Black Dyke Band honours treasured memories at Shirebrook
Last night, I had the incredible opportunity to attend the concert by the world-famous Black Dyke Band at Shirebrook Academy. As an audience member, I was blown away by the exceptional talent displayed throughout the evening.
Before the Black Dyke Band graced the stage, we were treated to outstanding performances by the Shirebrook Junior Band and the Shirebrook Miner’s Welfare Band, the latter conducted by the talented Luke Pallister. It was truly inspiring to witness the thriving banding community in this part of the world.
Once the Black Dyke Band took the stage, they immediately captivated the audience with their opening piece, “Enter the Galaxies” by Paul Lovatt-Cooper. The sheer power and energy of the performance left everyone breathless.
However, the highlight of the evening for me was the presentation of this year’s Championship Section test piece, “Of Men and Mountains” by Edward Gregson. This piece is known for its complexity and demands a high level of skill from the performers, “a full band MOT” is how it was described by Professor Nicholas Childs. The Black Dyke Band’s rendition of this major work was nothing short of stunning, and I have no doubt they will excel when they compete in the National Brass Band Championships, at the Royal Albert Hall later this month.
The soloists were equally impressive, showcasing their world-class talent. Adam Bokaris on Euphonium and Gareth Hand on Xylophone delivered flawless performances that left the audience in awe. Professor Childs even treated us to a quick master class on triple tonging, although no one dared to take on Adam’s solo!
The programme also included a Strictly Come Dancing set, which had everyone’s toes tapping throughout. It was a delightful addition that added a touch of fun and excitement to the evening.
One of the most poignant moments of the concert was the moving tribute paid to former local district councillor and alderman Kenneth Walker and his wife Freda, who lost their lives in tragic circumstances some years ago. True public servants who were much loved by so many. In their memory, the band played “Above and Beyond,” a beautiful composition by Paul Lovatt-Cooper. It was a fitting tribute that touched the hearts of everyone in the audience.
For the grand finale, the bands joined forces to perform Elgar’s timeless masterpiece, “Pomp and Circumstance No. 1.” The rousing rendition left us all feeling uplifted and filled with a sense of pride.
Overall, the concert by the Black Dyke Band at Shirebrook Academy was a truly unforgettable experience. The prolonged standing ovation by the many hundreds of us in the audience was well deserved indeed! The talent, passion, and dedication displayed by these fine musicians left me wanting more. It was an evening that paid tribute to those that have gone before, celebrated the power of music and showcased the incredible achievements of these remarkable performers.