Thursday 10 December 2015

Christmas Concert 2015 - Full Programme

Christmas Concert 12th December 2015
Abington Avenue United Reformed Church
Conducted by Graham Tear

Concert Prelude - Philip Sparke

Overture  “The Cowboys” - John Williams  arr. Jim Curnow

Old American Dances   – Robert  Russell Bennett

  1. Western One-Step
  2. Schottische
  3. Rag

Softly Awakes My Heart - Saint-Saens
Trumpet solo: Chris Cox

Global Variations - Nigel Hess

Chicken Run (Main Theme) - John Powell and Harry Gregson-Williams arr. Paul Murtha


Sleigh Ride - Leroy Anderson

Audience Carol: Hark the Herald Angels Sing

A Christmas Overture - Nigel Hess

NMPAT Community Choir - Piano: Kay Warcaba-Wood

  • Sans Day Carol - arr. John Rutter
  • Bethlehem - Boubil and Schonberg, 
  • Ukrainian Bell carol - trad,
  • The Lamb - JohnTaverner,
  • The virgin Mary had a Baby Boy - arr. Stopford

Indiana Jones Selection - John Williams  arr. Hans Van Der Heide

Audience Carol : O Come all Ye Faithful

The Royal Hunt of the Sun - Martin Ellerby
Read More »

Thursday 26 November 2015

They're back! Carols make a return this Christmas

At Northampton Concert Band's annual Christmas concert this year carols are back on the menu!

Following the controversy that surrounded our bold decision to drop carols from our Christmas concert last year, our conductor Graham Tear, who was appointed in April, is drafting in vocal reinforcements from the NMPAT Community Choir to assist in the performance of traditional audience carols.

Formed in September 2015 by the Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust, and also conducted by Graham, the Community Choir has over 80 members of all ages and singing ability who meet to perform a wide range of musical styles.

Graham Tear said, "A Christmas concert isn't complete without carols and for shy members of the audience there will be plenty of vocal support from this wonderful new community choir. With over 100 performers taking part this will be one of the best shows this season."

Northampton Concert Band will also be in fine form after their participation at the National Concert Band Festival in London. We will be performing some popular favourites, some Christmas classics and the best new music from modern composers; as well as accompanying the NMPAT Community Choir and audience in renditions of carols.

The concert will take place at Abington Avenue United Reformed Church, Northampton on Saturday 12th December at 7:30pm. Tickets are available from the Tickets page or by calling our box-office 07561 390099

Related Articles:
Telegraph Town band won't play Christmas carols because people don't like singing
dailymail: Silent night: Band bans Christmas carols
Herald and Post: Carols voted out of Christmas Concert

Read More »

Thursday 17 September 2015

Harold Colman 1921 - 2015

Harold Colman
1921 - 2015
We have received the sad news that Harold Colman passed away on Wednesday evening 16th September 2015 at the age of 93.

Originally from Norfolk, Harold joined the RAF as a bandsman in 1940 and served both at home and overseas during the Second World War.

He travelled across Britain and to India and Singapore between 1941 and 1946 but things didn’t always run smoothly. Whilst due to perform in London during the Blitz the band room was blown up along with all the instruments.

After the war, Harold came to Northampton and played the violin, the trumpet and the saxophone in The New Theatre Orchestra.

Encouraged by other members of the New Theatre Orchestra Harold was invited to play the trumpet in the Northampton Military Band, later to be renamed Northampton Concert Band. Harold continued to play trumpet until the current conductor, Joseph Trolley, broke his wrist after a fall and Harold took on the role from 1957 until 2002

Harold founded the Northampton Youth Orchestra in 1967 which he also conducted until 1981. He also conducted the Kettering Symphony Orchestra from 1994 until 2009.

Harold continued to perform violin with the Northampton Symphony Orchestra and to follow the progress of Northampton Concert Band, attending Stephen Bell's final concert as conductor in March 2015.

Harold was due to see his grandson, Bandmaster Jeremy Ansell, guest conduct Northampton Concert Band this Saturday at the ‘Last Night of the Proms’ concert at the Holy Sepulchre Church, Northampton.

