We are most grateful to The Bearder Charity for their support of our Christmas Concert
James Savage-Hanford – conductor
Alan Horsey – organ
Morgan Griffiths – Musical Director, Hammonds Band
A wonderful evening of thrilling traditional music for all to sing, enhanced by exciting works from our famous guest band, Hammonds, as well as special Carols by the Choir – a number of which involve audience participation too. Something for all the family. Early booking and arrival is advised for this perennially popular concert – one of the real highlights of the Calderdale Christmas Calendar.
Put the date in your diary now – Saturday 16th December 2023.
Hammonds Band has an impressive pedigree, with an unbroken sequence of 73 years under various names, and roots going back 150 years to when, in 1855, a brass band was formed as one of the amenities for the people of Saltaire. This was one of the famous ‘model villages’ built during the first half of the 19th century by wealthy industrialists and was the brainchild of Sir Titus Salt, a philanthropic mill-owner and one-time Mayor of Bradford.
In recent years the band has contested throughout Europe, recorded numerous CDs and performed at some of the best concert venues in the world as the Yorkshire Building Society Band. Prior to that the band (as Hammonds Sauce Works) enjoyed contest and concert success under the baton of Geoffrey Whitham for nearly 30 years.
Hammonds Band have enjoyed great success on the contest platform. As the Yorkshire Building Society band we were European Champions 8 times in 9 years (1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 & 2004) and have won the British Open and All England Masters on several occasions. Being a Yorkshire band they were proud to be crowned Yorkshire Champions in 1994, 1999 & 2004. In March 2011 we were delighted to yet again be crowned Champions of Yorkshire for the fourth time in their history and the first time with their then name, Hammonds Saltaire.
Under the guidance of our musical director Morgan Griffiths the band are looking forward to a successful future which builds upon the rich heritage of their past. This has recently seen us form a partnership with the multi-instrumentalist Shri Sriram to fuse brass band and traditional Indian music together. As a direct result of this partnership the band has had the chance to perform at the 2015 London Jazz Festival and Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival as an integral part of Shri’s piece, entitled ‘Just a Vibration’. As a result of recording this work with Shri we have also featured on Cerys Matthews’ BBC Radio 6 music show, as well as on the BBC Asian Network. British Airways have also included the CD in their in-flight entertainment system for six months as well as including an article (written by Cerys Matthews) about the project in their in-flight magazine.
On the contest stage 2014 saw the band return to the British Open Championships, gaining a highly credible sixth place. This success has proven to be a building block for the band as 2016 saw us achieve one of our long-term contesting goals of a top six finish in the Yorkshire Area contest. This success has continued in recent years. After two years in lockdown, like all of the bands in the country, Hammonds Band went to the Yorkshire Area after a period of rebuilding the band. After a two year break from contesting and performing we were delighted to come second at the contest, securing a place for us to represent Yorkshire at the National Brass Band Championship of Great Britain, taking place at the Royal Albert Hall in October 2022. The band is also looking forward to returning to the recording studio this year to record a number of our most popular concert tracks. This will be released for purchase on CD and online download later in 2022.
Morgan Griffiths was born in Batley, West Yorkshire into a strong brass banding family. He was taught the cornet in his formative years by his father Edward Griffiths himself a very successful brass band conductor.
After only a short period on cornet Morgan switched to Euphonium and studied with the legendary Black Dyke euphonium player and conductor Geoffrey Whitham, who was to have a major influence on Morgan’s playing style.
In January 1990, after a brief spell with the Hammonds Sauce Works Band, Morgan was the youngest player ever to be appointed principal euphonium of Black Dyke Mills Band where he established an international reputation as one of the finest euphonium players in the world.
It was during this time that Morgan first came under the influence of the brilliant Australian conductor, and later mentor, Professor David King. Whilst at Black Dyke Morgan won two European titles (1990 and 1991) and was a principle soloist in their very successful tour of Japan.
In 1992 he was invited to join the newly named Yorkshire Building Society Band, again working with David King. During this period Morgan became the most successful euphonium player of his generation, winning Five European championships, Three British Open titles, Three All England Masters Championships, and a single English Nationals win along with several Yorkshire area championships. He also won two best soloist awards at the Brass in Concert Championships.
In 1999 Morgan was awarded the much coveted title of ‘International Euphonium Player of the Year’ and it was also the year that saw him record his debut solo CD titled ‘The Voice of the Euphonium’.
In 2002-3 Morgan gained Two National Championship titles with the Williams Fairey Band under Allan Withington as well as being voted the 4BarsRest outstanding instrumentalist and player of the year.
2004 saw Morgan return to YBS band where he gained another All England Masters Championship title as well as being a featured soloist on the bands 2005 ‘Kings of Brass’ tour of Australia, where one of the many highlights was performing a solo in the world famous Sydney Opera House. After this Morgan turned his focus to conducting and musical direction.
In 2007 Morgan was appointed the musical director of the newly named Hammonds Saltaire Band. Since then, Morgan has guided the band through a gradual rebuilding process which now sees the band back in the top prizes at all the countries major competitions, including the British Open Championships from 2014, qualifying for the National Finals in 2011(First Section) and 2017 & 2022 (Championship Section) and leading the band to victory at the 2018 Grand Shield in Blackpool. As well as this the band now makes regular appearances at the Brass in Concert Championships in Gateshead and at the BrassPass TV ‘Band of the Year Competition’.
Under Morgan’s leadership the band have developed a very busy concert programme and have many recordings and cross-cultural projects to its name, this is establishing the bands reputation in the wider music world with projects like ‘Just a Vibration’ where Morgan collaborated with the Indian born artist and composer Shri Sriram. This has seen the band perform at many international music festivals and has been a featured album on BBC Radio 6 and on British Airways international flights. In December 2016 the music won the BASCA British composers award in the Brass & Woodwind Music category.
Morgan works for the Bradford Music & Arts Service as a Specialist Brass Tutor where he aims to inspire the next generation of brass players. In 2011 he formed the Bradford Youth Brass Band, which has already competed at National level with critical acclaim.
In addition to conducting Hammonds Band, Morgan was for 10 years the Music Director of the Bradford Youth Orchestra (BYO). This was a new and exciting venture and one which was extremely rewarding as the orchestra grew in musical stature. During the summer of 2013 the BYO performed its first full Symphony Concert performing Mendelssohn’s Symphony no. 4 ‘Italian’, and in 2014 won the Innovation award for a performance of ‘Celtic Fusion’ at the ‘Music for Youth’ National Festival in Birmingham’s Symphony Hall. Morgan has conducted the orchestra on several very successful concert tours in Germany, Italy, and France.
In 2020 Morgan was appointed as a Senior Lecturer of Euphonium at the prestigious Leeds Conservatoire of Music. Here Morgan intends to inspire the next generation of Euphonium players to ‘find their own voice’. The touchstone of this concept is to create a warm, rich traditional ‘singing’ Euphonium Sound, and apply this with musicality and beauty of phrasing to the latest contemporary Euphonium repertoire.
2021/2 has seen Morgan playing the Euphonium again with the newly formed ‘Champions of Brass’. This is a group which consists of some of the most celebrated players in the Brass Band Movement.