Music in Durham Review: DUCB x DUBB presents The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

29th December 2018

If you're looking for some fun things to do in Durham at Christmas time, one fo the performances you can attend is the Durham University Concert Band/Durham University Brass Band concert held in celebration of Christmas! This was a great performance, showcasing the individual abilities of each band, as well as how well they can collaborate together. Spearheaded by two talented conductors (Sean Moran and Thomas Hicken), the DUCB x DUBB event was an enjoyable night to participate in.

The more traditionally Christmassy elements were well performed - everything from the carols at the end of the night to the the Canadian Brass Christmas medley were all performed with joy and vigor. The guessing game inherent in the medley was also fun to participate in, as it invited the audience to actively listen to the music. This challenge was similarly threaded throughout the performance of the Winter Dances, whereupon one Christmas carol was woven throughout the tune of 'December'. This made it not only a celebratory night of Christmas itself, but the traditions and the music that has surrounded it for decades.

Other unconventional picks were a little more risky. Moran's arrangement of Debussy's 'Reverie' did not suit the acoustics of the Town Hall too well, nor the muffled sounds of the brass instruments playing it. However, the highlight of the night came from the piece least expected to be played - Louis Prima's 'Sing Sing Sing' (performed by the DUBB). It was an uplifting note to end the DUBB's performance on, and even got all the players standing up on their feet and moving about! It was enormous fun to watch, even though it was not Christmas-related in a conventional sense.

I commend all the conductors and the players of the DUBB and the DUCB for providing an entertaining night of celebration, joy and community. Hopefully the performance might be repeated for next year! We can only keep our fingers crossed.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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