Hot on the heels of their Acid Brass music being heard on the British Pottery Throwdown programme, Fairey Band will now be both seen and heard on another high profile television appearance – this time on the Sky Arts Channel in the lead up to Christmas.
The band recently recorded ‘A Brass Band Wonderland’ programme in the depths of the gloriously named ‘Devil’s Arse’ – the famous series of caves which make up the Peak Cavern in Castleton in Derbyshire.
The show will broadcast on SkyArts on 16th and 23rd December 2015
The band was joined by Hackney Colliery Band as well as celebrity presenters and performers including singer Russell Watson, singer/songwriter Andreya Triana, boy band Collabro and comedian Jason Manford, who not only hosted the show but also sang a couple of festive numbers.
‘White Christmas’, ‘Christmas Song’ and ‘Sleigh Ride’ are amongst the favourites you will be able to hear on the Sky Arts Channel in December – appropriate numbers as the temperatures in the depths of the earth were a little chilly to say the least according to Fairey Band Manager Nigel Beasley.
“It was another really interesting day for the band. It was cold though – although our efforts were really appreciated both by the other performers and the producers. They were amazed we could keep playing for four hours without the instruments freezing to the lips!”
Nigel added: “Playing alongside these household names is not only good for the band but good for the brass band movement as a whole. I think people are now realising that bands such as Fairey can provide high class music making in any genre they want.
It was also great to be able to do a couple of pieces with Hackney as, for some time, we have been thinking of doing a collaborative concert together.”
The BBC’s latest ‘do it yourself’ artisan skills programme, ‘The Great Pottery Throwdown’ has already hit our television screens before the ovens from the tent of ‘Bake Off’ have had time to cool down.
Jugs, bowls and pots
And although the programme has received mixed reviews from the television critics – as would be Picassos and Morendis try their hand (literally) in making jugs, bowls and pots that will impress judges Keith Brymer Jones and Kate Malone – the music used has been a huge hit, with the BBC already being asked by viewers about its identity and who performed it.
They have found out that the answer is the Fairey Band – with excepts from of all things their ground breaking Acid Brass recordings and the follow up ‘In Yer Face’ release – although neither the music or the band were credited at the end of the first show.
It’s certainly added a bit of musical interest to a programme that you wouldn’t quite expect would work with a touch of Acid dipped into the clay mix as Fairey Band Manager Nigel Beasley told 4BR.
“It’s great that the BBC have used our Acid Brass tracks to help the programme, although it is a bit disappointing that it doesn’t get a mention in the credits. Lots of people have already contacted the band to ask if we recorded it specially for the series.”
He added: “It does show though that brass bands can do the most unexpected musical things – so it looks like we have made plenty of new pottery fans.”
Keen Acid House potters heard tracks such as ‘Can U Dance’ ‘I sit on Acid’ and ‘Gonna Make You Sweat’ featured during the first episode.
Not quite the Righteous Brothers serenading Demi Moore in ‘Ghost’ is it now….but it does only go out on BBC2 on a Tuesday evening at 9.00pm.
After claiming the North West Area title in Blackpool earlier this year, last weekend the band made their way down to capital city in order to compete in this year’s National Championships in the Royal Albert Hall. The test piece this time around was Thomas Doss’ Spiriti, previously used for the European Championships.
The lead up to the contest was a very busy time for the band due to the three performances of Gavin Higgin’s ballet Dark Arteries with the Rambert Dance Company at the Lowry in Manchester, only two weeks beforehand. This left only one week for the band to work up the piece in time for the contest. Thanks must go to the dedication of the players for being able to prepare such a huge piece as Spiriti in such a short space of time. And of course we must not forget the meticulous preparation carried out by the band’s Musical Director Garry Cutt.
After a strong performance the band claimed the third prize position with a great reception. Our congratulations to runners-up Brighouse & Rastrick and this year’s winners, The Cory Band.
The band now pre-qualify for next year’s national finals. See you in 2016!
Adjudicators: Stephen Roberts, Howard Snell, Rob Wiffen
1. Cory (Philip Harper)*
2. Brighouse & Rastrick (Prof. David King)**
3. Fairey (Prof. Garry Cutt)*
4. Flowers (Paul Holland)*
5. Tredegar (Ian Porthouse)
6. Camborne (Kevin Mackenzie)
7. Zone One Brass (Richard Ward)
8. Reg Vardy (Russell Gray)
9. Co-operative Funeralcare (Allan Ramsay)
10. Grimethorpe Colliery (Dr Robert Childs)
11. Black Dyke (Prof. Nicholas Childs)
12. Whitburn (Michael Fowles)
13. Foden’s (Allan Withington)
14. Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Phillip McCann)
15. Virtuosi GUS (Adam Cooke)
16. Northop Silver (Thomas Wyss)
17. Tongwynlais Temperance (John Berryman)
18. NASUWT Riverside (Stephen Malcolm)
19. Desford Colliery (LCIWTF) (Tom Davoren)
20. Friary Guildford (Chris King)
*top 4 bands pre-qualify for next year’s contest.
