To Halle this afternoon for a show entitled ‘Stars in Brass’. The primary stars in question were Brassband Buizingen, one of Europe’s top amateur brassbands. Under the skillful baton of Luc Vertommen, the band performed a series of pieces ranging from an adaptation of Mozart (The Marriage of Figaro) to the world premiere of composer-in-residence Nigel Clarke’s When worlds collide. The band’s manager, Eddy Vanhaelen, is making a conscious effort to bring in a new, young audience, and so the second half of the bill saw the band accompanying Flemish heart throb Jasper Steverlink as he worked his way through a song list that concluded with an excellent rendition of David Bowie’s Life on Mars. This was followed by a last surprise act, a Michael Jackson imitator dancing and singing Billie Jean. Vanhaelen’s plan worked. There were plenty of young people in the audience who probably would never otherwise have come to listen to a brass band and it was clear that they had liked what they’d heard. After all, few sounds can be more impressive than a brass band working its way, crescendo fashion, to a loud conclusion!