Excited fans join in band concert for kids

Date: Friday 25th October 2019

MORE than 160 excited music fans crammed into Kirkby Stephen Parish Church for the new venture of the town’s silver band — a concert aimed at a family audience. And what a thrilling afternoon it was.

As soon as the band struck up their opening number, Let It Go, from the film Frozen, children were singing, clapping and dancing in the aisles, and to the delight of long-standing supporters of the band, they kept it up through selections from Harry Potter, The Greatest Showman and an explosive mix of Disney hits.

Everyone was shocked and delighted by the appearance of Darth Vader (played in costume by junior band member Liam Shields) during the music used for the TV series The Apprentice, and amazed by Gordon Kay’s trombone wizardry in The Acrobat.

Particular praise goes to the band’s musical director, Ian Simkins, for his piece for narrator and band, Little Red Riding Hood. Narrated by David Leathes, and with band members in different coloured clothing and headgear to show which characters in the story they were playing, this enchanting musical fairy tale was being given its premiere performance and set the theme for the whole concert — with promotional artwork from Sarah Harvey, and costumed band members guiding people to their seats.

During the specially extended interval, scores of children tried out brass and percussion instruments, and were invited to join in with the music in various ways during the concert.

Kirkby Stephen Silver Band chairman John Ockenden said: “We didn’t know what would happen if we put on a concert specifically aimed at children and families. But we’ve been delighted with the response — this was our biggest audience for years.

“We set out to show that brass bands can appeal to a younger audience, and while it doesn’t mean we’ll pitch all of our concerts this way (we won’t be neglecting our traditional supporters), we’ll certainly be aiming to put on some similar events in the future.”