Our thoughts are with the his wife, Kathleen, and the family.
Our concerts for this weekend will be going ahead as planned and we will be dedicating our performance on Saturday night to Harold.
Read More »

Saturday 5 September 2015

Brixworth Music Festival 20th September 2015

Brixworth Music Festival
presents Northampton Concert Band 
Conducted by Graham Tear,
Sunday 7:30pm 20th September 2015
All Saint's Church

Tickets are available from WeGotTickets

This debut performance of Northampton Concert Band at the Brixworth Music Festival has at it's heart a travel theme, with many pieces inspired by journeys. In addition to this there is a British connection as all the composers in this concert are from the British Isles.

For more information about the festival please visit
Barnard Castle
Goff Richards
This first item comes from Goff Richards, sometimes credited as Godfrey Richards. He was a prominent English brass band arranger and composer. Barnard Castle is a market town in Teesdale, County Durham, England. It is named after the castle around which it grew up. NCB performed "Barnard Castle" at the National Concert Band Festival in November 2014 where we won a platinum award.

Goff Richards
Another of Goff Richards pieces, we kick off the travel theme with this work as it was written to commemorate the launch of the luxury motor coach of that name and is a sort of musical journey which includes sounds of the coach starting up, cruising at speed and slowing down as it reaches its destination.
Further information for bus enthusiasts:
Doyen was the name given to the in-house design of coach body for the Royal Tiger (B50) chassis, produced by Leyland. Introduced in 1982 and also sold as a chassis for bodying by other companies, the Royal Tiger was the rear-engined version of the mid-engined Tiger (B43), introduced in 1979. Production of the Royal Tiger chassis (and therefore the Doyen) ceased in 1988.

Orient Express
Philip Sparke
Originally composed for brass band, Orient Express was written as the British entry for the 1986 EBU New Music for Band Competition, gaining first prize. The wind band transcription was commissioned by the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra in 1992 for a recording they made of Philip Sparke's music, conducted by the composer.

The piece describes a journey on the famous luxury train which runs from London to Venice. Starting among the hubbub of London's Victoria Station, the music subsides as the guard blows his whistle and the enormous engine start rolling. At last the train is under way, hurtling across the European countryside. A slower section gives the passenger time to think about home but the relentless journey continues, eventually slowing to a halt as the train reaches its destination.

Listen to Orient Express on Youtube

Thames Journey
Nigel Hess
Another journey, this one of the famous river, starting at the source of the Thames. Nigel takes us on a musical journey down the river passing many places along the way. We hear local themes and sounds interweaving with an overall theme that returns throughout the piece. The band reach a crescendo as we pass Westminster and out into the sea.

Listen to Thames Journey on Youtube

Guy Woolfenden
  1. Fosse Way
  2. Notturno
  3. Via Appia
S.P.Q.R. (Senatus Populusque Romanus - the senate and people of Rome) was commissioned as part of the centenary celebrations of Warwickshire County Council, and the composer’s response was to delve even further back that a mere one hundred years, to encompass the Roman occupation of Britain which lasted for 350 years. One of the lasting monuments to this occupation is the amazing system of roads, one of which, the Fosse Way, crosses Warwickshire. S.P.Q.R. attempts to juxtapose and contrast the ancient and indissoluble links between rural and urban Warwickshire and the might of ancient Rome.

The first performance was given by the Warwickshire County Wind Band in Bedworth Civic Hall on 18th September 1988 under the direction of the composer.

Keeping up Appearances
Nick Ingman
Arr. Roy Walmsley
Born and educated in London, Nick Ingman moved to the USA at the age of seventeen to study at the Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory, both in Boston. After returning to London, he took a postgraduate course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. His first job was as assistant arranger with record producer Norrie Paramor. While there, here worked with Cliff Richard, the Shadows, Sacha Distel and many more. During this time he composed many library music tracks and the theme tune to BBC TV series Keeping Up Appearances. 
His film work as an orchestrator and conductor includes the films as Shakespeare in Love, Billy Elliot, Nowhere Boy and The Passion of the Christ.

Hetty Wainthrop Investigates
Nigel Hess
Arr. Kieran Forsyth
Nigel John Hess is a British composer, best known for his television, theatre and film soundtracks, including the theme tunes to Wycliffe, Dangerfield, Hetty Wainthropp Investigates and Ladies in Lavender.
Hetty Wainthropp Investigates was a gentle British crime/comedy drama television programme that aired from 1996 to 1998 on BBC One.

