York band and choir reunite for ‘symbolic’ concert
Two of York’s well-loved music ensembles are coming together again after a three-year hiatus to perform at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre on 31 March.
York RI Golden Rail Band and the York Philharmonic Male Voice Choir first performed together at the popular community theatre on 28 February 2020, three weeks before the first national lockdown in the UK.
By the time Covid-19 restrictions had fully lifted, brass bands and choirs across the country were struggling and the band had to work hard to rebuild to full strength.
Nicholas Eastwood, who became conductor of the Golden Rail Band in January 2022, describes the forthcoming concert as “quite a bit more symbolic. The world has endured so much since the original event. For us, the return marks a real feat of will, almost like the definitive reset switch.”
The concert, entitled Sounding Brass and Voices, promises to mark the occasion with innovative programming and music from Sia to Sinatra, providing treats for both contemporary and more traditional tastes.
“There's nothing quite as evocative as a brass band mixed with a male voice choir, and both ensembles will pull on those heartstrings throughout,” said Nicholas.
“However, we always strive to do something a little different somewhere, and this show will do that too. For the band set, we will be putting on a narration, featuring a diverse selection of music from the fifties right through to the mid-2010s, and with soloists on the top of their game.
“One of our solo pieces, Chandelier, features vocalist Rachel Tuckett with the band. I can’t wait to perform it!”
For York Philharmonic Male Voice Choir, Chairman Mike Wash said, "We are very much looking forward to performing once again with the excellent Golden Rail Band.
“Our previous sell-out concert had rave reviews and this year we are performing another two pieces together, as well as our own set.
“Our selection of songs include some we are due to sing in competition in a few week’s time at the Eskdale Choral Festival in Whitby, and we will end with what seems to be an audience favourite, Run, by Snow Patrol.”
Both ensembles have long established roots in the city. York RI Golden Rail Band, which turns 40 next year, is part of the family of brass bands at York RI led by York Railway Institute Band, whose lineage goes back to 1883.
York Philharmonic Male Voice Choir, which is conducted by Musical Director Berenice Lewis, was formed in 1925 and is famous for its televised series of ‘Carols in Kirkgate’ concerts at York Castle Museum, and for being a finalist in the BBC Choir of the Year competition. ‘The Phil’s’ fame continues with recent awards from the Eskdale Choral Competition and its celebrated concert for Ukraine last year, which was livestreamed and enjoyed by audiences from Ukraine, Canada, USA and Jamaica.
Sounding Brass and Voices is at Joseph Rowntree Theatre, Haxby Road, York, on Friday 31 March 2023 at 7.30pm. Tickets are £12 from the box office, tel 01904 50 1935 or online https://www.josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk/