Giggleswick and Settle Brass Band

Settle Parish Church

There is nothing which sends a shiver down the spine quite like the opening chords of a piece by a really good brass band!

So when the opening bars of a very traditional band piece rang out then it was easy to tell that we, the audience were going to be in for a really good night.

We were not disappointed, for although the programme had remarkably few 'traditional band tunes' it certainly did have something for everyone, drawing on music from film, stage and rock bands along the way to produce an evening of great contrasts and fantastic arrangements.

Under the baton of their new conductor, Kevin Maltby, the band seemed to be re-vitalised and whilst many of the pieces were clearly very challenging they rose to the challenge with great enthusiasm and flair to produce a scintillating evening's entertainment.

Clearly Kevin is an inspirational conductor and it was wonderful to see some of the junior members of the band who have worked with him at Skipton Music Centre now taking such an active role in the band.

He is also a very generous musician, making sure that not only soloists are acknowledged for their outstanding performances but also highlighting the work of the different sections of the band when the piece demanded particular attention by various instrumentalists and explaining pieces to the audience with enthusiasm and humour.

This is particularly important for those who are not familiar with the work as it helps to give an insight into the piece and also makes you more aware of the skill required to perform it so well.

The audience sang along to some pieces with toes tapping and at times struggled to remain in their seats to numbers such as the medley from Grease or the powerful arrangement of 'Bohemian Rhapsody' - or for those familiar with Gaelic rock concerts, the driving chorus of the anthemic version of 'Loch Lomond'.

There were also a number of very poignant moments too, with moving renditions of 'Hymn to the Fallen' from Saving Private Ryan, where the great precision of the band was clearly on show and again in 'Bui-Doi' from Miss Saigon and in the beautiful performance of 'Highland Cathedral'.

I am sure that everyone present left with their own personal highlight, for this was a programme which sparkled in so many ways.

However, it would be remiss not to mention the great work of the two soloists, Stephen Howarth and Tracey Hesletine, and the fantastic finale with the magnificent medley from Les Miserables, a feat which left everyone longing for more. Congratulations to all concerned for a truly stunning evening.

Gill O'Donnell