Farewell to Kneller Hall

We spent four days last week with musicians from the Royal Corps of Army Music at Kneller Hall in London.
The Grade II listed building has been the home of Army music since 1857, originally formed by Field Marshall HRH The Duke of Cambridge, then Commander in Chief of the British Army. The School is famous with military musicians throughout the world and incidentally, there is also a fine public house outside the school gates bearing the Commander’s name! 
In January 2016 the government announced its decision to sell the site as part of the MoD’s drive for greater efficiency and alternative plans have since been made for the administration and musical training.
We were providing the sound recording facilities for the British Army’s forthcoming video presentation ‘Farewell to Kneller Hall’. This project features not only the musicians but also the impressive grounds of the building.
The musical content recorded includes the British Army Jazz Orchestra, a marching display with The Band of the Household Cavalry and a fifty-two piece Combined Wind Ensemble.
We very much look forward to the final product which will be featured on the Royal Corps of Army Music’s Youtube channel.

‘Lamplighter’ 2nd Rossendale Scout Group Band MHP 120

We have completed our latest recording project with the 2nd Rossendale Scout Group Band who are based in Bacup in Lancashire.

The original recording took place in early March of last year before all the current problems with coronavirus. However, we have undertaken some considerable post-production work which includes tracks by the Bacup born international opera singer, Sean Ruane.

Also featured in the album are two fine solo items and two specifically commissioned works. Both these works are by composer Dan Price who now lives and works in East Lancashire.

The title track, ‘Lamplighter’, a reflective piece uses as a source three poems one of which is by the first world war poet Siegfried Sassoon.

‘Flanders Fields’ was commissioned by the Band in 2014 to commemorate the centenary of the Great War. It uses a chorale as the basis of the musical content. The work starts with a narration of an extract from a letter from a father to his son.  The original letter belongs to the family of a Band member.

You can hear ‘Flanders Fields here, https://soundcloud.com/user-152351074/flanders-fieldswav

Learn more about the 2nd Rossendale Scout Group Band here.

You can also buy the CD at our on-line shop.

“Let’s Swing for Xmas” Berrytones Big Band Christmas recording

Within twenty eight days of returning from our visit to Germany and despite all the travel, tier 3 and social distancing issues, the Berrytones Big Band Christmas recording “Let’s Swing for Xmas” has been finalised and dispatched for manufacture.

It features seventeen ‘big band’ tracks with great vocal numbers and it will make a ‘refreshing’ Christmas present. There is also a bonus if you wait a while!

The Band is based in Bad Bentheim in south-west Germany. It is led by Andrew Berryman, the former principal trombone with the Halle Orchestra now an established conductor and educator based in Cornwall.

Copies of the CD are available to order now from the Berrytones Big Band’s website and they will be here for the Christmas holiday.

As an encouragement to consider a purchase you can listen here to a couple of the tracks.

‘Joy To The World’, composed by the American Lowell Mason, features as the opening track in the album, https://soundcloud.com/user-152351074/joy-to-the-world.

‘Wonderful Dream’ is the song made famous by the Coca-Cola Christmas promotional campaign, https://soundcloud.com/user-152351074/wonderful-dream. It is sung here by the fabulous Chananja Schulz. It also happens to be my personal favourite track!


Our return to music recording

"Let's Swing for Xmas" Berrytones Big Band recording
Live session with the Berrytones Big Band

Our long-awaited Berrytones Big Band Christmas music recording has finally been made.

We have just returned from a long-overdue commitment in our recording schedule which involved some considerable logistical and operational planning.

The Berrytones Big Band was founded four years ago and is based in the beautiful town of Bad Bentheim in Lower Saxony Germany, some 20km from the border with The Netherlands.

The Band is directed by Andrew Berryman, the established conductor, trombonist and bagpiper. Andy now lives in Cornwall but continues to work with orchestras and musical ensembles in the UK, Europe and the Middle East.

