Brass Celebration Marks Double Anniversary

Discussion in 'The Auditorium - Concert Details' started by Obi one Tromboni, Sep 10, 2007.

  1. Obi one Tromboni

    Obi one Tromboni New Member

    Onchan Silver Band is very happy to announce that they will be holding a “Brass Celebration” concert in the Villa Marina, Douglas, on Sunday 30th September at 7.30pm. The concert will mark their 70th anniversary and the band is thrilled to announce that they have secured the services of the Championship Section B.T. Band, which began life as the Stockport Telephone Band in 1967, to perform jointly at the concert. This year being B.T. Band’s 40th anniversary makes the concert a double celebration.

    “The bands will perform separately in the first half under the baton of their respective musical directors Paul Dunderdale and Michael Fowles, and jointly to conclude the concert” band press officer Grant Taylor said; “in addition to this, B.T. have had a piece of music specially commissioned for their anniversary and we are honoured that the premiere will be performed at the concert, an exclusive for the band and the musical community of the island”. Grant explained: “the piece is entitled “The Enigma Machine” and has been written by Paul Lovatt-Cooper, the principal percussionist of the world-famous Black Dyke Mills Band, who visited the island earlier in the year in conjunction with the 120th birthday of Douglas Town Band. Everyone at Onchan Silver Band is very excited about the concert which we hope will prove to be a memorable evening’s entertainment.

    “To make the occasion even more special” Grant continued “I am delighted to be able to announce that our guests of honour for the evening will be Mr Gordon Astill and his wife Sheila; this will be the first time they have attended a band event since they parted company back in 2002. Mr Astill notched up and incredible 50 years service with the band, with 44 of them as musical director, and his outstanding achievement and longevity will never be forgotten. It is not an exaggeration to say that if it wasn’t for him there would be no Onchan Silver Band today and we hope his presence, along with Mrs Astill, who served as the band’s secretary for many years, will make the night an unforgettable one. Mrs Astill’s father was also chairman and later president of the band so their ties to us are undeniable.

    “The connection with the B.T. Band stems from Michael Fowles first visit to the Island to adjudicate the brass classes of the Manx Music Festival in 2002; the band asked him to return to give a workshop weekend which he has since done on several occasions, each being very successful.” Grant concluded “we can promise the audience a superb evening’s entertainment from both bands, with a diverse selection of music ranging from Wagner to up-to-date film scores and the band are looking forward to the event tremendously.”

    Tickets are on sale at the Villa/Gaiety box office now, priced at £12.50 and are available online at The band also has a comprehensive website at containing articles, up to date news and photographs of the band. Any queries relating to the band itself should be addressed to secretary/press officer Grant Taylor on 480461 or e-mailing
  2. horn1

    horn1 Member

    Everyone at BT is looking forward to a great concert and a great weekend on the Isle of Man!
  3. Obi one Tromboni

    Obi one Tromboni New Member


    And so ...
    On the evening of Sunday 30th September, following a pre-concert workshop weekend, the joint bands of Onchan Silver and B.T. held their much-anticipated "Brass Celebration" concert in the Royal Hall of the beautiful Villa Marina on Douglas promenade on the Isle Of Man. The concert was the culmination of many months of work with both bands, and was a memorable ocassion for all concerned. Guests of honour for this special ocassion which marked the 70th anniversary of Onchan Silver and the 40th anniversary of B.T., were Mr & Mrs Gordon Astill, whose names have been synonymous with the band for over half a century. Their presence made the concert extra special.

    The programme began with Onchan Silver Band whose compere for the evening was John Cashen, conducted by msuical director Paul Dunderdale, they opened with Eric Ball"s popular march "Star Lake" which was composed in the year the band was formed, 1937. This was followed by Alan Fernie"s arrangement of "A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square" which contrasted sharply with the next item, a trombone solo brillantly performed by the band"s solo trombonist Mark Halliday; his chosen solo was "Bluejohn" by Manxman Peter Kneale and this was received very well by the 400-strong audience. The band then performed Peter Graham"s arrangement of Jessie Seymour"s hymn tune "Crimond" which clevery interweaves the work of Eric Ball into it"s texture, most notably the inclusion of his masterpiece "Resurgam" which move the audience. They closed with Alan Fernie"s arrangement of "Gonna Fly Now" the theme from the "Rocky" series of films.

    Then came B.T. band"s chance to show off their talents, under the baton of Michaal Fowles opening with their signature march "Communications" by Derek Broadbent; this was followed up with an overture, Hector Berlioz"s rousing "Le Carnaval Romain" after which principal cornet Pete Shaw took to the stage with his interpretation of Hermann Belstedt"s air-vari "Napoli, a true virtuoso performance. They followed up with Evelyn Glennie"s beautifully simple melody "A Little Prayer" arranged by Robert Childs. The first half concluded with world premiere of "The Enigma Machine" penned by Paul Lovatt-Cooper of the Black Dyke Band. The piece, explained Michael Fowles, was commissioned for the band"s anniversary and is a recognition of the work done during the Second World War by communications workers in cracking the famous Enigma Code; it features many familiar wartime sounds, including renditions of the Last Post and air raid siren noises and brought the curtain down in superb style for the first half of the proceedings.

    B.T. continued to impress, opening the second half with James Swearingen"s "Valero" continuing with a trombone solo from Richard Walker, playing the romantic ballad "My Funny Valentine" made famous by Frank Sinatra. This was followed by the popular cornet feature "Hora Staccato" by Grigorius Dinicu which showcased the cornet section"s versatility perfectly. Further virtuoso playing was to come, with Helen Varley"s performance of "Concert Etude" which was again contrasted by Dave Brubeck"s well-known jazz number "Blue Rondo A La Turk" before B.T."s finale of Peter Graham"s "Gaelforce" which brought enthusiastic responses from the audience.

    After this they were joined by Onchan Silver to form a massed band for the concert"s finale, which began under the baton of Paul Dunderdale, conducting Tom Powell"s march "The Contestor" before handing over to Michael Fowles who took Philip Wilby"s lilting arrangement of "The Day Thou Gavest" to much acclaim. The big finish was provided by Howard Snell"s arrangement of Richard Wagner"s "Procession To The Minster" taken from his opera Logherin which, perhaps fittingly, had been arranged for the last ever Granada Band Of The Year in 1987 which took place in the very same hall as the concert. The sound of the two bands together was a true roof-lifter and the wonderful response from the audience gave a fitting climax to an evening of wonderful entertainment, but there was more to follow.

    As an encore, the band were thrilled to welcome onto the stage Mr Gordon Astill to conduct the massed bands in Howard Snell"s arrangment of "Ellan Vannin"; this was the first time Mr Astill had conducted the band since his departure after 50 years, in 2002 and made an already delightful night even more special to all concerned. A presentation was made to Mrs Astill, and B.T. Band presented Onchan Silver with a banner, a gesture which was returned. The chairman of Onchan District Commissioners, Tim Norton, also presented B.T. with an official Onchan crest. After Paul Dunderdale"s new arrangement of the National Anthem the curtain finally came down on the concert, which will be remembered for a long time to come by all the bandsmen that took part.
  4. horn1

    horn1 Member

    A great weekend was enjoyed by all of us at BT. The concert was excellent and the hospitality of Onchan fantastic! Definately a weekend to we remembered! :)