Pals festive reunion

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TWO of Westhoughton’s most famous musical exports teamed up for a festive celebration at Bolton’s Victoria Hall.

The latest Christmas Folk and Brass, reuniting the Wingates Band with The Houghton Weavers, attracted a large audience to enjoy some northern Christmas traditions.

The star turn of the first half was Wingates’ principle cornettist Andrew MacDonald, who played his poignant solo These Holy Cities with a beautiful limpid tone before livening up the band’s performance of White Christmas with some jazzy improvisations.

The band also run through some jazz pieces and original brass band compositions, with Kevin Norbury’s Gaudete building from stark, medieval lines to a thunderous rhythmic finale providing a particular highlight.

The Houghton Weavers are rather more relaxed, wandering on to stage and interspersing their singalongs about northern institutions with some humour.

A song praising Bolton Wanderers star Nat Lofthouse pleased their home town while Wiganers in the audience enjoyed a number about Uncle Joe’s Mintballs.

The evening’s highlights, however, come from the Weavers’ guest guitarist Pete Frampton who stole the show with his two solo pieces, a set of instrumental folk dances in the first half and a stunning trip to America’s Deep South for an acoustic blues rendition of Georgia On My Mind in the second.

The two bands reunite at the end of the concert for a festive medley, sending everyone home with a smile and Christmas tunes running through their heads.