Test piece blues

Don’t you just love it when the MD rolls out a new test piece for an upcoming contest – perhaps even one you’ve heard before and enjoyed – until you see your part. All those notes and accidentals! Never mind, let’s have a go…

Pere Ophecliede No1 (1)Pere Ophecliede No2 (1)Pere Ophecliede No3 (1)Pere Ophecliede No4Pere Ophecliede No5 (1)Pere Ophecliede No6Pere Ophecliede No7 (1)Pere Ophecliede No8

There again, my usual excuses for split notes and missed entries has never been a large piece of fluff in the bell – but there is always a first time!  x1x2x3x4x5

 

 

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Brass band concert programmes on postcards

Many of the times that a brass band has performed a concert, a printed programme has been available for the audience, giving the details of the pieces played, their composers and arrangers and, where appropriate, the names of the conductor and any soloists.

Sadly, few of these reminders of the concerts have survived over the years. Most will have been discarded soon after the event; some will have been saved or collected, but later lost. There are relatively few still in existence to allow us to see what our banding forebears performed for their audiences.

In some instances, the band’s programme was published in advance on posters or in the local press, or possibly printed in reviews after the event. Those in newspapers can still be found (assuming the printed or digitised issues are available), but few posters survive – ephemeral material, like the printed programmes themselves. The programmes and posters are usually simple printed sheets, but occasionally they were more elaborate – like this one from Lincoln:

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Between 1904 and 1913, at least, those charged with raising funds for the hospitals and orphanages in Hull promoted various brass band concerts. These committees or “good causes” were, variously:

In addition to promoting the concerts in the local press (and possibly by posters around the town), they also made use of various printed postcards. These would be showing the typical pictorial scenes on one side, but on the message/address side there would be overprinted the details of the concert programme. It is not know whether these were sold in advance of the concerts, as promotional material, or if they were sold at the concerts themselves, informing the audience as would the normal paper programme, but with the added advantage of being a useful product thereafter (to send a message to friends/family).

So far have only seen such postcards representing bands and charitable concerns in Hull – but here are a dozen examples:


West Park, Hull, Sunday July 17th 1904 – Thomas Wilson’s Sons & Co. Prize Brass Band, conductor A. Dennis

Promoted by Hull Royal Infirmary, Newington Ward, Working Men’s Committee

March: University (J.H. Carter); Air Varie: Rousseau’s Dream (H. Round); Selection: Poliuto (Donizetti); Euphonium Solo: The Village Blacksmith (W.H. Weiss) soloist W. Brocklesby, medallist; Selection: Don Sebastiano (Donizetti); Trombone Solo: Ora Pro Nobis (M. Piccolomini) soloist A. Gibson, medallist; Fantasia: Gems of Tschaikovsky (arr. E. Swift); Selection: Gems of Welsh Melody (arr. J. Ord Hume).

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West Park, Hull, Sunday July 30th 1905 – Barton Cycle Works Prize Band, conductor George White

Promoted by Hull Royal Infirmary, Newington Ward, Working Men’s Committee

March: Viva Birkinshaw (Rimmer); Glee: Strike the Lyre (Cooke); Selection: Rossini’s Works (arr. A. Owen); Sacred Air Varie: Austrian Hymn (arr. E. Swift); Kyrie & Gloria from 12th Mass (Mozart); March: The President (W. German); Selection: from the works of Meyerbeer; Sacred Air Varie: Hanover (arr. H. Round); Selection: La Cenerentola (Rossini); Chorus: Hallelujah (Handel).

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West Park, Hull, Sunday May 31st 1908 – Sons of Temperance Silver Prize Band, conductor C. Norman

Promoted by Hull Royal Infirmary, Newington Ward, Working Men’s Committee

March: Merry Maids (Pearson); Fantasia: Gems of Song (Rimmer); Cornet Solo: At Eventide (Ord Hume) soloist C. Norman; Selection: Old Memories (W. Rimmer); March: The 3 D.G.’s (Brophy); Air Varie: The Vesper Hymn (Round); Intermezzo: Napoli (Lewis Ham); Grand Selection: Robin Hood (Macfarren).

West Park, Hull, Sunday June 28th 1908 – Hull Waterloo Silver Prize Band, conductor Arthur Gibson

Promoted by Hull Royal Infirmary, Newington Ward, Working Men’s Committee

March: Bravura (George Allan); Selection: Old Memories (W. Rimmer); Overture: Poet & Peasant (Suppé); Selection: Fernando Cortez (C. Godfrey) (test piece, Belle Vue, 1907); Selection: Mendelssohn (arr. C. Godfrey); Chorus: Heavens are Telling (Haydn); Selection: Tannhauser (Wagner).