Derek Bourgeios
Derek Bourgeois was born in Kingston upon Thames in 1941. Derek wrote this Serenade for his own wedding, to be played by the organist as the guests left the ceremony. Not wishing to allow them the luxury of proceeding in an orderly 2/4, the composer wrote the work in 11/8, and in case anyone felt too comfortable, he changed it to 13/8 in the middle!
Journey with us down the isle with this 'quirky' serenade.

Pomp and Circumstance No 1
Edward Elgar
We start our 'Last Night of the Proms' finale with the best known of the set of 6 marches by Elgar. It had its premiere, along with the more reserved second March, in Liverpool on 19 October 1901, with Elgar conducting the Liverpool Orchestral Society. Both marches were played two days later at a London Promenade Concert in the Queen's Hall London, conducted by Henry Wood, with March No. 1 played second, and the audience "...rose and yelled... the one and only time in the history of the Promenade concerts that an orchestral item was accorded a double encore."
The Trio contains the tune known as "Land of Hope and Glory". 

Sir Hubert Parry
Arr. Philip Sparke
Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry was an English composer, teacher and historian of music.
Parry's first major works appeared in 1880. As a composer he is best known for the choral song "Jerusalem", the coronation anthem "I was glad", the choral and orchestral ode Blest Pair of Sirens, and the hymn tune "Repton", which sets the words "Dear Lord and Father of Mankind". His orchestral works include five symphonies and a set of Symphonic Variations.

Fantasia on British Sea Songs
Henry J. Wood
Arr. W. J. Duthoit
Fantasia on British Sea Songs is a medley of British sea songs arranged by Sir Henry Wood in 1905 to mark the centenary of the Battle of Trafalgar. For many years, it was seen as an indispensable item at the BBC's Last Night of the Proms concert.
Crowd participation is often noted in the fantasia performance during the Last Night of the Proms. Mock tears were shed by the audience during Tom Bowling, feet were stamped in time to the introduction of Jack's the Lad, a familiar tune which gets faster and faster, being followed by the honking of hooters and a clapping crescendo during the climax. The frantic pace was then juxtaposed with solemn humming in Home, Sweet Home and then the whistling of the melody of See, The Conquering Hero Comes. This culminated in the "prommers" singing the refrain of Rule, Britannia!
Feel free to join in.

Read More »

Wednesday 19 August 2015

Now Recruiting

We are looking to recruit musicians to fill a few vacant positions.
Though we welcome everyone who wishes to join us; there are a few sections that need extra support:
If you would like to be involved, then please contact Claire at

Read More »

Saturday 13 June 2015

"Bands in the Park" event well-liked

Northampton Concert Band performing at the bandstand in 2014
Northampton Concert Band are hoping to be playing to a packed park after an event they posted on Facebook attracted over 5,000 views and already over 1,700 people have expressed an interest in attending.

Consisting of 57 musicians, Northampton Concert Band will be performing on the Victorian bandstand in Abington Park, Northampton performing many popular marches and family favourites.
Leading the band will be the well respected local musician and teacher Graham Tear, taking the baton for his first time with the band in the park.

Hosted by Northampton Borough Council the free music events in Abington Park have always been well received but this is the first time the band has had one of their events on Facebook be so popular.

Brian Crutchley, Concerts Manager, said "I guess the timing must have been just right. I posted a number of our events on Facebook but this free event was initially shared by some of our followers and it spiralled from there. If these people actually turn up I should perhaps let the council know we might need some crowd control."

The band will be performing 3 hours of popular music between 2pm and 5pm on Sunday 28th June.
For a full list of performers and dates visit

Read More »

Tuesday 19 May 2015

Northampton County Beer Festival, Delapre

Northampton Concert Band will be performing a number of marches and light music at the Northampton County Beer Festival on Saturday 30th May.

This year the beer festival is organised by the Phipps Northampton Brewery Company Ltd. and will showcase all the county's independent drinks producers at the historic Delapre Abbey site in Northampton, home of the festival for many years. In addition to the usual array of cask ales, this year there will craft ale and lager, cider, wines and spirits along with funky festival food and marvelous music from the town's finest bands.

