Gary's collaboration with Ferryhill Town Band began in November 2017, when he approached them directly to perform the backing track to his revised version of 'The Durham Light Infantry' in a new brass band arrangement with updated lyrics, as part of his commission by the DLI Research and Study Centre for 'When the Bugle Calls', a travelling exhibition about the music of The Durham Light Infantry [see Blog].
The brass was arranged by Iain Petrie at Awake Music! and scored by Sam Lord. It was both a nervous and exciting moment handing the finished score to the band at one of their rehearsal sessions and hearing them play through the track for the very first time [see Blog]. Following a couple of further brief rehearsals, a backing track was recorded live at Mainsforth and District Institute, Ferryhill Station, County Durham on 28th November 2017. Two days later, Gary and Iain reconvened at the Awake Music! studio, where Gary recorded the vocal track. As soon as Iain had completed a final mix, the finished recording was presented to the DLI Research and Study Centre to be included in the 'When the Bugle Calls' exhibition in time for its official launch event at Bishop Auckland Town Hall on 5th December 2017. It had all happened very quickly against a very tight deadline but everyone was delighted with the results.
On Tuesday 5th December 2017, at Bishop Auckland Town Hall, two members of the Ferryhill Town Band, Steven King (Euphonium) and Andrew Potts (Cornet), joined Gary and a number of other musicians on stage, including Iain Petrie, Mick Tyas and Jake Lucas, to perform the song 'Euphonium and Cornet', after only a single short rehearsal session the previous night [see Blog], at the launch event for 'When the Bugle Calls'. Gary, with Iain and Mick supplying backing vocals, also performed 'The Durham Light Infantry', singing along to the Ferryhill Town Band's instrumental backing track, as well as a couple of other songs from the project.
'From Coalfield to Battlefield' is Gary's 2018 project, developed directly from 'When the Bugle Calls'. Originally conceived as a 5-track EP containing the four songs Gary initially wrote for 'When the Bugle Calls' ('The Durham Light Infantry', 'Euphonium and Cornet', 'Ballad of Lance Sergeant William Stones' and 'The Final Letter of Jimmy Durham'), plus an instrumental version of 'The Durham Light Infantry', further songs are currently in development to expand the project into a full-length album packaged in a Deluxe Book enhanced by a series of illustrations by Helen Temperley at Winkin Bitsy, and an hour-long concert performance, hopefully to include further contributions form the Ferryhill Town Band. Watch this space!...
In the meantime, for further information about 'From Coalfield to Battlefield' click here.
To coincide with the launch of 'When the Bugle Calls', Whippet Records released 'The Durham Light Infantry' by Gary Miller & The Ferryhill Town Band (WPTCD26) as the first advance single to be taken from 'From Coalfield to Battlefield', featuring both vocal and instrumental versions of the song and with front cover artwork featuring Helen Temperley's beautiful illustration commissioned specially to accompany the song.