After a year away from the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, the bands were thrilled to be back for another sell out gala concert this Christmas.
Once again Brass Roots, the most recent addition to the bands’ family, entertained the audience before the ever-growing Academy band opened the show. The Academy band have gone from strength to strength, taking on new and more challenging repertoire whilst also developing all round banding technique and this was evident in their impressive start to the show.
The Youth band followed with a set of new music including ‘Blessings in Christmas’, a stunning setting of a Korean carol. This year the Youth band have worked hard to raise funds for various competitions and projects, including their upcoming tour to Wiltshire to support the charity Jemima’s Gift.
Mike Pratt and the Concert band delivered a high energy set which opened with a festive ‘Christmas Calypso’ and included audience participation in ‘Ding Dong Merrily on High’, tenor horn soloist Jenny Mansell, and a tribute to the late Greg Lake ‘I Believe in Father Christmas’.
Following the interval, the Senior band started their set with ‘Gøta’, a brand new piece of Norwegian music played by memory as the band entered the stage. Another set full of new music included tuba soloist Joe Steede, Canadian ‘Huron Carol’, and a mammoth ‘Gaudete’ arranged by Kevin Norbury. The band are becoming familiar with the work of Norbury in his ‘Odyssey’, which has been selected as the 2018 Championship Section Area test piece.
A special encore of Alan Fernie’s ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’ featured images of donated instruments being played by the Mbale band from East Africa. This was an opportunity for the band to show how far instruments and funds donated throughout 2017 had gone. The Mbale band work tirelessly to provide instruments and tuition to communities throughout Uganda and East Africa.
In traditional Shepherd style, the massed band final featured players from all bands being involved in music, choreography and entertainment! The monks of the brethren of Tang Hall returned once more this time armed with hand chimes! A bespoke arrangement by Simon Dawson featured hand chimes, massed band, and guest percussion in ‘The Little Drummer Boy’
2017 has been a hugely successful year for all the bands at Shepherds and we would like to thank all of our supporters and wish all a happy and brass-filled New Year!