A Geordie Songbook wins arranger's competition

Discussion in 'Bandroom News - User Submitted' started by bigcol, Aug 4, 2008.

  1. bigcol

    bigcol Member

    Colin Harris has won the 2008 Northern Regional Brass Band Trust arrangers competition, as judged at a the N.R.B.B.T. Brass Day held in July. The contest was set up to encourage arrangers to submit a piece of music for brass band based on traditional Northern Folk Songs, and to be around 5 minutes in duration.

    Colin submitted “A Geordie Songbook”, and was given the first prize of £300 in a public performance of competition entries held at the Lamplight Theatre, Stanley, County Durham, by the Tavistock Chester-Le-Street Riverside Band as part of the N.R.B.B.T's brass festival, on July 19th.

    “A Geordie Songbook” is a piece that Colin had had in draft form for a few years. This arrangement of 'Geordie' melodies was inspired by the purchase of “Geordie Song Book”, a publication found in a North Shields stationary shop by the arranger many years ago. Many of the area's famous melodies were included in the book along with numerous drawings and sketches. The piece was refined and extended to match the requirements of the competition.

    The arrangement is scored for standard brass band and percussion, and features Blaydon Races, Bobby Shaftoe, Cushie Butterfield, Blow the Wind Southerly and The Lampton Worm. A few neat touches were woven into the arrangement, such as a play on Beethoven's Ninth Symphony for Blaydon Races, a crossover between 2-4 and 6-8 rhythms for Lampton Worm, a touching baritone solo during Cushie Butterfield and a solo for anyone talented enough in the percussion section to the play the spoons.

    Colin Harris is the Musical Director of Backworth Colliery Band and has a 14-year association with the band. He has been arranging and composing brass band music on an amateur level since an early age, studying Music at Newcastle University, although writing has taken back stage to his conducting work in recent years. Colin is very grateful to Backworth Colliery Band for their patience in allowing him to try-out this piece before submission.

    As part of the prize, the piece is now to be promoted and published by the N.R.B.B.T. for 12 months. Further details can be found by contacting Len Old at the Trust via Enidlen@aol.com.
  2. on_castors

    on_castors Member

    Oh dear, it's LamBton, not LamPton!

    Not too late to change it before it goes to the printers is it? ;-)

  3. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    A google search gives almost equal references with each spelling, so maybe it's one where there is some leeway, or local variation.
  4. bigcol

    bigcol Member

    Thank you for this information - I'll ask some of my friends of a more Mackem inclination and see if there is a definitive answer for the correct spelling of the cheeky chappy.

  5. michellegarbutt

    michellegarbutt Supporting Member

    I always knew it as the lampton worm
  6. bigcol

    bigcol Member

    Yep - my sources tell me it's a B.

    Cheers for the info.
  7. on_castors

    on_castors Member

    Afraid not. Do a search on "Lampton Worm" (which is the source of the song) and there are indeed a very few inconsequential links, no more than mis-spellings, certainly not authoritative links, and in fact most of the search results produced using that spelling are actually for the Lambton spelling instead.

    The 1862 OS survey maps are all Lambton, and the current ones still are. It has (quite unusually for a place name) always been spelled this way.

    I know the area very well, from years of tramping around it at work, and got used to passing Worm Hill on a daily basis - the hill itself is actually now located within Wasahington, a new town, but locals still consider it part of New Penshaw as it originally was, very close to Lord Lambton's estate
    Commonly the legend gets attributed to Penshaw Hill, the one with the Monument, but this hill is a LOT smaller, and can be seen facing the appropriately named Worm Hill Terrace! See: http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=54.880545,-1.517411&spn=0.002299,0.006974&t=h&z=18

    Big worm, but not as big as if it HAD been Penshaw Hill it was wrapped around!

    I am of that very Mackem disposition, as Colin mentions!
  8. geordiecolin

    geordiecolin Active Member

    Is Wasahington near Lampton?
  9. on_castors

    on_castors Member

    No, but it is near Lambton ;-)

    Spill-chuckers are LOUSY with proper nuns!

    Washington has a "village" (as all constituent areas of Washington are called) called Lambton. the Worm Hill is NOT in Lambton Village, but in Fatfield, next to the Biddick, where the Fatfield Bridge crosses the river

    The Worm Hill is NORTH of the River Wear in fact most of Washington is North of the river.

    The Lambton Estate (and it was the Lambtons who were the Dragon/Worm's opponents in the legend) sits astride both sides of the river, adjacent.

    Actually when I read of your composition on 4BR, and of the Chester le Street Riverside Band, I initially thought they were talking about Martin Humphrey! Martin has done arrangements of local tunes himself, and has some on Sibeliusmusic.com
  10. flashbarry

    flashbarry Member

    Congraulations Colin!!
  11. bigcol

    bigcol Member

    Wow a full blown debate about the Sunderland folk song history and a congrats of the Legend.

    I'm having a good day today!
  12. geordiecolin

    geordiecolin Active Member

    Forgot to say well done Mr. Harris, although I must say I'm not sure that the old Lambton Worm is strictly a "Geordie" song.. perhaps you should rename it:

    "Geordie Songbook plus a Mackem Ditty to pad it out a bit" ;-)

    I notice that you left the Jacky Stobbs numbers largely alone (Water of Tyne + My Bonny Lad) was that intentional? and also, does this mean all north east bands can finally throw away those illegible march card versions of Songs of the Tyne from about 1908?
  13. bigcol

    bigcol Member


    Yes it does open a can of worms - not only is the Worm a Sunderland tune, but I have it on good authority that Blow the Wind is originally Scottish.

    That's the trouble with most 'folk' music, origins are quite muddlesome to get right. As I'm a Mancunian, well I'm just trying me best ;)

    This is the book I took most of the tunes from:


    So blame Frank ;)

    I didn't conciously leave the excellent Jack Stobbs tunes out, but I did do a March version called "Geordies on the March" before I did this arrangement which sort of update's John Carr's Songs of the Tyne. But it isn't as good if I'm being honest, so I have left it alone.

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