Saturday the 19th December saw St Helens Youth Brass Band’s annual ‘Brass Explosion’ Christmas Concert held at the St Helens Town Hall; a showcase of talent and festive Christmas music by all three bands.
The evening got off to a wonderful start with fantastic renditions of ‘We Three Kings’, ‘Jingle Bells’ and ‘Rudolph’ by the Beginners Band which really showed off the upcoming talent of the band with a bright future ahead for SHYBB. The audience were then treated to an impressive performance by the Training band of the ‘Floral Dance’, ‘Hoe Down’, ‘Little Donkey’ and ‘I’m a Believer’, really demonstrating the progression made over the past year by the Training Band members, testimony to their hard work and dedication. Immediately after this the Beginners & Training bands were joined on stage by the Youth Band for a wonderful massed band performance of ‘Let It Snow’ showing the strength of the three bands combined and the fantastic sound they make together – a very impressive piece! Subsequently the first half was drawn to a close by the Youth Band with the traditional carol ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ – the perfect opportunity for singing and audience participation! A wonderful end to the first half of the concert.
Following the interval, the Youth Band (joined by a small cohort of SHYBB alumni) took to the stage and wowed the audience first with a medley of a variety of Christmas songs combined into a lively piece entitled ‘Instant Christmas’ which was then juxtaposed by the beautiful carol of ‘Mary’s Boy Child’, showing not just the lovely sound the Youth Band can make but also the technical accuracy of the band. To follow this the band then played a piece known as ‘It’s Christmas Time’, followed by another traditional carol ‘The First Nowell’, again joined by the audience singing.
Not only did the concert showcase the talent of the current players of the band, but we were also lucky enough to have a performance of ‘A Child Is Born’ by ex player of the band and world renowned soloist Paul Duffy, who simultaneously played the piano and the trumpet as well as singing! A real treat for the audience and the band, inspiring the current players.
This was followed by the annual awards for the three bands and the conductors before the Youth Band once again took to the stage with performances of ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’ and ‘Christmas Swingalong’ to keep the Christmas spirit up prior to a lively rendition of the ‘Twelve Days Of Christmas’ with actions from the band and audience – sure to wake everyone up! Furthermore the Youth Band were joined by the Beginners and Training bands again for another wonderful massed band piece of ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ before the concert was drawn to a close by the encore ‘Schneewaltzer'; a Bavarian waltz which is quickly becoming a band favourite! A final opportunity for audience participation drew the concert to a fitting and cheerful climax – a perfect end to a fantastic year for St Helens Youth Brass Band.

Written by Becky