Steven Mead with the Boscombe Citadel Band, Bandmaster: Howard J. Evans
- Locomotion ... Norman Bearcroft 8.00
- The Holy Well ... Peter Graham 3.53
- Slavische Fantasie ... Carl Höhne Arr.PeterGraham 6.01
- When he Cometh ...Howard Evans 4.53
- Variants on St. Francis ... David Chaulk
- There Will Be God ... Joy Webb Arr.Richard Phillips
- Banjo and Fiddle ... William Kroll Arr.Thomas Rüedi 3.31
- Deep Inside the Sacred Temple ... Bizet Arr. KeithWilkinson
- We'll All Shout Hallelujah ... Norman Audoire
- My Unchanging Friend ... Ivor Bosanko 6.55
- A Quiet Place (5 part multitrack recording, all S.Mead) ... Arr.Gail Robertson 2.52
- Journey into Peace ... William Himes 7.51
Press release: Locomotion wins the prestigious new Bobo Award for recording excellence
Steven Mead's CD, 'Locomotion' has been given a prestigious award at the recent International Tuba Euphonium Festival in Denver , Colorado. It won the inaugural 'BOBO Award' for recording excellence in the euphonium solo category, presented by the tuba legend Roger Bobo.
The Locomotion CD, subtitled 'A Tribute to my Childhood', is on Steve's own label, Bocchino Music. It was recorded in the spring of 2005 in his home town of Bournemouth with Boscombe Salvation Army Band, and Bandmaster Howard Evans.
Steve writes: "It was such a pleasure to make this recording. It had been on my mind for years to do it, as my days growing up in Bournemouth were such happy ones and the memories of playing with Boscombe never go away. To get this international award for the disc is tremendous and unexpected. I know the Band and Howard Evans will be delighted too."
Steven tells his story behind this recording.
We all carry around with us memories of all our childhood, they shape our attitudes to life, and affect us in many ways that perhaps we don't understand. My happy childhood memories in Bournemouth revolve around the sea, my preoccupation then with fishing, playing a brass instrument and singing. I couldn't honestly tell you which was the most important at any time ! My wonderful family, Mum and Dad (Sylvia and Rex) and brother Andrew and sister Sandra grew up in Ropley Road in Boscombe. Ever present in our lives then were the activities at the Salvation Army. My earliest memories of Sunday morning services were that from around 11.35, as the sermon was beginning Dad would take his restless son (me!) outside the hall in Palmerston Road to stand on the railway bridge to watch the steam trains passing underneath. Our cue to return was the band playing the closing hymn. And what a sound that was! Even as a child of 5 or so I knew I wanted to be involved with that sound, so rich and glorious even if the uniforms and conventions were a little imposing in those days.
My first instrument, an old 'Class A' cornet, was presented to me by YP Band leader Bernard Roberts at about 6pm on a Sunday evening, on the way to a Sunday evening open air meeting I walked alongside the Band as it marched back to the hall that night. My long musical journey had begun. Singing in the 'Singing Company' and playing in the YP Band was a major part of my life with weekly rehearsals, frequent away weekends and often asked to sing solos at big festivals. So I was best known as a boy soprano in those days!! Music at school was pretty poor compared to the experiences I was getting at the Army and so it continued throughout my teenage years. I was always aware of a great tradition with the Band, especially in the bandroom at the old hall, with its distinctive aroma (!) and a sense that things hadn't changed there for about a hundred years. As I young lad I would sit and listen in amazement to the huge sound the band would make during the traditional Sunday afternoon meetings. The late and much-missed Bandmaster Geoff Otter was always so encouraging and always had time to talk about 'the Band'. He was also the visiting percussion teacher at my school and conductor of the Bournemouth Youth Orchestra , where I played a very loud trombone ! He regularly got me on my feet to play solos with Boscombe although I was never principal. Graham Lawrence occupied that chair for many years, with great distinction.
I remember my first ever solo with the Band ,'Ransomed (G.Marshall), was in the Sunday evening meeting at Ealing when Eric Ball was the speaker. Shortly after that was 'We'll All Shout Hallelujah' (Audoire) at a big Methodist church in Bournemouth. The traditional Friday evening summer concerts at Fishermans Walk bandstand stay in the memory, as do my long 'banding' chats with my late grandfather Dick Voak, what a gentleman.