This first recording by the Berrytones features Christmas music and will be launched at their annual ‘Let’s Swing for X-Mas Concert’. It features a selection of classic big band arrangements including a number of outstanding vocal numbers with Chananja Schulz and Stefan Paßerschroer. This is certainly a CD to look forward to!

In these somewhat troubling times, the recording took place within a well organised and secure environment at the Performing Arts Theatre in the nearby town of Schüttorf

Many thanks to Stephan Jansen for his organisational skills, to Andy Berryman, all the musicians for their contribution and to Neil Frost for the use of his photographs.


Lancashire Fusiliers family history

Lancashire Fusiliers regimental badge
Regimental Badge of the Lancashire Fusiliers

During these somewhat strange times where the business has been ‘less than muted’, I have been actively engaged in researching my father’s army service during WW2.

Seth Farrington (born 2nd August 1915 died 24th April 1970), Army Number 3458346 enlisted at Rochdale aged 24 on the July 1st 1940 joining the Lancashire Fusiliers and following initial training he served with the 11th Battalion.

Like many others, he very rarely spoke about his service life and these recollections were invariably his musical exploits with the Regimental Band, not entirely dissimilar to the many ‘Band Tours’ I and so many of my friends have experienced. Of course, this research has shown that his service life was nothing like that.

On the 11th July 1941, the 11th Battalion sailed for an unknown destination, firstly to Gibraltar where they transferred to the Cruiser HMS Edinburgh to be taken to Malta. They docked in Valetta some two weeks later and took their place in defending the island until the 21st May 1944 when the Battalion disembarked at Naples to begin fighting the Germans in Italy. From there they went on to Palestine.

Dad was a competent trombonist and I always, wrongly, thought that he joined the army as a musician. I have now recovered from the loft two musical instruments, his Hawkes and Son ‘The Empire” trombone and a Boosey & Hawkes “Aeroform” Regent Bb/A trumpet. This was given to me as a youngster by a family friend and former army colleague I always knew as ‘Uncle Frank’ Buckley.

Both instruments have now been beautifully restored by a colleague, Keith Preston, whose father, coincidentally, also served in the same battalion as dad at that time. These were purchased from a music shop in Valetta Malta, now closed, when the 11th Battalion was posted there and are stamped ‘P Carabott Sole Agent Malta’. From the serial numbers, they were second hand when purchased.

The band photographs were found on display by my brother when he visited the National War Museum in Valetta some years ago and both show dad and ‘Uncle Frank’ with the instruments.

The photograph of the instruments with the damaged trombone case recalls one of dad’s much-repeated stories when he claimed they were pushing a handcart bearing all the instruments across the airfield near Birkirkara. They were forced to abandon them as three Stuka dive bombers attacked the landing strip and when they returned for the instruments his precious trombone was embedded in the handcart wheel!

The research continues and many thanks to Geoff Pycroft, Researcher and Archivist for the Lancashire Fusiliers web site, Sgt Dick Tracey at the Band of The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, Lt Col David Barringer MBE, Principal Director of Music at the British Army, Keith Preston for his work and Catherine and Phyl for the photographs.

Any contributions, advice or corrections are welcome and should you read this far, many thanks for your interest.

Finally, a belated happy ‘Fathers Day’ and ‘Armed Forces Day’ dad, albeit I think of you far more often. Please have a listen here to the Regimental Quick March of the Lancashire Fusiliers. 

You can view all the relevant photographs by visiting our Facebook page.

Seth Farrington

‘Reverence’ Rebecca Nelson and the Band of the Welsh Guards

We have had a number of enquiries recently about the progress of our recording earlier this year with the Band of the Welsh Guards

We spent four days in London in April with the Band and Rebecca Nelson, the New Zealand soprano, laying down tracks for her album ‘Reverence’. Rebecca returned home to put the vocals on these tracks and the CD has just been released in New Zealand.

As a snippet, you can see and hear the final product in the track ‘World in Union’. Rebecca is joined here by the New Zealand operatic baritone, Moses Mackay and the The Manukau Police Choir.

All proceeds from the sales of the CD will be donated to charity, Te Kiwi Māia – The Courageous Kiwi Charitable Trust in New Zealand and Help for Heroes in the United Kingdom.

