As I ventured across the Waddington Village Hall’s icy car park in inappropriate high heels to watch the Foss Dyke Brass Band on Saturday night, I was filled with equal servings of excitement and apprehension, writes Emma O’Neill.
I was excited to finally see my first brass band concert, but apprehensive that my meagre knowledge of the genre would make the night confusing. I was excited to see my boyfriend conduct for the first time, but apprehensive that I hadn’t buttoned his cuffs adequately. And on Saturday night I was also excited to finally see snow for the first time (blame my Aussie roots for this anomaly) while being apprehensive that we may be stuck in the Waddington Village Hall forever.
However, as soon as I warmed up and the band walked out I knew we were in for something special. The men were dressed smartly and the ladies had broken away from tradition to amp up the glamour in black evening dresses. They were smiling, and their confident demeanour sent a message to the brave crowd that they were going to be rewarded for braving biblical winds and scoring a perfect 10 during Torvill and Dean precision steering through the icy car park.
The band opened the night with The Cossack by William Rimmer, a fitting march considering the weather outside. They performed it with gusto. It was a rousing number that replicated what I consider the iconic sound of a confident brass band. In light of this, I was pleasantly surprised when the band then softened the mood with a beautiful rendition of A Little Prayer by Evelyn Glennie. Each band member was watching the MDs emotive phrasing intently, making the piece soft and delicate. Halfway through this number I began to realise just how little I knew about brass bands. I had expected rousing marches at this concert, but had no idea brass instruments could create such delicate tones and variety of sound.
As if trying to bring this point home, the band then performed an atmospheric James Bond Selection dedicated to John Barry, the famous composer who recently passed away; and a fittingly whimsical rendition of Singin’ in the Rain within which I’m sure the drummer started tap dancing on his snare.
Adding to the night’s entertainment, each tune in the Bringing You Broadway set list was vibrantly and charmingly introduced with an interesting fact about the tune’s background, or an anecdote about the band’s feet by the Musical Director – and, I must disclose, my very talented boyfriend…(whose cuffs DID stay tightly fastened throughout the evening.)
The Foss Dyke Band is a nationally graded 2nd Section Brass Band and a member of the Brass Band Association. They have a long and lustrous history dating back to 1986. But they also have a lot of spirit, passion and the ability to turn a brass band neophyte into a toe-tapping audience member who walked away with a greater appreciation of the diversity of sound, and the appeal to all ages of brass banding.
The Foss Dyke Band’s next concert will be on Saturday April 28th at the Terry O’Toole Theatre. For more information go to: www.fossdykeband.tk