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Wardle Academy Brass Band

Conductor: Lee Rigg
RNCM Brass Band Festival
RNCM, Manchester
Saturday 28th January


The success of Artistic Director Paul Hindmarsh’s long term ambition to make the RNCM Brass Band Festival a wholly inclusive event has been marked in different ways.

The multi-lingual sound of musical chatter in the bar area after each concert speaks clearly of its increasing worldwide profile, whilst cross-genre brass soloists have also become regular visitors. 

Student inclusion has come from both the ‘in-house’ RNCM Brass Band and its Junior sibling, various brass ensembles, recitals and competitions such as the John Golland Awards final, whilst future generations have been nurtured with several youth bands having been asked to perform at the event.

European Champion

This year it was the Wardle Academy Youth Band, who last appeared in 2018. Packed onto the RNCM Theatre stage in their bright red waistcoats, they performed to a bumper audience who made sure they got a seat in time for the warm welcome extended to the band by Paul Hindmarsh.

The European Youth Championship Development Champion is a hot-bed of musical talent – led by a remarkable conductor in Lee Rigg who has an indefatigable zeal to inspire through the school’s enlightened policy of placing music making as a core component of its curriculum.

The European Youth Championship Development Champion is a hot-bed of musical talent – led by a remarkable conductor in Lee Rigg who has an indefatigable zeal to inspire through the school’s enlightened policy of placing music making as a core component of its curriculum. His success is now seen first-hand in numerous community bands in the North West and beyond. 

Clever scoring

The latest cohort played with maturity and confidence from the word go - especially on a ‘Euro’ reprise of Christopher Bond’s colourful, and demanding ‘Corineus’.

The work was first played here by Cory in 2018, with the composer’s clever scoring, a mix of melodic development and vibrant energy, ensuring that the themes of love, war and death leapt from the page as the prodigious Trojan fighter of giants founded his new Cornish kingdom. 

The work was first played here by Cory in 2018, with the composer’s clever scoring, a mix of melodic development and vibrant energy, ensuring that the themes of love, war and death leapt from the page as the prodigious Trojan fighter of giants founded his new Cornish kingdom. 

Earlier the band opened with the exciting Nordic sounds of ‘4BR Newcomer of the Year’ award winner, composer Frederick Schjelderup and his pulsating ‘Light’,  whilst the rather more historic considerations of William Rimmer’s 'Cross of Honour’  march were delivered at a well-paced brisk swagger.

‘Anthem’  from the half-ABBA inspired stage show ‘Chess’  and a thumping ‘Hey Jude’  rounded things off – although the latter was a stark reminder of the passing of time that Lennon & McCartney wrote it over half a century ago, when perhaps the vast majority of the parents of those performing it were not actually born.

Iwan Fox 

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