Friday 25 November 2016

Christmas Concert 2016 - Full Programme

Programme Overview

Barnard Castle 
Dance of the Tumblers 
A Lincolnshire Posy 
Elegy on a RAF theme 
Lucy Long 
John Williams Swings 


Let the Bells Ring 
Once in Royal David’s City 
Hark! The Herald 
A Christmas Overture 
The Christmas Song
Northampton Concert Band presents their annual Christmas Concert conducted by Graham Tear.

10th December 2016 @ 7:30pm
Abington Avenue United Reformed Church, Northampton, NN1 4QA


Barnard Castle
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”. He died on 25 June 2011 in Cheshire, following an illness, at the age of 66. Barnard Castle is a market town in Teesdale, County Durham, England. It is named after the castle around which it grew up.

Dance of the Tumblers
Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov
arr. Terry Vosvein
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (b. March 18th, 1844, d. June 21st, 1908) is known for his lavish pieces such as Scheherazade and Capriccio Espagnol, and his many operas.
“Dance of the Tumblers” is taken from the opera The Snow Maiden, a fairytale, which premiered in 1882. It features in a scene when the Tsar hosts a feast in celebration of the coming of spring following the tragic death of the Snow Maiden after a 15 year reign.

A Lincolnshire Posy
Percy Grainger
  • Dublin Bay (1)
  • Horkstow Grange (2)
  • The Lost Lady found (6)
We present 3 movements from A Lincolnshire Posy

A Lincolnshire Posy was written by Percy Grainger in 1937 for the American Bandmasters Association.It is considered to be Grainger’s masterpiece. The work consists of six movements each based on folk songs that Grainger heard whilst on travels in Lincolnshire in 1905.
Grainger wrote: "Each number is intended to be a kind of musical portrait of the singer who sang its underlying melody... a musical portrait of the singer's personality no less than of his habits of song, his regular or irregular wonts of rhythm, his preference for gaunt or ornately arabesque delivery, his contrasts of legato and staccato, his tendency towards breadth or delicacy of tone."
Grainger dedicated his "bunch of Wildflowers" to "the old folksingers who sang so sweetly to me."

Elegy on the Royal Air Force March Past
Barrie Hingley
The original score for the Royal Air Force March Past was completed by Sir Walford Davis in 1918. The second part of the march, the trio, was composed by Sir George Dyson. It is this trio section that Wing Commander Barrie Hingley OBE used as inspiration for this reflective Elegy. Hingley is a former Principal Director of Music at the Royal Air Force and one of the service's most prolific composers.

Lucy Long
Fred Godfrey
Bassoon solo - Will Gold
Adolphus Frederick (Fred) Godfrey trained at the Royal Academy of Music in London, taking over as Bandmaster of the Coldstream Guards after his father’s death. His compositions include the Marguerite Waltzes, a piccolo solo Yankee Doodle, and Recollections of England which featured in the early London Promenade concerts.
Lucy Long was premiered in Blackpool, written for and played by the orchestra’s seventeen-year-old bassoonist Philip Langdale. The work also featured in the very first London Promenade concert conducted by Henry J Wood at the Queen’s Hall on Saturday 10 August 1895.

Nigel Hess
Commissioned by the Royal Air Force, 'Scramble!' is a concert overture for symphonic wind band inspired by images of the RAF's airfields during the Battle of Britain, immortalised for ever in such films as Reach for the Skies.
The pastoral opening depicts the lull before the storm: the young pilots sitting in wicker chairs outside their barracks on a sunlit morning. The peace is, of course, deceptive; suddenly amid siren sounds, there is a shout of 'Scramble!', and a rush to the waiting planes. In no time at all the Squadron is airborne, heading for a skirmish over the English Channel and beyond. A lyrical central section featuring a solo cornet depicts the stillness many pilots described as they flew to engage with the enemy before the battle breaks out once more. For those who returned, it would be only a short while before, once again, they would hear the familiar shout of 'Scramble!'

