Waltham St. Lawrence Silver Band

Concert for Jackie

Hurst Village Hall, 13th November 2010

Waltham St. Lawrence Silver Band staged a "Concert for Jackie" at Hurst village hall on 13th November, in memory of our Bb Bass player Ken Morris's wife. Over £470 was raised in aid of Macmillan Nurses, Cancer Research UK and Maggie's Centre, Oxford. Following are notes on the concert by MD Derek Holland:

The concert in Hurst was a very special and unique occasion in so many ways. Firstly the concert had been arranged in memory of Jackie Morris, the wife of bass player Ken, who sadly passed away earlier this year after a valiant battle with cancer. The concert was organised to raise funds for cancer research, which it did most successfully. All the items in the programme were chosen by Ken.

Whilst the concert was a tribute to Jackie it was not in any way a sombre occasion. Ken had indeed specifically chosen all of the music to have the broadest appeal to a wide ranging audience, including brass band devotees and also many who may have never been to a band concert before. Most of the pieces had a personal significance for the family, as Ken explained in his amusing anecdotes printed in the programme. Indeed the whole programme demonstrated the very wide range of music in which a good brass band sounds so impressive.

The concert began with Trevor Sharpe’s rousing Fanfare and Soliloquy. This was followed by the once popular but now rarely heard overture Lustspiel, by the 19th century composer Kela Bela. After this very traditional start the band moved seamlessly into the world of jazz with an arrangement of Georgia on My Mind, superbly played by Peter Yates. In addition to being a true brass bandsman, Peter also freely inhabits the world of jazz. It was then back to brass band tradition with Arthur Wood’s Three Dale Dances, reminding us of how significant the North of England has always been in the world of brass bands. This pieces was originally written for the orchestra, showing again how versatile the medium of the brass band is. After this a real audience hit followed in Kander and Ebb’s And All That Jazz from the musical Chicago. Also in the first half the cornet section was allowed to shine in Ronald Binge’s Cornet Carillon. Hearing this it was no surprise to learn that Ronald Binge was responsible for “inventing” the famous “tumbling string“ effect which became the trademark of that great light music conductor, Mantovani.

The first half also included a special guest appearance by Ian Smith. a top flight soloist who has played with some of the country’s finest bands, and an old friend of Ken's. Edrich Siebert’s Lazy Trumpeter, the solo he played, was conducted by Ken’s father John Morris, emphasising the family aspect of this concert. The first half drew to a rousing close with Sullivan’s March of the Peers. Given the current political climate, Gilbert and Sullivan’s coruscating and irreverent satire on the Brisitsh Parliamentary system has acquired a new significance!

The second half included again a wide range of music, with truly something for everybody. For brass band devotees there was John Carr’s tuneful and now too rarely heard suite Four Little Maids, a work of great charm recalling the days when test pieces were enjoyable to listen to and not the musical barbed wire that they later became. There was also a dignified performance of Nimrod, played in the spirit of a great slow movement dedicated by Elgar to his friend Jaeger (hence Nimrod -- the hunter). Contrasting with this was music from the movies in the shape of Cruella De Vil and Pirates of the Carribean.

After the finale, Choral and Rockout, written by Paul Lincke under the pseudonym “Ted Huggens”, the audience clamoured for an encore and were served with another Kander and Ebb number, popularised by Frank Sinatra, New York New York. The band were treated to a standing ovation.

The concert was a wonderful success and hopefully introduced a new audience to the delights of live music played by live musicians. Too many live concerts struggle these days to attract an audience with so many competing claims on time. How many times have you I wonder been asked if you would like to attend a live concert and found it difficult to make the effort to attend? If this is you, I bet that when you got there you had a wonderful evening. Live Music is there only so long as people turn out to listen to it. Once again it's a case of “Use It or Lose It”. Next time WSL are performing please come and support us. We guarantee that you will not be disappointed!