LIVE REVIEW: Halifax Concert Band Christmas Concert, Square Chapel Halifax, 16th December

On a very windy Saturday night it felt right to go and see the only adult wind band in Calderdale - Halifax Concert Band - perform their annual Christmas Concert at the Square Chapel, Halifax. I don’t think this irony was lost on the band members or the audience either!


The Halifax Concert Band was formed in 1979 by former students of Highlands School, Halifax, and have played alongside The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines, The Duke of Wellington’s Regimental Band and The Prince of Wales’ Own Regiment, as well as in France and Germany.

With a membership of 45 highly talented musicians the band perform a varied repertoire of music to cater for all tastes and occasions. This includes classical, popular, light and novelty items, as well as traditional marches. The band have released 3 CDs to date which are available from the band’s website:

The musical director of the band, Christopher Binns is a Halifax born composer, conductor and author, and has been conductor of the band since 1996. Christopher was formerly the musical director of the Halifax Light Opera Society and chair of the Halifax Arts Council. He has written music for the Halifax Concert Band with some pieces specially composed to highlight the solo instrumental talents of members of the band. Christopher’s compositions have been performed widely and the band play some of Christopher’s own arrangements.

The concert started at 7:30pm and Christopher Binns came on to generous applause from the concert goers and launched into a routine of jokes that put everybody at ease and made for a light-hearted atmosphere.

The band began with a melody of carols which out the audience in the Christmassy mood for the rest of the night. The music was up-tempo, bright and played to a high standard with not a single note out of place. The band played enthusiastically and the changes from one carol to another carol during the melody were done seamlessly, which added to the enjoyment of the night.

The next part of the concert involved some audience participation with the singing of the first of the carols, ‘O little town of Bethlehem’. The audience sang enthusiastically and enjoyed being involved.

Another surprise in store for the audience was a raffle. Two of the band members drew seat numbers and there were two prizes. One prize was light-hearted such as a box of matches, and the other a more substantial prize such as some Christmas tree lights.

The concert then had some very special moments with firstly some superb solos in ‘The Prayer’ followed by a one-off performance from the Ladies Choir, conducted by Ann Bartholomew. This performance of ‘But I Give My Song’ was for this concert only and was sung so beautifully that the audience shouted for more! And the choir obliged with a repeat performance.

The concert continued with a mixture of Christmas classics and old favourites played to a very high standard of musicianship. At the end the audience shouted loudly for an encore and the band gave them a rousing performance of the ‘CanCan’ mixed with the ‘William Tell Overture’. The band finished with ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’, with everyone in the audience joining in.

All in all this was the perfect Christmas concert with classic songs performed by very talented musicians to a high standard. It was a event bursting with Christmas spirit and played in a professional but fun way. I highly recommend that you take up any opportunity to listen to the Halifax Concert Band live.

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Andrew Smith is a young 47 year old resident of Queensbury. A diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome at the age of 41 has not stopped him from pursuing a love of writing poetry and short stories. Andrew is a regular performer on the Calderdale poetry circuit and combines his love of writing with running over the moors and dales.