The week-end of September 4th/5th was a very busy and important time for BCB.
On Saturday morning at 9.00am the band began a programme of music which was to preface the British Open Brass Band Championship at The Symphony Hall, Birmingham. This programme has now become an annual event for the band and is certainly one of the highlights of the year.
As is customary, the audience gradually increased as the programme unfolded and it was good to see so many people wanting to hear us play. This year, it was a particularly daunting experience because not only were we playing after a month without rehearsals, but the actual contest day was a week earlier than usual. Despite the limited rehearsal time, the band acquitted itself well and it was obvious from the applause that the audience were appreciative of our music.
The programme featured music from our last season and included such pieces as “Kerygma”, “Power of the Cross”, “Stars of the Morning” and “I will follow Him”. Solo items were performed by Gavin Lamplough (Cornet solo – “Tucker”) and David Taylor (Euphonium solo – “The Better World”).
We can never underestimate the significance of this occasion for the band. Many Salvationists, ex-Salvationists and, indeed, non-Salvationists had gathered round to hear us and many positive comments were made not only about our playing, but also about the effectiveness of our witness.
Traditionally, the Sunday after Contest day is designated “Band Sunday”.
The Sunday morning worship was led by the band with the theme of “Communication”, led by the band’s pastoral leaders, Ian Kershaw and Robert O’Connor.
The Band played Ken Downie’s “Stars of the Morning” as an introit to the meeting and during the service the band played, with power-point presentation, Ivor Bosanko’s “His Provision”.
It was particularly pleasing to see so many visitors attending the morning service. Friends from Canada, Sweden and Australia were present, as well as Salvationists and other visitors from all parts of the UK who had “stayed over” after the Contest. It was particularly pleasing to greet the former Bandmaster of the Melbourne Staff Band, Colin Woods.
In the afternoon the band led the open-air service in Birmingham city-centre. As usual, hundreds of people stopped to listen and we had one special visitor – a “monster” who was helping promote a well known TV provider in the high street. The Bandmaster was treated to a welcoming “hug” from the alien from outer space!?
After the service, the Band, Songsters and corps members marched back to the citadel.
The evening service was a meeting which celebrated the life of the Band’s former Bandmaster – Bram Williams who sadly passed away earlier this year. Family members and friends as well as members of Birmingham Citadel shared in the Celebration and many anecdotes and memories were re-counted.
The band featured music that would have been part of Bram’s era, including the march “Spirit of Joy”, a euphonium solo “My Story and Song”(played by Keith Watts), the selection “To God be the Glory” and the march “The Red Shield”.
The evening was an affectionate tribute to a man who left such a significant legacy to the band’s history. A full account of the life of Bram Williams can be found on the band’s web-site.
The service ended a particularly hectic week-end for the band and although we didn’t win any contests, we certainly feel proud of our witness and thank God that we were able to touch the lives of so many people.
Incidentally – congratulations to Tredegar band!