THE Alpine hills were alive with the sound of brass band music at the weekend when members of Brighouse and Rastrick Band gave concerts in Austria and Italy.
The band played in the scenic surroundings of Merano in northern Italy and Ossiach in Austria where they performed items from their latest CD ‘War of the Worlds’, featuring new music specially composed by Peter Graham.
In Merano the band played in the stunning Kursaal which holds more than 700 people and in Ossiach they played in the Carinthian Music Academy, a former monastery.
More than 30 band members made the trip.
Band spokesman Gordon Ratcliffe said: “It was a fantastic trip, a lot of travelling and early starts but very worthwhile. We had a great reception from our audiences. In the Kursaal we finished with ‘The Floral Dance’ as an encore and the audience clapped along throughout and would not let us leave the stage.”
Band librarian Sheridan Fryer said that neither Italy nor Austria had a tradition of brass band music and that audiences had been appreciative of the players’ efforts.
“The surroundings were magnificent and it made it easy for the band to raise its game.
“The band was able to practise its test piece for the forthcoming National Finals and has returned to the UK looking forward to the challenge of competing.”
Brighouse and Rastrick will be defending its national title for the third time at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Saturday, October 20.
The band is determined to make history by making it a hat-trick of victories in the prestigious contest.
B & R has twice won ‘the double’ - in 1968 and 1969 and again in 1997 and 1998 - but will be pulling out all the stops to make it three times in a row.
“We definitely have the hat-trick in our sights. We are rehearsing hard and will be doing our utmost to retain the trophy,” said Mr Fryer.
B & R will host their massed band concert at Huddersfield Town Hall on Saturday, October 27. Making a guest appearance will be Rothwell Temperance Band from Wakefield along with guest conductor Garry Cutt who has produced an exciting programme of well-loved items and brass band favourites under the heading of ‘Britain Celebrates’.
The first half will include ‘Yeoman of the Guard’, ‘Nimrod’ and ‘Crown Imperial’ and concludes with ‘Fantasy on British Sea Songs’.
In the second half there will be works by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Elgar along with ‘Jerusalem’ and ‘Pomp and Circumstance’.
Concert secretary Graham Ward said: “Two bands playing these outstanding pieces of music will surely raise the roof in the impressive surroundings of Huddersfield Town Hall.
“The concert comes just one week after B & R defends its National Brass Band crown in London. B & R has won this prestigious competition for the past two years and hopes to complete an historic treble.
“The competition for the national contest will again be fierce but we hope to have the impressive trophy on display in Huddersfield once again.”
‘Britain Celebrates’ starts at 7.15pm and tickets are available from 01484 223200.