Brighouse and Rastrick Band with Foden's Band 
Conductor: Michael Fowles

Huddersfield Town Hall

28 October

Brighouse and Rastrick's twice-yearly massed band concerts have been held since 1946. Times have changed, but the format of inviting a guest band and conductor remains the same, as does the most important factor of all: entertain the audience with a night of easy listening music and it will keep it coming back for more. 

It was no wonder that Huddersfield Town Hall was very nearly packed to the rafters for the newly-crowned National Champion, Brighouse and Rastrick Band, joined on this occasion by Foden's Band led by Michael Fowles. 

Rapturous audience applause acknowledged Brighouse’s recent victory at the 14 October British National Final in London’s Royal Albert Hall and the subsequent reappearance of 'Old Big Ears' (the affectionate way in which B&R’s President, Lyndon Stacey, referred the Challenge Trophy residing on stage next to a proud B&R), after which the two bands forgot about the competitive nature of contesting and enjoyed the night together. 

The highly respected MD, Michael Fowles, had devised a programme that took the audience and players on a musical journey around the globe to visit 17 different countries. There was something for everyone, from the familiar strains of Festive Overture and Rimsky-Korsakov's Capriccio Espagnol, to the breathtaking sounds of the March from Respighi's Pines of Rome and a nostalgic trip down memory lane with the old classic, Slavonic Rhapsody
No. 2 by Carl Friedman. 

All soloists displayed excellent technique and virtuosity in music
of the modern era. The high bar set by the Foden's duo of Richard Poole (soprano) and Gary Curtin (euphonium), when performing Blue
and Eire Time respectively, was matched by the home band’s contribution from Michael Eccles in Children of Sanchez and principal cornet,
Kathleen Gaspoz. Jaws dropped in admiration at the simplicity of Kathleen’s cornet voice during Piazzola's Oblivion. It was a truly serene performance - musical heaven and an outstanding highlight during an evening of great music-making. Small wonder that the Royal Albert Hall adjudicators thought Kathleen was worthy of Brass Band World’s Best Instrumentalist Award at the National Final. 

Acknowledgement was paid to the contribution of Brighouse's Professional Conductor, Professor David King (who orchestrated Brighouse’s recent British ‘National’ win) along with composer, Peter Graham, who down the years has written numerous pieces for the Australian maestro to showcase with his ensembles, to great acclaim. 

Foden's received a framed programme depicting its first appearance in 1949 at a massed band concert with Brighouse and Rastrick, reinforcing the tradition of this historical concert series. Two great bands have continued to turn up twice a year for 71 years. Bravo!