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East Park, Hull, Sunday July 12th 1908 – Hull Sons of Temperance Silver Prize Band, conductor C. Norman

Promoted by Yorkshire Foresters’ Orphanage Hull District Committee

March: Amazon (Farrell); Air Varie: The Austrian Hymn (Swift); Euphonium Solo: The Village Blacksmith (Weiss) soloist T. Norman; Overture: The Viking’s Daughter (Rimmer); Grand March: The King’s Bodyguard (Ord Hume); Fantasia: Jubilation (Rimmer); Selection: Tutti in Maschera (Pedrotti); Chorus: Hallelujah (Handel).

West Park, Hull, Sunday August 16h 1908 – Hull Postmen’s Military Band, conductor P.F. Bultitude

In aid of St John Ambulance Brigade, Hull Corps

March: The Filibuster (G. Southwell); Madrigal: Sing a Joyous Roundelay (J.Barnby); Selection: La Vestale (Spontini); Intermezzo: Rose Garlands (Lilian Raymond); Selection: Opera Gems (arr. H. Round); Aria: The Pilgrim (H. Round); Serenade: Moonlight (Neil Moret); Overture: Miralda (J. Ord Hume).

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West Park, Hull, Sunday August 30th 1908 – Sons of Temperance Prize Silver Band, conductor C. Norman

Promoted by Victoria Hospital for Sick Children, Working Men’s Committee

Quick Step: The 3 D.G.’s (Brophy); Fantasia: Gems of Song (Rimmer); Air Varie: Sandon (Dodsworth); Selection: Gems of Mendelssohn (arr. C. Godfrey); March: The Charmer (McAlister); Euphonium Solo: The Pilgrim (Round); Selection: Crispino (Ricci); Intermezzo: Jubilation (Rimmer).

East Park, Hull, Sunday June 13th 1909 – East Hull Prize Silver Band, conductor J.G. Longman

In aid of the Poor Children’s Summer Outing

March: Up Guards (J. Ord Hume); Fantasia: Amazona (R. Rippin); Cornet Solo: The Light of Life (J.G. Veaco); Selection: Memories of Balfe (arr. Rimmer); Overture: Crown of Merit (Bennett); Air Varie: Vesper Hymn (Round); Selection: Saffo (Pacini); Chorus: Hallelujah (Handel).

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West Park, Hull, Sunday June 27th 1909 – East Hull Prize Silver Band, conductor John G. Longman

Promoted by Victoria Hospital for Sick Children, Working Men’s Committee

March: The Wizard (George Allan); Selection: Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti); Cornet Solo: The Lost Chord (Sullivan); Grand Selection: Memories of Weber (W. Rimmer); Overture: Poet & Peasant (Suppé); Euphonium Solo: The Village Blacksmith (Weiss); Selection: Souvenir de Meyerbeer (E. Swift); Chorus: Kyrie & Gloria from Mozart’s 12th Mass.

East Park, Hull, Sunday June 26th 1910 & West Park, Hull, Sunday July 17th 1910 – Hull Sons of Temperance Prize Band, conductor C. Norman

In aid of Hull & Sculcoates Dispensary Working Men’s Committee

March: Vigilant (J. Farrell); Fantasia: Gems of England (Rimmer); Andante: From C Minor Symphony (Beethoven); Grand Selection: Memories of the Past (Rimmer); Quick March: Senator (G. Allan); Air Varie: Sandon (T. Allsopp); Intermezzo: In the Twilight (Rimmer); Grand Selection: Robert Devereux (Donizetti).

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West Park, Hull, Sunday July 10th 1910 – Hull Sons of Temperance Prize Band, conductor C. Norman

In aid of the Poor Children’s Summer Outing

Quick Step: March at Ease (Rimmer); Overture: Zampa (Herold); Intermezzo: Napoli (Lewis Ham) soloist euphonium C.H. Gray; Selection: Memories of the Past (Rimmer); Quickstep: Vigilant (J. Farrell); Fantasia: Gems of England (Rimmer); Andante: From C Minor Symphony (Beethoven); Grand Selection: Gems of Mozart (Mozart).