John Williams Swings
arr. Jay Bocook
Film scoring master John Williams has written music for a variety of genres and style, and this entertaining and powerful medley showcases his jazz roots. This selection includes “Cantina Band” from Star Wars, the main theme from Catch Me If You Can, and the rousing “Swing, Swing, Swing” from the movie 1941.


L.O.L. - Listen to LOL
Robert Buckley
Robert (Bob) Buckley was born in Brighton, England – he now divides his time between Vancouver, Montreal, and Holland. He has a diverse career as a composer, arranger, performer, producer, recording artist and conductor. LOL (Laugh Out Loud) is a bonkers, cartoony piece of music guaranteed to wake you up after the interval. It was written for the Naden Band of the Royal Canadian Navy in celebration of their 75th anniversary as an opportunity to display their dazzling technical facility and humour.

Let the Bells Ring - Listen to Let the Bells Ring
Robert Buckley
Based on the familiar Ukrainian Bell Carol, Robert Buckley has taken a rhapsodic approach mixing original ideas along with this well-known melody. Originally composed by Mykola Dmytrovich Leontovych, the Ukrainian Bell Carol is part of a large choral work entitled Shchedryk. It was first performed by students of Kiev University in December 1916. The tune is an adaptation of an old ‘shchedrivka’, a song traditionally sung on Ukrainian New Year’s Eve, Leontovych added his own lyrics which concern the legend claiming that when Jesus was born, all the bells on earth started ringing in his honour.

Audience Carol: Once in Royal David’s City

Eric Whitacre
Originally written for 8 voices, Whitacre’s Sleep is a setting of the 1923 Robert Frost poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”. Though Whitacre was denied using Frost’s text as his estate maintains very strict controls on musical settings of his works.

Audience Carol: Hark! The Herald

A Christmas Overture
Nigel Hess
This vivacious and colourful Christmas Overture, originally commissioned as an orchestral work by John Rutter for his 2007 Christmas Festival, proved an instant success with audience and orchestra alike. Traditional carols, skilfully juxtaposed and interwoven, provide the thematic material. They are, in order of appearance, Ding Dong! Merrily On High; Deck The Halls, Il Est Né Le Divin Enfant, Infant Holy, Infant Lowly, Personent Hodie, We Wish You A Merry Christmas and Angels, From the Realms Of Glory, which brings the overture to a majestic close.

The Christmas Song
Mel Tormé & Robert Wells
According to Tormé, the song was written during a blistering hot summer in 1945. In an effort to "stay cool by thinking cool". I saw a spiral pad on Wells' piano with four lines written in pencil", Tormé recalled. "They started, 'Chestnuts roasting..., Jack Frost nipping..., Yuletide carols..., Folks dressed up like Eskimos.' Bob didn't think he was writing a song lyric. He said he thought if he could immerse himself in winter he could cool off. Forty minutes later that song was written. I wrote all the music and some of the lyrics."

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Monday 31 October 2016

Christmas Concert

Northampton Concert Band return to Abington Avenue United Reformed Church for their Christmas Concert following a sell-out concert last year

Please join us as we celebrate the festive season and fondly remember Harold Colman, who for over 50 years was our musical director and conductor.
In Harold’s memory, we will be donating all profits from the concert to Abington Avenue United Reformed Church and Bethany Homestead, who provide residential care in a quiet but central area of Northampton.

To purchase your tickets call Rachel on 07561 390099 or visit

£10 Adults, £5 Children/Students
Saturday 10th December, 7.30pm, Abington Avenue United Reformed Church

Concert programme details to follow.
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Thursday 21 July 2016

Brixworth Music Festival 2016
Northampton Concert Band return this year as the opening act for the Brixworth Music Festival 2016.

Performing for the second time at the festival, Northampton Concert Band will kick off the proceedings with a rousing concert featuring music from some of the best British composers with their programme entitled 'Best of British'.

The 50+ strong band first performed at the festival in 2015 and has been going from strength to strength with Graham Tear as their musical director who took the baton in April 2015, building their members, expanding the repertoire and having a sold out Christmas concert at the end of the year.

