Brighton supports the Martletts
On Saturday 15 September two of Brighton's premier brass bands joined forces with friends from one of the top choirs in the UK to celebrate the life of Elizabeth Slaney who was a member of all three groups at some time before being tragically taken from us in February this year.
The concert, held at St Johns Church in Brighton, was given in aid of The Martlets Hospice who were responsible for the wonderful care afforded to Elizabeth.
Performing to a nearly full hall the audience were treated to a feast of music accompanied along the way by a striking slideshow on a big screen next to the stage. MC Andy Taylor kept the evening flowing with his informative and relaxed style of introductions.
The Hangleton Band was first on stage under the command of Musical Director Richard Baker. Starting the proceedings with a rousing rendition of Hubert Bath's Out of the Blue which everybody recognised as the theme tune to Sports Report. This was followed by Darrol Barry's arrangement of Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen whilst on the big screen was the iconic image of the band in the now famous pose of Freddie and his mates. Hangleton followed this with a solo - but not played by the soloist they had in mind at the beginning of the day. Unfortunately their first baritone player was unable to attend at the last minute for personal reasons so principal euphonium player, Rachel Taylor, stepped in to the breach to give a wonderful rendition of Stephen Roberts' beautiful Carrickfergus. The piece was chosen as a tribute to Elizabeth's time spent playing baritone with the band.
The band wanted to include a rendition of the Largo from Dvorak's 9th Symphony and so chose Gordon Langford's New World Fantasy as their next piece. With an interwoven collection of stirring American tunes right in the middle of it all was the Largo which was beautifully played by flugel horn player Jennifer Ireland. To finish off, the band performed Steven Sykes' arrangement of the Duke Ellington classic Caravan.
Before giving way to the choir completely they joined forces to perform a rugby song! The theme tune television used for the Rugby World Cup was Gustav Holst's I Vow to Thee My Country and the band accompanied the choir in the arrangement by Philip Sparke.
The stage was then the choirs. Usually 150 strong it was a privilege to have 35 members taking part to remember Elizabeth who had been a member for many years. Under the direction for the very first time of Sally Tatterall the choir were in outstanding form beginning with Rachmaninov's Bogoroditsye Dyevo. Showing astounding dynamic contrast and control the piece brought more than a tear to the eye of the audience. The same can be said of their second piece the exquisite Locus Iste by Anton Bruckner and their final piece Sleep by Eric Whitacre. With the audience totally captivated and straining to hear the closing bars the choir had made their own very special tribute to Elizabeth.
Before the interval Clem Hunnisett from The Martlets Hospice was invited to say a few words. Explaining that Martlets offer a free service and that it costs in excess of £3.5 million a year to run brought home just how important fund raising is to keep this invaluable organisation going.
Following the interval it was the turn of Brighton & Hove City Brass to take to the stage under the guidance of Musical Director Matthew Hackett. Starting with Slaidburn, a classic brass band march by William Rimmer, they followed this with Brassed Off by Darrol Barry. With no connection to the film of the same name it featured the band's drummer Jon Ireland. Next came a piece written by bass guitar legend Herbie Flowers. His simple yet beautiful Carillon seemed just right in the church surroundings. Next up, with images of John Travolta strutting his stuff, was Manhattan Skyline by David Shire - written as a musical interlude from the film Saturday Night Fever.
Elizabeth played horn with Brighton & Hove City Brass and the next piece was the band's tribute to her. The second movement of Cry of the Celts by Ronan Hardiman is entitled Suil a Ruin and featured the band's solo horn player Jennifer Ireland, playing in her real position with her own band this time. The band then played the last movement of the suite arranged by Peter Graham. Entitled Victory, it uses the famous Lord of the Dance tune, otherwise known as Simple Gifts.
The band's final piece was Goff Richard's Breezin' Down Broadway which takes you through a multitude of tunes you are likely to hear to this day playing at a number of theatres in America and beyond.
To close the concert the bands and choir joined together to perform The Irish Blessing by JE Bacak. A moment of true reflection to remember precisely why we were all here tonight. The bands then performed the closing moments of Windows of the World by Peter Graham with excellent "Mambo's" provided by the choir. To finish the night of celebration the audience were invited to join in for a stirring rendition of Land of Hope and Glory, even inciting an encore with their enthusiastic appreciation.
So, the concert celebrating the life of Elizabeth Slaney had come to an end. It was a stirring occasion with bands and choir giving their all and one which Elizabeth would have appreciated and been truly proud. The performers and audience should be equally as proud as their combined efforts mean that a cheque for over £1000 will be winging its way to the Martlets. A grand effort from everybody concerned.
All change in 2012!