Leaving Bournemouth to study at Bristol University was the big move away, and in the years that followed that I joined the Sun Life Band and a couple of years later accepted the invitation from Howard Snell to join the Desford Band in 1983and the rest, as they say, is history.
Wherever I am in the world I never forget the Boscombe days, and it was great to go 'home' and spend some days and evenings with the band making this recording.
In Salvation Army circles the name Norman Bearcroft has for a long time been synonymous with great euphonium writing, both solos and within band pieces. Composed for Derick Kane and the ISB 1995, Locomotion is based on the old spiritual 'This train is bound for Glory'. Breaking away from the more traditional theme and variation structure, Bearcroft describes the work as "a constant development of the basic melody. The opening bars depict the size and strength of the old-style locomotive as it gathers steam before commencing the journey. Unlike most trains this one takes off at full speed at bar 20 with whistles blowing and wheels pounding on the track. The ride becomes fast and furious, before a contemplative central section gives time to collect strength for the finale which is heralded by the angel's song, Welcome, welcome home!". Click to hear asound clip from this track
The Holy Well
Peter Graham has extracted this wonderful melody from his brass band 'test-piece' On Alderley Edge which was used at the National Brass Band Championships in 1997. The Holy Well is one of the landmarks on the Edge, a very ancient site. The arching melody demonstrates the lyrical art and control of our soloist to perfection. Click to hear asound clip from this track
Carl Hohne (1870-1930) composed Slavische Fantasie in 1899 and since then it has been an immensely popular work for cornet and trumpet players. Its mix of cadenzas, songs and dances, culminating in a rapid gypsy dance has an almost universal appeal. Peter Graham originally arranged for this version with brass band accompaniment for star xylophonist Evelyn Glennie for her CD with the Black Dyke Band. Now euphoniumists get to try their hand at this popular classic, instilling new timbres into the original. Click to hear a sound clip from this track
When He Cometh
Bandmaster Howard Evans writes of this work, "The song from which this melody comes was originally written for one of the Salvation Army Songster Leader's Councils Festival that took place in the Royal Albert Hall in 1989. Whilst the words are often viewed as a children's song, they are very poignant. Although the song formed the basis of a major band work entitled 'Elegiac Variations', I have often been presented with requests for a solo version of the melody. This recording, and the work of Steven, provided the inspiration and impetus to complete a solo version presented here on this disc. I dedicate this solo version to my two lovely daughters, Sarah and Louise.
Variants on St Francis
David Chaulk wrote this for himself to perform, and featured it when he was euphonium soloist of the Canadian Staff Band in the early 1990s. David, who studied composition and euphonium at Asbury College with James Curnow, hails from New Foundland, Canada, but now resides in New Zealand. The familiar hymn tune St. Francis dates from the early 17th-century, appearing in several German chorale collections.
There Will Be God
This wonderful adaptation of the Joy Webb original by pianist/conductor Richard Phillips presents the song There Will be God in a popular style, heralded in at the beginning with impressive full band writing then subsiding quickly away to allow the soloist to 'sing' the melody in the rich middle range of the instrument. The pitch rises at the climax of the song to the words, 'Somewhere amid the confusion, There will be God'. The solo ends dramatically on a high F, somewhat rare within traditional Salvation Army band music! Click to hear a sound clip for this track
Banjo and Fiddle
This technical showstopper was brought to life a few years ago by the Swiss soloist and arranger Thomas Ruedi. Steven couldn't resist recording his own version, accompanied with great skill and precision by his 'old' band. Click to hear a sound clip of this track
Deep Inside the Sacred Temple
The performance of this popular vocal duet, now best known as a euphonium duet in the brass band world, is dedicated to Steve's dad, Rex Mead. Steve writes "I will never be able to fully thank my parents for everything they've done to encourage me with my musical career; they have been there like a rock throughout my life. Dad played tenor horn for most of his banding life until the last 10 years of so then after a short flirtation with the trombone finally moved on the euphonium and hasn't missed a days practice since. Last October (2004) we got play our first ever public duet at a concert in Fordingbridge, near Bournemouth and it was memorable. To be able to introduce this duet (Deep Inside) with so many friends and family present was very emotional. He played it great, of course, and so this one here is for Dad". Click to hear a sound clip of this track
We'll All Shout Hallelujah
Steven played this solo with Boscombe at the age of 16 and so it has a very special place on the CD. Published by the S.A. in December 1945, this work features a famous American Civil War tune by George Root , 'Tramp, Tramp, Tramp, the boys are marching...' to which the Army adapted to sacred texts, a composite of Charles Wesley and others. Norman Audoire was born in the UK, then emigrated to Canada where he was a successful SA bandmaster and composer, especially with the famed Montreal (Quebec) Citadel Band.
