Tuesday 18th June saw Onchan Silver Bands first concert at the Villa Marina Arcade in 2013. It was also the occasion for a number of other firsts within the band. Most notably, this was the first concert under the guidance of their new conductor David Mapp, since he was appointed to the post earlier in the year. David had led the band on a couple of marches during his time at OSB, but had not yet had chance to oversee a concert. The band took the opportunity to start fulfilling the aims laid out in David Mapps “Manifesto”

he set out when first he took charge, specifically:

  1. Incorporate unfamiliar music into our repertoire
  2. Initiating collaborative projects with other artists

In what was an extremely contrasting and varied programme, the band combined traditional brass band pieces such as “Men of Harlech” with more surprising numbers – This concert was the venue for the first ever performance of a brand new arrangement (by the bands new conductor) of Olivier Messiaens “intermide” from his “Quatuor pour la fin du temps” (quartet for the end of time). This was very much a departure from the bands usual repertoire but is something they have been working on for some time now as part of their new objectives. Messiaen produced the work while he was a prisoner of war during World War 2. He composed it while guarded by (and using paper and pencil provided by) a sympathetic German. It was written for the 4 musicians that were inside the prisoner of war camp and avoided using notes on certain strings/keys that were missing from the decrepit instruments they had available to them.

In an evening full of surprises for the audience, Onchan Silver also premiered a brand new composition by Mr. Mapp he named “Three Clouds Over the Calf”. Inspired by the ever changing forms over the beautiful Manx coast line, with clouds and horizon merging creating new shapes and moods, this was a piece that broke free from the classic forms of Brass Band music. Requiring no time signature or even direction from the Conductor, the band were the base for some intricate improvisation by guest Harpist Lily Wolter. Lily is a very talented and versatile musician who’s usual band (“Your Gold Teeth”) have been described in the press as “ Delicate intelligent grunge “! – You can find them on Facebook HERE .


It was clear to all present, that under the guidance of their new Musical Director, the Band is shaping itself a new identity and style. However, to conclude the night’s entertainment, they stayed very much in line with tradition – Finishing with former conductor Paul Dunderdale’s arrangement of “Ellan Vannin”.

Onchan Silver Bands next Villa Marina concert is on Tuesday 6th August and we’d love for you to join us there ... could be a few more surprises yet! ...


*Thanks to Pawel Garczynski for the photos.

You can find more pictures on the bands Facebook page HERE .