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For details of forthcoming concerts, please also see our concert listings

Late August and early September 2017.

[Sunday 3rd September 2017]

Sunday 20th August 2017.

Loughborough Concert Band play at Stratford.

For the second year the Band was invited to play in Stratford upon Avon bandstand. This year the weather stayed fine until we had finished playing which meant our audience was able to relax as they listened.

The varied programme included Share my Yoke with the solo played by Keven Massey on trumpet. Another solo spot, performed by Zoe Felton on Romance from The Gadfly, had a moment’s high drama when Zoe faced the hazards of playing outdoors as the breeze tipped her music. As a true performer, she kept playing…

Other pieces included Amparito Roca and In a Monastery Garden, which featured the band singing … in Latin!

 

Saturday 2nd September 2017.

Concert at All Saint’s Church, Anstey Lane, Thurcaston.

Compered by Eddie Pearson who kept the audience and band well informed thanks to his research in to the musical pieces, the band played a programme that touched a wide range of musical genre. This included what has been described as the worst tune in the world (MacArthur Park) and an alleged band favourite, Wagner’s Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral.

The audience was very enthusiastic and called for an encore of The Floral Dance. All funds went to the Anstey Churches.

Loughborough Concert Band plays in Queen's Park.

[Sunday 25th June 2017]

Queen’s Park in Loughborough was opened in June 1899 to celebrate the Diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria. Over a century later, Loughborough Concert Band played to provide free entertainment for the public.

 The varied programme consisted of classic pieces such as Handel’s Arrival of the Queen of Sheba and Ron Goodwin’s stirring Tall Ships as well as modern pieces such as Oklahoma! by Rodgers and Hammerstein. As the Scottish strains of Braveheart, by James Horner, rang out through the park the heaven’s opened and tested the enthusiasm of the music loving listeners. But with true British stoicism, they retreated to the trees and clapped with even more enthusiasm to Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.

Zoe Felton took solo spot in Romance from The Gadfly, by Shostakovich and Kevin Massey performed a solo in the beautiful Share My Yoke, written by Ivor Bosanko.

A typical English afternoon of sunshine and showers ended with An American Trilogy arranged by Geoff Roberts.

Concert for the Lions 10th June 2017

[Tuesday 13th June 2017]

An audience of music lovers flocked to All Saints Church Thorpe Acre to hear a concert in aid of Lions Charities. Amongst the audience were Mayor and Mayoress of Charnwood, Councillor Pauline Ransom and her consort, husband Trevor, and Lion President Ann Parsons.  MP Nicky Morgan, having been called urgently to London, following the general election, sent apologies. Members of the John Storer House blind group were transported to the concert by Lions members.

 The concert was set to include last night of the proms favourites but the programme that lead up to this included many pieces that were enthusiastically received. Amongst these, Oklahoma! had toes tapping and was given a rousing round of applause. And who knows, perhaps people sang along quietly to such numbers as Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’ and The Surrey with a Fringe on Top!

 Stand out pieces from the programme included Share My Yoke featuring Kevin Massey on trumpet, Romance from The Gadfly featuring Wendy Miller on alto saxophone (like a clarinet but more bendy as compere, Eddie Pearson informed the audience,) and the Theme from Schindler’s List with solos taken by Zoe Felton on alto saxophone, Paula Gardner on oboe and Yvonne Renouf on flute.

 The culmination of the evening, however, was The Fantasia on British Sea Songs, Jerusalem and Pomp and Circumstance. The audience sang their hearts out, waved their flags and stamped their feet. At the end of a week of political upheaval, it was just what they needed!

Nanpantan Arts Festival

[Thursday 11th May 2017]

 

This concert was performed as part of the Nanpantan Arts Festival, on Thursday 10th May 2017. The festival included many different acts and, on the Thursday night, us!

The venue was Holywell Primary School, the old stamping ground for several band members, which brought back a few fond memories.

