Welcome to our March concert featuring some of the most popular music from films and musicals. This promises to be an exciting and enjoyable performance that offers something for everyone. Much of this music exists in both stage musical and film versions so there is bound to be something you will recognise in tonight’s programme. Sit back and let your imagination conjure up the pictures as we take you on a journey from New York to the streets of London via Mexico and Russia, and from the early 1900s to the 21st century.
•Dancing Through Life
•No Good Deed
•No One Mourns The Wicked
The musical Wicked was an instant smash hit when it was released on Broadway in 2003. With music by Stephen Schwartzand words by Winnie Holtzman it was loosely based on the novel by Gregory Maguire. It has continued to be performed on the Broadway stage since 2003, only brought to a temporary halt by the Covid pandemic. In a clever plot twist the show reimagines the story of The Wizard of Oz from the rather different viewpoint of the Wicked Witch of the North, providing an entertaining tale for all the family. Wicked claims to be Broadway’s most popular stage show, with larger audience numbers each week than any other musical.
The story is based around the relationship between the two main characters as it is affected by differences in personality and love rivalry. Universal themes of government corruption and animal activism also feature, further challenging the fragile relationship. The music is similarly powerful and dramatic, with some beautiful epic melodic themes. Fun fact: Ariana Grande will feature in a two part film version of the musical, to be released on Christmas day in 2024 and 2025.
This excellent arrangement for wind orchestra by Jay Bocook presents some of the most popular and memorable music from the stage show in a moving medley perfect for the concert stage.
The composer Eric Whitacre wrote the original song for voice and piano at the invitation of a film studio, which had planned to make an animated movie based on the Kipling’s classic children’s tale The White Seal. The Seal Lullaby was to provide the opening to the film as a mother seal sings softly to her little pup. In the event the studio decided to make a completely different type of film instead, so this gentle, beautiful song never made it to the big screen.
The piece now exists in a choral version and in this wonderful arrangement for wind orchestra. Although the song never featured in the planned film it has a filmic quality and a dreamlike mood so we hope you will excuse us stretching tonight’s theme to include it!
Leonard Bernstein and Steven Sondheim’s popular and groundbreaking musical West Side Story premiered in 1957 to great critical acclaim and box office success. It offered a novel interpretation of the Romeo and Juliet story set in the streets of New York where rival teenage gangs The Sharks and The Jets fight for power and the young lovers Tony and Maria long for a future together. The true life theme of social unrest between different sections of the community and the love story that links the opposing gangs make this a very powerful story.
As well as being a stage musical, West Side Story can also be enjoyed in two feature film versions; the original and timeless 1961 film directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, and the new version by Steven Speilberg released in 2021. Fun fact: Rita Moreno, who played Anita in the original movie, was an executive producer on the later film and also appeared as a completely new character, the widow of the drug store owner Doc.
The composer was heavily influenced by the jazz music of the time and Latin American dance styles such as Mambo and Cha-Cha, full of energetic rhythms and drive. Bernstein conjures up a vibrant soundscape with an expanded percussion section including an array of Latin percussion instruments and even a police whistle! There are also the familiar romantic numbers Somewhere and Maria, which features in the Cha-Cha section.
In early 1961 Bernstein revisited his score for West Side Story and selected nine sections that would form the Symphonic Dances. Rather than being separate movements the sections progress seamlessly from one to the next, creating a continuous dance suite. The sequence of the dances was chosen to work musically rather than to tell the story, so doesn’t follow the order of the show.
• Wedding Dance #1 (The Bottle Dance)
• Perchik And Hodel Dance
• Chava Sequence
• To Life – Dance
The musical Fiddler on the Roof opened in 1964 on Broadway with music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Shedon Harnick and script by Joseph Stein. Set in Imperial Russia in the early years of the 19th century it tells the story of Tevye, a village milkman who tries to maintain his Jewish traditions in the face of new outside influences. His daughters wish to marry for love, introducing increasingly unsuitable husbands-to-be in the eyes of their traditional father.
The Broadway show was both critically acclaimed and a huge box office success, and was the longest running show for a decade before being overtaken by Grease. It won no fewer than nine Tony Awards, including for best musical, score, book, direction and choreography. A film followed in 1971, directed by Normal Jewison, which was similarly successful, winning three Academy Awards and two Golden Globes.
