Littleport Brass are out there representing the village in many a concert and competition over the course of the year. This autumn they were extremely busy, competing in various prestigious competitions and events such as the ‘own choice’ contest at Leicester on November 24th.
And in a world-wide live streamed broadcast on Sunday October 6th they were shown live as they competed in the new Bolsover Festival of Brass in its Second Section category. The viewing figures ran into tens of thousands world-wide and Littleport Brass’s programme was superbly presented and executed.
They actually came second to a top national band beating another into 3rd place! As Musical Director Ian Knapton said afterwards; “The band played very, very, well. Although Chapeltown Silver should have beaten us on paper, they came second in the National finals this year and presented a more difficult technical performance that could have attracted more points, I think that the way we played we should have got that top spot! Littleport has an amazing band and the village should be so proud of them!”
They also gave a concert at the Littleport Ex-Servicemen’s Club called ‘From Broadway to Hollywood’ the audience of all ages from 3 to 80-odd were entertained with all those popular songs from a 1931 musical to the newest, Wicked, a musical based on the Wizard of Oz, this year.
The show got off to a flying start after the roof-raising medley comprising ‘Another Opening Another Show, There’s No Business Like Show Business, Get me to the Church On Time, Oklahoma, That’s Entertainment and 76 Trombones’ when Musical Director Ian Knapton behaved like a humorous Google personified, introducing each number with fascinating details about when they were first heard in a New York Broadway theatre and the year they became world-wide favourites on the silver screen, before taking up his baton to conduct them. The relevant but silent clips from the shows and films mentioned were projected behind the band as they played along to scintillating effect.
The soloists excelled themselves and accomplished Flugel player Jan Wyndham-Hall dedicated hers to all cancer sufferers.
It’s easy to forget that like Jan, all the musicians including the other soloists of Sunday’s great show, Sean Broderick, Ron Robinson, Jamie Clay, James Stygall and Theo Barfoot, are amateurs, and do other jobs for a living with solicitors, scientists, teachers and students in their talented ranks.
Rapturous applause ended each musical offering and the finale was followed by a requested encore.
The President of Littleport Brass Bill Sharpe and his wife Joan was there in the audience, and it is well known in certain brass band circles that he hates the Floral Dance.
MD Ian agreed to chance it in the interests of fun, albeit at the president’s expense, and announced it had been asked to be played for him. As the first bar rang out the President’s face was a picture of horror and roars of laughter echoed round his table – and the rest of the audience too as they all got the joke.
But after that amusement all rose as one for the National Anthem that closes every performance by Littleport Brass.
And to continue on that more serious note, there was no band for this year’s Remembrance Day in Littleport. So many band members are from other villages and they wanted to attend their own Remembrance Day proceedings that there were not enough Littleport based players left to provide it.
The band is asking anyone who would like to play with them, looking at years to come, please contact through their Facebook page: Littleport Brass.
Winter concerts are 7pm December 3rd at the Village Hall for the Littleport Society, all welcome; December 14th at Ely Cathedral at 2 – 3pm and St George’s Christmas Concert at 7 -10pm!