Brass at it’s best.

With it being half term, I’ve been able to get stuck into a few bits and bobs for Lions today, programme planning, rehearsal planning, things like that.

After I’d done that, I treated myself to a little mooch on Youtube and, when searching for the Cory Band, discovered this cracker of a performance.

It’s a live performance of King’s Messenger, from January 2013. Stunning playing of an oft-overlooked work for brass band. Enjoy…!


Truly, Madly, Musical!

On Friday evening I, along with my other half, travelled from Cheshire to Doncaster ready to take in a show on Saturday night.

After a relaxed day in York on the Saturday we took our seats in the front row of the Dearne Playhouse, near Mexborough, ready for the show, put on the Voce Musical Group.

I will, at this point, claim my connection to the event; my brother and sister-in-law run the Voce group, teaching all of the young people involved, arranging all of the music, props and choreography.

What an evening it was! A whistle -stop tour of many musicals, with a more in-depth look at Les Miserables was a truly, madly, musical event. Particular highlights for me were ‘Good Morning Baltimore’ (from Hairspray), ‘For the First Time Ever’ (from Frozen) and ‘Stars’ from Les Mis. However, to pick just three items out of the packed programme seems a little harsh.

Viva, Voce!

Where there’s muck, there’s brass!

Brass Band’s are a huge part of my life. In fact, just last night I was part of a concert with the fantastic Lions Youth Brass organisation, where my Beginner Band performed alongside the organisations two other bands, the Juniors and Youth, and also the locally renowned Roberts Bakery Band.

Having been a member of the Roberts band for a couple of years in the early noughties, I was intrigued to hear how the band sounded under their new conductor. Wow. I was, if you’ll forgive the pun, blown away. They were excellent; entertaining, classy and very watchable. In fact, they were everything that a brass band needs to be to continue attracting audiences.

One little note; sat on the front row, right in front of my band of little beginners (average age of 8) was a man who had, just the day before, been performing on stage at the Royal Albert Hall in the National Brass Band Championship Finals for the world famous Black Dyke Band. Not only did he perform in it… he – and his band – won it!

The contrast of children just beginning their musical journey, being watched by a man who is at the very peak of the genre; it was that kind of evening.

Chuff chuff!

A while ago I ‘outed’ myself as a railway enthusiast. I’m not a spotter, far from it, but the railways have always held fascination for me.

As a child…ok, as an adult, I loved the Thomas the Tank Engine series. I’ve still got all of the original Railway Series books I had as a child, and a full set of the Egmont reprints tucked away somewhere. Thomas had an appeal that hasn’t yet released me, yes, I’m a big kid.

Then in my late teens I ended up working for a rail company, a freight operation company in fact, as a train planner. A train planner, in case you’re wondering, is exactly what it says on the tin – you plan trains. Coal, waste, cement, oil and cars; I spent three years of my life sending trains laden with these all over the country. I enjoyed the job, but a combination of feeling like I couldn’t progress any more and that it wasn’t my true calling meant that I decided to move on.

However, I’ve never really lost that love. You’ll never find me on the end of a platform taking pictures and making notes of engine numbers, but I like to read the latest news and see what is going on.

And, just occasionally, when my godson is around, we might just sit and watch the odd Thomas episode… it’s for the kids, honest!