Grimethorpe Colliery Band

What can one say about the current Championship Band of Great Britain that the world doesn't already know?

Grimethorpe Colliery Band, Corn Exchange, Ipswich, June 16

What can one say about the current Championship Band of Great Britain that the world doesn't already know? More than half an hour before the performance began the queues were stretching round three sides of the Corn Exchange, eager to pay homage to this incomparable band.

The concert was run on traditional lines; opening with The President, a march by William German, followed by the overture, Zampa (Herold arr. Rimmer). There were arrangements of classical pieces by Bach, Mendelssohn, Luuona, Elgar and Wagner as well as a feisty composition called Earth Rites by Robin Dewhurst. Mr. Lear's Carnival, was a very tongue-in-cheek interpretation of the Carnival of Venice, by Elgar Howarth, under his pen name W Hogarth Lear.

Roger Webster played the cornet solo, Ave Maria. It was a perfect example of sustained control and pureness of tone. In contrast Martin Armstrong's Finale from Strauss's Horn Concerto No 1 (arr. Smith) was a breathtaking demonstration of virtuosity and agility. As too, was the euphonium solo, Harlequin, by Philip Spark, performed by Michael Dodd.

The final solo item, composed by Arthur Prior, was The Supervisor, played by Richard Brown. It combined all the above skills with the buffoonery that befits a trombone player.

This piece had been arranged by the conductor, Andrew Berryman, himself a trombonist. As well as being a bandsman he is Principal Trombone with the Hallé Orchestra and tutor at the Royal Northern College of Music. Andrew compered the programmed with a wealth of self and band deprecating commentary. When he inquired of the audience whether anyone was attending a band concert for the first time everyone was highly amused. It is a well known fact that only band players and their 'groupies' go to such concerts. But if only some of the 'classical' concert goers were to come along I am convinced they would find the music and musicianship of the highest calibre but lacking only in the rarefied atmosphere of the orchestral concert hall.

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Judith Newman