There is something rather wonderful about a brass band and its ability to put one in a good mood.
For starters it looks so much fun. There’s the big trombones, the squawking trumpets and the delicate cornets; all the band dress in matching suits; and they create a sound that can range from tender and lonesome to powerful and vibrant.
As you can probably tell, I loved pretty much every minute of Poulton Brass Band’s annual Christmas bash at the Grand. They’ve been doing it for the last five years now and judging by the packed house at this performance, they will be doing it for a good while longer too. The band are terrific, musicians of the highest calibre.
But what made this concert so enjoyable was that it wasn’t just about the music. No matter how much you like brass bands, two hours of relentless tunes can be a bit much. So it is a stroke of genius to have Father Jeff Bottoms, a local priest, and a man funny enough to be a stand-up comedian, taking to the stage at regular intervals to provide anecdotes.
“I retired last year,” he said at one point. “I didn’t have time to fit work in with all the NHS appointments... Don’t ask anyone over the age of 65 how they are, not unless you’ve got an hour to spare”.
The combination of humour, hymns like Hark The Herald Angels Sing and Come All Ye Faithful, and perfect renditions of A Winter’s Tale, White Christmas and Schneewaltzer amongmany others, made this a really enjoyable night out.