West Riding comes home to West Ridings!

Discussion in 'Bandroom News - User Submitted' started by cbridge, Sep 3, 2008.

  1. cbridge

    cbridge Member

    The march ‘West Riding’ by Sam B Wood has become synonomous with the Brighouse and Rastrick Band over the years. Taking it’s main melodic material from the traditional local song ‘On Ilkley Moor Baht 'at’, the opening has become the signature tune of the band, played at the beginning of the majority of concerts. So it is perhaps fitting that the original manuscript has come to rest in the band’s new archive facility, thanks to the composer’s son, Barrie Wood.

    Samuel Balmforth Wood., was a prolific composer and arranger of more than 400 published works. Sam B., as he was affectionately known, was born on the 5th August 1896 and raised in a family immersed in music. His father, John Wood, was a professional musician and a Cooper. By the time Sam B. was five years old he had been taught to play the cornet. At ten years of age he performed at the Theatre Royal in Leeds and was a King's Trumpeter. He played the cornet seasonally at Ilkley and Morecambe when he was a young teenager.

    During the First World War Sam B. served in Egypt and France, where he served as a stretcher-bearer in the trenches during some horrendous battles. He joined the band of the 2nd Bradford Pals as solo cornet. When the ‘Pals’ were disbanded, the band was transferred en-bloc to the 8th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment. On the eve of his 21st birthday he became the youngest bandmaster in the British Army. Whilst serving in the Forces he composed several marches and a suite called ‘Bucquoy’. At the end of his military service he was offered promotion to Brigade Bandmaster but preferred to return to civilian life.

    After the 1914-18 War he played in cinema orchestras. He was also the musical arranger for the New Victoria Broadcasting Cinema Orchestra in Bradford. With the demise of cinema orchestras he established several dance bands, one of which was the very popular ‘Dutch Boys’. During this time he was also a timpanist in a symphony orchestra. Sam B. was also a music writer and arranger for Banks Publishing, Leeds and Blackburns of Bradford. He studied music in Leeds under Sir Edward C. Bairstow, MusD. of York Minster for eight years and later obtained his degree of Bachelor of Music at Durham University on the 6th February, 1934 (No. 527).

    Sam B. composed more than 2,000 pieces of music, including forty signature tunes, the most famous being the march ‘West Riding’.

    While still residing in Pudsey, Sam B. became an Independent Councillor but lost his seat in the 1945 Labour landslide. This defeat and the poor health of his wife, Agnes, made it an easy decision to move to live near the seaside at Morecambe. He died in 1977, aged 81, leaving his only son, Barrie and a fine collection of his music.

    Barrie Wood has been a loyal follower of the band for many years and had always made his intentions clear that he was to pass his father’s original mansucripts of band music onto B&R following his own death. Recent concert performances by the band had made Barrie think that he wanted to be able to see his father’s music enjoyed in his own lifetime, which spurred him to make the decision to hand the music over to Vice President Derek Rawlinson to be displayed in the band’s new purpose built archive room.

    Thursday 27th August saw the presentation and to round off his visit, Barrie Wood was handed the baton by musical director Alan Morrison to conduct the famous band in his father’s famous march.

    John Ingman
    Publicity Officer
    Brighouse and Rastrick Band

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