After a couple of challenging years filling seats, this year the band is concentrating on recruitment and rebuilding to get us back to where we want to be.
With four new players joining us already and one ex-member returning, we are making great progress. Now that the contest season is over for a few months we are having a little reshuffle and using the summer concerts to build on the progress we have made so far to go into the autumn contests in a much stronger position. So, a big welcome to John on flugel, Christian and Andy on Euphonium, and Gareth on Trombone. Also, welcome back to Wendy on 2nd baritone. The players pages have been updated with the changes that have been made in the horn, baritone, euphonium and trombone sections meaning we now have every part in the band covered, and our remaining vacancies are for boosting the back row cornets and the bass section.
Elizabeth Slaney - tribute
On February 7th 2012 our 2nd horn player Elizabeth Slaney passed away in the Martlets Hospice in Hove after a 4 month battle with cancer. In October last year she was due to play with the band at SCABA's Autumn contest in Folkestone, but 3 days beforehand she was taken into hospital. A few days later she was diagnosed with a high-grade brain tumour.
Throughout Liz’s illness she was very brave, never once complained, blamed it on anyone or anything, she just accepted it and got on with things. She showed solid determination in making sure her family had the best Christmas ever, and she continued to attend band socials & musical concerts.
Liz was very talented and had a long history with local brass bands. She joined Hangleton Band on 1st baritone when she was just 10 and stayed with the band for 20 years. She later joined Patcham band and then eventually Brighton in 1991. She left Brighton in 1998 when her son Richard was born, but had recently rejoined in the autumn of 2010. She was also a talented singer, joining the Brighton Festival Chorus 10 years ago, singing at The Brighton Dome, Royal Albert Hall and concerts abroad.
Liz met her husband Charles (Bb bass) when he rejoined Brighton after he moved back to the area from London, and they were married for 13 years. She also leaves behind her daughter Hannah (22) and son Richard (13).
Liz was always a charming, kind and considerate person, wanting to help or advise you on anything. Nothing was ever a problem. She was always dedicated, immaculately prepared and dressed. She will be deeply missed by her fellow musicians and every one who knew her.
British Sea Power - Brighton 3rd February 2012
In a repeat of an engagement from 2008 we were asked to perform a support act set for the popular Indie group British Sea Power. The article below was written for the band by Colin our press officer for the night!
Last Friday evening Brighton and Hove City Brass swapped their usual sedate surroundings of bandstand, hall or competition stage for the packed and rocking arena of The Haunt nightclub in Brighton city centre. In an exciting link up with popular Indie group British Sea Power (BSP) party goers were treated to a rich and rewarding musical experience. As slightly nervous band members started to gather Musical Director Matthew Hackett said 'this is a really exciting evening for the band and is certainly something different'. He added 'we will be opening the evening with a medley of popular tunes starting with Thunderbirds, then later some of the band will be playing Waving Flags with British Sea Power.’ Trombone player and Chairman of the Band David Hush who has been with the band for 12 years said 'this will be completely different from normal, it will be interesting to gauge the reaction!’
BSP UK manager Dave Taylor said 'we did this with Brighton Brass some while ago and it went down very well but this time around both bands will be playing together. The people in here tonight will be in for a few surprises.' BSP guitarist Marton Nobel said 'everyone loves a brass band, when our two sounds come together it should be very exciting!'
The Haunt is an amazing arena for live concerts, its cosy and everyone is really close to the action. By around 8.00pm the place was packed as the Band dressed in blue waistcoats and black bow ties took their place on stage. With a 17 piece on show they looked fantastic. The show started with Thunderbirds, then Sweet Gingerbread Man, The Floral Dance, Calon Lan, good old Sussex by the Sea, The A Team and finished with a BSP request of All Creatures Great and Small. The crowd loved it and were cheering and applauding enthusiastically throughout. John Hodkinson (16) cornet said afterwards 'that was good fun and it was nice to be appreciated.' The youngster revealed 'playing in the band is a great hobby and you never know where it might take me.’ Euphonium player Gareth Amison revealed he was a Stoke City fan which is amazing given that the temporary press officer supports Crawley Town. Both teams will be battling out an FA cup tie on 19th February at the Broadfield.
By 11.30pm band members Jen Ranger, Jen Martin, Amy Richardson, Hilary Lowe, Martin Shelley, John Skinner, Will Lindley and Stefan Sommer, decked out in vivid Red and Gold, were back on stage ready for their big number with BSP. A wonderful rich sound was created as Waving Flags was played. The brass band really added to what is already a great number. The crowd really went wild and everyone was dancing away. It was a magical moment during what was an amazing evening. Young Daniel Raphael (18) of Sussex Uni raved 'that was an amazing sound which could go down in history!’
Well, we'll have to see!