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[Archive] - Press Articles 2004

News 4 Bars Rest, 30 September 2004

Harrogate set to celebrate in style

The Harrogate Band and David Lancaster set to get Ripon swinging. 2004 has proven another busy and successful year for The Harrogate Band, who have performed in a wide range of situations from competitions to the T.V screen.
This Saturday sees a fantastic opportunity to hear this successful group, when they perform in the magnificent setting of Ripon Cathedral. The Gala concert, 'Brass in the Cathedral' will see The Harrogate Band in two distinct guises - a first half of traditional and contemporary brass music, before being joined on stage by Ripon Grammar school's Swing band, for a second half which promises to get the cathedral swinging in a big band style!
2004 started on a high even as members toasted the New Year, appearing alongside Martin Kemp in ITV's period drama 'Brides in the Bath'. On the contest stage, the band put in another strong performance at the North of England Championships, ensuring that they remain North Yorkshire's highest ranked band for 2005, and a new trophy found its way into their possession when they beat the best in the North West to take 1st place at the Buxton Brass Band contest.
'Thank You for the Music', a concert in memory of late President Michael Hymas, was a tremendous and fitting success, followed swiftly by a repeat performance 'For One Night Only' in aid of Harrogate Theatre. The highlight of the Band's summer was an appearance in the Harrogate International Festival, (a rare invitation for a local group) joined by world-renowned Euphonium soloist David Childs. The band then returned to the theatre stage just last month, appearing for 2 weeks as 'Grimley Colliery Band' in the highly-acclaimed stage adaptation of 'Brassed Off!' at York Theatre Royal, playing to full houses and receiving rave reviews!
The band is also celebrating a special anniversary at this weekend's Gala Concert. It is now 10 years since David Lancaster took up the post of Musical Director. Chairman Steve Morland explains: "It's hard to believe that it's a decade since I had the pleasure of inviting David to become our MD. He has proven not only to be a superb MD for the band - evident in our variety of triumphs in concert and contest alike - but also a hard-working and passionate band member, an industrious composer/arranger and a fine ambassador within Northern Banding circles." A decade of constant progress, achievement and diversification has followed, and the band is looking forward to continuing their partnership with David, and to many future successes together.
'Brass in the Cathedral' takes place this Saturday, 2nd October at 7.30pm. Tickets are £6 or (£4 concessions), available from Ripon and Harrogate Tourist Information Centres. For further details please call 01423 864967.

News Harrogate Advertiser, 13 August 2004

Band have well deserved place in the all-star line-up

Invited for the first time to perform at the International Festival, our own Harrogate Band fitted very comfortably into the international star line-up appearing this year, giving us an excellent programme of Russian and British music in St Wilfred's Church last Wednesday.
The concert began with the rousing 'Ruslan and Ludmilla' overture by Glinka, a piece which displayed the band's virtuosity and dynamic attack to the full, but which also revealed that the venue was perhaps less than ideal. The long reverberation - echo - made for a somewhat muddy sound, hiding much of the detail and making it difficult to appreciate the artistry displayed by all sections of this great band. A local group this talented deserves a venue attuned to its own brilliant and full-blooded sound.
Gustav Holst once said: "The brass band movement has a great future. It also has a great present, if only people would realise it", and the band's fascinating and varied programme soon proved him right, the attack and verve of the performances soon diminishing the acoustic problems.
Musical Director David Lancaster sketched in the background to each piece before expertly guiding the band through a programme containing much home grown material. Wilfred Heaton, who contributed a moving meditation on a hymn tune melody lived near Valley Gardens; Gerald Finzi, who once lived in Duchy Road a few yards from St Wilfrid's was represented by a masterly arrangement of the Intrada from his Dies Natalis by the band's president Neil Richmond; and one of the evening's highlights, the Concerto for euphonium by Philip Wilby, was composed in Birstwith, Wilby's home in 1996.
The Concerto's soloist was the internationally acclaimed David Childs and in a review of this length it's impossible to do full justice to his mastery of the euphonium. Enough to say that his virtuosity was dazzling, his tone impeccable and his command of the most challenging music breathtaking. And anyone who heard his account of 'Flight of the Bumble Bee' will know what breathtaking means!
A fine band, a fine - and very full - programme and a worthy addition to the Festival all-star line-up. Let's invite them back.
Robin O'Connor