My Unchanging Friend
This work was composed by Ivor Bosanko and published in March 1999 . For many years he was the territorial music secretary for the USA Western Territory of the S.A.
The main tune under variation treatment is 'Yesterday, today, for ever, Jesus is the same.' In the middle of the work the composer sets his own prayer song, the words of which begin: 'I want dear Lord, a heart that's pure and clean.'
This vibrant work deserves to be more widely played. Its driving waltz-like main section has great energy and, in typical Bosanko style, features cross rhythms and high solo writing.
A Quiet Place
The band gets a little 3 minute break here. Steve was given this transcription very recently by the talented American euphoniumist and arranger Gail Robertson. The gospel singing group 'Take 6' produced this fabulous adaptation and this 'wordless' version is for multitracked Mead (5 parts) version.
The beautiful lyrics begin with:
"There is a Quiet Place, far from the rapid pace
Where God can sooth my troubled mind.
Sheltered by tree and flower , there in my quiet hour
With Him my cares are left behind."
Journey Into Peace
Steven's music and spiritual journey back to Boscombe S.A. culminates in this masterwork, written by William Himes in the mid-1970s. Since 1977, Mr. Himes has been music director of the Salvation Army's Central Territory, which encompasses the eleven Midwestern states. In this capacity he has also been conductor of the Chicago Staff Band which he has led on many successful tours. He originally composed this solo for himself and played it with various bands. The work is a dramatic tone painting of a personal spiritual pilgrimage, as implied in the title. The tune featured is a SA song by Edward Joy, 'All Your Anxiety.' It begins with the soloist alone on his long journey and ends with a simplistic serenity leaving the listener to ponder their own thoughts as the music subsides.
Conductor Howard J Evans
Born in Abergavenny, Howard Evans began his musical studies on brass at the age of seven. By the time he was aged ten, he was also studying the pianoforte, together with the french horn and violoncello; all of which has resulted in a richly diverse musical career.He graduated with a Mus.B (Hons) degree from the University of Manchester and obtained LRAM, ARCM (Hons) and LTCL diplomas in both piano teaching and performing, as well as brass teaching. Howard continued his piano studies with Sulamita Aronovsky at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, obtaining a Diploma in Performance Studies. As a pianist he also won a place on the Yehudi Menuhin "Live Music Now" Scheme for young performers. He has also recorded a CD entitled "Clair de Lune".Howard has performed and conducted at many venues throughout the United Kingdom, including the Royal Albert Hall, The Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Bridgewater Hall. He has also made regular visits overseas. In 1988 he became the National Bandmaster for the Salvation Army in the United Kingdom until 1992, and after that began to work with championship bands in the UK. Since May 2000 he has been the Director of Music for the Salvation Army in the Netherlands and the conductor of their premier group, the Amsterdam Staff Band. Since April 2002 he has also had the distinction of conducting the Boscombe Band of the Salvation Army.His work with with the Amsterdam Staff Band has drawn great critical acclaim:'Credit and thanks to BM Evans for his fine directing of this band of fine SA musicians who are without a doubt one of the finest brass bands in mainland Europe.' (4barsrest.com)Their latest release, 'Rejoice, the Lord is King', was well received in the brass band press:"The fine opening number sets the scene brilliantly as the band, under Howard Evans, displays the sort of form that has earned it a well deserved reputation for a high standard of performance." British Bandsmen 2nd October 2004.For many years Howard has been a guest conductor at many summer music schools, participating with the training of many young musicians. He has also adjudicated at brass band contests both here in the United Kingdom and in The Netherlands.As well as the demands of this work schedule he also graduated in July 2005 with an MA (Distinction) in Musical Performance, majoring in conducting, from Salford University.