For any brass band, finding the right conductor can be the key to success. The right person will nurture musical talent encouraging musicians to stretch themselves to achieve ever-higher goals in performance. A little over a year ago, when Romsey’s own Michelmersh Silver Band teamed up with its current resident conductor, Gareth Pritchard, it was already enjoying the most successful period in its almost 130 year history. Gareth has travelled from his home in Wales each week to take rehearsals at the band’s Timsbury base, and has brought his own innate Welsh musicality and passion for the brass band repertoire to those rehearsals, pushing the band to new performing heights.
Keen to show off the fruits of this relationship, the band decided to perform a summer concert in the Plaza Theatre, and Gareth put together a programme that pulls off the very difficult balance of being challenging and stimulating for band players, whilst remaining audience-friendly and very entertaining. What nobody could have foreseen when planning for the concert started, was that it is to be Gareth Pritchard’s ‘swansong’ and his last performance on British soil before moving to Florida with his family to begin work promoting and teaching brass band music to school children in the USA.
The ‘Windows of the World’ concert will take the audience through a host of musical styles from around the globe. From the quintessentially English Country Scene by Goff Richards, to Peter Graham’s Gael Force with more than a passing nod to Riverdance, concert-goers will experience glimpses of Japan, the Amazon Rainforest and South America, through the musical ‘Windows of the World’ of the titular piece. Ironically perhaps, given his imminent move to the USA, Gareth has also chosen to include Philip Sparkes’ Barn Dance & Cowboy Hymn along with Leonard Bernstein’s Somewhere from the musical West Side Story in a concert that will clearly show that Michelmersh Band’s loss is very much Florida’s gain.
Windows of the World will be performed at the Plaza Theatre, Romsey on Wednesday 20th May at 7.30pm. Tickets are available online from www.plazatheatre.com or from the Romsey Tourist Information Centre, Church Street, Romsey. 01794 512987