Fodens Patrons Concert

Posted by Mark Wilkinson on 23 February 2010

Fodens band and their legion of patrons made their way to the traditional background of the Sandbach school on Tuesday 16th February for their annual patrons concert.
The patrons of the band have rapidly risen to in excess of 500, all of whom chose to attend the sell-out concert despite biting cold weather to hear a truly magnificent concert.
All 500 were involved in the set-list for Fodens' recently released "Patrons' Choice III" which inspired the programme for the rather epic concert that was about to befall them.
With the crowd buzzing with anticipation and a number of stalls at the back of the hall, including band memorabilia on sale - such as bags, t-shirts and calendars, the band took to the stage reveling in the excitement that surrounded them. 
With the band on stage, and their prestigious conductor, Mike Fowles at the helm, the opening march "Imperial Echoes" instilled in the patrons' minds the band's status as Brass in Concert Champions.
Following this march, the band showed control, technique and an immense sound that eminated from the bass section in "The Merry Wives of Windsor Overture." The soloists were given a brief showcase throughout this piece, but the patrons were yet to experience them individually.
The band's enigmatic principal cornet, Mark Wilkinson, who is celebrating his 18th year as a member of the band played "I Dreamed a Dream" in response to a request from a couple celebrating their silver wedding anniversary. The Les Miserables classic was received warmly by the appreciative audience who also showed their gratitude to Fodens' long standing hero and his service.
Les Neish exercised the phenomenal control and tone that has earnt him a reputation as one of the greatest tuba players in the world with his rendition of "Serenade from the Student Prince" where he really did make the instrument sing.
Jimmy Charles, former baritone player and current librarian and friend of the band was presented with a framed copy of Patrons' Choice III in which there is a dedication to his late wife, Louise, from Mark Wilkinson. Louise helped the band throughout her life, something which Jimmy continues to do and her contribution to the band has undoubtedly meant a bright future for them. Jimmy showed his gratitude calling the band his "family" sentiments echoed by the band when they dedicated the awe-inspiring hymn-like tune, "Reverend Archie Beaton" to Louise' memory. The audience responded with a moment of silent reflection followed by a round of applause which thanked the band for their beautiful dedication and showed their gratitude for a person who gave the band and the world something to be truly thankful for and proud of. In the words of Mark Wilkinson, she will be sadly missed and forever remembered every time the band raise their insruments to their lips.
Helen Williams performed an astounding film music solo which left the patrons spellbound, Chuck Mangione's "Children of Sanchez" whilst her husband Glyn wowed the crowd with his equally epic "Varied Mood."
Andrew Rolfe, the band's secretary and John Barber, the band's chairman, made speeches of thanks to the presidents, vice presidents and patrons whose support throughout the year had been unwaivering and was instrumental in securing the band so that the players only had to focus on making breathtaking music, the likes of which was on show tonight.
Someone who required a special word of thanks was a man who had travelled from Armagh in Northern Ireland that morning to narrate in Andy Scott's "Battle of Barossa" in this very concert, Ivor Stevenson. Despite planning and ensuring the running of the band's annual trip to Armagh that has been going on for 10 years now, Ivor has consistently shown his support to the band as a patron and in this respect as an accomplished narrator. The band had a special surprise for their friend, Ivor, in the form of a presentation of an honourary vice president-hood to him. Ivor gave a speech to show how grateful and proud he was to have the honour bestowed on him and would relish the opportunity.

The concert also gave the band chance to vote for their 'Player of the Year' and 'Bandsperson of the Year'. This years awards went to Mark Wilkinson and Natsumi Inaba

Following a series of awards for youth patrons, the numbers of which are expanding as quickly as their senior counterparts, including an award of a free 1-hour lesson with one of the band's renowned soloists, the band were prepared for their finale, Phillip Sparke's "Music of the Spheres." The piece cemented the band's vision for the future in performance and in it's message, to go into the future with strong foundations and heads held high.
Chris Wild

Foden's band maintains a world class reputation for providing entertainment in the field of brass music with a tradition and unique style Mark Wilkinson