In the lead up to this year’s British Open Championship at the Birmingham Symphony Hall we’re getting all nostalgic and looking back through some of the band’s winning performances over the years from this and other contests (see here for a full account).
We have managed to dredge up some old recordings from the archives, and with the help of a cassette to mp3 converter (cheers Gaz!) you can listen and/or download them for yourself below.
National Championships of Great Britain 1986 – The Royal Albert Hall, London
Piece: Diversions for Brass Band Derek Bourgeois
Conductor: Roy Newsome
Winners (full results here)
The British Open Championships 1993 – Free Trade Hall, Manchester
Piece: Masquerade Philip Wilby
Conductor: Major Peter Parkes
Winners (full results here)
The performance begins at 02:52.
Apologies for strange noise at 11:59!
The Band are proud to announce the release of their latest CD recording, “Nefarious”. It is available now via digital download or alternatively please use our contact page and we can send you a physical copy with the artwork included. Conducted by Garry Cutt and Tom Davoren this release is a great mix of great brass band classics and new repertoire, some of which first premiered at the 2014 Brass in Concert Championships. Full details each item can be found below:
Peter Graham is one of the most prolific composers in the world of brass and wind bands. Phoenix is taken from his suite War of the Worlds, inspired by the epic science fiction story penned by H. G. Wells. Rich in sweeping melodic line and driving rhythm it evokes images of mankind’s triumphant fight back from desolation and ruin, rising from ashes like the mythical bird of the same name.
Presented in a sumptuous arrangement by Goff Richards, I’ll Walk With God is an original song by Nicholas Brodszky. Taken from the 1954 film, The Student Prince, the onscreen version of the song was portrayed by actor Edmund Purdom, however, it was the overdubbed voice of Mario Lanza that would eventually send Brodszky’s heart wrenching music across the world.
Jim Fieldhouse, Solo Euphonium player with Fairey Band, leads a musical double life as a session saxophone player in the United Kingdom. This original piece was composed for the band’s appearance at the 2014 Brass in Concert Championship. As the name, Nefarious, and Jim’s saxophone background suggests it is music with a dark and addictive groove.
Composer Rodney Newton has a long-standing relationship with Fairey Band, being the arranger behind Jeremy Deller’s initial Acid Brass project. Here the band’s celebrated Principal Cornet, Paul Hughes, offers a sublimely lyrical rendition of the composer’s Dimitri, which is based on music he wrote for a silent film in the late 1990’s.
The name George Allan is synonymous with marches originating from British military music. Those in brass band circles, particularly those who frequent the Whit Friday celebrations, may well be most familiar with his Knight Templar; a contest march which is famed for its majestic bass solo and delicate changes of style.
With a list of film credits that include Academy Award and Golden Globe Award winning scores, the music of James Horner is perhaps some of the most instantly recognisable to the ear today. His score to the film Braveheart was nominated for an Academy Award in 1995, the main love theme from which, For the Love of a Princess, has been subtly adapted for brass band by Andrew Duncan.
Earth Rise was written for the Euphony Quartet, a euphonium quartet made up of Ben Wright, Frances Wilson, Stephen Kane and the composer, James McLeod. Currently the Principal Euphonium of Leyland Band and a Besson Euphonium Artist, James composed this impressive concert opener for a quartet recital in 2011, whilst studying at the Royal Welsh College of Music where the Euphony Quartet was formed. Earth Rise was given its title by David Childs, Euphonium Professor at the college. The work was featured in Euphony’s programme at the RNCM Festival of Brass in 2012 and was also part of their winning performance in the Small Ensemble competition final at the 2012 International Tuba and Euphonium Conference in Linz, Austria. It has now been performed all over Europe and in America. After hearing Euphony quartet play Earth Rise Fairey Band’s Principal Euphonium felt it would be an interesting project to multi-track all four parts for this disc.
The band is most proud to have an award winning bass trombonist in its ranks. 2014 was a spectacular year for Josh Cirtina, being the first British student to win the George Roberts Bass Trombone Competition in Rochester, New York and winning the British Trombone Society ‘Bob Hughes’ National Bass Trombone Competition. Here the band gives Josh some rare time ‘off the leash’, in a typically suave Bill Geldard version of Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King.
Drawn from the text of an old Irish benediction, The Irish Blessing has been set to music by a number of composers the world over. This version by American composer Joyce Eilers Bacak is perhaps the most famous in brass band circles, arranged by bass trombonist Steve Bradnum.
