The Preston Group brass band concert, organised as a celebration of the tercentenary of Grand Lodge took place at Longridge Civic Hall.
Despite storm ‘Brian’ making its effects felt by way of torrential rain and high winds, over 100 ladies, gentlemen and brethren made their way to the centre to listen to an excellent concert given by the Longridge Brass Band, led by their conductor, Mark Peacock.
The event was supported by Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Winder, Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Ian Cuerden and the Preston Group Chairman Steve Bolton.
The concert content was determined by Mark in liaison with band member and Preston Mason, Peter Littlehales. Peter spent some time researching composers that were known members of the Masonic community and endeavouring to obtain suitable arrangements for the band to play.
To set the scene, the music commenced with ‘Caravan’ composed by Duke Ellington, an initiate of Social Lodge No 1, Washington. This was followed by the ‘Magic Flute’ a piece by Mozart who was initiated in Lodge Zur Wohltätigkeit, Vienna.
The audience was then treated to an Argentinian tango that included a cornet solo by 16-year-old Holly Clark. Slowing things down, this was followed by a tranquil and reflective arrangement of ‘In Love for Me.
’ Following Holly’s example, another young member of the band, 16 year old Joshua Peacock, played a cornet solo as part of Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto. Haydn, another member of the craft was initiated into Lodge Zur wahren Eintracht.
The audience’s feet started tapping with an arrangement of ‘Liberty Bell’ by an initiate of Hiram Lodge No 10, Washington DC, namely John Philip Souza. The first half closed with a scherzo from Symphony No 10 by Shostakovich.
During the interval a raffle was held with the first prize being won by David Winder. Some people have all the luck! Pictured from left to right, are: David, giving thanks to Peter for his input to the concert, along with Steve and Ian.
With the audience and band suitably refreshed, the second half commenced with another foot tapper, the ‘Coronation March’ by Mayerbeer; another Mason who was initiated in Lodge Les Frères Unis Insepérables. This was followed by the Irish folk song, ‘Carrickfergus’ featuring a euphonium solo by Giacomo Marcocig before the audience was entertained by, as bandmaster Mark said: “The quirky tune, ‘Serenade’ by Derek Bourgeois.”
On a more serious note, as a reminder of all those Masons who fell in the Great War, the band played the 2016 tune, ‘Flanders Fields.’ Towards the conclusion of the piece Peter Littlehales gave a subdued rendition of the ‘Last Post’ as a complementary background to the music.
Returning to less serious mood the band accompanied Holly Clark, Peter Littlehales and Phil Cutler in a rendition of ‘Three Little Maids’ from the operetta, The Mikado, by Gilbert, (initiated in Lodge St Machar No 54, Aberdeen), and Sullivan, (initiated Harmony Lodge No 255, Middlesex.)
More rousing music came next with the Irving Berlin, (initiated Munn Lodge No 190.) tune, ‘There’s No Business Like Show Business.’ When Mark indicated that the band were about to play their closing piece, Steve Bolton rose to thank them for what had been an excellent evening of wonderful music that had been thoroughly enjoyed by all. He went on to thank the audience for their support and attendance, especially on what had been an evening of inclement weather.
The band closed with ‘Vitae Aeternum’ a musical piece that involved the whole band joining in, in rotation, finally ending in a crescendo of music with all musicians involved. The resounding applause and standing ovation from the audience produced a wonderful encore from the band with the tune, ‘Be a Clown’ by Cole Porter.
David, Steve and Ian took the opportunity to thank Peter Littlehales for his input in organising the concert that had been so entertaining and had raised £634 for the Preston Group Patronage to the West Lancashire 2021 Festival in aid of the MCF. True to form, storm ‘Brian’ had the last word with a torrential downpour as everyone was making their way home.