For this concert we were lucky enough to be compered by Pat Rozycka. Pat usually plays clarinet for the band but sadly broke her collar bone in an accident and was unable to play. However, we gained by her unfortunate event as she regaled the audience with the background of the pieces we played. When introducing Thunderbirds she did a countdown from 5, very familiar to those of us of a certain age who were avid fans! She also told us the given name of Lady Penelope’s chauffeur Parker, (Aloysius) - very useful information for a pub quiz.

The hall was filled with an audience of all ages who thoroughly appreciated the programme of popular tunes. At the end of Tall Ships one audience member as heard to exclaim “Wow!” but the best comment, to Pat from a Scottish lady, was how much she enjoyed Braveheart! It was pleasing to get such positive feedback from an audience who clearly enjoys music enough to stage a week of events.

 

 

 

Concert by Mnozil Brass

[Sunday 7th May 2017]

Saturday 6th May 2017.

A group of us visited Birmingham Town Hall to attend a concert by Mnozil Brass. We met at The Peacock Inn, Kings Norton, for a meal together and then took the roller-coaster that is the Birmingham road system into the city centre. At least two of us in the car were glad not to be driving and we were all glad to follow Ian’s lead!

Birmingham Town Hall made a lovely venue and the band came out to entertain us for over two hours. For over two hours (apart from the interval) they never stopped playing and performing. How they keep going is the question. As well as their superb musicianship they used mime, movement and magic to paint sound pictures. One which brought memories flooding back when they used mime and music to illustrate an old record player stuck on the record, as these things used to do. Perhaps not one for those under 20! The evening culminated in Lonely Boy, a real team effort with one band member playing two trombones and two trumpets with both feet and both hands. And, at one point.no chair! You really had to see it to believe it!

Many thanks to Ian for organising such a great experience for us.

Amparito Roca by Jaime Texidor

[Tuesday 21st March 2017]

If, like me, you thought Amparito Roca (The Sheltered Cliff) might have a romantic history, I’m sorry to disabuse you.

Amparito Roca was composed in 1925 by Spanish musician and composer Jaime Teixidor (1884–1957) who named it after one of his piano students, then 12-year-old Amparito Roca (1905–1977).

It was first performed in September 1925 in the theater El Siglo in the town of Carlet where the composer lived at the time. It is a pasodoble and one of the better known pieces of Spanish music around the world.

Jaime (Jaume) Teixidor (or Texidor) was born in Barcelona, Spain, on April 16, 1884, and died in Baracaldo, Spain, on February 23, 1957. He was a Spanish musician, conductor, publisher, and composer.

After studying composition and conducting in Barcelona, he joined the army in 1906 as a musician, playing the saxophone. He became the director of the 68th “Africa” Regiment Band (Banda Música Del Regimiento 68) in the autonomous Spanish city of Melilla on the Moroccan coast. He retired from military service in 1920 after thirteen years with this band.

In 1924, he directed the Banda de Musica Primitiva in Carlet and also taught piano and violin. He resided in Carlet for only a couple of years and then moved to Manises, Valencia, to lead the Banda del Círculo Instructivo Musical. In 1928, he won a competition to direct the municipal band of Baracaldo which he did until the end of his life. One source indicates he gave up the direction of the band for political reasons during the Spanish Civil War. In Baracaldo, he also set up a music publishing firm, which published his own compositions and also the work of others.

He composed over 500 works. These include marches and pasodobles as well as boleros, foxtrots, jotas, sambas, tangos, schottisches, and waltzes for band.

And just look what instrument he played!

Passion Concert 4th March 2017

[Sunday 12th March 2017]

Saturday 4th March 2017

Passion Concert, St Botolph’s Church, Shepshed.

 

This annual event is held to support Passion, the youth space in Shepshed that was the vision of the local Churches’ Together. This year the concert was honoured to have in the audience the Bishop of Leicester, Martyn Snow and his wife, the Mayor and Mayoress of Charnwood, Lord and Lady Crawshaw, the Chair of the Town Council, Claire Poole, and the local MP, Nicky Morgan. The programme for the evening included not only contributions from the Band but also choirs from different churches, so it was a full evening.