Northampton Concert Band are delighted to be taking part and will be on the stage from 4pm on Saturday 30th May.

Disabled parking and access, general free parking weather permitting, children and dogs welcome on site. Last orders at 10pm with an hours drinking up time. Branded festival glass program and T shirts available. Entry is £4.
Read More »

Thursday 23 April 2015

Recent Rehearsals - April 2015

Graham has been putting the band through its paces during rehearsals. We've dusted off John William's "The Cowboys"; the opening music from the film of the same name.
Here is the overture performed live in 2013 by the Boston Pops.
We hope to perform this at one of our forthcoming concerts later in the year.

Released in 1972, this western stars John Wayne whose ranch hands have abandoned him to join the gold rush. After some convincing he hires school boys who help him drive his cattle to market.
Read More »

Monday 23 March 2015

Welcome! Graham Tear

If you were at our concert on Saturday you would have heard that our new MD will be Graham Tear.
Graham Tear has a wealth of experience having performed with and conducted many diverse groups within Northamptonshire and beyond.

Our outgoing MD, Stephen Bell, said "I am delighted to be handing the baton over to the capable and masterful Mr Graham Tear who is one of the most talented musicians I have had the pleasure of working with over the years.
"The future of NCB is very bright and I wish each and every player in NCB great success with Graham Tear. I'll be following the progress very closely and I'm confident that you will continue to soar."

Graham will be taking his first rehearsal with Northampton Concert Band after the Easter Break.

Graham Tear - Biog

Graham Tear
Graham was educated at Northampton Grammar School and then at Birmingham Conservatoire studying flute, bassoon and conducting. He won the Midland Institute concerto prize, appearing as flute soloist with the college chamber orchestra at the Aix en Provence Music Festival. After several years as a freelance player, playing with the CBSO, Opera north and Welsh National Opera he taught at Stowe School and Nene College (now Northampton University) and then joined the staff of the Northamptonshire Music Service (now NMPAT).

During his years with the service working as deputy head of woodwind he has conducted most groups including the County Youth Orchestra, County Concert Band and Youth Choir and has regularly taken assorted groups to the National Festival of Music for Youth, winning outstanding performance awards and appearing at the Schools Proms at the Royal Albert Hall.

He has also conducted Towcester Studio Band, Irthlingborough Entertainment Society and Northampton Symphony Orchestra and spent several years directing Northampton Gilbert and Sullivan Group.

He was on the conducting staff of the European Youth Summer Music Course and directed the brass and wind bands for the WMA Summer School. Twenty-five years ago, he founded and still directs Northampton Chamber Orchestra.

Although now semi-retired, he lives in Brixworth and is still very active teaching at Northampton School for Boys and as musical director of Northampton Musical Theatre Company, who will be performing at the Royal Theatre in May and at Derngate in late October. He is also chairman of Northampton Festival of the Performing Arts and plays with the John Clare Wind Quintet as well as assorted other orchestral playing.

He enjoys cooking and tinkering with his model railway and has an amazing collection of hats!
Read More »

Friday 13 March 2015

Director's Choice 21st March 2015 - Concert Programme

Director's Choice - Saturday 21st March 2015 - Overview
  • RAF March Past
  • Barber of Saville Goes to the Devil
  • New Horizons
  • October
  • Death or Glory
  • Time Remembered
  • Star Trek
  • Trailblaze
  • The Firebird
  • Paris Sketches Movt 1
  • A Concert Medley - Mancini
  • Nimrod
  • Guys and Dolls
Director's Choice 
Saturday 21st March 2015
Conducted by Stephen Bell
Abington Avenue United Reformed Church

RAF March Past
Walford Davies
The "Royal Air Force March Past" is the official march of the Royal Air Force (RAF) and is used in some other Commonwealth air forces.
The original score was completed by Sir Walford Davies in 1918 for the new RAF; it combined the rhythm of the bugle call of the Royal Flying Corps with that of the Royal Naval Air Service. The call appears in both the introduction and the coda. The second part of the march past, the trio, was composed by Sir George Dyson.
The march can be played both as a slow march and a quick march, and has been used as both when the Queen's Colour Squadron and RAF Central Band perform public duties such as mounting the guard at Buckingham Palace.

