Strike Up The Band


Kings Park Brass returned to Rutherglen Town Hall for their winter concert entitled Strike up the Band. This was a trip down Broadway, featuring numbers from the golden age of musicals, from the 1920s through to the 1950s, conducted by Alan Pash.

The concert began with the rousing and fast moving keynote piece of the evening, Strike up the Band. It was written by the Gershwin brothers in 1927 for the musical of the same name, where it formed part of a satire on militaristic music. No satire here, however, just an exciting foretaste of the evening's celebration of musical theatre and film.

A much gentler piece was to follow, Mack the Knife, probably best known as sung by Bobby Darin in 1959, again as part of the soundtrack for a film, in this case The Threepenny Opera. It is a jazz song with a bluesy feel which demanded a much more relaxed style than traditional brass band playing.

Cole Porter's Anything Goes, written for the film of the same name, was next. Many of the lyrics feature humorous, if dated, references to various figures of scandal and gossip in Depression era high society. The piece was very lively and upbeat, in a similar style to the opening number.

Flugel player Graeme Pratt featured as soloist next in the haunting Over the Rainbow from the Wizard of Oz. This was a classy and very musical rendition of a well-loved song.

Next came the first of four selections from well-known and loved musicals: Oklahoma. Featured were People will Say we're in Love, The Surrey with the Fringe on Top, Oh what a Beautiful Morning and Oklahoma itself.

To complete the first half came another Cole Porter composition: Wunderbar from Kiss me Kate. At the point in the film where this song appears, the two lovers are waltzing round the room, which the band reflected in its constantly moving but relaxed style.

After the Interval, the three final selections from the musicals began with a medley from Richard Rodgers' South Pacific. Although this musical features much comedy, there is also a darker edge to it. The musical sends strong progressive messages on racism and gender equality. Memorable songs from the show are: I'm in Love with a Wonderful Guy, Bali Ha'i, I'm Gonna Wash that Man right Outta my Hair, and Some Enchanted Evening.

My Fair Lady, the next featured musical, also furthers gender inequality in the way that Cockney Eliza Doolittle is remodelled by her mentor Henry Higgins to enable her to be passed off as a lady in high society - for a bet! The band played The Street Where you Live, Wouldn't it be Loverly, Get me to the Church on Time and I could have Danced all Night.

The final offering by the band, in a concert dedicated to Musical theatre and film, was, aptly, The Sound of Music. Based on a true story, the musical follows how the Austrian Von Trapp family became a successful singing group under the guidance of their governess, Maria, later their stepmother. As in the previous musical, there is a darker side to the story as the family have to flee the Nazis to find freedom in Switzerland, having been betrayed by Leisel's young man. Memorable songs from this musical included Climb Every Mountain, My Favourite Things, Doh Ray Me and The Sound of Music.

By the end of the concert, the audience had experienced a whirlwind tour of many of the best musicals of the Twentieth Century, and, to remind the audience of this, the encore was Breezin' Down Broadway, a montage of many of the tunes heard throughout the evening.

Norma Ramsay


Creative Scotland

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