The CD will be available here in June of next year.

‘Fraternity’ Woodfalls Band MHP719

We have completed the work on our latest project, ‘Fraternity’, the CD we recently recorded in Hampshire with the Woodfalls Band. It is now at the factory awaiting production and is due for release early next month and certainly in time for Christmas!

In addition to six fine solo contributions there is music by Peter Graham, Jonny Bates and the wonderful Salvation Army march ‘Goldcrest’.  

The highlight of the recording is the CD’s title track, Thierry Deleruyelle’s commemorative music used for the 2016 European Brass Band Championships. The piece marks the anniversary of the Courrières mining disaster which occurred in Northern France in 1906 claiming the lives of over 1000 miners.

You can learn more about the band and purchase CDs by visiting their website here or by following them on Facebook.

You can also listen to the final section of the ‘Fraternity Prayer’ here:-https://soundcloud.com/user-152351074/fraternity-prayer

‘Fraternity’ Woodfalls Band MHP719

brass band CD recording of the Woodfalls Band at the Lighthouse Theatre Mountbattan School Romsey, October 2019

We have returned from three days recording in Romsey in Hampshire working with the Championship Section Woodfalls Band.

Recorded at the Lighthouse Theatre at the Mountbatten School, the CD project is based around Thierry Deleruyelle’s magnificent descriptive composition, ‘Fraternity. The music was written specifically for the European Brass Association Championships in 2016.

This work commemorates the 110th anniversary of the mining disaster of Courrières in northern France where  a coaldust explosion – the cause of which is not known with certainty – devastated the coal mine on the 10th of March 1906 causing the death of some 1,099 workers.

Amongst other titles included in the project are six fine solo contributions together with works by Peter Graham and Jonny Bates.

The CD will be available in time for Christmas and you can read all about the Band’s activities on their website and Facebook pages.

‘Reverence’ Rebecca Nelson and the Band of The Welsh Guards

In April of this year we spent four days in London with the Band of The Welsh Guards. We were based at Wellington Barracks where we recorded a number of ‘backing tracks’ with the Band for the New Zealand based professional singer Rebecca Nelson.

The talented young kiwi musician enlisted as a reservist in The Royal New Zealand Navy in 2013 to serve her country in voice as the official singer for the Royal New Zealand Navy Band. She has, in that capacity, performed throughout the world at many commemorative events. 

Rebecca has since returned to New Zealand where she has completed the vocal tracks. Next month she will release her CD ‘Reverence’, initially in New Zealand with a UK launch here in the New Year.

Proceeds from sales in New Zealand will be donated to TE KIWI MĀIA charity – The Courageous Kiwi Charitable Trust and in this country to Help for Heroes.

In all, some twenty two tracks were recorded for the album and you can learn more by keeping in touch with Rebecca’s website and through her Facebook page.

‘Christmas’ Rushen Silver Band MHP119

front cover of latest CD by Rushen Silver Band

Our latest recording project has been completed and is now en route to the factory for manufacture.

‘Christmas’ is the brand new brass band recording by the Isle of Man based Rushen Silver Band. This is our third project with them.

We spent four days on the island in February of this year and have fond memories of our time there. Of particular interest were the logistical problems caused by ‘Storm Erik’ which, at times, caused some problems with the recording schedule!

Rushen Silver Band is based in the south of the Isle of Man and is a thriving organisation  which includes a healthy Training Band. This Band, Ballafesson Brass is validated by the Isle Of Man’s Children’s University. They are supported by an active ‘Friends Group’ an enthusiastic group of people who help to raise money and support the Band.

The CD will be launched at the Band’s 70th Anniversary Gala Concert on Saturday 19th of October 2019. On this occasion the Band will be conducted by the inimitable Richard Evans, who regularly spends time on the Island with them.

To learn more about the Band’s work please visit their website where you will be able to purchase the CD. Take some time to have a look at their informative and regular Rushen Silver Band Newsletter, indeed subscribe to it.

You can also join them on Facebook.