Thanks to a selection of leading personalities in the brass band movement the tenor horn is enjoying a period in the spotlight the likes of which it has never seen before; including exciting new repertoire, innovated methods of teaching and technical instrumental developments. Solo Horn of Fairey Band, Paul Bennett, formerly of Desford Colliery and Britannia Building Bands is one of these personalities. Here he presents a brand new arrangement, by friend Mark Allen, of Baroque composer Johann Quantz’s fiendish flute concerto, the chosen excerpt being simply named Baroque Concerto for Horn by the arranger.
Having composed in a variety of genres including brass band, chamber music and musical theatre, Ben Tubb is one of the most versatile young composers to emerge from the band movement. His Danse Macabre Variations is a unique take on Camille Saint-Saëns demonic original, brimming with power, excitement and virtuosity.
Okavango by Damien Harron is a powerful fanfare for four African djembes. It features lots of strong rhythms and displays layers of polyphony between the quartet and was written during the recording of BackBeat Percussion Quartet’s first CD. Having decided that they needed a short, powerful drum piece to open the CD, Damien rushed home and wrote the piece based on some riffs that had been knocking around in his head for a while. It turned out to be a great fanfare and has opened all of BackBeat’s concerts for the past few years.
Mark Preece is the tuba player with the Regina Orchestra, a provincial symphony orchestra in Saskatchewan, Canada. Here he combines his experience in classical music with his brass band heritage in an arrangement of an organ work by Richard Strauss, Solemn Entrance of the Knights of St John. A grandiose processional composed in 1909, the music is inspired by the Knights and Order of St John, one of the most famous Western Christian military orders during the middle ages.
The Land of Make Believe was the eighth studio album by jazz / pop crossover artist Chuck Mangione. Composed in 1978, the song originally featured vocalist Esther Satterfield and the songwriter’s younger brother, Gap Mangione, on jazz trumpet. In this brand new version arranged by Jim Fieldhouse their roles are fulfilled by the band’s flugel horn soloists, Mike Eccles and John Lees, and Vicky Lundberg on french horn.
Programme Notes – Tom Davoren
Full Track Listing
- Phoenix Peter Graham
- I’ll Walk With God Brodszky arr. Goff Richards
- Nefarious Jim Fieldhouse
- Dimitri Rodney Newton
Cornet Soloist: Paul Hughes
- Knight Templar George Allan
- For the Love of a Princess James Horner arr. Andrew Duncan
- Earth Rise James McLeod
Euphonium Soloist: Jim Fieldhouse
- In the Hall of the Mountain King Grieg arr. Bill Geldard
Bass Trombone Soloist: Josh Cirtina
- The Irish Blessing Bacak arr. Stephen Bradnum
- Baroque Concerto for Horn Quantz arr. Mark Allen
Tenor Horn Soloist: Paul Bennett
- Okavango Damien Harron
Percussion Feature: Graham Proctor, Dave Wycherley, Brian Chan
- Danse Macabre Variations Benjamin Tubb
- Solemn Entry of the Knights of St John Richard Strauss arr. Mark Preece
- Land of Make Believe Chuck Mangione arr. Jim Fieldhouse
It’s that time of year again when the band jet off to sunny Blackpool to compete for a chance to make it to the National Finals in October. This year’s foray at the Winter Gardens resulted in the band successfully defending its title with a rousing rendition of Peter Graham’s fantastic homage to Eric Ball, ‘The Torchbearer’. Many thanks to all the players and those behind the scenes that made the performance as special as it was (especially to musical director Garry Cutt who now builds his number of wins at the north west regional competition to eight). A recording of the performance can be heard on our contest playlist.
A special mention must be made to our top percussion team Graham Proctor, Dave Wycherley, Dan Baldwin & Chan Tung (Brian) for also picking up the percussion prize! The band will join Foden’s to compete at the National Finals on the 10th of October at the Royal Albert Hall, playing Thomas Doss’ ‘Spiriti’.
Adjudicators: David Hirst & Alan Morrison
1. Fairey (Garry Cutt)*
2. Foden’s (Allan Withington)*
3. Wingates (Paul Andrews)
4. Ashton-Under-Lyne (Phil Chalk)
5. Morecambe (Andrew Warriner)
6. Leyland (Michael Bach)
7. Blackburn & Darwen (Huw Thomas)
8. Oldham (Lees) (John Collins)
9. Milnrow (Mark Bentham)
10.Co-operative Funeralcare North West (Jef Sparkes)
11. Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Stig Maersk)
12. Rainford (Gareth Brindle)
13. Vernon Building Society Poynton (Neil Samuel)
Percussion Prize: Fairey
*Top two bands qualify for National Final at Royal Albert Hall