On Thursday 17th November the United Reformed Church was lucky enough to host a spectacular concert from St Helens Youth Brass Band’s ‘A’ and ‘B’ bands alongside the Dublin Silver Band who had travelled all the way from Ohio, USA to play in the ‘Brass In Concert’ entertainment contest and came to give a concert with SHYBB en route.

The concert opened with B-Band playing a short but challenging set of three pieces: Pastime With Good Company – a traditional piece from the Tudor era, written by Henry VIII; Saturn from the Planets Suite by Gustav Holst; and The Flintstones theme. The B-Band have improved massively so far this year and have grown in ability and numbers alike and therefore it was a fantastic opportunity to showcase the up and coming talent of the organisation.

Following this, A-Band took to the stage and welcomed our guests from the USA by playing the National Anthem of The USA. They followed this by playing an impressive piece called ‘Prismatic Light’ by Alan Fernie which got their set off to a fantastic start. Next up was a traditional hymn tune ‘Hine e Hine’ which heavily features our wonderful flugel player Freya and demonstrates not only the ability of our band’s soloists but also how well the band can play together and the lyricism of our playing. This was then juxtaposed by the ‘Soul Bossa Nova’ – the Austin Powers theme tune which lifted everyone’s spirits on a chilly winter evening. After this, A-Band were delighted and honoured to premiere the second movement of a three movement piece composed and commissioned for SHYBB by Jonathan Bates. The piece, Ex Terra Lucem, is themed around the history and architecture of the town and the second movement is a stunning slow melody featuring cornet and flugel solos. To draw the first half to a close, A-Band played the beautifully emotional piece ‘Hymn To The Fallen’ from Saving Private Ryan, and then the energetic Mambo No. 5 to finish the first half in fine style.

After a short interval, Dublin Silver Band took to the stage to play their ‘Brass In Concert’ programme. They first played ‘God Save The Queen’ before opening their set with the charming ‘Feather Theme’ from Forrest Gump, composed by Alan Silvestri. The choreography of the band and narration throughout their set was marvellous and the audience were simply gripped. Next up was ‘August’ by Joshua Tyler Jameson, a compilation of seven short movements to musically summarise the Autumn season. The entire audience were wowed by the contrast between the beautiful slow melody playing of the band and the skill of the band’s soloists with the impressive fortissimo sound of the band which took ‘raising the roof’ to an entirely new level! Dublin Silver Band then continued along their seasonal theme with the stunning ‘October’ by Eric Whitacre. They played another original piece before bringing their fantastic set to a close with the well known test piece ‘Vitae Aeternum’ by Paul Lovatt-Cooper.

To finish the evening’s concert, A-Band returned to the stage to join Dublin Silver for two final pieces – Sunrise Over Blue Ridge, and ‘The Saints’ – SHYBB’s signature tune.

All at SHYBB would like to extend our warmest thanks to Dublin Silver Band for taking the time from their tour to come and play with us. It was so inspiring for all of the players to hear the band play and to get a glimpse of what is possible within brass banding beyond St Helens Youth Brass Band. Every member of SHYBB was wowed by the skill of Dublin Silver Band and enjoyed listening to their breathtaking music.

Photos of the event can be found in the gallery on the website.