Barber of Saville Goes to the Devil – Comedy Overture
Gordon Jacob
Arr. Robert O'Brien
This rumbustious parody of Rossini's style was composed in 1960 for the BBC Concert Orchestra. This fun and rousing parody explores everything from a Spanish dance to a street parade.

New Horizons - Trumpet solo : Chris Cox
Gordon Langford
Langford (born May 1930 as Gordon Colman - cousin of Harold Colman) began piano lessons aged five. At nine, one of his compositions received a public performance. He attended Bedford Modern School and he went on to win a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music where he studied piano and composition with Norman Demuth. It was Demuth, his professor of composition, who suggested that he should change his surname or use a pseudonym. Hence, he changed his name to become Gordon Colman Langford.
Langford is best known as a brass band composer and arranger including the works of other composers, such as Henry Mancini, Jerry Goldsmith and John Williams.

Eric Whitacre
Commissioned by the Nebraska Wind Consortium; Eric Whitacre composed October with the intention of evoking a peaceful musical representation of the month he has called his favourite, and the feelings this month evokes for him.

Death or Glory
Robert Browne Hall
Robert Browne Hall was a leading composer of marches and other music for brass bands. He was born in Maine, US and seldom left his native state during his lifetime, dying in Portland in 1907.
His music though has travelled around the world. His celebrated march "Death or Glory", written in 1895 and dedicated to the Tenth Regiment Band in Albany, New York, is a well-known staple of band concerts all over the UK.

Time Remembered
Philip Sparke
Time Remembered was commissioned by the Woking Wind Orchestra with support from the British Association of Symphonic Bands and Wind Ensembles (BASBWE).
The initial idea was for a millennium piece, which it is. But rather than add to the many celebratory pieces that have understandably been written to salute the 3rd Millennium, Philip Sparke thought it would perhaps be appropriate to think about the aspects of life that are constantly with us (faith, philosophy – whatever you like to call it) rather than the exciting changes that the year 2000 has undeniably wrought. The aim was to write a piece which reflects on those things we all need to hold on to, no matter how many changes take place around us and to acknowledge the necessity not to forget our past while looking forward to the future.

Star Trek
Giacchino, Courage, Roddenberry
Arr. Jay Bocook
Giacchino admitted personal pressure in scoring the J.J. Abrams 2009 Star Trek film, as "I grew up listening to all of that great [Trek] music, and that's part of what inspired me to do what I'm doing. You just go in scared. You just hope you do your best. It's one of those things where the film will tell me what to do.”
To Boldly Go | Enterprising Young Men End Credits

See Also

Goff Richards
Goff Richards, sometimes credited as Godfrey Richards, was a prominent English brass band arranger and composer.
He was well known for his original brass compositions such as “Trailblaze”, “Doyen”, “Exploding Brass!” and the marches “The Jaguar” and “Barnard Castle”.
NCB performed "Barnard Castle" at the National Concert Band Festival in November where we won a platinum award.

The Firebird (Excerpts from) 
Igor Stravinsky
Arr. Jay Bocook
The Firebird was written for the 1910 Paris season of Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russe company. The ballet is based on Russian folk tales of the magical glowing bird that can be both a blessing and a curse to its owner. When the ballet was first performed on 25 June 1910, it was an instant success with both audience and critics.
Jay Bocook's arrangement features prominent themes from Stravinsky's powerful ballet.

Paris Sketches
Movt. 1 Saint Germain-des-Prés
Martin Ellerby
Noted British composer Ellerby calls this work "my personal tribute to a city I love." Each movement pays homage to a specific locale in Paris and to the composers who lived, worked, or passed through it. A theme of bells, a prominent feature of Paris life, runs through the entire piece.
This first movement from the suite depicts the Latin Quarter, famous for artistic associations and bohemian lifestyle. This is a dawn prelude haunted by the shade of Ravel: the city awakens with the ever-present sound of morning bells.

