WOW! Were they on form!

The City of Bradford Brass Band put together a magnificent programme for their eight annual appearance at Ilkley Wharfedale Rotary Club’s Midsummer Brass Concert last Friday July 6th - and once again delighted their capacity audience at Christchurch, Ilkley.

The band was off to a spirited, even mischievous start, with Wilfred Heaton’s Salvation Army march Praise, following up with Stephen Bulla’s wonderful Blessed Assurance, featuring principal cornetist Dave Karran, and the monster Finale of Tchaikovsky’;s Symphony No. 4.

Musical Director Lee Skipsey then took a moment to tell us that they’d gone all out to give us a very special concert this year, but we knew that already – a first glance down the programme had revealed some fabulous music to come and the band had more than delivered already.

Lee then showcased three more of his brilliant soloists, Jolyon Stead, principal Euphonium, in the Lament from Stabat Mater; a newcomer to the band, trombone soloist Dan Eddison, with his cheeky DL Blues; and another of the band’s stalwarts, tenor horn soloist Tim Pool, with Evergreen,

The demanding Trittico for Brass Band by James Curnow, which has featured as a test piece in The National Championships, brought the first half to a close. This energetic work has featured as a test piece in The National Championships, but the City of Bradford first encountered it, said Lee, when the band was Resident Band for the Conductors Workshop at the Brass Festival organised by Black Dyke two years ago.

The second half of the concert got off to a dreamy start with Lionel Richie’s All Night Long, an audience sing-a-long of “Jerusalem”, a bit of 60’s pop, with “Under the Boardwalk” which would no doubt bring to mind the Drifters for most members of the audience and finally that jazz favourite “That’s a Plenty”.

Back to the serious stuff with Edward Gregsons’s Variations on Laudate Dominum and another favourite Eric Whitacre’s The Seal Lullaby before a finale starting with the theme song from Braveheart - For the Love of a Princess and Peter Graham’s mighty Gaelforce.

A standing ovation and an encore of Crimond brought another Midsummer Brass to an end, with over £2000 raised for this year’s charities Alzheimer’s Research UK and End Polio Now.

As well as our thanks to our magnificent band and lovely audience, we must also thank our Sponsors Dale Eddison Estate Agents and Cyrus Structural and Civil Design. Tesco and Moin Moin Bakerei provided the refreshments, and our very generous raffle prizes were donated by Jeremy Bloomfield Jeweller, Friends of Ham Bar Charcuterie, the Green Room Florist, Saks Hair, Audley Clevedon Restaurant, Bath House, Lavender Laundry and Beau Monde.

by Christine Jones