...

4BR wants to ensure that the brass band movement remains vibrant and relevant. We also want to be able to question, challenge and critically examine those who run and play in it, producing high quality journalism that informs as well as entertains our readers.

So if like us you value a strong, independent perspective on the brass band world - then why not consider becoming a supporter and help make our future and that of a burgeoning brass band movement more secure.

So one less cappuccino then?

Support us    

Black Dyke Band - Huddersfield Choral Society

Friday 6 December • Huddersfield Town Hall, Corporation Street, Huddersfield HD1 2TA

St Albans City Band - Nextstage Community Choir

Friday 6 December • Homewood Road URC Church , Sandpit Lane, St Albans AL1 3RD

Regent Hall Concerts - Royal Greenwich Brass Band presents "Christmas wit

Friday 6 December • Regent Hall (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street Opp. RESERVED. London . W1C 2DJ

London Metropolitan Brass - Annual Charity Christmas Concert

Saturday 7 December • East Finchley Methodist Church, 205B High Rd, Finchley, London N2 8AN

The Fairey Band - Dobross Youth Band

Saturday 7 December • Civic Hall/Lee St, Oldham OL3 6AE OL3 6AE

Wakefield Metropolitan Brass Band

December 5 • Solo Horn and Flugelhorn/Cornet required to complete the line up for the areas next year. A friendly band with a sensible engagement list and can arrange transport from Wakefield stations. Rehearsals Monday and Thursday 7:45-9:30

Longridge Band

December 5 • The Longridge Band (First Section North West) currently requires a percussionist.. . The band is one of the most well organised and run bands in the area, with a good mixture of contests/concerts and social activities planned for 2020.

Haverhill Silver Band

December 5 • Haverhill Silver Band require a 1st class Horn player, in preparation for 2020 contest season.

James Garlick

BMus (Hons), QTS
Conductor, Band Trainer, Adjudicator, Tutor


 © 2019 4barsrest.com Ltd