Mancini - A Concert Medley
Henry Mancini
Arr. John Moss
Mancini had a long collaboration with the film director Blake Edwards and won numerous Academy Awards for the songs in Edwards’ films, including “Moon River” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
This arrangement by John Moss sandwiches the melancholy of Moon River between the cheerful and goofy slices of The Pink Panther and Baby Elephant Walk

Edward Elgar
Arr. Barrie Hingley
This 9th movement from the Enigma Variations is dedicated to Augustus J. Jaeger who was employed as music editor by the London publisher Novello & Co., giving Elgar useful advice but also severe criticism, something Elgar greatly appreciated.
Elgar later related how Jaeger had encouraged him as an artist and had stimulated him to continue composing despite being depressed. Nimrod refers to an Old Testament patriarch described as 'a mighty hunter before the Lord' – Jäger being German for hunter.

Guys and Dolls
Frank Loesser
Arr. Calvin Custer
Guys and Dolls is an adaptation of Damon Runyon's short stories. These stories, written in the 1920s and 1930s, concerned gangsters, gamblers, and other characters of the New York underworld. Runyon was known for the unique dialect he employed in his stories, mixing highly formal language with slang.
Frank Loesser, who had spent most of his career as a lyricist for movie musicals, was hired as composer and lyricist.
This selection includes the songs: Guys & Dolls | Luck be a Lady | I've Never Been In Love Before | A Bushel and a Peck | Follow the Fold | If I Were A Bell | Sit Down You're Rocking The Boat

Read More »

Tuesday 3 March 2015

Farewell Wishes for Stephen

If you would like to send a message of goodwill and best wishes to Stephen, please fill in the comments section below this news post.

These comments will be passed to Stephen and a selection will be read out at his last concert on the 21st March.
Read More »

Wednesday 25 February 2015

Gala Concert to Celebrate Director’s Decade

Stephen Bell
Stephen Bell
Following 10 years of leadership at Northampton Concert Band, their musical director, Stephen Bell is stepping down. After winning a Platinum award at the National Concert Band Festival Midlands regional event in November, Stephen decided to leave on a high and to finish his tenure with the band. To bid him farewell and to celebrate those ten years the band are to host a gala concert featuring some of Stephen favourite music.

Stephen Bell, a freelance training and management consultant, said “I’m honoured to be given the opportunity to indulge in a programme of music that features so many of the musical highlights that I've had with the band over the last decade. There’s so many that it has been a very difficult selection process.”

Our regular concert goers can probably guess what some of my choices will be and I hope to see a lot of familiar faces in the audience.”

Northampton Concert Band performing in November 2014
Northampton Concert Band performing in November 2014
Northampton Concert Band will be appointing a new musical director at the end of February who will take over after the band has performed at the National Concert Band Festival Finals in April.

Mel Homer, NCB Chairperson, said “We all wish Stephen well in his future musical endeavours and we’re sure it won’t be the last time we perform with him, we hope that he might join us on bassoon as a member or join with us in a concert with one of his other performing groups.”

The concert, Director’s Choice, starts at 7:30pm Saturday 21st March at Abington Avenue United Reformed Church and tickets are available from the Box Office 07561 390099 or online at

Logo for Director's Choice Gala Concert - 21st March 2015

Read More »

Thursday 8 January 2015

2nd Annual Open Rehearsal for All

Following a successful event last year Northampton Concert Band are again opening up to allow any musician of any standard to join them at an open rehearsal.

Northampton Concert Band are holding the open rehearsal on Sunday 25th January to give brass, woodwind and percussion players in the Northampton and surrounding areas an opportunity to experience what it is like to play with a top class, award winning, Symphonic Wind Ensemble.

Northampton Concert Band rehearse.

Players of all abilities and ages are very welcome to come along for the experience whether they are post grade 8 or still developing. The standard of music played at the open rehearsal will vary greatly from around grade 5 or 6 level to grade 8 so there will something there to challenge all abilities."

Last year they attracted 6 musicians to join them and this year they hope to attract even more.

Stephen Bell, who has been their musical director for 10 years, said “Performing in a large group is so much more rewarding than playing on your own. I urge anyone who hasn’t played for a while who is looking to perform again to feel free to attend.”

The band has over 40 members and performs throughout the year and in November they were awarded a Platinum award at the National Concert Band Festival Midlands regional event.

For more information email
Read More »