West Park, Hull, Sunday June 15th 1913 – Hull Postmen’s Band, conductor P.F. Bultitude

West Hull Working Men’s Committee

March: Romola (E. Hazel); Overture: A Gypsy Romance (J. Ord Hume); Intermezzo: Endoria (Ardre); Selection: Iolanthe (Sullivan); Fantasia: Euphonia (Webb); Gavotte: Editha (Carlo Mora): Song: A Dream of Heaven (Crook); Selection: Gondoliers (Sullivan); Overture: Tancredi (Rossini); Hymns: Ancient and Modern.

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The brass bands of Boroughbridge

There is no longer a brass band in Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire, but it did enjoy the music of a number of local bands in the town from around 1855 until the last one disbanded in 1955. Aldborough is a village adjacent to Boroughbridge which has shared some of its musical endeavours. Little remains of these bands, a few memories, a few pictures and the odd appearance in the local newspapers.

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Aldborough Brass Band – this was active in 1864.

Aldborough & Boroughbridge Brass Band – Active in 1873, when it was described as being “only young” – so it was probably formed in the early 1870’s. However there was a Boroughbridge Brass Band in the 1850’s, so perhaps this was a successor band. It was still active as Boroughbridge Brass Band in the late 1880’s. Conductor was T. Archer in 1877.

Boroughbridge Brass Band (1) – This was active in 1857 to 1887. A successor band was formed in 1894.

Boroughbridge Brass Band (2) – Founded in 1894, its first public appearance was at Christmas 1894.

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Boroughbridge British Legion Band – Founded after WW1. In 1929 its conductor was Harry W. Hill and its founder was Johnny Pickering. It disbanded in 1955. After WW2, when the band reformed, clothing coupons were gathered from the townsfolk of Boroughbridge which helped the band to acquire its first uniforms around 1946. After it disbanded the instruments were stored for a while by the British Legion Club in Boroughbridge until they were finally sold off some time thereafter.

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Hot air and brass bands

A number of postcards were produced in the early 1900s which would have been insulting to the recipient – likening their verbal utterances to an extreme amount of hot air – i.e. a “brass band”. One assumes, like the later “smutty” seaside postcards, that these were meant to be taken humorously and not to take offence! Various designs were produced and a slight variant is also seen, replacing “hot air” with “B.S.” (supply your own words) – but that does not work as well.

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One can only assume, based on the assertions of the above cards, that the band below is being kept aloft by the exertions of its brass players!

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Brass bands on screen

Over the years the brass bands in the UK, and elsewhere, have appeared numerous times on screen, whether in feature films or on television programmes. In most cases they are small appearances fulfilling the role of a “local” band in the background or supporting a musical event in the plot of the drama. At other times band have a more central role in the production, featuring in a documentary or being a major part of the activity. With the help of some Facebook brass band groups I have extended my original listing of about 120 such appearances to around 450, from 1931 to 2019. This can be found on my Academia site at

https://www.academia.edu/40626430/Film_Television_and_Video_productions_featuring_brass_bands

Here are a few stills from film and TV shows:

up for the cup

Sing as we go

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Durham Miners’ Gala

Having just been asked by my band’s librarian to identify the marches we use for the Durham Miners’ Gala (so she can get clean copies made for the 2020 event) it reminded me of some notes I’d made on the Gala and the bands that supported the miners’ lodges in the past. Sadly most of the colliery bands of County Durham have long since disappeared, but the music carries on – and the Gala continues from strength to strength, supported by the miners’ lodges, other trade unions, and bands from across the north of England. So here, in the article linked below, is a brief outline of the Gala and an homage to the bands and miners of the past.

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Brass, coal, banners, marching and music: colliery bands and the Durham Miners’ Gala or “Big Meeting”

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Circus bands

I had some discussions earlier this year with some members of Windjammers – the US Historical Circus Music Society – seeking details of some of their articles on the history of circus bands in the USA. Their journal “Circus Fanfare” is a fascinating repository of information about music old and new and the players and bands of the past. The organisation is also actively involved in recreating and keeping alive the music of the travelling circus and sideshow bands. The photo below is of the Starnes Stock Company Band at St Petersburg, Florida – they were an under-canvas theatrical troupe that carried a band with them, based in Worthington, Indiana, active during the 1913 season.

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As part of my research into the bands of the USA, I currently have details of nearly 80 such bands – and there would have been many more – supporting the various travelling entertainment shows. This list was shared with Windjammers.

For the circus bands list, see: http://www.ibew.org.uk/uscircusbands.pdf

For further details of Windjammers and Circus Fanfare, see: https://www.circusmusic.org

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