Foden's Band

Featuring: Manx Youth Band & Manx Concert Brass
Conductor: Michael Fowles
Villa Marina Theatre
Douglas, Isle of Man
Saturday 15th July

Six years have passed since Foden’s Band last visited the Isle of Man, so, unsurprisingly, despite the wet squall outside the warmest of welcomes awaited them in a packed Villa Marina Theatre.

In an unusual reversal the massed bands took to the stage first under Michael Fowles – the ‘National Anthem’  followed by a rousing ‘Olympic Fanfare and Theme’  that acted as the prelude to Derek Broadbent’s ‘Manx Tales’.

Commissioned in 2020 by Manx Concert Brass (to celebrate their 25th anniversary), the Manx Youth Band (to celebrate their 50th) and the Isle of Man Arts Council, it was a evocative four-movement suite based on traditional folk tunes, played with passion and understanding. 

Rapid start

The rest of the first half belonged to the National Champion; a red blooded ‘Ruslan and Ludmilla’  getting things off to a rapid start. Richard Poole’s superb rendition of ‘Through the Eyes of Love’,  from the movie ‘Ice Castles’  was followed by Mark Wilkinson on ‘Glorious Ventures’  delivered with graceful virtuosity.  

Richard Poole’s superb rendition of ‘Through the Eyes of Love’,  from the movie ‘Ice Castles’  was followed by Mark Wilkinson on ‘Glorious Ventures’  delivered with graceful virtuosity.  

Contrast came with Eriks Esenvald’s, ‘Only in Sleep’,  with a tender lead by Melanie Whyle on flugel, before the Roman legions marched down Douglas High Street (they came over in the first century BC and stayed for 400 years) with ‘Pines of the Appian Way’  rounded things off.

More virtuosity and varied styles came after the break, with Samuel Hazo’s exciting ‘Rush’  and the coolest of xylophone cats in Mark Landon and Sam Iles on Zeb Confrey’s ‘Kitten on the Keys’. 

Robin Hood

The band’s clever 'Robin Hood'  inspired Brass in Concert programme provided a highly enjoyable series of vignettes to close – from the partygoing ‘Merry Men’  to the tender Bryan Adams ‘Everything I Do, I Do It For You’  Robin and Marion duet and the gloriously OTT baddie that was Gary Curtin stealing the show like a latter day Alan Rickman on ‘Cruel Summer’.

It was great pantomime fun played with serious intent – the return of Richard the Lionheart, with hints of MGM inspired scores of cinematic old, drawing things to a close before George Marshall’s Salvationist march ‘Spirit of Praise’  and Howard Snell’s arrangement of ‘Ellan Vannin’  were the classiest of encores.  

Let’s hope it won’t be another six years before Foden’s returns.

Matt Haws

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    

Luton Brass Band - Masterclass with David Daws

Wednesday 27 September • St Augustine's Church, Luton LU3 2JR

South Yorkshire Police -

Saturday 30 September • Sheffield Catherdral. Church Street. Sheffield. S1 1HA

Epping Forest Band - Thundersley Brass Band

Saturday 30 September • Salvation Army Hall, Hadleigh, Essex SS7 20F

Friary Brass Band - guest soloist Tom Smith

Saturday 30 September • Trinity Methodist Church. Brewery Road. Woking GU21 4LH

Contest: Bolsover Festival of Brass

Saturday 30 September • Shirebrook Academy, Common Lane, Shirebrook. Derbyshire NG20 8QF

Harlow Brass Band

September 29 • Seeking a MUSICAL DIRECTOR - We are a friendly, non-contesting band who play to a good standard. We hold our own Spring and Christmas concerts and provide entertainment at various local events throughout the year.

East of England Co-op Band

September 27 • We are looking for an Eb or Bb bass player to fill a vacancy due to a player's relocation. We are a friendly and ambitious Championship section band who rehearse in Ipswich, Suffolk on a Monday evening. We have a healthy concert and contest diary.

Uppermill Band

September 27 • EXCITING TIMES AHEAD AS WE START A NEW CHAPTER. Following a period of rebuilding and the appointment of our new MD JAMES GARLICK, we require a PERCUSSIONIST to complete our team. We are a hardworking and committed team.

John Ward

Conductor, Adjudicator


 © 2023 4barsrest.com Ltd