This Best of British concert includes an great selection of music from Elgar to Adele with some well known favourites as well as some less known items from prominent British composers; including English Dances (Set 1) by Northampton's Sir Malcolm Arnold (The Bridge on the River Kwai) and the rousing March: Barnes Wallis by Nigel Hess (Ladies in Lavender) which was commissioned by Royal Air Force Music Services to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the famous Dambuster’s raid.

Now in it's 3rd year the Brixworth Music Festival celebrates local musicians from within the village
as well as from surrounding areas and special guests. It runs from 16th - 25th September and features 11 different ensembles and soloists all performing in All Saints' Church.

"Best of British" will be held on Friday 7:30pm 16th September 2016 at All Staints' Church, Station Road, Brixworth, Northampton.
Parking is available at the church.

For more information about the festival visit the Brinxworth Music Festival website.

For tickets for this performance visit:

Full Concert Program: Best of British
  • March: Barnes Wallis - Nigel Hess 
  • English Dances - Malcolm Arnold 
  • Skyfall - Adele and Paul Epworth 
  • Resurgam - Eric Ball
  • Queen in Concert - Mercury
  • Calling All Workers -Eric Coates 
  • English Folksong Suite - Ralph Vaughan-Williams 
  • Flower Duet from “Lakme” - Delibes 
  • Fantasia on British Sea Songs - Henry Wood 
  • Pomp and Circumstance March No 1 - Edward Elgar 
  • Jerusalem - Parry 
  • Evening Hymn and Sunset - Rob Wiffin
(program subject to change)
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Thursday 26 May 2016

Abington Park Bandstand playlist - 29th May 2016

Here is a list of some of the music we have for our performance at Abington Park bandstand, Northampton, on Sunday 29th May. I'm sure you will agree; there is something for everyone there.
The band will be performing between 2 - 5 pm with a 20 minute break halfway through..

Carmina Burana
Ballet Egyptian
Belle of the Ball
The Big Country
Bugler’s Holiday
An Ellington Festival - selection
Emmerdale - theme
French Military March
Frozen - selection
Evening Hymn and Sunset
French Horns Country Style
The Incredibles
The Jungle Book - selection
Little Suite no.2 - Gallop
Mamma Mia! - selection
The Padstow Lifeboat
Pomp and Circumstance (Land of Hope and Glory)
Queen in Concert - selection
Soul Bossa Nova
Wicked! - selection

This event is hosted by Northampton Borough Council
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Wednesday 4 May 2016

Bands in the Park - 2016

Northampton Concert Band are proud to be supporting the 2016 Bands in the Park season hosted by Northampton Borough Council at the Victorian band stand in Abington Park Northampton.

The season is well underway and NCB will be appearing on Sunday 29th May from 2pm, until 5pm

Conductor Graham Tear will be leading the band through a wide selection of popular music for you to relax and listen to.

The full line up for the season includes:

Date Band
3rd April Brackley Brass
10th April Salvation Army
17th April Fynnius Fogg
24th April Thrapston Town Band
1st May Rushden Town Band
8th May Daventry Brass Band
15th May Hitchin Band
22nd May Moulton 77 Brass Band
29th May Northampton Concert Band
5th June Towcester Studio Band
12th June Gretton Silver Band
19th June Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts
26th June District of Dunchurch Brass Band
3rd July Corby Silver Band
10th July Bedworth Brass
17th July Abington Wind Band
24th July Marsh Gibbon Silver Band
31st July Northampton Male Voice Choir
7th August Bedford Town Band
14th August Two of Us
21st August Rushden Town Band
28th August Kibworth Band
4th September Kidlington Concert Brass Band
11th September District of Dunchurch Brass Band
18th September Rockin Roadrunner
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Thursday 21 April 2016

A Magical Spring Concert - 30th April 2016 - Full Programme

Programme Overview

  • March Barnes Wallis
  • Concerto for Band
  • Feelings
  • Variations on a Korean Folk Song
  • Queen in Concert


  • The Incredibles
  • Incantation and Dance
  • Disney Selection
  • The Troubles of the World
  • A NIghtingale Sang in Berkley Square
  • MLK
  • A Gaelic Blessing
  • Selections from Wicked
  • Rising Dragons
Saturday 30th April 2016
Christchurch, Christchurch Road
Northampton NN1 5LL
Conducted by Graham Tear
With NMPAT Community Choir