The title of the evening was The Magic of Music and the band’s programme featured film tunes and – in one notable case – a nostalgic reminder of a children’s favourite – Thunderbirds.  Superman, James Bond and The Pirates of the Caribbean made up the first part of the evening. We joined the children of St Botolph’s School and the young people from Passion in Highlights from Oliver! The second half of the evening opened with the evocative Braveheart, stirring feelings of clansmen running across the glen. We continued the Scottish theme with Highland Cathedral.

St Botolph’s Church Choir, resplendent in bright summer clothing, sang a selection of songs from Summer Holiday, with members of the band singing quietly along. The Methodist Church Choir sang songs from the 1970s and ‘80s including Bridge over Troubled Water and Morning has Broken. The Baptist Choir sang a selection from Mary Poppins, again used by the band as a discreet sing-along.

The whole evening was ended by music of Last Night of the Proms:  Fantasia on British Sea Songs, Jerusalem and Pomp and Circumstance.

The band was assisted by deps Paul Hillyer and Gary Newton and solos were performed by Kevin Massey, Paula Gardner, Wendy Miller and Zoë Felton. As always, St Botolph’s congregation proved the perfect host to the band, ensuring we were well looked after.

A round up of band activity in December 2016

[Sunday 1st January 2017]

 

December 2016 was a busy month for the band. There were a number of playing opportunities and small groups formed to take advantage of this.

 

December 2nd

 Shepshed  Community Nativity

This lovely event called on reed players to play carols and some Christmas music to a packed church. The spirit of Christmas was evoked in a tale written by a member of the cast.

 

December 10th

 Loughborough Baptist Church,

A flute group and brass group played for the Loughborough Baptist Caroling Christmas event. Both sounded wonderful and very Christmassy!

 

December 10th

Carillon Court

Whole band concert in Loughborough Carillon in aid of Shepshed

 First Responders. They collected a total of £274.60 and felt it was well worth the effort.

 

December 14th

Whiteacres Care Home.

This event was arranged by one of our clarinet players. A small group played Carols and Christmas music for the residents of Whiteacres. The playing was very much appreciated by the audience and homemade mince pies added to the seasonal cheer.

 

December 17th

Carillon Court

A small group of band members played carols for Loughborough Lions whilst they accepted donation from the public.

 

December 19th 

Loughborough Lions dinner at Longcliffe golf club.

A group of band members played carols for the diners to sing to. They were rewarded with chips and chocolate but presumably not together! However the playing at the Carillon and at Longcliffe elicited a very grateful response from the Lions for enhancing their events.

 

December 22nd

Christmas Concert at St Botolph’s Church Shepshed.

Whole band concert with Serenade, St Botolphs Church Shepshed. This annual - and very enjoyable - concert at St Botolphs was held in the presence of Nicky Morgan MP and other local dignitaries. A programme of carols and Christmas music was interspersed by the singing of local choir Serenade. In true St Botolph’s style, there was no admission charge, but audience members were encouraged to pay to leave and this raised £680.

During the evening Ian Wallis presented Dave Coble (Musical Director) with a hamper on behalf of band members in recognition of his hard work and unfailing encouragement.

Such a packed month enabled the band to help raise money for many local charities. It was also lovely to play this music and rewarding to know that people – either sitting in an audience or passing a collecting bucket – felt we were enhancing their Christmas.

The Clarinet

[Sunday 1st January 2017]

The Clarinet

 

Johann Christoph Denner is generally believed to have invented the clarinet in Germany around the year 1700 by adding a register key to the earlier chalumeau. Over time, additional keywork and airtight pads were added to improve the tone and playability.