Chaim Topol, the actor world famous for creating the role of Tevye in both the stage and film versions of the musical, sadly died earlier this month aged 87. Known by his surname alone, the actor and the part were inseparable. He played the character in over 3500 stage performances over five decades as well as in the film, for which he won a Golden Globe. We would like to dedicate tonight’s performance to his memory.
• Intro Sweeney Todd
• No Place Like London
• A Barber and His Wife
• The Worst Pies in London
• My Friends
• Pirelli's Miracle Elixir
• Pretty Women
• Not While I'm Around
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a musical by Steven Sondheim with words by Hugh Wheeler and is based on a play of the same name by Christopher Bond. The production tells the Victorian story of the eponymous barber and serial killer who murders his clients and makes them into pies, assisted by his female accomplice and pie shop owner Mrs Lovett.
Having seen the play, Sondheim recognised that the addition of music would greatly enhance the drama and impact of the story, resulting in a much more powerful experience for the audience. Fun fact: Over 80 percent of the production is set to music! Released in 1979 on Broadway and the following year in London’s West End, the stage show won the Tony Award for best musical and the Olivier Award for best new musical.
The musical also exists in a critically acclaimed film version from 2007 directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp as the Demon Barber and Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs Lovett.
Danzón No.2 by the Mexican composer Arturo Márquez is one of the most popular and often performed pieces of contemporary classical music from Mexico. It was received its premiere in 1994 and featured in the European and American tour by Gustavo Dudamel and the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra from Venezuela in 2007, including an appearance at The Proms, launching the work on the world stage. Originally written for orchestra, the work has become equally popular in its wonderful arrangement for wind orchestra by Oliver Nickel that we are playing tonight.
Danzón is a popular style of Mexican dance with its roots in Cuban music and features great Latin rhythms as well as beautiful tunes and orchestral colours. The piece starts with a poignant melodic theme underpinned by a precise rhythmic pattern. As it progresses, the music takes on different characters and moods through changes in rhythm, dynamics and orchestration. It is full of drama and excitement, guaranteed to provide a strong feelgood factor!
Unlike other pieces in our programme, this piece was not written for a film but a short film was subsequently created around it, showcasing the golden age of danzón while paying homage to the golden age of Mexican cinema. Fun fact: The composer plays a cameo part in the film as a dance hall pianist!
Keiron was born in Aberdeen and studied trumpet and keyboard at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester where he started both a light orchestra and big band. His career has multiple strands: musical director, composer, performer, teacher.
Keiron currently directs Yorkshire Wind Orchestra (1994 – ) which he has brought to its present level of excellence, Nottingham Symphonic Winds (2006 – ) with whom he has produced many excellent concerts and recordings, and Phoenix Concert Band (2003 – ) which he has developed into a high-quality community wind band. He has worked with many other groups including Harlequin Brass, Leeds Conservatoire Wind Orchestra, Nottingham Symphony Orchestra, the National Saxophone Choir of Great Britain and numerous chamber ensembles throughout the UK and Europe as part of a diverse and rich schedule of conducting. Keiron approaches each group differently according to its particular character, capabilities, ambition and rehearsal schedule!
Keiron is a prolific composer producing unique and exciting new music across an eclectic mix of styles. Some of these works are written specifically for the groups he directs or as commissions for other ensembles. Others are intended to be enjoyed on Soundcloud.
Keiron has worked extensively as a freelance performer from performing in a chamber orchestra in Bridlington sightreading 12 concerts a week, to work with the Scottish Ballet Orchestra, London Festival Ballet, Welsh Opera, Scottish National Orchestra and the BBC Northern Radio Orchestra. Keiron also established the Keiron Anderson Orchestra and completed several years working on cruise ships followed by a period in Spain before returning to the UK and performing all over the country with artists such as Cannon and Ball, Ronnie Corbett, Bob Monkhouse, Little and Large, Frankie Vaughan and many more.
Keiron’s teaching experience includes 10 years as a peripatetic teacher of brass and composition, three years as Head of the Ilkley Music Centre and 18 years as Head of Music, then Head of Creative Arts at Ilkley Grammar School.