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Birmingham Citadel Band joined forces with the Coventry based Jaguar Land Rover Band (MD Dave Lea) as the two bands offered a musical tribute to a mutual friend, colleague and bandsman.


Considering the close proximity of the two bands and the strong links, it seems strange that a joint venture has never been suggested in the past.  Well, it may have been long overdue, but it was certainly a worthy tribute to a much loved “bando”!


David Bartle was a passionate Brass band enthusiast who had strong links to Birmingham Citadel Band and Jaguar Land Rover Band in Coventry. He passed away in January 2014 and both bands, and the family, wanted to stage an event that would be a fitting Memorial to a great man who had time for everyone, especially those connected with Brass Banding.  An excellent Euphonium soloist and later a trombonist, he played in SA brass bands in his native North East, Derby and the London area including many happy years with the Salvation Army’s London Divisional Youth Band.  As part of the Jaguar Land Rover Band he was a long serving member and supporter.  Playing both Euphonium and trombone with JLR he later went on to become the band’s Chairman.


The two bands played a selection of music which had relevance to Dave’s life and music and it really was a musical feast!  BCB started the night in fine form with the stirring march “In the Firing Line” which Dave Bartle had frequently identified as his favourite march.  There was such clarity in the playing and many commented that Dave would have approved!  This was followed by the first contribution from JLRB: Ken Downie’s beautiful “In Perfect Peace”.  


Changing the mood with “Glory Fanfare” the JLRB showed their power before BCB played a piece which Dave Bartle had listened to most days over the final months of his life.  BM Gavin Lamplough explained how when visiting Dave on one occasion Dave requested that the band played Eric Ball’s “Constant Trust” one Sunday night.  Although Dave would not likely make it to the Salvation Army in Birmingham due to his deteriorating health, it would bring a great source of strength to him knowing it was being played.  The band recorded that “performance” and sent a CD of it to Dave.  He regularly told how he had listened to it most days when battling the illness.  Although perhaps dated, the audience appreciated the significance of the melodies running through “Constant Trust”.  


There were two solo items presented with the JLRB Principal Cornet Paul White playing Ray Bowes’ “Rhapsody for Cornet and Band” and BCB Principal Euphonium David Taylor playing Trevor Davis’ “Shepherd’s Song”.  


The two extended works for the evening were JLRB’s “An American Tale” and BCB’s “Laudate Dominum”.  The Birmingham Citadel Songsters, Singing Company and Junior Band also contributed to the evening.  Dave loved being at ‘his church’ at Birmingham Citadel and did take such an interest in the youngsters.


To finish the evening both bands joined forces to present two massed items.  The sounds of both bands playing Eric Ball’s “Kingdom Triumphant” (under BM Lamplough) and Leslie Condon’s “Celebration” (under MD Dave Lea) was a fitting end to the evening and a worthy tribute to a gentleman who would no doubt have been delighted to see his two favourite bands share the same stage for the first time in their history!


Photos: Graham Daff
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