Shildon composers to be celebrated

Shildon composers to be celebrated

The recently formed Friends of The Wizard and The Typhoon are having their first concert to explore some of the locally forgotten music of Shildon composers, Thomas Bulch and rediscovered pieces by George Allan, (as well as some of his still popular best pieces).

Shildon is of course the birthplace and nigh-on lifetime home of George Allan, composer of superb contest marches like The Wizard, brass band marches that are still played today, and many more that have since fallen into the shadows.

A spokesperson for the Friends group told the Crier: “Naturally we’re big fans of the man, but dismayed at how little is really known about him.

“In trying to find out more, we discovered that he wasn’t alone and that his story is just one side of a double story that also features one Thomas Edward Bulch, also born in Shildon but now largely forgotten in the UK.

“His first published work was The Typhoon. However, Thomas Bulch is still a respected name in Australia, where he emigrated in 1884 to become one of the key figures of the Australian banding scene.

Thomas Bulch (far right holding a cornet) with his Melbourne GPO military band.
Thomas Bulch (far right holding a cornet) with his Melbourne GPO military band.

“Allan and Bulch have such common roots it’s impossible to understand one fully without considering the other.

“George Allan was considered by Roy Newsome to be one of the most notable composers of the first 100 years of British brass band music, while Bulch was tremendously influential in raising the standards of the movement and contest scene ‘down under’.

“Between them they make up a huge proportion of County Durham’s contribution to Victorian brass band music.

“We’ve been unearthing what happened, and quite a lot of the music of both.

“We’ve a lot planned, and are in discussions over something much bigger to happen next year in Shildon, but our first step is to hear some of the music. We’re naturally very excited about what we’re doing here, but would like to hope that some others out there may be too.

“Though this first concert will be at the spectacular venue of the Exhibition Hall at Ushaw College near Durham, we’re hoping that Shildon folk curious about just how good these composers were will come along to hear.

There are three pairs of tickets on offer to Crier readers. All you have to do is answer one question

“To help in that respect we’d like to offer an exclusive competition to readers of the Crier.”

The concert takes place at Ushaw College at 7.30pm on Saturday 4th August. Tickets are on sale now at £7 for adults and £2 for under 18s from Dave Reynolds on 07967 202583.

There are three pairs of tickets on offer to Crier readers. All you have to do is answer one question: Which two George Allan marches are named on the commemorative stone opposite the Town Square?

Email your answers to crier@swd.news or post them to Shildon Town Crier, Town Council Building, Civic Hall Square, Shildon, DL4 1AH.

Remember to include your full name, address and contact details. Winners will be chosen on 27th July.


For more on the history of of Shildon’s famous composers, see The Wizard and the Typhoon website, produced by the Friends of the Wizard and Typhoon.

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