The word clarinet may have entered the English language via the French clarinette (the feminine diminutive of Old French clarin or clarion), or from Provençal clarin, "oboe". It would seem however that its real roots are to be found amongst some of the various names for trumpets used around the renaissance and baroque eras. Clarion, clarin and the Italian clarino are all derived from the medieval term claro which referred to an early form of trumpet. This is probably the origin of the Italian clarinetto, itself a diminutive of clarino, and consequently of the European equivalents such as clarinette in French or the German Klarinette. According to Johann Gottfried Walther, writing in 1732, the reason for the name is that "it sounded from far off not unlike a trumpet". The English form clarinet is found as early as 1733, and the now-archaic clarionet appears from 1784 until the early years of the 20th century.

While the similarity in sound between the earliest clarinets and the trumpet may hold a clue to its name, other factors may have been involved. During the late baroque era, composers such as Bach and Handel were making new demands on the skills of their trumpeters, who were often required to play difficult melodic passages in the high, or as it came to be called, clarion register. Since the trumpets of this time had no valves or pistons, melodic passages would often require the use of the highest part of the trumpet's range, where the harmonics were close enough together to produce scales of adjacent notes as opposed to the gapped scales or arpeggios of the lower register. The trumpet parts that required this speciality were known by the term clarino and this in turn came to apply to the musicians themselves. It is probable that the term clarinet may stem from the diminutive version of the 'clarion' or 'clarino' and it has been suggested that clarino players may have helped themselves out by playing particularly difficult passages on these newly developed "mock trumpets".

These days the most popular clarinet is the B♭ clarinet. However, the clarinet in A, just a semitone lower, is commonly used in orchestral music. Since the middle of the 19th century the bass clarinet (nowadays invariably in B♭ but with extra keys to extend the register down a few notes) has become an essential addition to the orchestra. The clarinet family ranges from the (extremely rare) BBB♭ octo-contrabass to the A♭ piccolo clarinet. The clarinet has proved to be an exceptionally flexible instrument, equally at home in the classical repertoire as in concert bands, military bands, marching bands, klezmer, and jazz.

Remembrance Service, Queen’s Park Loughborough.

[Sunday 13th November 2016]

The weather was bright and crisp as we settled into the bandstand. Whilst the congregation assembled we played them in with quiet, thought provoking music: Hymn to the Fallen, Solemn Melody, and Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis to name but a few.

The actual service was deeply moving and culminated in the cascade of poppies from the Carillon and the playing of The Last Post.

After the service and in front of an audience pausing on their way home, we played more uplifting music, The British Legion March, The Voice of the Guns and Calling All Workers which reminded us of where we have to go the following day.

All Saint’s Church, Thorpe Acre Saturday 17th Se

[Sunday 25th September 2016]

Loughborough Lions booked us for the second year running to play a Last Night of the Proms concert. The audience restrained themselves as patiently as possible through the first half of the programme: they knew what they had come to hear and were looking forward to the old favourites at the end!

The first half of the programme included Kevin Massey taking the solo for the hauntingly beautiful arrangement of I Dreamed a Dream, a World War One Medley arranged by audience member Roger Parsons and the March Lorraine (nicknamed Quiche in the sax section.)

After an interval in which band and audience enjoyed a delicious selection of refreshments, we opened with Elgar’s Seventeen Come Sunday from the English Folk Song Suite. This was followed with the mournful Theme from Schindler’s List which featured solos from Wendy Miller on alto saxophone, Paula Gardner on oboe and  Yvonne Renouf on flute. But the audience was ready – they knew what was coming and a programme that included Humoresque and Palladio served as an appetiser to the main event.

And when it finally came the audience did not disappoint. They were roused to jig along and tap their feet through Fantasia on British Sea Songs and sing with passion the evocative words to Jerusalem. But nothing could eclipse Pomp and Circumstance; they sang their hearts out in a way to rival the promenaders at the Royal Albert Hall!

Observations on the Oboe.

[Sunday 25th September 2016]

 

The regular oboe first appeared in the mid-17th century, when it was called a hautbois. This name was also used for its predecessor, the shawm, from which the basic form of the hautbois was derived. Major differences between the two instruments include the division of the hautbois into three sections, or joints (which allowed for more precise manufacture), and the elimination of the pirouette, the wooden ledge below the reed which allowed players to rest their lips.

