On June 23rd at John Hanson School in Andover, the Test Valley Brass Youth Band held their annual Summer Concert. But this year was a little different from the norm… Not only was the concert preceded by a barbeque, but it also included the passing of the Blue Baton, an event that formed part of the ‘Brass the Baton’ relay and the 2012 Cultural Olympiad.
The concert took place in the presence of Councilor Dorothy Baverstock, The Mayor of Test Valley, and her consort, whilst the school hall was packed to near capacity with over 160 people. Following a grand welcome, the baton was processed into the auditorium behind a replica Olympic Flame while the Youth Band performed the iconic John Williams piece ‘Olympic Fanfare and Theme’. The procession culminated in the lighting of the Olympic Flame, which stayed alight throughout the concert.
The evening included performances by all sections of the Test Valley Brass Youth Band: the starter group ‘The Pre-Lims’, the beginner band ‘Frosty’s’, and the outstanding Youth Band itself.
The evening continued with a very relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere as the bands performed pieces based around film themes, following the concert’s theme of ‘Movie Gold’. After the 20th Century Fox Fanfare, the Youth Band performed ‘Gabriel’s Oboe’ from The Mission conducted by trainee conductor Alistair Goodwin, who received his Level One conductor’s award. This was followed by ‘Who Wants to live forever’ from Highlander.
Frosty’s then took to the stage, and as always were outstanding as they played ‘Finlandia’ from Die Hard 2 and ‘You are my Sunshine’ from O Brother, Where Art Thou? The Youth Band then continued with ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ from the film of the same name, conducted by Alun Grace, and then from An American Tail they concluded their spot with ‘Somewhere Out There’.
It was then the turn of The Pre-Lims, a band made up of those just starting to play. Under the careful tuition and guidance of Ken West, they treated the audience to a rendition of ‘Roll Along and Flying High’. Frosty’s then performed their final few pieces: the themes from ‘Scooby Doo’ and ‘The Muppets’ followed by ‘Gonna Fly Now’ from Rocky. The Youth Band then finished their individual section of the concert with ‘Everything I Do’ from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves conducted by another trainee James Goodwin, who was also awarded his Level One conductor’s award. The Youth Band then finished with the upbeat ‘You’ve Got a Friend in Me’ from Toy Story.
For the grand finale, Frosty’s and the Youth Band joined together to perform two pieces: ‘Lay all your Love on Me’ from Mamma Mia and the Brass the Baton inception piece ‘Going the Distance’ by the very talented, young composer Paul Lovatt-Cooper. At this point the Olympic Flame was extinguished and the Blue Baton processed out of the Auditorium, bringing the concert to a close.
Test Valley Brass Youth Band have received a flood of positive comments from those who attended the concert. Janet Goodwin said, “Tonight had a great feel about it and it was great to have the bbq as it gave people time to chat and socialise”, while Sean Flavell commented, “Thoroughly enjoyed this evening. Thanks for the invite.” Ian Hunt added, “Mum, Dad, Sister and Grandparents loved the food, the music, and the Olympic Flame.” Summing up the glowing feedback, Peter Heslop (Chairman of Test Valley Brass) said, “It was a great concert. I could tell that the crowd loved it. Well done to everyone, what a brilliant show!”
Alec Grimsey of Test Valley Brass told us, “The comments and reaction show how much everyone enjoyed the concert and this is not only credit to the outstanding musicians we have and the exceptional standard of the playing that took place at the concert, but also to the incredible team of parents, helpers, and tutors we have.” He continued, “The Test Valley Brass Youth Band is a very dynamic, forward-thinking, fun organisation that not only offers a fantastic opportunity to anyone interested in learning a brass instrument, but brings a great deal of pleasure to those around them and in the community, but none of this would be possible without all the tutors, parents and helpers. It really is very much a team effort, and we really must wholeheartedly thank each and every one of them. Without them it just wouldn’t be possible.”
He added, “We really have had a great concert, and to be able to be involved in Brass the Baton and the Cultural Olympiad really is the icing on the cake. Unfortunately we cannot take the band to the culmination of the baton relays in Durham on 22nd July due to other band commitments, but we will have a couple of members making the journey to represent Test Valley Brass at this fantastic event.”
It’s clear that Test Valley Brass continue to grow, offering a great combination of fun and musical education whilst also representing Andover in a truly progressive and positive light. Anyone wishing to find out more about the band, get involved with them, or join can visit their website, follow them on facebook, or else just turn up to the TVB Room at John Hanson School on a Thursday night at 6.30pm.