ConcertFestive 15/16MusicNorth WestReview

Grimethorpe Colliery Band: Brassed Off at Christmas – The Lowry, Salford

Conductor: Brian Grant

Reviewer: Malcolm Wallace


The Grimethorpe Colliery Brass Band is widely recognised as a world-class institution having come from humble beginnings in 1917. Originally formed and financed by the local colliery, the band have enjoyed tremendous success throughout its history, but it was their participation in the 1995 film Brassed Off that threw the band into the spotlight, resulting in international recognition on an unprecedented scale and ever more success.

Currently British Open Champions, the band, under the direction of Conductor Brian Grant, have included The Lowry in their series of Christmas concerts and their popularity is evident among the enthusiastic Salfordian audience.

The concert programme itself is fairly run of the mill, with a large emphasis on music featured in Brassed Off and surprisingly few festive favourites. Featured soloists include Laura Hirst on the Flugel Horn stealing the first half with Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez and Euphonium player Michael Dodd with O Holy Night in the second half.

Guest performers the Operababes, made up of duo Rebecca Knight and Karen England, have been performing together for over 14 years with much success internationally and shine with their rendition of Brindisi from Verdi’s la Traviata. It is a pleasure to hear these operatic voices accompanied by the full band rather than using backing tracks.

Overall, the band demonstrate their technical prowess and evidence clearly why they continue to meet with such success, but on this occasion the atmosphere is lacking and the programme lacks the necessary festive joy to successfully evoke the spirit of Christmas.

Reviewed on 9December 2015 | Image: Contributed

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