March Barnes Wallace 
Nigel Hess
March Barnes Wallis was commissioned by Royal Air Force Music Services to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the famous Dambuster’s raid and received its first performance on BBC Radio 2’s Friday Night is Music Night, broadcast live from Biggin Hill Airport on 17 June 2013 by the Central Band of the RAF.
Sir Barnes Neville Wallis was an English scientist, engineer and inventor who is best known for inventing the bouncing bomb used to attack the dams of the Ruhr Valley during World War II

Concerto for Band
Gordon Jacob
Gordon Jacob followed closely in the footsteps of Vaughan Williams and Holst in the early part of the twentieth century. Together they enriched the repertoire and raised the status of the military band, and of symphonic wind bands in general, as perceived by the musical establishment. These three composers were among the first to give band music of quality to replace the run-of-the-mill selections of popular tunes that were the staple fare of many concerts.
The Concerto for Band (1974) has two brisk outer movements between which is a beautifully serene slow movement. The rhythmic complexities of the fast movements give the band plenty to think about in terms of precision playing while the central movement requires it to be restrained and expressive.
Listen to Concerto for Band

Morris Albert
arr. Derek Ashmore
Feelings is a 1974 song with lyrics written by Brazilian singer Morris Albert, set to the tune of "Pour Toi," separately composed by Louis  Gasté in 1957.
Albert recorded Feelings as a single and later included it as the title track of his 1975 debut album. The song's lyrics, recognizable by their "whoa whoa whoa" chorus, concern the singer's inability to "forget my feelings of love".

Variations on a Korean Folk Song
John Barnes Chance
John Barnes Chance wrote Variations on a Korean Folk Song for concert band in 1965. As the name implies, it consists of a set of variations on the Korean folk song "Arirang", which the composer heard while in South Korea with the U.S. Army in the late 1950s. In 1966 the piece was awarded the American Bandmasters Association's Ostwald Award.
The theme is based upon a concert A♭ major ‘pentatonic scale’. A similar effect can be achieved by playing a melody using only the black notes on a piano keyboard.
At the beginning of the composition, the first part of the theme, resembling Arirang, is introduced quietly in the clarinets; the other instruments join in to play the second part. The song then consists of five variations on this theme.
Listen to Variations on a Korean Folk Song

Queen in Concert
Freddy Mercury
arr. Jay Bocook
Formed in 1970 it wasn’t until the release of their 3rd studio album Sheer Heart Attack in 1975, and later that same year A Night at the Opera (their 4th) did Queen find international fame. The latter album featuring Bohemian Rhapsody. Their 1977 album News of the World contained ‘We Will Rock You’ and ‘We Are the Champions’ which have become popular anthems at sporting events. This selection includes all of these and ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ from their eighth album The Game (1980)


The Incredibles
Michael Giacchino
arr Jay Bocook
Director Brad Bird was looking for a specific sound as inspired by the films design – a future as seen from the 1960s. John Barry had been the first choice to compose the music though Barry did not want to duplicate the sound of his earlier soundtracks.
The Incredibles was Giacchino’s first big feature film commission, chosen after Brad had heard Giacchino’s earlier work for video games and television. The upbeat jazz orchestral sound was a departure in style not only for Giacchino but also for Pixar which had previously relied on Randy and Thomas Newman (Toy Story) for all of its films.
In November 2015 it was announced that Giacchino would be returning to Pixar to score The Incredibles 2

Incantation and Dance
John Barnes Chance
This composition, which was the first published piece of John Barnes Chance, has become one of his most popular works. He wrote it while serving in the North Carolina public schools under a grant from the Ford Foundation's Young Composers Project. It consists of two contrasting sections. The Incantation is a short, mournful melody, full of mystery, which gradually builds to a ferocious conclusion. The Dance also begins quietly, moving to a complex rhythmic pattern in the percussion, and culminating in a frenzied dance.
A native of Texas, Chance played timpani with the Austin Symphony and taught at the University of Kentucky before his untimely accidental death in 1972.
Listen to Incantation and Dance

Disney selection
arr. Alan Billingsley
Five classic Disney favourites are presented as a tongue-twister from their titles alone: Zip-a-dee-doo-dah | Bibbidi- bobbidi- boo | Hakuna Matata | Chim Chim Cher-ee | Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

The Troubles of the World
trad. spiritual
This traditional spiritual song was make famous by the American gospel singer Mahalia Jackson.
"I sing God's music because it makes me feel free", Jackson once said about her choice of gospel, adding, "It gives me hope. With the blues, when you finish, you still have the blues."

