Defending 2015 champions Besses o’ th’ Barn Band, under the baton of guest conductor Mareika Gray, delighted judges and a packed audience in the Holmfirth Picturedrome on Saturday 19 November 2016 with its playing, choice of music, and its all-round entertainment value. Besses took second prize in the latest round of a Yorkshire entertainment contest, Brass Factor, where the results are decided by audience voting rather than the panel of judges.
The band’s own-choice programme featured music exclusively from British composers. Opening with Joy, Peace and Happiness from the pen of Salvation Army composer Richard Phillips, each section of the band was allowed to showcase in turn as the music built to a climax. Next on the stand was a stirring rendition of the traditional march, Colonel Bogey, composed in 1914 by Lieutenant F J Ricketts (alias Kenneth J Alford), a British Army bandmaster who later became the director of music for the Royal Marines at Plymouth.
The tempo slowed as the band’s smoother side was displayed in a cornet section feature, using a richly scored arrangement of Paul McCartney’s classic song, Yesterday. Principal Cornet Kenny Pain then entertained the crowd, accompanied by the band, in Ray Farr’s expansive arrangement of McCartney’s title track for the James Bond film, Live and Let Die. The programme concluded with an early New Year present for the judges and audience in the shape of a foot tapping, up-tempo arrangement of the traditional melody Auld Lang Syne.