The exact date and place of origin of the hautbois are obscure, as are the individuals who were responsible. Circumstantial evidence, such as the statement by the flautist composer Michel de la Barre in his Memoire, points to members of the Philidor (Filidor) and Hotteterre families. The instrument may in fact have had multiple inventors. The hautbois quickly spread throughout Europe, including Great Britain, where it was called "hautboy", "hoboy", "hautboit", "howboye", and similar variants of the French name. It was the main melody instrument in early military bands, until it was succeeded by the clarinet.

The standard Baroque oboe is generally made of boxwood and has three keys: a "great" key and two side keys (the side key is often doubled to facilitate use of either the right or left hand on the bottom holes). In order to produce higher pitches, the player has to "overblow", or increase the air stream to reach the next harmonic. Notable oboe-makers of the period are the Germans Jacob Denner and J.H. Eichentopf, and the English Thomas Stanesby (died 1734) and his son Thomas Jr (died 1754). The range for the Baroque oboe comfortably extends from C4 to D6. With the resurgence of interest in early music in the mid 20th century, a few makers began producing copies to specifications taken from surviving historical instruments.

Classical

The Classical period brought a regular oboe whose bore was gradually narrowed, and the instrument became outfitted with several keys, among them were those for the notes D♯, F, and G♯. A key similar to the modern octave key was also added called the "slur key", though it was at first used more like the "flick" keys on the modern German bassoon. Only later did French instrument makers redesign the octave key to be used in the manner of the modern key (i.e. held open for the upper register, closed for the lower). The narrower bore allows the higher notes to be more easily played, and composers began to more often utilize the oboe's upper register in their works. Because of this, the oboe's tessitura in the Classical era was somewhat broader than that found in Baroque works. The range for the Classical oboe extends from C4 to F6 (using the scientific pitch notation system), though some German and Austrian oboes are capable of playing one half-step lower. Classical-era composers who wrote concertos for oboe include Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven  and numerous other composers including Johann Christian Bach, Johann Christian Fischer, Jan Antonín Koželuh, and Ludwig August Lebrun. Many solos exist for the regular oboe in chamber, symphonic, and operatic compositions from the Classical era.

 

The modern standard oboe is most commonly made from grenadilla, also known as African blackwood, though some manufacturers also make oboes out of other members of the genus Dalbergia, which includes cocobolo, rosewood, and violetwood (also known as kingwood). Ebony has also been used. Student model oboes are often made from plastic resin, to avoid instrument cracking to which wood instruments are prone, but also to make the instrument more economical.

The oboe has an extremely narrow conical bore. It is played with a double reed consisting of two thin blades of cane tied together on a small-diameter metal tube (staple) which is inserted into the reed socket at the top of the instrument.

A modern oboe with the "full conservatoire" or Gillet key system has 45 pieces of keywork, with the possible additions of a third octave key and alternate (left little finger) F- or C-key. The keys are usually made of nickel silver, and are silver- or occasionally gold-plated. Besides the full conservatoire system, oboes are also made using the British thumbplate system. Most have "semi-automatic" octave keys, in which the second-octave action closes the first, and some have a fully automatic octave key system, as used on saxophones. Some full-conservatory oboes have finger holes covered with rings rather than plates ("open-holed"), and most of the professional models have at least the right-hand third key open-holed. Professional oboes used in the UK and Iceland frequently feature conservatoire system combined with a thumb plate. Releasing the thumb plate has the same effect as pressing down the right-hand index-finger key. This produces alternate options which eliminate the necessity for most of the common cross-intervals (intervals where two or more keys need to be released and pressed down simultaneously), but cross intervals are much more difficult to execute in such a way that the sound remains clear and continuous throughout the frequency change (a quality also called legato and often called-for in the oboe repertoire).

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LCB at St Botolph's Church, Shepshed
LCB at St Botolph's Church, Shepshed