Fodens in Armagh

Posted by Mark Wilkinson on 14 February 2013


On the 8th February Foden’s band made its now annual pilgrimage to Northern Ireland as guests of the Armagh Old Boy’s Brass Band. Now in its 13thconsecutive year, this trip is one of the undoubted highlights of Foden’s hectic concert schedule.

The 1st concert of the weekend was on the Friday night which saw Fodens share the stage at the Market Place Theatre, Armagh with the Armagh Old Boy’s band as well as a local school choir. This concert also launched the sale of the bands latest cd 'Patrons Choice 6 ' as well as the 'Fodens Double Champions DVD' recorded live at Manchester Cathedral.

Saturday morning / afternoon and the band were back on stage as they were to perform as the backing for 20 highly talented youngsters who’s ages ranged from 9 to 19. The soloists were of mixed ability from those who were just starting out in their banding careers and had chosen their respective solos wisely to show off their undoubted talent, whilst others showed great maturity and understanding of the music they chose. When a 15 year old plays the cornet solo “Cleopatra” note perfect you know you have heard something special. With a lot of gusto and a total lack of fear, each and every single one of these soloists shone whilst the band provided sympathetic backing and encouragement to a very appreciative audience. These youngsters must be commended for their approach and sheer enthusiasm. It was quite contagious! The bravery shown in standing up and performing a solo with a band such as Foden’s was outstanding. The future of banding across the Irish Sea is blossoming and is in good hands it seems! Once again, in-between the morning’s rehearsal and the afternoon concert, the band and the young soloists were shown the kind of hospitality that has become synonymous with this trip.
The evening concert belonged to Foden’s who put on a concert of current repertoire featuring tracks from their latest cd “Patrons choice 6” and highlighted yet again the fabulous array of soloists that the band currently have including Mark Wilkinson, Glyn Williams, Helen williams, Lesley Howie, Stewart Baglin and Natsumi MacDonald.
As the final notes finished ringing around the fantastic hall after 7 hours of playing on the Saturday the large and appreciative audience poured out in to the brisk Irish air with smiles on their faces, it dawned on the band that yet another fantastic weekend of music making was over far too soon. Plans are now well underway for the ever popular and well attended Armagh summer school in August and it is an event that can’t come soon enough!
As has always been the case with this trip, Ivor Stephenson and his dedicated team of helpers must be thanked for their hospitality, communications and organisation. Without them, the trip would not have been possible.
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