A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square
Manning Sherwin
arr. Neaum
The song was published in 1940 and was made famous by Dame Vera Lynn. Becoming a standard the song has been recorded by Frank Sinatra, Rod Stewart and Glenn Miller.

arr. Kings Singers
The tenth and final song from U2's 1984 album,(The Unforgettable Fire). MLK is a lullaby to honour Martin Luther King, Jr. the American Baptist minister, activist, humanitarian, and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement.

A Gaelic Blessing
John Rutter
John Rutter is known for his simplistic choral miniatures of which this is one of his best and most often used at weddings, christenings and funerals.
Though the words are filled with religious significance Rutter describes himself as ‘An agnostic supporter of the Christian faith’.

Stephen Schwartz
arr Jay Bocook
Rarely has a musical in modern times taken Broadway by storm the way this huge hit from Stephen Schwartz has done. It is based on the 1995 Gregory Maguire novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, an alternative telling of the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz and L. Frank Baum's classic 1900 story The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The musical is told from the perspective of the witches of the Land of Oz.This powerful medley includes No One Mourns the Wicked, The Wizard and I, Dancing Through Life, Defying Gravity and For Good

Rising Dragons
Robert W. Smith
Commissioned by the Korean Navy Symphonic Band under the direction of Lt. Commander Joon Hyung Park, Rising Dragons pays tribute to the legacy of Admiral Yi Sun Shin, of the late sixteenth century and his impact on naval operations throughout the world.
The sea battle is depicted with opposing forces of percussion giving way to a final victorious fanfare. A line from a poem written by Yi Sun Shin inspires the title: "I call to the sea, and the dragons are moved."
Admiral Ballard of the British Royal Navy compared him to Lord Nelson:
‘It is always difficult for an Englishman to admit that Nelson ever had an equal in his profession, but if any man is entitled to be so regarded, it should be this great naval commander.’

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Saturday 20 February 2016

Now Playing - John Barnes Chance

Northampton Concert Band have been rehearsing two well know concert band pieces by the American composer John Barnes Chance: Incantation and Dance and Variations on a Korean Folk Song.

John Barnes Chance was born in 1932 in Beaumont, Texas. His first musical experience was at the age of 9 when he started taking piano lessons and later he played percussion in high school. At university he received his bachelor's and master's degrees studying composition with Clifton Williams.

In his early career he played timpani with the Austin Symphony and later with the Fourth and Eighth U.S.Army Bands during the Korean War. While serving in Seoul, South Korea, as a member of the Eighth U.S. Army Band, Chance came across a pentatonic Korean folk song named "Arirang". The theme would later serve as the inspiration for his 1965 composition Variations on a Korean Folk Song.

On leaving the Army he received a grant from the Ford Foundation's Young Composers Project in 1960, Chance was able to work with the Greensboro School District. At Greensboro, Chance was able to understand the limitations of high school students and was then able to compose for them. One of his first major wind ensemble compositions, Incantations and Dance, was composed and performed during his residency with Greensboro High School. Originally the piece was called Nocturne and Dance and it went on to become his first published piece for concert band.

Due to Chance's obligations of working with the entire district, he had to write music for many different grade levels. Chance composed thoughtful and involved music for percussion sections, which is something that most composers would not do at that time. Due to his contributions to writing more involved percussion music, more composers began to follow in his footsteps.

John was accidentally electrocuted in his backyard in Lexington, Kentucky aged 39, bringing his promising career to an early, tragic end.

The Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra plays Incantation and Dance

Variations on a Korean Folk Song

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